Supporting Your Pet's Gut Microbiome

April 12, 2024

Supporting Your Pet's Gut Microbiome

Supporting Your Pet’s Gut Microbiome

Often hailed as the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, famously said “all disease begins in the gut,” emphasizing the important connection between gut health and overall well-being. His timeless wisdom, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food,” underscores the pivotal role of nutrition in maintaining health. More than two millennia later, there is a growing body of research not only highlighting the impact of the microbiome on the mental and physical health of humans but also underscores its significance in the well-being of our canine and feline companions.

The gut microbiome is a community of bacteria and other microbes that live in your dog and cat’s digestive tract. These microbes are foundational to health and above other things, they contribute to proper digestion, produce vitamins and serotonin, protect the gut lining, and support immune system function. When this community is disrupted, many symptoms can emerge.

A gut microbiome that becomes imbalanced when it is missing beneficial bacteria, has too many harmful bacteria, or does not have enough diversity in the type of bacteria. Itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and bad breath can all indicate an imbalance in your pet’s gut microbiome. 

What causes microbiome imbalance?

Factors like disease, age, diet, and medications can cause long-term disruption of the gut microbiome and may be contributing to the digestive and skin conditions. Fortunately, several approaches can be taken to monitor, restore, and support gut health, such as gut microbiome testing, providing a healthy diet, and using supplements, when possible, to reduce the use of medications.

Diet plays a primary role

Feeding your pet complete and balanced dog or cat food helps prevent common illnesses, supports and boosts the immune system, and positively influences the composition and function of bacteria living in his gut microbiome. Rich in bioavailable nutrients and enzymes, raw foods are thought to facilitate optimal digestion and absorption, thereby mitigating gastrointestinal disturbances, and fostering overall well-being.

Gut Support

While a properly balanced diet is an important way to maintain the gut microbiome, there are times when that is not enough, and a little help is warranted. Here are a few ways you can supplement your pet’s diet during times of stress or other gastrointestinal upset:

  • Prebiotics - a special type of dietary fibre that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. This is essentially feeding the "good" bacteria ands strengthening your pet's immune system.
  • Probiotics - Specific strains of live bacteria that are typically species specific. These are great for repopulating the gut after administration of antibiotics.
  • Fermented Foods - Provide a variety of postbiotics, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which play a key role in digestion, immune cell production and nervous system production.

For optimal pet nutrition, the raw diet emerges as a compelling avenue for fostering gut microbiome harmony and promoting overall health in dogs and cats. By embracing a diet rich in raw, unprocessed foods, pet owners can support a diverse and resilient microbial community within the gastrointestinal tract, laying the foundation for improved overall health and wellbeing.

Iron Will Raw offers complete and balanced raw food for dogs, and complete and balanced raw food for cats. Provide raw, nutrient-rich options crucial for optimal digestion and overall wellbeing. Complemented with holistic supplements from North Hound Life, this holistic approach ensures pets thrive.

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