How to optimize your dog's gut health?

How to optimize your dog's gut health?

I always try and avoid using clichés, but when discussing food and the digestive tract there is one that's difficult to escape - we are what we eat. This applies equally to pets and to people. If we eat a nutritious, healthy, balanced diet our immune systems will be supported, our energy will be optimum, we will be less prone to diseases and to hormone imbalances such as diabetes and thyroid conditions, and our digestive tract will not be prone to diarrhoea or constipation.

Many of us are consciously trying to eat more healthily these days – although the 'expert' advice on this seems to keep changing. My own view is that fresh rather than processed, gluten free and low carbohydrate, and plenty of good quality proteins, fats and oils is the best choice (other opinions are available!)

What about our dogs? Within reason, in my view, the same applies – both the fact that a healthy diet boosts the immune system and helps prevent illness and disease, and the fact that most of us are trying to give our dogs a healthier diet. A healthy diet for a dog, in my view, means low or zero carbs., gluten free, lots of protein, oils and fats, fresh and raw rather than  processed and dry food.

But as our own actual diets often fail to quite reach the aims we set ourselves, so many dogs probably have a less than perfect diet. Dry kibble or a can of food is so much quicker and easier, at least some of the time. Even the best and healthiest diets may be a little low in certain minerals or vitamins, for instance B complex vitamins, and processed diets are often likely to be deficient in the full range of nutrients. Although extra vitamins and minerals are added to many processed foods, these will tend to deteriorate during storage. The amounts stated on the can or bag may not accurately reflect the levels present at the time of use.

For all these reasons, I often recommend digestive tract supplements for my patients, especially those from the Diet’Dog's range of supplements. A regular course of Digestive Complex is helpful – this contains herbs, minerals and vitamins that help promote normal digestion and, also support the liver and pancreas. It contains B vitamins and amino acids that could be missing from the diet. It's also useful to give an extra course of Digestive Complex at any time when there is a significant change in the ingredients of the diet, or after any illness involving the liver, pancreas, gall bladder or intestines.

Another supplement I advise giving, and giving regularly, is Intestinal Hygiene Control. Given for five days, followed by another five day course a month later, this blend of active herbs cleanses the digestive tract, and is especially useful for dogs who are prone to worms and other intestinal parasites. I recommend giving this course twice a year.

Another excellent member of the Diet’Dog family is Digest’ Bioactive. This contains prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes and Montmorillonite and Bentonite clays which together absorb toxins, firm up the stool consistency, and help return the state of the bowel lining to normal and restore natural bacterial balance. This product is also beneficial during and after a course of antibiotics, and in any other situation where digestive balance has been compromised, such as a change of diet, or after any illness or emotional stress.

I don't usually recommend giving the previous supplements I have recommended on a long term, permanent basis – more as regular courses, but with breaks in between as 'boosters' for the various reasons discussed. One supplement I do suggest giving long term is D-Dog Superfoods. This is a supplement that is high in green superfoods like Spirulina and Chlorella, as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals that support the immune system. It also includes probiotics and Montmorillonite clay to help improve digestive tract health and omega 3 and 6 for optimum skin and coat condition as well as Chlorophyll as a toxin cleanser and breath freshener.

D-Dog Superfoods Beta is a companion supplement that contains similar ingredients but has extra beta carotene, which gives it stronger anti-oxidant properties, and particularly helps improve coat pigmentation and colour. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the 'secret ingredient' used by many people in the show dog world to give their dogs that extra edge!

Pedigree show dog or mixed breed mongrel, all our dogs deserve a healthy diet and the best extra support we can give them. Diet’Dog range of digestive supplements certainly helps give this extra support to many of my patients.

 

Dr Richard Allport BVetMed, VetMFHom, MRCVS

Natural Medicine Centre

11 Southgate Road

Potters Bar

Herts

EN6 5DR

Tel: 01707 662058

Fax: 01707 646948

E mail: info@naturalmedicinecentre.net

Website: www.naturalmedicinecentre.co.uk


Article Author: Dr Richard Allport BVetMed, VetMFHom, MRCVS
Article Date: 28 February 2017