Do you want to keep your pup healthy and happy? If so, you have to learn how to improve your dog’s gut health because the gut is home to hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria that help support digestive function, immune system activity, nutrition absorption, and more. Maintaining the delicate balance in the gut microbiome should be an essential part of your pet’s regular care routine.
The point here is, how do you know if your dog’s gut health is in danger of becoming imbalanced? And suppose your dog’s gut health is off-balance, then what can you do to improve it? Keep reading till the end to get all your answers!
Symptoms of Poor Gut Health in Dogs
Common signs that your dog has poor gut health include:
- Chronic diarrhea, gas, and vomiting
- Decreased appetite or food sensitivities
- Lack of energy or low-grade fever
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Allergies and skin issues
- Weight loss
- Oral health problems
What Causes Poor Gut Health in Dogs?
Before explaining how to improve gut health of your dog, you need to be aware of the reasons behind poor gut health in dogs. There can be different causes, but the most common ones are:
Antibiotics are not bad but can easily disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in a dog’s gut. Antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria with their target bacteria, leading to gut dysbiosis. As a result, the intestinal flora is thrown off balance, and your pup can experience symptoms like loose stools, nausea, and vomiting.
Antibiotic use in dogs can have unintended consequences on their gut health. These medications target the harmful bacteria causing an infection and disrupt the natural balance of good bacteria that inhabit their digestive systems. This disruption is critical, as these beneficial microbes are responsible for vital functions like nutrient absorption, immune system support, and preventing the colonization of harmful pathogens.
When antibiotics decimate the population of good bacteria, it can lead to an array of gastrointestinal issues for our canine companions, including diarrhea, inflammation, and compromised immune function. It is also essential to be cognizant of antibiotics’ potential impact on our dogs’ gut health and consider alternative treatments and supplemental probiotics to help restore and maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Dietary deficiencies in dogs occur when there is an inadequate intake of essential nutrients, resulting in poor dog gut health and a plethora of health issues. The digestive system acts as a vital link between the food consumed and the energy required by the body.
When a dog’s diet lacks crucial elements like proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, its gut struggles to break down food and absorb these nutrients effectively. This leads to an imbalance in the canine’s gastrointestinal system, predisposing them to various potential health problems.
Studies show that certain dietary deficiencies can contribute to poor gut health in dogs. For example, an inadequate level of fiber or an imbalanced diet can lead to loose stools, excessive gas, and other digestive issues.
High Stress Levels
When dogs face intense or prolonged stress, their bodies respond by releasing hormones such as cortisol, which disrupts the delicate balance of gut microbes. This imbalance, scientifically called dysbiosis, can cause inflammation and digestive problems and weaken the immune system, leaving your furry friend susceptible to various diseases. Stress can also affect their appetite, leading to overeating and, in some cases, undereating, which plays a significant role in their gut health.
Environmental toxins can have a detrimental impact on gut health in dogs, leading to a myriad of potential health issues. The presence of pollutants and contaminants in food, water, and even in the air can negatively affect the delicate balance of a canine’s intestinal microbiome.
As dogs ingest these toxins, the harmful substances disrupt the efficient functioning of their digestive system. This disruption can cause inflammation, dysbiosis, and compromised nutrient absorption, leaving dogs vulnerable to various illnesses and diseases.
(Read more: Colostrum for Hair Growth: Is MIP Colostrum Good?)
9 Ways How to Improve Your Dog’s Gut Health?
Here are nine proven ways that can help improve your dog’s gut health:
1. Focus on the Diet
Gut health problems occur when the diet lacks essential nutrients or is unbalanced. When looking at dietary concerns, there are many factors to consider. This can include the type and quality of food you are feeding your pet and possible allergens that could be causing inflammation in the GI tract. A balanced diet full of nutritious options will ensure that your pup has all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, which helps create a healthy environment for good bacteria in the gut.
You can always go for raw food because it has many benefits, like promoting healthy teeth, better digestion, and more natural nutrition for your pet. But if you are looking for commercial dog food, make sure it is made of real ingredients and doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial ingredients.
2. Introduce Probiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that provide many benefits, including helping to balance the gut microbiome. If a dog’s gut is imbalanced or dysbiotic, introducing probiotics can help repopulate the microbiome with good bacteria and provide beneficial health effects. Probiotics are most commonly found in yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Unlike most supplements and pharmaceuticals, probiotics are completely natural and easy to incorporate into any pet food regimen.
By introducing beneficial bacteria and nutrients into the digestive tract, your pup can easily absorb essential vitamins and minerals from their food. Additionally, these probiotics can help fight off dangerous bacteria and even fungi by promoting healthy acidity levels in the stomach. Not only that, but probiotics will also help reduce discomfort brought on due to digestion issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
3. Exercise and Playtime
Physical activity is important for improving or maintaining good gut health in dogs. Exercise helps the body process food more efficiently and encourages bacteria to reproduce in the gut, creating a healthy environment. It also helps reduce stress levels, which can have a negative impact on overall health. In terms of exercise, you can take your pup for a walk, jog, or swim, all of which are beneficial for their digestive system.
Playtime is also essential as it helps to reduce stress and keeps your pup’s mind engaged. Plus, they are more likely to eat better when they are having fun, which is an important factor for their digestive health. Dog owners can do different activities with their dog that will help keep their gut in balance, including playing catch, going for a hike, or taking them to the doggy park.
4. Immune System Support
A healthy immune system is essential for a healthy gut. If your pup’s immune system is weakened, it will be more difficult for them to fight off unwanted bacteria in the digestive tract. This can lead to dysbiosis and, ultimately, poor gut health.
A healthy gut helps to keep the whole body in tip-top condition, and providing the right nutrients to boost your dog’s immune system can help them stay healthy. This includes making sure they have access to plenty of probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and prebiotics, all of which are important for keeping your dog’s digestive system operating optimally.
(Check out supplements to improve the immune system)
Feeding your dog probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or kefir can help to increase the positive bacteria that live in their gut, while omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, such as tuna and salmon, can help reduce inflammation throughout their body. Prebiotic-rich foods like apples and onions are also good for encouraging beneficial bacteria growth inside their digestive tract. And make sure they are getting plenty of rest every day; dogs need plenty of shut-eye to stay healthy.
5. Include Natural Supplements
Natural supplements are the safest option for improving your pup’s gut health because you don’t have to worry about the potential side effects. If your pup is suffering from digestive upset, consider giving them a natural supplement such as ginger or slippery elm. Ginger has been known to reduce inflammation, while slippery elm provides a natural source of fiber which helps to soothe the digestive tract.
For best results, we highly recommend MIP Colostrum 80g Powder. This natural dog gut health supplement not only helps improve your dog’s gut health but also offers many other benefits to improve your dog’s health.
(Read more: 13 Unknown Benefits of MIP Colostrum for Dogs)
Other supplements you can try include probiotics, prebiotics, and natural enzymes, which can help improve digestion.
6. Keep Stress Levels Low
Stress can have a serious impact on your pup’s gut health. As we mentioned earlier, stress levels can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut and lead to uncomfortable digestive problems. You have to work on ways to reduce stress in your pup’s life, such as providing them with a calm and quiet environment. Limit their exposure to loud noises or new environments, as this can be a source of stress for them. You can also use natural calming remedies like essential oils, herbal teas, comforting music, and other stress-revealing supplements.
7. Avoid Human Food
Allowing your dog to eat human food can be a tempting treat, but by avoiding it altogether, you can help improve their digestive system. Dogs are designed to digest specific types of dog foods that contain proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that may not be found in our food. Grain free dog food is also a great option for you.
A specialized canine diet contains the ideal combination of nutrients specifically tailored to the species and its needs; this diet ensures that your pup has a healthy gut, which can help prevent disease later in life. So, keeping your pup away from human food is a great step towards promoting healthy digestion and long-term wellness.
8. Avoid Unnecessary Treats
Most people love feeding their pup treats because it is a way to show affection and reward good behavior. While this attitude is perfectly understandable, it is important to keep in mind that treats can also negatively affect your pup’s gut health. Many treats we give our dogs are high in sugar, fat, and salt, which can cause digestive upset. You can still give your pup treats, but try to make sure they are low in sugar, fat, and salt. We recommend natural, healthy options such as rawhide chews and dental treats.
9. Visit Vet Regularly
Taking your furry friend to the vet on a regular basis is essential for maintaining their gut health, which has a significant impact on their overall well-being. An experienced veterinarian will monitor your dog’s diet, provide crucial recommendations in terms of nutrition, and prescribe essential supplements. Vet visits are also an opportunity to detect any underlying conditions, allergies, or gastrointestinal issues affecting your pal’s gut health. Thus, ensure to schedule regular check-ups with your vet.
(Read more: Best Colostrum Supplement – NutriNZ MIP Colostrum (4 Types))
So this was a detailed guide about a dog’s gut health. We shared different signs and causes of poor gut health in dogs. And then, we looked at nine proven ways how to improve your dog’s gut health. We hope we have made it all clear. If you still have any questions, let us know in the comments or contact us directly. Thanks!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I reset my dog’s gut?
Start by re-evaluating your dog’s diet, focusing on providing high-quality, natural ingredients that are free of artificial additives and preservatives. Opt for prebiotics and probiotics to support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, ultimately promoting a balanced digestive system. Gradually transitioning your pet to this nutrient-rich diet may prevent any sudden disruptions in their digestive health.
Engaging them in physical activities keeps them active and helps stimulate their digestive system’s natural rhythm. And avoid excessive antibiotic use unless prescribed by a veterinarian, as these medications can significantly upset your dog’s gut balance.
Q: How do I know if my dog has an unhealthy gut?
Common indicators include recurrent digestive upsets such as diarrhea or vomiting, excessive gas, and decreased appetite. Your dog may also experience skin issues like sudden itching, rashes, or even dull fur texture. Don’t forget to pay attention to their behavior as well, as lethargy, weight loss, or difficulty maintaining weight might be due to an unhappy gut.