Top 12 Benefits of Colostrum for Dogs

Top 12 Benefits of Colostrum for Dogs

You may have heard that many people use colostrum to assist their dogs with allergies. Because it’s an immunological modulator, it helps with allergies. But, because of its immune properties, colostrum has a slew of other advantages for your dog, even beyond allergy treatment.

What is Colostrum?

Colostrum is a material found in the first milk of a mother. It provides the initial nutrients to babies and aids in the development of a strong immune system. Colostrum is beneficial to dogs (and people) of all ages, not only newborns.

Colostrum should be given to your adult dog for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t have to be from a dog, either. Bovine colostrum (from cows) works equally as well and is much more readily available. Although, we recommend goat colostrum, but we will get into that momentarily.

How to Give Colostrum To Dogs

Colostrum is often taken orally as a powder or capsule. It works best on an empty stomach, rather than with food. To offer it to your dog, you may need to mix it with a little broth or plain unsweetened yogurt. See the last portion of this post for dosing suggestions.

Benefits of Colostrum for Dogs

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Colostrum has some key components that make up its healing properties including:

Immunoglobulins

Colostrum contains immunoglobulins (also called antibodies). The antibodies in colostrum include:

  • IgG
  • IgM
  • IgA

IgG Antibodies

IgG antibodies provide passive immunity to puppies and young animals. This shields them from harm until their immune systems mature. IgG antibodies have the ability to neutralize viruses. In fact, they’re used to combat hepatitis A in humans. IgG antibodies can also combat bacteria and chronic infections.

IgM Antibodies

The first antibodies produced by newborns are IgM antibodies. They trigger the complement cascade, which is a part of the immune system  and it’s a crucial process. Some bacteria have evolved surfaces to which complement proteins are unable to bind.

IgM antibodies can bind to almost any surface that the pathogen throws at them. This aids the complement proteins in their attachment to and destruction of the invaders. Antibodies of the type IgM are also the first line of defense against viruses.

IgA Antibodies

Another major family of antibodies is IgA. This antibody is produced in greater quantities by your dog than any other antibody. In the digestive tract, IgA antibodies create a lining. Their job is to prevent germs and viruses from entering the body by coating them in the digestive tract. Foreign invaders will frequently escape the digestive tract if dogs do not have adequate IgA antibodies.

Chronic diarrhea and intestinal inflammation will result as a result of this. Alternatively, they can enter the bloodstream and induce allergic symptoms as well as chronic organ inflammation. As a result, dogs must have sufficient IgA reserves in their bodies.

Growth Factors 

Growth factors are known to:

  • Stimulate cell growth
  • Help repair muscle, bone, and connective tissue
  • Heal the intestinal lining

Lactoferrin 

Antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties are all present in this protein. It aids in the elimination of microorganisms that cause inflammation. It has anti-tumor properties as well. It’s also more effective than Doxycycline at treating Lyme disease, according to new research. 

PRP

The thymus and immunological function are regulated by proline-rich polypeptides (PRP).  Immune systems can be stimulated or regulated, depending on whether they are hyperactive or underactive. They aid the body’s response to foreign invaders such as microbes, toxins, and allergens.

MSM

Joint supplements frequently contain methylsulfonylmethane. It’s a micronutrient that aids in the healing of wounds. It can help to keep cartilage healthy and relieve discomfort. MSM is also used to treat cancer. In experiments, it reduced the size of breast cancer tumors. It also aided in the treatment of prostate and liver malignancies.

The Top 12 Benefits Of Colostrum For Dogs

Colostrum is beneficial to your dog for a variety of reasons. Let’s start with one of the most prevalent reasons: to alleviate allergy problems.

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Allergies

Allergies are the result of an overactive immune system. Colostrum’s PRPs aid to regulate this response. Colostrum also aids in the management of inflammation in your dog, which causes rashes, itching, and pain. Colostrum also aids in the management of leaky gut in dogs, which is a common cause of allergic reactions.

Leaky Gut

When your dog’s gut lining is damaged, it creates leaky gut. This can be caused by drugs or other pollutants in his environment. Undigested food particles can enter through the lining and into the bloodstream if it is damaged. Allergies, intestinal difficulties, and arthritis can all be caused by these invaders.

Colostrum has been shown in studies to aid in the healing of leaky gut. Lactoferrin plays a crucial part in this. It reduces inflammation and functions as a prebiotic to “feed” good bacteria in the gut.

Diarrhea

So, now that you know colostrum can help heal leaky gut, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can also aid with diarrhea. It has been shown in studies to aid with a variety of diarrhea types. This encompasses both chronic and acute diarrhea, as well as infectious diarrhea. Colostrum might also be beneficial to your puppy brood. Colostrum increased the fecal quality of weaned puppies according to research studies.

Oral Health

In small animal patients, periodontal disease is a common veterinary concern. It’s more common in small dogs and frequently results in tooth loss. The majority of traditional veterinarians advise having your dog’s teeth cleaned under anesthetic on a regular basis. That’s a hazardous proposition, and many dog owners are understandably wary. Colostrum contains growth factors that may help to restore damaged tissue.

Gut Damage From Pharmaceuticals

Have you given your dog any medications such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or antibiotics? These medications have a slew of negative side effects. They can also harm your dog’s digestive health in the long run, leading to leaky gut. Colostrum has been shown in several studies to aid in the repair of intestinal damage caused by pharmaceutical medications. If your dog ever requires conventional medications in an emergency, keep colostrum in mind.

Support with Aging

dog wearing black harness on its body
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We all want our dogs to live a long and healthy life. And research shows that colostrum can help your dog age gracefully in a variety of ways. It can assist older dogs maintain lean muscle mass and bone density. As your dog gets older, this could mean improved mobility and strength. Colostrum also aids in workout recovery and reduces oxidative stress. It may also help to prevent cognitive deterioration.

Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune disease is becoming more common in dogs, just as it is in humans. Overvaccination, a leaky gut, and exposure to environmental chemicals are just a few of the causes. Colostrum’s PRPs aid in the regulation of a hyperactive immune system.

Growth factors, on the other hand, reduce inflammation. Both of these factors play a role in lowering the chance of developing an autoimmune disease. Lactoferrin and immunoglobulins also help by restricting bacteria and viruses. Autoimmune diseases can be triggered or aggravated by these infections.

The Skin and Yeast

Many dogs suffer from yeast-related itching, odor, and discomfort. Lactoferrin and lactoferrin peptides exhibit potent antifungal properties. Along with its immune-boosting effects, colostrum can aid in the treatment of your dog’s persistent yeast infection.

Cancer in Dogs

Colostrum contains immunoglobulins, which boost your dog’s immune system. They also aid in the battle against viral and bacterial illnesses. Lactoferrin’s anti-inflammatory properties could aid in the treatment and prevention of cancer.

Furthermore, the cytokines included in colostrum can aid the body’s fight against cancer by activating white blood cells that can detect and kill cancer cells. Lactalbumin is an unique protein found in colostrum. Colostrum lactalbumin has been found to promote apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells while allowing healthy cells to grow.

Joint Issues And Arthritis

Controlling your dog’s joint pain or arthritis begins with addressing leaky gut and inflammation. Colostrum contains growth factors that can aid in the repair of joint tissue injury. In addition, the MSM in colostrum can aid in the management of pain and inflammation. MSM is also necessary for cartilage maintenance.

Canine Influenza

Colostrum can help to keep upper respiratory infections at bay. It can also protect you from the flu more effectively than vaccine. In fact, colostrum was found to be at least three times as efficient than immunization in a 2007 research. A lactoferrin-whey protein supplement can help prevent colds, according to a 2013 study. Only 48 people felt sick, compared to 112 in the placebo group. Patients who did catch colds were also unwell for a shorter period of time.

Another study from 2013 found that colostrum boosted the immunological function of dogs. If he’s been vaccinated, colostrum may help him respond better to the immunization, according to the same study.

So, if your dog goes to daycare or boarding, give him colostrum to prevent flu or kennel cough.

Overall Skin Issues

You can use colostrum topically to speed skin repair and wound healing. Its antibacterial effects can also help with skin infections. Make a paste of powdered colostrum mixed with distilled water and apply it to the following:

  • Skin infections
  • Wounds (including surgical wounds)
  • Insect bites
  • Abscesses
  • Hot spots
  • Rashes
  • Ear infections
  • Cysts

Is Colostrum Safe For Lactose Intolerant Dogs?

The good news is that colostrum has very little lactose, so most lactose-intolerant dogs should be fine. Start with a small dose and monitor your dog for symptoms if your dog has a dairy or meat allergy. Continue to administer the colostrum if there are no signs of digestive distress.

How To Choose A Good Colostrum Product

Colostrum quality varies a lot. So here are some guidelines to help you choose a high-quality product.

  • Find colostrum that comes from pasture-raised, rBGH-free cows. rBGH is a growth hormone that has been genetically modified. It is used by dairies to increase milk output. Any genetically altered product has the potential to cause health problems, including cancer. Many countries, including Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, have prohibited it.
  • Make sure the dairy source doesn’t use antibiotics in the cows’ feed. Dairies often use antibiotics to prevent mastitis and other diseases.
  • Ask your provider for a Certificate of Analysis from a 3rd party. Make sure the product doesn’t have harmful bacteria. Watch for heavy metals or other contaminants too.
  • There are ethical considerations too. Colostrum is essential for calves, especially in the first 48 hours after birth. Inquire about your supplier’s colostrum harvesting schedule. Look for items that provide calves with the colostrum they require within the first few hours of life.

How Much Colostrum To Give Your Dog

As mentioned earlier, colostrum is best fed on an empty stomach but you can stir it into a small amount of yogurt or broth. 

  • If you’re giving a powder: give 1/16 teaspoon per 25 lbs of body weight, once or twice daily.
  • If your colostrum comes in capsules: give small dogs 1 cap daily, medium to large dogs can have 2 caps daily.

Read More:

Pre- and Probiotics to Increase the Immune Power of Colostrum in Dogs

Supplementation of diets with bovine colostrum influences immune function in dogs

Beynen AC, 2020. Bovine colostrum for dogs

Benefits of Bovine Colostrum on Fecal Quality in Recently Weaned Puppies

Natural and artificial hyperimmune solutions: Impact on health in puppies

Published by AmberLDrake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

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