Do you know what colostrum is and what it comes from? It’s a substance that is vital for a baby mammal’s health and immune system. It’s not quite milk – it is secreted from the mother’s mammary glands in the first days after birth before true milk flows.
Immature mammals, including both puppies and humans, need the added enzymes and antibodies that colostrum provides. The colostrum from cows has now been shown to be safe and effective for non-bovine animals of any age.
Colostrum is an amazing supplement, so beneficial that it was used before antibiotics to bolster immunity. The antibodies in colostrum were used in the creation of the first polio vaccine!
Colostrum isn’t just another folk tale. It is backed by years of medical use and research all over the Western world.
Is colostrum only beneficial to puppies?
Not at all. Adult dogs can benefit from colostrum too.
You may have heard that the benefits of colostrum for adult humans are reduced. Not all benefits are reduced in adults, but some are. That is because human intestines don’t absorb colostrum as well in adulthood as they do in childhood.
Dogs, however, still benefit from colostrum in adulthood. In fact, colostrum helps dogs have healthier digestive tracts and intestines.
What are the benefits of colostrum for dogs and puppies?
For one, colostrum can help build immunity to disease in a world where antibiotics are quickly losing their effectiveness. Our overuse of antibiotics has led to superbugs that resist antibiotic treatment. Colostrum can help the body build its own antibodies as backup for contemporary antibiotic drugs.
Colostrum can also prevent diarrhea. The antibodies in colostrum have been shown to greatly reduce and even stop diarrhea caused by the several strains of E Coli that have been tested on humans.
Tests on dogs have shown that bovine colostrum significantly increases the diversity of gut microbes and stability in dogs which further bolsters their immune system. Additionally, colostrum’s activity in the intestine reduces yeasts like Candida and therefore heal leaky gut.
Not only can colostrum bolster the immune system, it can also bring down an overactive immune system. That means that dogs with allergies can find relief through taking colostrum.
There is a hormone in colostrum that down-regulates overactive immune responses. In addition to alleviating allergies, this same hormone can regulate autoimmune responses to help dogs that suffer from autoimmune diseases like arthritis.
Colostrum can help prevent dogs from catching viruses like parvo, Lyme disease, and Bordetella. A study done in 2007 showed that colostrum is three times as effective in preventing flu as the flu vaccine. While dogs don’t get the same kind of flu shot we do, that study is a good example of how colostrum if effective against common viruses.
Colostrum can also accelerate wound healing and aid in oral health. Studies show that colostrum helps tissues grow and fuse when damaged. It can be applied externally to heal wounds, insect bites, gingivitis, abscesses, and more. Topical use of colostrum is also effective in treating skin infections.
Scientists are currently researching how colostrum might be used in the treatment of cancer. Colostrum contains cytokines that increase white blood cells which seek and destroy cancer cells. It also contains the lactalbumin protein which causes the death of cancer cells but not of healthy cells.
How can I give my dog colostrum?
You can give your dog or puppy colostrum both orally and topically. Talk to your vet about topical solutions for external care.
To bolster your pup’s immune system and gut health, try giving your dog colostrum in the form of delicious daily treats!