Do you know what “gut bacteria” is and how important of a role it plays in your pet’s health? Recent studies on the topic have pointed to the conclusion that maintaining a healthy level of good gut bacteria is a key factor for good overall health in both humans and their pets! So, what is gut bacteria and what does it do? What happens without it? What can you do to help your pet maintain the right levels? Let us teach you!
Bacteria? Good? Yup!
While stomach acid helps break down the foods you eat, thousands of tiny little microbes do the real work! These helpful little buggers neutralize toxins, kill off bad bacteria and yeasts that try to overgrow, and assist in vitamin absorption!
“The gut is the largest immune organ in the body,” says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist in Atlanta
Several factors can affect your pet’s level of the good bacteria. The balance is frequently upset by consuming things they shouldn’t and/or picking up parasites from things they eat. Taking antibiotics can also upset the flora & fauna of their bellies. Be sure to talk to your vet about gut bacteria levels if your pet is prescribed an antibiotic. Some signs of an improper balance include vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation – though your pet can have moderately low levels for an extended period of time that will affect them in other ways like malnutrition, or low immunity.
Growing & Maintaining Your Pet’s Gut Bacteria
Maintaining your pet’s gut bacteria is the best option! You can do this by ensuring they aren’t eating a lot of human foods (especially processed ones!) and aren’t given the opportunity to consume things in the wild that may have parasites. If you’re laughing at the latter option there though, talk to your vet about temporarily introducing a probiotic specifically for your pet and breed. Probiotics can be given in the form of pills, powders, or a liquid that can be added to food. They work two ways – lowering the pH of the gut creating a healthier environment for good bacteria to flourish, and by replenishing said bacteria!
photo credit: ynaka29 Happy Laika on Bed at Taconic, Kimpton Hotel via photopin (license)