Improving Your Dog's Gut Health
Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they can eat and digest both animal and plant matter. Although able to digest plant matter, with sharp canine teeth and a relatively short gastrointestinal tract, a dog’s digestive system is mainly adapted to digest animal products. Omnivorous animals such as dogs will struggle to digest large amounts of cellulose, an insoluble substance that is found in the cell wall of plants.
The canine hind gut contains a population of microbiome which play an important role in the digestion of food. The primary function of the hind gut is to act as a fermentation zone, allowing dietary fibre to be digested properly. Any disturbances in the microbiome population in the hind gut can result in a very uncomfortable condition called gastrointestinal upset.
What causes upset tummies for dogs?
Digestive upset can be caused by a number of reasons, these include overeating, eating poor quality food or feeding an inappropriate diet. Naturally some dogs will also have allergies or intolerances to certain foodstuffs that will make their gastrointestinal tract more sensitive than others.
Symptoms of Gastrointestinal upset can be unpleasant and include:
- Bloating of the abdominal area
- Straining and pain when passing faeces
- Loss of interest in food which can result in weight loss
- Behavioural changes & lethargy
How to prevent poor gut health in dogs
As owners we can help prevent and manage digestive upset in our dogs. We have compiled a list of our top tips for managing and preventing digestive upset:
- Ensure your dog is being fed an appropriate diet. The majority of a dogs nutrients should be coming from sources of protein, an abundance of vegetables and grain can be difficult to digest. Dogs prone to digestive upset may benefit from a grain free diet. Grain free dog food ranges are becoming increasingly available.
- Avoid giving ‘human foods’ as treats as these can be hard for your dog to digest. Some human foods can also be extremely toxic for dogs.
- Avoid overfeeding - dogs should always be fed according to breed, size, age and activity level.
- When making any changes to your dogs diet it is important that this is done gradually over a period of at least seven days. Sudden changes can upset the microbiome in the hind gut meaning they will not be able to function as efficiently.
- Hydration is key - your dog can become dehydrated quickly as a result of vomiting and diarrhoea, ensure they have access to clean, fresh water at all times.
- Avoid including any known allergens in the diet. If you suspect your dog has an allergy, your vet can carry out an allergy test to determine specific allergens.
- Consult a vet if this is a persistent problem as there may be an underlying cause that needs addressed.
Gut Supplements for Dogs
Some dogs may require a bit of additional support to help keep their gastrointestinal tract in top form, for these dogs we recommend feeding a gut supplement. There are many gut supplements available on the market so it’s important to find one that works for your dog.
The hind gut contains a population of live microorganisms that play a very important role in the digestive system. They assist in the digestion of certain food molecules and promote immune system health. Some gut supplements can be fed to act as a food source for these microorganisms to help them flourish and support a healthy, balanced hind gut microbiome.
We recommend using B-Complete, a gut supplement specially formulated for dogs which is composed entirely of dried Australian green bananas. B-Complete acts as a food source for the good bacteria in the hind gut to support and maintain gastrointestinal health. Dried green Australian bananas are packed full of anti-oxidants, flavonoids and essential vitamins. B-Complete contains no nasty chemicals or additives, we are confident your doggo will find it delicious.