How To Support Your Dog’s Gut Microbiome
November 11, 2021 | 3 min read
Updated November 11, 2021
By Sarah Milton
Published: November 11, 2021
Updated: August 2, 2022
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about how to support your dog’s gut microbiome and thus, overall health. We’ll discover the steps you can take to promote their gut health and why the state of their gut is so important! Read on to find out more about how to do your bit for your dog’s gut health…
If your dog experiences occasional gastrointestinal discomforts, particularly yeast-based ones (usually ear discomforts, skin irritations), or has a dull, lackluster coat then this is usually a sign that their gut health needs a little support.
And, how do we do this? We use targeted and proven ways that can boost our dog’s gut health and in turn promote their immune system. These methods are primarily dietary as this is the quickest way of fuelling the gut appropriately and properly. It’s really amazing how much a healthy gut can contribute to a healthy dog!
But, first things first. What is the gut microbiome?
What Is The Gut Microbiome?
Deep within your dog’s digestive tract is the gut microbiome. Here, in the gut microbiome, lives a collection of microbes and essential healthy bacteria. High levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut are arguably the foundation for any dog’s good health!
So, how do we support it if we suspect it needs a boost?
How To Support Dog Gut Health
You can help support your dog’s gut flora and bacteria levels via dog-specific probiotics.
Probiotics are essential for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. We all have bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract) and gut (humans, animals, and insects, that is!), and probiotics refer to the microbes (the bacteria/yeast) that dwell there. There are literally billions of them, and they work to sustain the immune system, promote healthy digestion, and make vital vitamins and nutrients for the body to use.
The good bacteria that live in your pup’s GI tract are called commensal bacteria and these are necessary for the healthy functioning of their digestive system. When we supplement with probiotics, we add cultures of these good bacteria and so we maintain the number of good bacteria present in the gut at a desirable level. These include Lactobacillus reuteri, Bifidobacterium bifidum & longum, Lactobacillus bravis, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Look to a reputable brand (like us!) for a suitable probiotic supplement if you want to be sure your pup’s getting the gut support they need.
Add Bone Broth To Their Food
Bone broth can be a great way of boosting your dog’s gut health via antioxidants and other essential nutrients like amino acids. These important minerals help support the gut lining and promote an optimal environment for gut flora to thrive. By simmering whole bones (including cartilage and joints), you can then add several spoonfuls of broth to their regular meals.
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: Never feed your dog cooked bones. These can splinter and cause irreversible intestinal injury.
If your dog eats the exact same food every day, with no variation on meat type or worse just kibble, this can be catastrophic for gut health. A varied diet can help the gut stay familiar with varied types of nutrients. Try switching up their protein source regularly and don’t forget to include different organ meats too, as organ meats (like liver and kidney) typically contain the highest concentration of nutrients.
If you’re reluctant to mix up their food out of fear of upsetting their stomach further, try adding to their diet safe fruit and vegetables to boost exposure to vitamins, minerals, and needed fiber. Try chopping up small pieces of carrots, cucumber, and blueberries and add them to their bowl!
Don’t Feed Them Human Food
For a dog that’s experiencing poor gut health, letting them finish off your dinner and dropping salty or sweet scraps onto the floor is a sure-fire way of worsening their situation. Pets that typically only eat their food and stick to a suitable diet usually maintain a better weight, have better gut health, and are also usually healthier overall. Avoiding human food will only serve the functioning of their gut microbiome and digestive tract.
Improved Gut Health = Improved Overall Health
Supporting your dog’s gut microbiome and boosting their gut health is a really brilliant way of not only boosting their digestive health, but their overall health too. Fuel the good, commensal bacteria in their gut with things like probiotics and bone broth, and expect a happy, healthy dog that in turn can have regular, good bowel movements!!
If you’re concerned their gut health is contributing to a health issue, you can always have a chat with your vet to assess their diet and condition together.
"Tips For Restoring Gut Health In Dogs" Win Pro Pet, Aug. 20 2018 https://winpropet.com/blogs/news/tips-for-restoring-gut-health-in-dogs
Author Elwell-Gerken, Jenny "5 Steps To Restore Gut Health" Dogs Naturally Magazine, Nov 5. 2021 https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/5-steps-to-restore-gut-health/
"4 Way To Restore Your Pet's Gut Health", Primal Pet Foods, Jul. 26 2019 https://primalpetfoods.com/blogs/news/4-ways-to-restore-your-pet-s-gut-health
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!