Gut Health and Your Dog

Gut health literally affects your dog’s entire body and overall health. These days a variety of things wreak havoc on our dogs’ digestive systems including commercial dog foods (especially kibble), antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), vaccines, flea and tick treatments, stress, environmental toxins, and more. Pet owners are often struggling to figure out the cause of their dog’s ailments and to get their health back on track.

Many Seemingly Unrelated Diseases are Caused by Gut Problems

We are not just talking about digestive issues like dog diarrhea alone, as gastrointestinal health can be the root cause for many other health issues. You might not attribute digestive problems to skin allergies, joint pain, heart disease, seizure disorders, behavioral abnormalities, autoimmune diseases, and even certain types of cancer, but many diseases that appear to be unrelated are actually caused by gut problems. Your dog’s gut health is extremely important because the gastrointestinal system is largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems. And it affects not only the body’s digestion and immune responses, but also vitamin production, vitamin and mineral absorption, hormone regulation, the ability to eliminate toxins, and even mental health.

Symptoms of Poor Gut Health

Symptoms related to poor gut health can be as obvious as dog diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, bad breath, weight fluctuations, food sensitivities, but also less obvious like allergies, skin issues, joint pain, immune system weakness and lethargy. Dogs suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, or leaky gut are more likely than others to also develop autoimmune disease and mental issues.

The health of our dogs’ gastrointestinal system is determined by levels and types of bacteria in the digestive tract. Ideally there should be a balance of bacteria, however, an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria often results in “leaky gut”.

Diet and Leaky Gut

The type of food that dogs are fed and their bodies have to process can have a huge effect on their bodily functions, including the brain. When the gut is healthy, the dog is overall healthier, and the brain is happier. However, when dogs are fed highly processed foods, the gut becomes damaged over time and therefore less functional. The proteins in commercial pet foods are not only difficult to digest, process, and assimilate because they have been altered by the extreme processing of the food, they are also filled with additives and preservatives, all allowing bad bacteria to grow in the gut.

If the gut bacteria is out of balance, the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and begins to leak the larger, partially digested substances from food particles and toxic organisms into the bloodstream. These large complex substances are allergenic and stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against them.

Preventing Leaky Gut

Our dogs need whole foods in order to be healthy and thrive, and to prevent disease. Just feeding processed, commercial dog foods is not good enough. One day you may wake up and find that your dog all of a sudden can’t stop scratching, has skin issues that won’t go away, has diarrhea that doesn’t go away, has stopped being active because of joint pain, or even had a change in temperament. While these changes are visible all of a sudden, they are more than likely caused by a combination of long-term inflammation, overload of toxins, and a compromised gut.

We have to do better for our dogs, they are counting on us. Dogs need quality protein, quality fats, and a small amount of vegetables – especially vegetables rich in carotenoids (alpha-carotene, bets-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene) like carrots. While carotenoids are not considered essential nutrients, they contain important compounds that are important to health including antioxidant and anti-cancer activities.

Healing Leaky Gut

If you feel like your dog’s gut has already been compromised, look for a vet who can help reverse and repair the damage that’s been done to your dog’s gut over the years from highly processed dog foods diets or imbalances. Through testing for food sensitivities, applying nutritional changes, and proper supplementation, it is entirely possible to restore the full health of your dog’s GI system. Find a vet that understands and utilizes the “4 R’s” of digestive health – Remove; Replace; Repair; and Rebalance.

A good protocol will first remove the problem foods and toxins from your dog’s system that could be causing issues, and then replace your dog’s diet with healthy, healing foods that contain key nutrients. Specific supplements will repair nutritional deficiencies, and the right probiotics will rebalance the gut bacteria.

Proper Supplementation

The Petstrips Multi Vitamin Strips are functional supplement strips with premium ingredients that support physical performance, antioxidants, hip & joint, heart, immune, skin, liver, & gut health for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. This strip can help defend the gut to promote normal digestion in order to stop bothersome gas, bloating, and discomfort. This delicious soft strip formula may support cognition and energy levels to keep your dog feeling active, attentive, and full of life. These strips contain a four-strain vitamin blend, enzymes, and niacin to promote healthy digestion and gut flora while supporting normal bowel function for dogs. Multi- Vitamin strip feature powerful antioxidants, a premium omega 3 oil and Vitamins A, B, & D to promote healthy cardiovascular function, support liver health and enhance immune response. All for the affordable low cost, with a price at only $8.99!

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