When a dog suffers from gut or skin problems, it could be very hard to find a solution. Some dogs may benefit from switching diets, taking supplements, or prescribed medication, while others would experience none or only minor improvements.
Your dog’s gut health will mainly depend on the condition of its gut microbiome, which includes all microorganisms living inside a dog’s gut, like bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. When a dog’s gastrointestinal tract is unbalanced, various health problems can occur, including diarrhea, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, skin problems, etc.
What Is a Dog Gut Microbiome and Why Is It Important?
The microbiome is a community of microorganisms living inside a dog’s gut, and its balance is essentially important for any dog’s health and well-being. Dogs’ gut microbiome plays a vital role in their nutrition and digestion, as well as in supporting the immune system against different infections.
Many factors can affect the balance of dogs’ gut microbiome, such as diet, stress, medication, antibiotics, or some environmental issues. Many health problems in dogs are closely related to the unbalanced gut microbiome, so as a responsible owner, you should be aware of how to feed and treat your dog and preserve its gut health.
Restoring Your Dog’s Gut Health
There are several things you can do to restore your dog’s gut health. If your pet was suffering from any digestive problems, restoring its gut health might take time and a lot of patience. The longer a dog has gut problems, the longer will the recovery take.
Whatever the case, patience and care does pay off. Here are some main points to start with:
Revise your dog’s diet
It goes without saying that every dog should be fed a balanced and nutritious diet in order to stay healthy. The diet should also be adjusted to a dog’s age, breed, or any health conditions to maintain a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.
A diet that is rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein always does well. Many dogs will benefit from eating more raw food and meats, as well as bone broth and gelatine. Try to feed your dog a more varied diet and avoid artificial ingredients, and processed and sugary foods.
Try prebiotics and probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that can restore your dog’s gut health, help digestion and prevent further digestive issues. Probiotics for dogs are usually found as supplements, but can also be found in some food like yogurts or fermented vegetables. When looking for the right probiotic for your dog, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian and get a professional recommendation, as many probiotics you find on the market won’t be good enough or have a specific type of microbes your dog needs.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are dietary fibers that benefit the good bacteria in a dog’s gut, promoting their growth and proliferation. Prebiotics can also be found in food like bananas, apples, sweet potatoes, or chicory root, but they also come as supplements.
Avoid antibiotics if possible
Even though antibiotics eliminate the bacteria that harm your dog, they also kill the good ones that are very much needed for the digestive system and its healthy balance. This is a reason good enough to avoid giving any antibiotics to your dog if they aren’t absolutely necessary.
Keep your dog away from stress
Stress can easily affect dogs’ guts no matter what is causing it. Dogs can pick up on stress from their environment as well as from their owners, so pay attention to that if you also feel stressed.
If you notice your dog is stressed or know that it has been exposed to changes in the environment due to moving or traveling, pay attention to its behavior and try to offer it some calming supplements that contain chamomile, melatonin, or tryptophan, or even a CBD oil for dogs.
Many factors in a dog’s life can be related to stress, for some more play time, social or physical activity will do wonders.
Consult Your Veterinarian
Whatever digestive issues your dog may be suffering from, it is best to visit and consult your trusted veterinarian. The vet will test your dog’s microbiome, determine what is causing the problem, and prescribe the right therapy for your beloved pet.
In some cases, the treatment will include dietary changes and supplements, but sometimes, a dog will get medications or even be advised to undergo procedures like fecal microbiota transplant.
No matter how well you know your dog and its condition, never try to treat him with supplements and medications without a professional recommendation, because you can cause your dog even more trouble, or prolong its health problems.