Looking after a sickly dog is never an enjoyable experience. You love your dog when they are bounding up and down, hoovering up leftover food and giving you someone to cuddle while your favorite TV show is on. So how do you stop your pooch from getting sickly?
The best way to deal with viruses in your dog is to prevent them. There are a number of viruses your dog can get, from parvovirus and coronavirus to astrovirus and distemper virus. These can cause a range of symptoms, from diarrhea and vomiting to weight loss, seizures, rashes, and paralysis and can seriously impact the functionality of your dog’s vital organs. Some viruses can even be fatal to your dog!
Preventing Viral Infections
If you want to prevent your dog from contracting a potentially lethal virus, understanding how you can prevent them is essential.
Viruses are often extremely contagious. These viral diseases, such as parvovirus, can take hold of your dog’s body, attacking cells and giving their immune system a real run for its money. These viruses are often caught when your dog comes into direct contact with infected animals or objects. This leads us to the first and most important preventative measure you as an owner can take: hygiene!
Keeping your dog and their environment clean can go a long way to preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses. One way you can do this is by washing your dog’s bedding regularly. This is a quick and easy way to take away a place where bacteria and viruses fester.
Clearing up your backyard of feces every day can also go a long way to keeping their environment clean and virus free. It is also worth trying to minimize your dog’s exposure to relatively unhygienic environments. Try not to let them roll around in dog poo at the public park and stop them rustling around in trash bins!
All of these measures offer a short-term preventative solution. They are not wholly effective, but they can substantially reduce the chances of your dog catching a virus in the first place.
Boost Their Immune System
Zones of rapidly dividing cells, hematopoietic progenitor cells, and a whole host of other cells can all be susceptible to attack when a virus takes place. Your dog’s body will then have to work double time to keep that virus at bay. To do that, it relies on its immune system, which acts as the body’s defense.
To prevent viruses from developing, you can take steps to bolster your pup's immune system. The first thing to do is to look at their diet. Your dog needs essential nutrients to maintain a strong immune system. Feed your dog fresh fruit, veggies, and lean meats in addition to their high-quality commercial diet, and stay away from starchy foods. This will give your dog a strong, effective immune system.
The other way to ensure your dog’s body is fully healthy is to ensure they have enough water and enough sleep. The brain and the body all depend on both. If your dog does not have enough water and sleep, the immune system will not be able to fend off viral infections. This is a quick and easy way to help prevent viruses developing.
There are some viruses that your dog’s immune system will not be able to fight off, no matter how strong it is. Viruses like coronavirus are highly contagious. Coronavirus attacks the intestinal tract and is spread from dog to dog via contact with feces. But there is a solution for even the most powerful viruses.
That solution is vaccines. Vaccines are a modern-day response to serious viral infections. The success of vaccines for humans is well documented, but vaccines are also becoming increasingly popular in dogs. Vaccines work by administering antigenic material to stimulate the immune system, helping to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen. This means the body can fight off the virus as soon as it rears its ugly head.
There is no better preventative measure than a vaccine. A vaccine is a long-term, almost foolproof way to prevent a virus. You can get vaccines for a number of viruses in dogs today. Your pooch can have vaccines for distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza virus, and a whole host of others. While they come at a cost, your vet can administer vaccines quickly and provide you with peace of mind on all things virus related.
Importance of Prevention
There are serious benefits to be gained from preventing your dog from contracting viruses. Many viruses can kill, so prevention can save your dog’s life! At the least, taking the right steps could help prevent serious illnesses that could leave your dog with crippling permanent problems.
But prevention also benefits you as an owner. Not only can it save you a small fortune, stress, and considerable time treating your dog, taking steps to prevent viruses in your dog can also help minimize the risk of viruses throughout your household--among other pets and family members.
The Final Verdict
Dogs absolutely can contract viruses. Many viruses are highly contagious and pose a serious threat to the health of your furry companion. They can travel via direct contact with infected animals and objects, as well as through other mediums. Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to prevent viruses. Keeping your dog’s environment clean is somewhat effective. Bolstering their immune system with a healthy diet, water, and sleep will also help to minimize vulnerability to viruses. But vaccines are by far the most effective, long-term measure you can take to prevent your dog from contracting a virus.