Aside from food, shelter, and love, our fur-babies’ gut health is one of the most precious things we can give to them. It is our main responsibilities as pet parents to keep our dogs and cats happy and healthy.
What is gut health?
Just like how it works for us, our furbabies’ gut is the very foundation of their health.
The gastrointestinal tract, being the largest immune organ, contains trillions of good and live microorganisms (referred to as microbiome) that help prevent bacteria, parasites, and toxins from getting into the bloodstream of our furry friends.
It also digests and absorbs the nutrients from the food, supplements, and water our dogs consume.
What is also found in the gut and helps maintain gut health are the trillions of microbes naturally found and working in the GI tract. The gut won’t be able to function properly without them.
The Benefits of a Healthy Gut for Dogs
Maintains energy. We can’t deny the fact that our furbabies are so full of energy.
Endless, most of the times! But as they grow older, this energy decreases.
A healthy gut supports your dog’s energy levels by helping in properly absorbing nutrients from food and supplements.
Soothes tummy issues. A healthy gut nurtures your furbaby whenever there is digestive discomfort from a change in diet, stressful encounters, overfeeding, and other digestive concerns.
Supports healthy weight management. Though our dogs look extra cute when they are chubby and fat, carrying too much weight can be unhealthy and harmful for your pet. It can affect many aspects, their mobility, and longevity for example. Fortunately, a healthy gut supports weight management by maintaining blood sugar levels within the normal range and maintaining healthy digestion – all these can help keep your furbaby from overeating and acquiring unwanted weight.
Supports bone and joint health. Painful joints and weak bones can greatly stop your dog from doing all the activities he loves doing. But a healthy gut can do great wonders as some strains of good bacteria naturally found in your furbaby’s gut produce vitamins (e.g. Vitamin K) that help metabolize calcium and help produce enzymes that function for the overall proper absorption of minerals.
Reduces stress. We know how our dogs are easily stressed out – a change in their daily routine, in their diet, new places, new scents, time away from the family, trips to the vet, etc. A healthy gut helps the body produce feel-good neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin) that can boost positive moods. It can also help prevent stress as it produces enough levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) to keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Signs of an ‘out of order’ gut
When bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria in your furbaby’s gut, it can cause a series of negative effects. Some signs of bad gut health in dogs include:
- Diarrhea / Constipation
- Bloated stomach
- Dry coat, itchy skin
- Bad breath
*Always consult with a veterinarian*
Shaping your dog’s gut health
A walk and some fresh air
Our common understanding of bacteria is that they are all bad stuff but that is not really the case. Potentially good bacteria for your dog’s gut health is everywhere – on plants, in the air and even in the dirt! Regularly take your dog for a walk, let him play outside, let him bask in the sun and let him breathe some fresh air.
The right kind of diet
As the gut is responsible for whatever your dog takes in, the type of diet your dog has will greatly affect which type of bacteria (bad or good) will thrive well in the gut.
As stated above, the gut releases feel-good neurotransmitters that help put your dog in a good mood. But when too much stress is being experienced by your dog (and on a regular basis!), this can turn the gut into a less healthy condition. Stress & anxiety worsens any digestive issues your dog is going through. That’s why it’s important to see to it how our dogs are doing – take them out for a walk, spend time with them, play with them, cuddle, and avoid things and events you know might stress them out (like changes in their daily routine, loud noises, etc.)
Probiotic supplements for gut health
This is probably one of the best ways of helping shape the gut health of your dog. Probiotics contain a LOT of good bacteria that are known to better your dog’s skin and coat, health boosts immunity, enhances digestive processes, improves mineral metabolism, among many others, at Lovable Pets We’ve got you covered!
If you have any questions about which one might be a good fit, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Herbalist Chris!
You can reach him at LovablePetsHerbalist@gmail.com , and if you like to stop by either locations any of our staff are happy to help!
Pictured Below is Pixie with one of our amazing options we have at both locations Animal Essentials Plant Enzyme and Probiotics! A healthy gut can have a HUGE impact even for our tiniest furbabys!