Virus, it’s THE word of 2020.
Rather, Coronavirus, perhaps, and we want to start off by saying that it’s important to differentiate between SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and viruses in general. And there IS a difference.
What IS a virus?
Viruses are a part of life. At its core, a virus is a tiny organism that is made up of nucleic acid surrounded by proteins.
Viruses can’t really do much damage unless they enter or infect the cell of a host animal or plant. Once it’s infected its host, it reproduces itself–making copies of itself called virions. Virions leave their original host cell and infect other cells and that’s when we start suffering from the effects of viruses like influenza, chickenpox, colds or even SARS-CoV-2, which can cause COVID-19.
What types of viruses do dogs get and what are the symptoms?
Just like humans, dogs can and do get viruses. Some of the most common viruses that dogs get are: Rotavirus, Parvovirus, Canine Influenza (H3N2 and H3N8 most often), Adenovirus, Astrovirus, Distemper, and Rabies. Dogs can also contract canine coronavirus, but there are MANY types of coronavirus–they’re essentially your common cold. Some, such as in the case of SARS-CoV-2 are more potent, but most viruses have similar symptoms: lethargy, gastric distress, lack of appetite, fever, coughing, nasal discharge and even rashes.
It’s also important to note that only a handful of dogs in the world have contracted COVID-19 from SARS-CoV-2, but canine coronaviruses in general (which differ from SARS-CoV-2) are very common.
How does a dog get a virus?
Pretty much the same way humans do. They come in contact with another creature or object that has the virus. Once the virus enters your dog’s system, it then attacks the host cells and reproduces, making your dog feel sick. While zoonotic viruses are not uncommon (viruses that jump from human to animal or vice versa), it is unusual for dogs to contract human strains of viruses, and the same is said for a human contracting the canine forms of the virus. Making sure your dog stays away from infected animals and has clean food and water bowls is key, but more important is keeping your dog’s immune system as healthy as it can be.
What does dog gut health have to do with viruses?
Good gut health is what ensures your dog’s (and your!) immune system is in top shape. When your dog is attacked by a virus, his immune system is his defense line. The strongest immune systems are those fueled by healthy guts, and healthy guts come from good nutrient absorption and healthy digestive tracts. There’s a reason grandmothers remind us that an apple a day keeps the doctor away–it’s the fiber in the apple that helps keep our gut health its best, and that, combined with good sleep and plenty of water, keeps our immune system ready to fight against any virus that may attack.
We don’t give our dogs apples a day (although you could), but even if we did, a healthy immune system stems from the assurance we get all the nutrients from healthy foods like apples. While the food we give our dogs is typically nutritionally complete because that’s an industry and federally regulated standard, if they’re not digesting it appropriately?
They’re open to illness and disease that comes from malnutrition and weaker immune systems.
Research continues to find the similarity in our dog’s gut to ours, and without question, we know that the healthier our guts are, the healthier we are overall. A healthy immune system comes from a healthy gut and enables your dog’s body to not only ward off viruses, but to create antibodies that attack and eliminate viruses once they’ve entered your dog’s system.
The best and easiest way to ensure your dog’s getting all the nutrition and pre-and probiotics he needs to maintain healthy gut flora and keep viruses away is to give him Bernie’s Perfect Poop. Perfect poop is the sign of the healthiest guts and those healthy guts mean your dog has the healthiest immune system too. The unique 4-in-1 combination of fiber, pre-and probiotics and enzymes will help ensure your dog’s in his best shape, and will be the best defense against those offensive viruses that may come his way.