Is your dog suffering from bad Gut Bacteria? How to improve your dog’s gut health!
Dogs’ are loaded with billions of bacteria, most of which can be found in their gastrointestinal tract. In fact, there are more bacteria in a dog’s body than cells. Paired with other tiny organisms in theirdigestive tracts like viruses and fungi, these bacteria’s are collectively known as the gut microbiota.
The tons of gut bacteria comprise about 1,000 different species, represented by some 5,000 distinct bacterial strains. Most of these species are good for your pup’s body, and some are even essential, but others are harmful such as E. coli.
Every dog’s composition of gut microbiota is unique as it is partly determined by a range of factors including
- Diet of the female during gestation
- Medications (particularly the use of antibiotics, which can deplete gut bacteria)
Functions of gut bacteria in your canine friend
Your dog’s gut microbiota plays different roles in the body. They affect everything from metabolism mood to the immune system, contributing to his overall physical and mental health. Here are a few functions that gut bacteria perform in the body:
- Metabolizes food and nutrient: The gut microbiota breaks down food and medications into things your pet’s body can use.
- Influences the immune system: Your dog’s gut wall houses 70 percent of the cells that make up his immune system. They serve as a protective barrier against intestinal infections and can help prevent or treat some conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more
- Synthesize vitamin K: Your pup’s gut bacteria aid the production of vitamin K, which is necessary for the formation of blood-clotting proteins.
Affects mental processes:
- The bacteria in the gut exert a surprising influence on the brain. They can change what your pets feel as research has shown a correlation between gut bacteria and conditions that can affect mood, especially anxiety.
What is gut health?
Gut health may be described as the balance of bacteria and other microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. As stated earlier, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria, and they both exist in your pooch’s digestive tract in harmonious balance.
For instance, while the good bacteria work against diseases, bad bacteria promote it. When the gut works as it should, these two types of bacteria should keep each other checked. However, a disruption in this balance may lead to limited space for the good ones, leading to health problems.
How to increase good bacteria in your pet’s gut
A healthy gut means better wellbeing. If you’re looking to boost your dog’s gut health (improve the good bacteria), here are seven ways to achieve your goal.
1. Limit the intake of antibiotics
While it’s okay to administer antibiotics to your pet as part of your treatment against bacterial infections, giving them frequently can deplete many bacteria in your dog’s gut and make them sick. Some studies reveal that it takes as long as six months or even more for their gut to fully recover. Also, overuse of antibiotics may lead to antibiotic resistance, becoming a significant health concern. If you must give your pet antibiotics, you should do so only on a vet’s prescription.
2. Add a probiotic supplement
Taking probiotic supplements may be a great way to improve your dog’s gut health. They are essentially live good bacteria that help change the microbiota’s overall composition, thus preventing gut inflammation and other intestinal problems. Along with a probiotic, you may also want to consider adding a prebiotic, which is a good source of food for the good bacteria. These are available in health food stores, drug stores, and online, but it’s best to always consult your veterinarian before choosing a supplement to ensure the best outcome.
3. Give fermented foods
Fermented foods are another rich source of probiotics. In other words, they have plenty of good bacteria that can help improve your pet’s gut health. The good bacteria are the ones that convert sugars in food to organic acids or alcohol. Examples of fermented foods include:
- Fish sauce
- Root vegetables
- Dairy products like kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, and cheese.
4. Introduce bone broth
Inflammation in the gut can be caused by different factors such as stress, food allergies, and parasitic activity. When it occurs, it creates gaps between the individual cells lining the walls, a condition known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. The resultant effect is that toxins and pathogens leak and escape the intestines due to the gaps created, and this may lead to other health problems like asthma, joint pain, thyroid conditions, and more.
Feeding your pet with bone broth provides his body with antioxidants like glutathione, which helps heal the gaps and restore the gut lining. In addition, it boosts the absorption of nutrients while contributing to your pet’s daily need for moisture.
5. Lower your stress levels
Stress affects not just the physical and mental health of dogs but also their gut health. If your pet is feeling stressed, his gut is likely feeling it too, which can disrupt the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, even if the stress is only short-lived. Maintaining a regular exercise and sufficient playtime routine can help curb the amount of cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress) in your pet’s bloodstream. Also, consider investing in toys that will help your pup stay fit and feel fantastic.
6. Change your pet’s diet
Another way to improve your dog’s gut bacteria is by feeding him a nutrient-dense, biologically appropriate diet that’s free from additives and colorants. Raw fresh foods like meat, organs, bones, vegetables, and more contain natural microbes that your dog’s gut bacteria love. These foods also promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gastrointestinal tract and may reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease.
Maintaining the right balance of your dog’s gut bacteria can go a long way in keeping his overall health in tip-top condition. The tips above can help him achieve a healthy gut. Now that you know how to improve your pup’s gut bacteria show them some love today!
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s blog at 12pm!
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