How to improve dog gut health naturally

Gut immunity is the key to a healthy dog.

Both detoxification and supporting gut immunity are important factors in any natural treatment plan.

But what is GUT IMMUNITY??

Understanding the importance of gut health, and how the gut becomes unbalanced

Around 70-80% of your dog’s immune system actually lies within the digestive intestinal tissues and is known as GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue).

If this becomes unbalanced, the level of good bacteria (also known as the ‘microbiome’) diminishes and the gut can no longer keep the balance of health.

Here are some of the key reasons your dog’s gut can become unbalanced (or the microbiome disrupted):

  • Poor diet or issues with a ‘bad batch’ or mold. Excess grains in diet (common in dry pet foods), additives, and preservatives.
  • Ongoing annual vaccinations or over-vaccination (when a veterinarian vaccinates without titre testing).
  • Medications such as antibiotic and cortisone.
  • Chemical flea/tick/heartworm/worming treatments.
  • Parasites such as giardia and coccidian.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Hereditary factors.

It is the good bacteria in the gut which is responsible for not only combating bad bacteria, yeasts, and other parasites and keeping levels of all of these in check, but also in reducing potential allergy reactions (wherever they occur in the body) and other immune responses.

Leaky gut syndrome

When there are insufficient levels of friendly bacteria, a general state of inflammation can occur, and what is known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’ (also referred to as increased gut permeability) often develops.

Leaky gut syndrome is essentially where the intestinal wall becomes permeable and damaged and undigested food particles along with other foreign bodies can pass directly into the blood stream prior to being properly digested in the small intestine.

This can lead to allergies (the immune system sees these food particles as something foreign invading the body) and other systemic and chronic conditions if left untreated.

These may be seemingly unrelated to the digestive system, such as joint issues (weakened joints, dysplasia,  arthritis, etc), upper respiratory infections and rhinitis, autoimmune diseases,  ear and eye  infections (and other recurring infections) as well as skin issues just to name a few! 

All of these problems are connected by the fact that they are inflammatory processes.

I always like to work from this gut perspective first to help correct the imbalance, heal the gut, rebuild a good gut flora and strengthen gut immunity again, as this will have a positive effect on the whole body.

In conjunction with the gut being strengthened and healed, detoxification, rebalancing the overall immune system and reducing inflammation are key to bringing back balance and health.

It is really important to start working from the digestive system and then move outwards as part of an holistic plan as the majority of chronic health conditions have a connection to the gut.

Reducing overall inflammation, healing and detoxification are the keys.

So, how can you improve dog gut health naturally?

It is always wise to consider your dog’s diet as the foundation for their health and wellbeing.

Consider a plant. If the leaves are wilting, you don’t fix the leaves. You feed the plant through the roots.

This analogy is very applicable for improving the gut health of our dogs. By feeding your dog better, more natural food, you nurture their health at the roots.

This may be a natural raw diet, fresh food diet, or even a better commercial dog food than the one you currently feed.

Your best way forward is understanding the dog food you’re currently feeding, perhaps starting with the ingredients panel and questioning if it’s suitable for your dog.

I consider my dog primarily a carnivore. Meat-eater. Facultative carnivore is more apt, even if the ‘omnivore’ excuse is often used to feed them grains.

Omnivore or carnivore, by considering our dogs meat-eaters can help us move towards a healthier, more natural diet for our dogs.

Pre and probiotics in the diet, such as kefir, will also help balance the gut and help your dog retain strong gut immunity.

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