As soon as your dog came out of the womb, he should have started breastfeeding off his mother. We all know that breast is best, because it provides your pup with the nutrients he needs to build up his immune system and develop a healthy body. But did you know that mother’s milk can also have benefits beyond puppy years?
While colostrum is known to help boost immune function and support the gastrointestinal tract, it also offers a number of other benefits as well. Let’s take a look at what exactly that first mother’s milk (also called colostrum) is and how it can help your dog.
What Is Colostrum For Dogs?
Colostrum for dogs is a mother’s first milk, and a baby’s first nutrition, according to Dogs Naturally Magazine. It contains antibodies and comes into the mother dog’s breast the first day or two following birth, according to VCA Hospitals. Within a few days of birth, puppies are no longer able to absorb colostrum. However, it can still have a positive effect on the intestinal tract when it is consumed or applied topically. When buying colostrum, it will usually be sourced from a cow. If it’s from a cow or another animal, it should be hormone- and pesticide-free.
Some vets have reported that colostrum has healing properties inside and outside of a dog’s body. While there are many benefits of colostrum for dogs, it is known to improve immune function, gut health, and fight infection and allergic reactions. Here are five benefits of colostrum for dogs to be aware of.
- It Can Relieve Your Dog’s Allergies
If your dog has an allergic reaction to food, fleas and parasites, the environment or something he’s come into contact with, colostrum could be beneficial to him. Colostrum for dog’s allergies is an effective treatment method for combatting a pup’s overactive immune response to allergens. It is also known to help reduce inflammation, which appears in the form of rashes and itchy skin. By adding colostrum to your dog’s diet, you’ll be able to help reduce any symptoms caused by allergic reactions to food, environment, or any other contaminants. An easy way to help fight against dog allergies is to feed your pup a daily canine allergy relief chew that contains this powerful ingredient.
- It’s Known to Treat Diarrhea
If your dog has a food allergy, he may have diarrhea. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, in one study, dogs that had taken lactoferrin, which is in colostrum, experienced a reduction in the infectious intestinal bacteria in their bodies. If your dog is fighting a gut bacteria that is causing them symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, Colostrum can help soothe their gastrointestinal tract and fight against viruses and other invading bacteria. To improve your dog’s digestion, try feeding him a daily probiotic canine chew that will help promote good bacteria and support his overall gut health.
- It Can Prevent Canine Flu
According to My Pet Needs That, in one study, colostrum was three times more effective at safeguarding against canine flu than a flu vaccine. It is known to be very effective when it comes to combatting the H3N8 and H3N2 viruses. Since colostrum boosts the immune system to help protect against canine flu, it can also be used to prevent and treat illnesses like kennel cough, canine parvovirus and Lyme disease.
- It Is an Anti-Aging Treatment
Colostrum has been shown to turn back time and combat aging. It helps dogs recover after they exercise and it can preserve senior dogs’ bone density and lean muscle mass, keeping them strong and healthy in their later years. Additionally, colostrum has the ability to prevent cognitive decline in adult dogs as well.
- It Can Heal Your Dog’s Wounds
Colostrum contains Insulin-like Growth Factor, also known as IGF, or IGF-1 and IGF-2, according to My Pet Needs That. IGF-1 has the ability to regenerate tissue, which is useful when it comes to healing your pup’s wounds. IGF-1 fuels an increase in production of protein building blocks, which jumpstarts wound healing as well as tissue repair. If your dog has skin problems, insect bites, ear infections, wounds from a surgical procedure or cysts, then giving him colostrum could be highly effective.
Other Benefits of Colostrum
Along with these five benefits, colostrum can also help with arthritis, joint problems, rashes, hot spots, cancer, leaky gut and your dog’s oral health. It’s a natural miracle medicine that has the power to assist with just about any issue your dog may be experiencing.
Tips for Buying Colostrum
Don’t give your dog colostrum if he’s allergic to dairy. If he’s not, then it’s best to follow some practices when buying colostrum. Make sure that the product you use doesn’t contain growth hormones, since these can be unsafe to ingest. Check the label to see if it’s rBGH free and the cows are pasture-raised. The company also should not feed their cows antibiotics. When it comes to cow colostrum, it’s important that you do your research to ensure you are feeding your dog food and treats that are safe for everyday use.
Feed your dog colostrum when he has an empty stomach. You can also give it to him with some broth or yogurt. If you have a capsule and a small dog, then feed him one capsule per day. If your dog is medium or large, then give him two capsules per day. If you have a colostrum powder, then give your dog 1/8 teaspoon per 25 lbs of body weight twice every day.
Whether your dog suffers from a leaky gut, allergic reactions,or inflammation within his digestive tract,cow colostrum can have a major impact on his overall health. Colostrum is an amazing ingredient that offers a wide array of healing properties. Before you purchase colostrum, it’s best to talk to your vet to see what he recommends in terms of brands. Remember: The more natural the product, the better. Improve your pup’s immune response and support his GI tract by adding colostrum into your dog’s diet today.
Camille is a co-founder of PetHonesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs’ quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs’ health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.