Nutrition is the foundation of good health and the gut microbiome is the foundation of a balanced, well functioning immune system. We don’t often think that when our pets have allergies, poor skin and coats or digestive issues that a malnourished gut is to blame. Over 80% of the immune system resides in the gut. By nourishing the beneficial bacteria, your pet will have vibrant health, perfect poops and a robust immune system.
When your pet has a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to kill the harmful bacteria. However, antibiotics also destroy the diverse population of beneficial bacteria that reside in the digestive system. And if the “good guys” are not repopulated, there is room for more chaos to ensue. Whenever your pet undergoes a round of antibiotics, you need to follow that with good probiotic therapy in order to crowd out the troublemakers. Probiotics are amazing, living microorganisms that work to restore the gut flora. When choosing probiotics, don’t just assume they only come in pill form – there are natural food sources of probiotics that you can give to your pet which are more effective. My favorites include:
- Raw Fermented Kefir or Fermented Goat Milk – these are full of naturally occurring probiotics, protein and enzymes. Goats milk is easier to digest and contains caprylic acid which aids in histamine reactions and helps to fight yeast. Start with 1 tablespoon per 25 lbs of body weight.
- Fermented vegetables – sauerkraut and kimchi aren’t just for your hotdog! Fermented vegetables mimic the intestinal contents of prey animals and also contain prebiotics which help feed the natural probiotics. Be sure the sauerkraut and kimchi are raw and fermented – not the kinds found in a bag or can. You can safely give your dog 1 teaspoon per 30 lbs of body weight daily of the probiotic powerhouses!
- Raw green tripe – sourced from the stomach lining of ruminant animals, this potent body part contains digestive enzymes and beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion. It contains the bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus as well as balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Begin feeding a few tablespoons and increase to ¼ cup per 50 lbs of body weight. The smell can be off-putting to some, but your dog does not care and can even help stimulate the appetites of picky eaters.
You may see there are probiotics included on the ingredient panel with the bag of kibble you feed your pet. However, due to the sensitivity of the living organisms, most are destroyed from heat and oxidation every time you open your bag of food. I always recommend adding a fresh probiotic to your pets bowl at feeding to ensure they get the maximum benefit. When you fuel their gut microbiome you ignite their health and well-being. Cheers to beneficial bacteria!