Unless your pooch is having a clear sign of some messy, stinky digestive issues (trust us, you will know!), you’re probably not overly concerned about their gut health. Making sure your pup’s tummy is functioning at its best, however, is not only important to prevent a case of the smellies, but for their overall health.
The Impawtance Of Gut Health
Having a healthy gut—or gastrointestinal tract—doesn’t just mean less bloating, regular stools and ‘normal levels’ of stinky gas. A healthy gut microbiome is one of the most influential factors for our dogs’ overall health. Our dogs’ guts, just like ours, is where nutrients are absorbed and where the food we’ve consumed is converted into energy. If your pooch doesn’t have a healthy, balanced gut, they aren’t being properly nourished, which can negatively affect all other aspects of their health—from heart and brain health to supporting a healthy weight and their longevity. A healthy gut microbiome also supports your dog’s immune system, therefore helping to prevent infections and diseases. Between 70-80% of your dog’s immune system cells live in their gut (we bark you not!). Immune system problems usually come to the surface (literally) through skin issues (e.g., a case of the itchies), meaning poor skin and coat conditions are a tell ‘tail’ sign that your pup’s gut isn’t functioning at its best (along with the more obvious signs of vomiting and diarrhoea).
Maintaining A Healthy Gut
We mentioned a ‘gut microbiome’ before, but what exactly were we barking about? The gut microbiome, for both pooches and humans, is made up of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and archaea, all mostly found in the large intestine. While it may sound discomforting that we have trillions of these organisms living inside us and our furry friends, we should be thankful for them when they’re living in harmony, allowing for normal gut function (and no need for multiple emergency poo bags).
Our dogs’ (and our) gut microbiome can be affected and changed drastically due to diet, age, stress and history of medication use. Once your pup starts showing signs of a gut microbiome imbalance (or to prevent it from getting to that point in the first place), it’s important to introduce a combination of ‘-biotic’ ingredients into their diet.
Probiotics, Prebiotics And Postbiotics
We’re probably getting you into a doggie daze with all these -biome and -biotic terms. To make it short and ‘treat’, probiotics are the live bacteria and yeasts that are good for the digestive system; they help maintain that harmonious balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut that we all—two- and four-legged—desire. Prebiotics, on the other hand, act as the food source, not for the host, but for the gut’s microorganisms, including the good live bacteria (probiotics). When probiotic bacteria feeds on prebiotic food in your colon (mostly fibrous foods), the bioactive fermented compounds that emerge are called postbiotics. Postbiotics are the end goal, which is why they are shown to be especially promising for boosting immunity, preventing diarrhoea and constipation, aiding the absorption of more nutrients, regulating hormones and reducing inflammation for humans and furry friends.
Natural Ways To Support Gut Health
Making sure your pooch’s diet is packed with pro- and pre-biotics (to make postbiotics) is a great way to keep your pooch’s gut health in check. Ingredients like nutritional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are an excellent, natural source of probiotics that is safe for dogs to consume. Papayas, bananas, pumpkins, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and oats are all rich in both fibre and prebiotics—which help fuel the good bacteria in your pooch’s gut and creates postbiotics. Chicory root is a great ingredient source of inulin—a type of prebiotic fibre. Turmeric is another excellent source of prebiotics and has been shown to aid in digestion (not to mention its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties).
In addition to adjusting your dog’s diet, ensuring that they are not being over medicated with antibiotics (which destroys all types of bacteria—the good and the bad) and stressed out will help them maintain a healthy gut. Make sure your pooch is getting daily exercise and is being mentally stimulated with toys. If they’re especially nervous, try giving them a blanket with your scent on it and play some calming, classical music for them to relax to.
THE PACK For Gut Health
We’re proud to say that all three cans of THE PACK wet food are brimming with high fibre, prebiotic ingredients—leading to healthy, happy, plant-based pups. Our meals are also naturally free of antibiotics that are commonly found in animal-based dog food. Our tails are extra waggy (and yours should be too!) about the upcoming launch of our dry food—which was made with dog’s tummies in mind. Including a combination of pro- and pre-biotic ingredients like nutritional yeast, sweet potato, pumpkin, naked oats, alfalfa, chicory and turmeric—all the dogs around the block are going to be jealous of your pup’s healthy gut microbiome and less stinky poos!
If you want to discover more about raising a happy, healthy plant-based dog, download our FREE eBook.
If you are new to THE PACK you can get 20% off your first order using THEPACK20 at checkout. Or 30% off your 1st subscription with code PACKSUB30. Winner, winner, plant-based dinner!