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Thousands of microorganisms exist inside your dog’s stomach and digestive tract. This collection of microbes is called the gut microbiome, which affects your dog’s digestion, nutrient absorption, mental health, and weight.
To ensure your dog’s gut stays healthy, try the following.
If you notice your dog isn’t eating their food or is vomiting after every meal, take them to the vet immediately. Otherwise, you can use preventative measures to avoid gut-based health issues.
Kibble isn’t bad for your dog’s health, but it can lack certain nutrients that keep the gut biome healthy. You can choose to prepare raw food for your dog that you then cook or, feed an entirely raw dog food diet.
If raw food isn’t within your budget, consider adding a probiotic to your dog’s kibble.
Dog probiotics can convert plant-based sugars and fiber into fatty acids and vitamins, which improve your dog’s digestion. A probiotic can help fight off urogenital (bladder) and respiratory tract infections. It may also be helpful after a virus or other health setback that requires antibiotics to help repopulate their gut flora with beneficial bacteria.
Probiotics don’t just come in pill form. You can choose to feed your dog homemade or store-bought fermented sauerkraut which contains naturally occurring probiotics resulting from the fermentation process of cabbage.
A prebiotic supplement can grow microbes in your dog’s gut, but you must be careful when administering them.
Some prebiotics can promote the growth of harmful bacteria, so make sure you gradually add them to your puppy’s food.
Speak to your vet if you need their guidance.
There are also great “real” food sources of prebiotics that are safe for dogs like jicama.
Fermented mugwort, glasswort, and turmeric can have positive immune-boosting effects on your dog’s gut health.
Fermented foods, in general, can build up beneficial microorganisms that promote high-quality microbe growth and typically come with anti-inflammatory properties.
Sauerkraut is a great example of a naturally fermented food that’s safe for dogs to eat.
Although alternative medicine shouldn’t be used in place of a vet’s prescription, Oregon grape, chamomile, and wormwood can be used as effective dewormers.
Prescribed dewormers can have a side effect of disrupting your dog’s health, but natural remedies can prevent and/or reduce harm to the gut.
Vaccines are absolutely necessary and help your pup lead a happy, healthy lifestyle. We aren’t saying you should avoid vaccinating your pup in general.
However, having a discussion with your vet about the pros/cons of those outside of the core vaccines is a worthwhile conversation. Unnecessary “extras” could cause digestive issues.
Never feed your pup processed “people food” or foods that can be life-threatening to canines, no matter how much they beg.
Only feed your dog food made with high-quality ingredients, preferably from a vet-approved brand, to reduce poor health outcomes.
If you recently changed your pup’s food and they’re having a difficult time adjusting, they may have an allergy.
If you suspect that’s the case, take your dog in for an allergy test. The most common food allergies come from proteins, like chicken, eggs, beef, soy, gluten, and lamb.
Even if your dog doesn’t have a gluten or grain intolerance, it’s better to avoid feeding your dog these ingredients. Grains don’t contribute to your dog’s gut health and can even hurt it if your dog develops an allergy. Grains also lack the nutritional value other ingredients can provide.
Stress does funny things to the body. If your dog is licking their paws, acting out, or chewing on furniture aggressively, they’re likely stressed. Stress can cause an upset stomach, among other issues, so it’s important to remove stressors out of your home where possible.
Whether your dog is a family pet or an active service dog, by improving your dog’s gut health, you’ll improve their overall health. Not only will your dog feel happier, but they’ll also be able to regulate their bowel movements with ease.
A healthier dog is a more active dog, so pay attention to their energy levels while treating their upset tummies.