Nutrition for dogs made simple

Health benefits of raw for dogs & cats

Why we're anti-kibble

Supporting research and R&D

Can nutraceutical supplements really have an impact on a dog's immune system?

For dogs who need immune system support

Chronic inflammation and stress can actually suppress the immune system, and have a long term impact on health.

At Bestie Kitchen, we and our consulting integrative vet have created an anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting health jelly is designed to support your dog’s immune function and put a pep back in their step!

Called The Pep-Up, this health jelly has been based on our consulting vet's clinical experience (over 35 years), as well as a number of research studies.

In a nutshell, this is what it's based on:

Chronic stress suppresses the immune system

Anxiety is a form of stress but there are others

The knock-on health impacts can be wide-ranging and serious

Adaptogens and other foods and herbs can support the immune system and help it return to normal function

Adaptogens are also 'stress-protective'

Stress and the immune system

Animal behaviourist Lisa Radosta says that “Stress is an adaptive mechanism to help cope with the event. If short, mild and preceding the challenge, immunity may be initially enhanced. However, stress that is intense, persistent or chronic, will suppress the immune system and have detrimental effects on physical and mental health.”


Some of these health impacts are mental as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, urinary, dermatologic, reproductive and gastrointestinal health and even a shortened lifespan.

A range of things can cause stress in your dog: from chronic anxiety to reacting to your stress.

There is also a chain reaction. For example, it may start with itching, licking and scratching, which causes pain, which in turn causes fear and anxiety about the pain…and then we have a viscous cycle.

Papaya has strong anti-inflammatory properties

A number of the phytochemicals found in papaya have been shown to reduce chronic inflammatory conditions and associated side-effects by modifying the levels of inflammatory markers. In addition to secondary metabolites, the proteolytic enzymes present in papaya (papain and chymopapain) have also shown immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activities.


Papaya is also rich in lutein, a type carotenoid. The importance of carotenoids in promoting health in people and dogs is well documented.

However, a study on 56 young beagles receiving a dietary lutein supplement, showed a significantly enhanced cell-mediated and humoral immune response in dogs. The study also showed that dietary lutein may enhance the antibody response of dogs given routine vaccinations.

Adaptogens are 'stress protective'


In short, adaptogens, which in The Pep-Up formulation include the astragalus, ashwagandha, and medicinal mushrooms reishi, shiitake and maitake, provide stress protection.

They do it by increasing the state of ‘non-specific resistance’ in stress and decreasing sensitivity to stressors; they also prolong the phase of resistance (stimulatory effect).


The stimulating and anti-fatigue effect of adaptogens has been documented in both in animals and in humans.

In addition, in a study involving 120 dogs in China, astragalus has been shown to regulate and improve the immune system. Clinical signs were improved and the immune cells, cytokines and other immune-related parameters were regulated.


Kim, Hong & Chew, Boon & Wong, Teri Ann & Park, Jean & Weng, Bor-Chun & Byrne, Katherine & Hayek, Michael & Reinhart, Gregory. (2000). Dietary lutein stimulates immune response in the canine. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 74. 315-327. 10.1016/S0165-2427(00)00180-X.

Panossian, Alexander & Georg, Wikman. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 3. 10.3390/ph3010188.

Qiu, Hehui & Cheng, Guilin & Xu, Jianqin & Zhang, Nuowei & Liu, Fenghua & Zhu, Xiaoyu & Zhao, Juan & Zhang, Yujie. (2010). Effects of Astragalus Polysaccharides on Associated Immune Cells and Cytokines in Immunosuppressive Dogs. Procedia in Vaccinology. 2. 26-33. 10.1016/j.provac.2010.03.006.

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