For years there has been talk about the importance of gut health in humans; but did you know that good gut health is also very important for a strong immune system and the overall health of our canine friends too? When a dog is feeling good on the inside, with a healthy gut, it will be reflected on the outside with a healthy coat, skin, gums, in their behaviour and energy levels.
The gastrointestinal tract
Dogs, like all animals, have living microorganisms (like bacteria, fungi and viruses) inhabiting their gastrointestinal tract. These microbes are essential for the digestion and metabolism of food for energy to fuel the body for life. The bacteria in the gut is made up of both good and bad bacteria which need to remain in the correct balance/ratios for optimum health. When the good and bad bacteria are out of balance a number of digestive issues may occur but it can also have an impact on many other aspects of your dog’s overall health.
Signs of poor gut health
If your dog is suffering from poor gut health or an imbalance in the good and bad bacteria you could notice one or a number of these signs;
- Gas and/or bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss or gain
- Gum disease
- Immune system orders
- Allergies, including skin and respiratory reactions
- Joint pain
What effects gut health
The balance of good and bad bacteria could be disrupted because of a number of reasons including;
- Poor diet or a change in diet.
A probiotic could assist in restoring the correct balance of gastrointestinal microbes and also improve overall health.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, primarily bacteria and yeast. They can be found in a number of foods or are available in a range of supplements. Even if your dog appears to be in good health a probiotic may help maintain or even improve that level of health. A good probiotic may provide many health benefits in pets including;
- Improving gastrointestinal abnormalities, such as bloat, diarrhoea, abdominal pain
- Help in maintaining a healthy weight
- Increasing energy
- Improving behaviour
- Reducing allergy symptoms
- Improving skin and coat appearance.
- Reducing inflammation
With the importance of a healthy gut in dog’s being more widely understood there is now a number of probiotic supplements that have been developed especially for them. It is important to give your dog a probiotic that has been designed specifically for them and not a human supplement as the gastrointestinal microbes are different in dogs to humans. To find out more about the different Probiotics available or dogs and cats click here. In order to get the best from your dog’s probiotic it is essential to feed a healthy and well balanced diet.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or think they have a digestive system issue please contact your veterinarian to discuss.
For more information on Probiotics tune into the myPET Podcast episode on Probiotics for Dogs and Cats. In this episode vetnpet DIRECT’s resident vet Dr Glenn and Aria answer all your questions about probiotics including. You can tune into the myPET Podcast on the vetnpet DIRECT YouTube Channel @vetnpetDIRECT, through iTunes or Stitcher, just search for myPET Podcast, or listen through our website here.
Shop the full range of Probiotics for Dogs and Cats available at vet-n-pet DIRECT online here.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Issue 20, Autumn/Winter 2020.
To view all issues of My Pet Magazine click here.