Reassessing an animal’s diet during the fall season can help offer more nutritional support for their immune system and overall health.
Supporting our patients’ immune health is important all year round, but especially so during the fall. As the temperature begins to drop and the flora dies off, animals – just like people – are at higher risk of compromised immune responses (i.e. allergies). Since nutrition plays such a large role in the health of the body, seasonally assessing and modifying supplement regimens accordingly can help thwart any dis-ease.
Recognizing and rectifying deficiencies
Vitamins and minerals are fuel for the cells, so any deficiencies – especially when left unaddressed over a long period of time – can lead to compromised function. Though every animal has individual needs (even litter mates may have different requirements), whole food-based supplements provide food ingredients that contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to support the structure and function of the body’s cells.
As the seasons change and the animal ages, it’s vitally important to reevaluate his changing needs. Some patients may do well on supplement protocols for long periods while others may need occasional changes to match what their body requires. The onset of a new season is an ideal time for an assessment, since any new environmental-related concerns will be apparent. Some dogs and cats will show symptoms year-round due to moderate climates while others may get a break in the winter months. Regardless, reassessment is needed to ensure the pet continues to get the nutritional support he needs.
Building a fall supplement plan
For animals who present with runny eyes, itching, biting, and general discomfort in the fall months, providing whole food-based support supplements for the following areas can be beneficial.
For animals with seasonal issues, support for the immune system is very important. Inflammation can contribute to a whole host of issues in the body. A healthy immune system can help the body combat these issues. The immune system is a complex array of cells that are found in multiple locations in the body. Due to its complexity, support for other tissues like the liver, the digestive system, spleen, and adrenals is needed as well.
A healthy digestive system is also a very important component to supporting animals with seasonal compromise. It is obvious that dogs and cats may have skin inflammation or upper respiratory signs, but the gut isn’t as obvious. There can be inflammation in the lining of the digestive system that could contribute to inflammation in other parts of the body.
There is potential that adrenal compromise could contribute to seasonal challenges. The adrenal glands can become fatigued from repeated stress. Can you imagine scratching and biting all day? Adrenal compromise could affect the overall hormonal balance in the body and its ability to maintain homeostasis. Support for the adrenal glands can certainly be beneficial for animals with seasonal stressors.
Even if patients aren’t showing signs of seasonal issues, offering support for these areas would be a proactive, wellness approach to providing their body with nutrients that could fill in potential gaps that may eventually lead to compromise.
Recommending other dietary changes
When it comes to the “ideal” diet for dogs and cats, opinions vary widely. Some feel that strictly dry kibble is best while others stretch to the other side of the spectrum and prefer a raw or fresh food diet. Regardless of what diet you are recommending for your patients, there is potential for benefit from the addition of whole food-based supplements. If animals are eating the same food daily for long periods, there may be gaps in what their bodies require for optimal health. Focus on variety year-round, not just at the onset of a season, to optimize health.
Jody has been providing clinical support for veterinarians, technicians and staff members at Standard Process for over 12 years. She is passionate about the importance of nutrition and enjoys educating veterinary professionals on the benefits that whole food-based supplements can provide to their patients. She earned her veterinary technician certification after receiving her associate's degree from Madison Area Technical College, in Madison, Wisconsin and worked in a mixed animal practice for 11 years prior to joining the Standard Process team. When not at work, Jody loves spending time with her husband, their 7 children, their chocolate Lab Kona and their black Lab Echo.