Healthy Dog Gut: What You Need To Know
As humans, we would be wise to be thoughtful about our gut health. Our intestinal tract contains literally trillions of microbes (tiny, live organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye) that play a massive role in our overall health; they produce our hormones and process our vitamins and minerals. Quite simply, we could not survive without them.
Our gut is largely responsible for our immune system function, as the majority of our immunity cells live in our digestive tract. A healthy, functioning gut means less sickness and much lower risks of allergies and autoimmune conditions.
If that wasn’t enough, even if you eat the healthiest of foods, if your intestinal lining (part of the gut) isn’t healthy too, you won’t get all the benefits of what you’re eating…
…and it’s the same for our dogs!
It’s suuuper important that our dogs have a healthy gut, too. Why? Because everything we’ve said so far also applies to them! From cognitive functions, to nutrient absorption, to inflammatory symptoms, to immune strength, and even mental state - the responsibility of your fur baby’s gut is not to be underestimated.
Signs of an unhealthy gut
If your pooch has poor gut health, this can show itself in many different ways, so it’s important to keep an eye out to ensure even the most subtle symptoms are spotted. Let’s start with the more obvious (and sometimes more severe) ones:
- Weight loss
- Blood or mucus in the stools
- Bloated tummy
- Whining or yelping when handled
If you spot any of these signs in your dog, it’s important to keep a close eye on them for a while to determine whether it’s just a temporary hiccup or something a little more serious. If any of these signs stick around for more than a few days, it’s time to get in touch with your veterinarian and look further into the potential causes.
There are some symptoms that may be a tad more obvious to you and are more urgent due to their nature. Let’s take a moment to register some other signs that could indicate that our dog’s gut health is a little worse for wear:
- Reduced appetite
- Really stinky flatulence
- Excessive drooling
- Hunched posture
- Tender abdominal area
- Reluctance to move or difficulty in getting comfortable
At this point, it’s important to note that these signs could be a symptom of many other things outside of the digestive tract's health. Due to the more serious nature of some of these conditions, it’s always better to be on the safe side. If you’re concerned, you should always see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Restoring gut health
We bring good news! It’s absolutely possible to restore and maintain a healthy dog gut.. We’ve rounded up a few pointers that answer that all-important question: What helps dog gut health? It’s all about trying, testing, and refining!
Raw food diet
What dog food is good for gut health? Raw! We all know heaps of benefits come from raw feeding our dogs, and a more diverse, abundant microbial composition and healthier gut can be added to that list! Several studies show that raw-fed dogs have much healthier gut function than those fed commercial kibbles.
Like humans, stress can be one of the biggest players in causing an unbalanced, unhealthy gut. If your pooch is experiencing some symptoms that suggest something might be amiss in their digestive tract and you’re asking yourself what causes poor gut health in dogs, it may be worth making sure there’s nothing that is causing them extended periods of stress or anxiousness.
Pre & probiotics
In short, prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that are fermented by beneficial organisms in your dog’s intestine, leading to the production of fatty acids (these are really beneficial to our dog’s overall gut and health!) Probiotics (a.k.a. ‘good bacteria’) are almost always present in our dog’s gut, although sometimes they may just need a little boost to restore the balance. Exploring probiotic supplements may help to restore the balance of good vs bad bacteria and aid a healthy, functioning gut.
Much like pre & probiotics, digestive enzymes also work to create a diverse and balanced gut makeup for our fur babies. They are a key component in allowing our dog’s body to digest all of the goodness we’re feeding them. Most of the time, if we’re feeding high-quality, natural raw foods to our furry friends, this should supply them with enough digestive enzymes to help aid the digestion of food. However, from time to time they may need a little help from supplementation.
Check out one of our best-selling supplements containing 13 different bacteria strains to promote diverse gut colonies!
Signs of a healthy gut
It’s important to realize the signs that you’re doing a great job, too! If you’ve been working to restore your furry member of the pack’s gut health, here are some signs that things are looking up:
- Regular, consistent poops that are firm & moist
- Normal amount of doggy farts
- No unusual bloating
- Healthy reactions to transitions in their diet
- Normal appetite
When all is said and done
Gut health is a huge contributor to the body’s overall health and function ability. Ultimately, an unbalanced gut in poor health will reduce our pup’s quality of life (sometimes considerably), so it’s worth using a bit of reverse psychology on the techniques suggested to restore gut health. Ensure you’re already ticking those things off the list to promote a healthy gut in the first place, keeping those tails wagging and giving you peace of mind.