The strength and makeup of dog gut bacteria plays a crucial role in their overall health and well-being. Achieving and maintaining a thriving gut helps prevent dog bacterial gut infection and other diseases. Fortunately, you can find great nutritional options to support your dog’s gut bacteria and help them thrive over their long and vibrant life.
Dog Gut Bacteria
Lining your dog’s colon and intestines are millions of microorganisms, including bacteria and yeasts, that collectively make up what is called your dog’s “microbiome.”
These microorganisms have a huge job--they are responsible for the proper digestion and assimilation of your dog’s diet.
Microbiomes are unique to each individual dog. Genetics, environment, diet and lifestyle all contribute to a specific dog gut bacteria composition of microorganisms that help them survive and thrive.
Virtually every aspect of your dog’s body and mind are affected by the health of its microbiome. If the microbiome is healthy, your dog’s metabolism, immune and nervous systems all benefit. If unhealthy, those systems suffer.
Primarily, dogs’ digestive bacteria is affected, and from there a domino-effect begins. Poor digestion leads to poor metabolism, which can lead to any number of metabolic disorders.
Throughout a dog’s life, billions of external microorganisms will come into contact with their gut. The water they drink, the food they eat and the air they breathe all may contain potentially harmful bacteria that will happily compete for dominance with your dog’s gut bacteria.
Fortunately, this is a battle that can be won.
A healthy microbiome consists of what is broadly referred to as “good dog gut bacteria” (also known as “gut flora”). Good dog gut bacteria exist in a synergistic relationship with your dog’s digestive system and act as the liaison between their food and their body. A healthy microbiome is your dog’s first line of defense from “bad dog gut bacteria” that can lead to infection and dog bacterial gut infection.
“Bad dog gut bacteria” refers broadly to an overpopulation of microorganisms in your dog’s gut that act in discord with their digestive system. Essentially, these bad bacteria take over the good bacteria and an imbalance occurs.
The result of an overpopulation of bad dog gut bacteria can range from subtle to extreme depending on the microorganisms involved and the duration of their occupation. Initially, symptoms may be primarily gastrointestinal including diarrhea, bloating, vomiting and stomach pain. Prolonged proliferation of bad dog gut bacteria can lead to far more serious health issues such as hypoglycemia, colitis and pancreatitis--to name a few.
The Heroes - Prebiotics, Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes
Taken supplementally, probiotics and digestive enzymes can help contribute good dog gut bacteria to your dog’s microbiome.
Prebiotics are food for probiotics to eat, which feeds the cycle of proliferation of good dog gut bacteria. Generally speaking, prebiotics are derived from the non-digestible, fibrous portion of fruits and vegetables such as the peel of an apple or a carrot. These fibrous portions of your dog’s diet (included in most healthy dog food choices) actually pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested and meet up with “good dog gut bacteria” in the colon.
Probiotics are strains of live yeasts and bacteria that are known to be in the category of “good dog gut bacteria”. These include L.Acidophilus and B.Bifidum, which are also common in the microbiome of humans and can be found in most yogurt products.
Digestive enzymes assist in the breakdown of the food your dog ingests. Common digestive enzymes include protease, lipase and amylase. Naturally-occurring digestive enzymes can be found in some fruits such as bananas and avocados, or in fermented products like kefir or sauerkraut.
As isolated ingredients, bacteria, yeasts and enzymes don’t taste very good and incorporating them into your dog’s diet may require some ingenuity--like mixing them with bacon perhaps!
“You are what you eat”
This adage applies equally to dogs as it does to humans. Optimizing your dog’s health begins with their diet. For both short and long-term, what your dog eats sets the baseline for their overall health. Thankfully, there are a host of reputable producers of high-quality, healthy dog food and conscious owners today can easily source nutritious products.
We’ve taken the notion of a healthy diet a step further and have created a tasty treat that your dog will absolutely love. Colorado Dog Company’s Thrive Treats include canine-specific prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes that will help your dog live better, longer and happier. Try and see what they can do for your favorite pal.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained or made available through the ColoradoDog website is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice or veterinary advice.