A Healthy Dog gut

A Healthy Dog gut

Gut Health, probiotics, and poop. The not so glamourous side of dog ownership.
Most of our conversations at Peaks is focused on dog food and a common question is “how will I know if the new food is good for my dog?” And almost 100% of the time this conversation will end up with discussion about your dog’s poop. Yup, we went there. You don’t know how many times we talk about poop in detail at our shop. Nothing is off the table at Peaks.

Truth be told the poop tells a lot about your dog’s health. What does it look like? Is it runny, firm, large, small, too soft, too hard? Does your dog have diarrhea or is your dog constipated? Your dog’s poop is a vital indicator of your dog’s gut health. So really once your switch your pups food, keep an eye on how the poop changes. Poop should be firm and occur on a regular basis, once after each meal period. If it is anything drastically different, then your dog may not be reaping the best from its food. Sometimes it can be a food intolerance, but often it could be your dog’s gut health.

Probiotics – what are they really?

It makes sense to touch on gut health and probiotics when we are talking about watching poop once you change your dog’s food. Probiotics have recently become popular, but what are we really adding when we give our dogs probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria that live in the stomach, intestines, and colon. They are considered “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your dog’s gut healthy. Probiotics are the happy bacteria that help to digest food.  In short probiotics normalize the conditions in the intestines by changing the local acidity of the digestive tract. It only makes sense that if you change what your dog eats the environment in your pup’s gut changes too. Adding probiotics will help get your dog’s insides back to its regular balance much quicker when introducing new foods.

Not only do probiotics help the digestion of foods they also are a beneficial influence on our dog’s health. How? The microbiomes that live in your dog’s intestines have a big influence on their immune system, defense against intestinal pathogens, and provision of vitamins and nutrients. For example, dietary carbohydrates are fermented by bacteria into usable energy for cells. And studies have proven that the biproduct produced by the bacteria regulate intestinal motility and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it has been found that good bacteria help combat bad ones such as salmonella.

With all this talk about good gut health we should talk about what can cause a dog to have poor gut health? A diet high in processed foods, fillers, and processed grains. Stress, antibiotics, corticosteroids could all lead to a gut imbalance. The destruction of the good bacteria in the intestinal tract can give the bad bacteria the chance to take over and this can lead to nutrients not being absorbed by the gut and thus leading to irregular poops or diarrhea. Something this can also lead to Leaky Gut. So best to feed your dog a diet that is natural and easily digestible and limit the amount of human food you give to your dog. At the end of the day, we do our best for our dogs and just reading the list of ingredients and understanding what you are feeding your dog will go a long way. If you ever need help in understanding what you are feeing your dog, we invite to you come by for visit.