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We all want to create a healthy routine that allows our furry pet family members to have a complete and balanced diet. But, when our dogs or cats have bad breath, skin problems, weight loss, a weird body odour, unhealthy bowel movements, and excessive flatulence, these can be indicators of poor digestive health, or even worse. All of these can stem from a condition that we called “dysbiosis of the pet's gut microbiome” or pet gastrointestinal imbalance. Therefore, it is important to protect your pet's gastrointestinal system and ensure overall health.
“When our dogs or cats have bad breath, skin problems, weight loss, unhealthy bowel movements, and excessive flatulence, these can be indicators of poor digestive health, or even worse.”
(credits to: Protexin Veterinary)
What is Gastrointestinal Flora?
Gastrointestinal Flora refers to the world of microorganisms, predominantly bacteria, that populate our pet’s intestines. They play a very important role in our pet’s health. Consists of 3 main types of bacteria and these are
Beneficial bacteria: useful bacteria that help intestinal movement or better stomach function, like lactobacillus acidophilus and lactobacillus casei.
Harmful bacteria: the intestine produces a variety of toxic substances especially when the body has an overgrowth of harmful or bad bacteria or when your pet has an infection. An overabundance of these so-called harmful bacteria may result in inflammatory bowel diseases, symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, foul stools and farts occur.
Common bacteria: accounting for 70% of the entire intestinal flora, common bacteria are relatively neutral, but can change their nature depending on your pet’s intestinal environment. When the intestinal environment is favourable to the growth of beneficial bacteria, common bacteria will change into beneficial bacteria; and when the intestinal environment is favourable to the growth of harmful bacteria, common bacteria will change into the latter. That is why it is very important to have a balanced gastrointestinal flora or balanced digestive system in your pets for easy nutrient absorption.
What are the 4 main reasons why there is a Pet Digestive System Imbalance?
Sudden changes in the usual diet, or eating inappropriate foods may cause an imbalance in the intestinal flora of pets. Also, always make sure that your pets are properly hydrated with easy access to clean water. Make sure their drinking bowls are cleaned and replaced at least twice a day to avoid any harmful bacteria from breeding in them. This also helps prevent urinary tract infections and promotes a quicker recovery in case they are sick or injured.
When our pets are not eating properly due to sickness, it greatly affects their intestinal flora. In cases where a pet is sick or recovering from sickness, it is very prudent to consult a veterinary expert for a proper prescription diet for canine or feline pets. When pet deworming is not done on time or the schedule is not being followed, gut health is also affected.
Stress is also a cause of intestinal flora imbalance. Some usually overlooked key stessors are poor living conditions, lack of exercises such as short walks or not enough playtime, lack of time and interaction with the owner, poor room ventilation and lack of quiet space.
Age determines a lot of things in your pet's gut biome. Their age can tell how susceptible they are to bacterial infection and identifies which helpful bacteria is lacking or no longer needed in their intestinal flora. Puppies, kittens, or senior pets that have not been breastfed will have less beneficial bacteria as they age.
To prevent any digestive problems and to have a balanced and healthy pet digestive system, the beneficial bacteria must be able to thrive so they can control the growth of harmful bacteria.
How to correct the imbalance of intestinal flora.
Check the status of your pet’s stool to detect abnormalities early on. You can do these by jotting down its colour, content, consistency coating, or better yet take a stool sample and have it examined by a veterinary expert so they could give you a better diagnosis.
Create a clean living space as it prevents diseases and infections.
Play more with your pets as it keeps them healthy.
Do regular pet deworming.
Be sure to store food with cats and dog probiotics at home to ensure they have balanced intestinal microorganisms. If the intestinal flora is not balanced, symptoms like constipation, diarrhea and smellier than usual stool occurs.
are food for the probiotics that help them flourish, usually, these are plant fibres that can be easily added to foods like cat and dog food powders and as supplements.
are good bacteria that help pets fully digest and absorb the nutrients in their food. They break down and remove harmful metabolites from your pet's body, strengthen your pet's intestinal defences and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria, and regulate and balance the intestinal flora. Probiotics also help to reduce stress and improve immunity, making them a must-have for your pets. There are numerous types of pet probiotics. Some are included in food-based forms, others come in powders and pills.
(credits to: Orchard House Blog)
What supplements should I give my dog or cats that have probiotics? ? Be sure to check and evaluate each supplement first with the 2 essential factors below.
- Check out the physical form, Is it liquid, powder, pill, or tablet? You can consult with your vet about which one can be absorbed by your pet the fastest.
Look for several different bacterial strains on the ingredient list. The more strains there are, the better.
Here are some of the examples of the best probiotic strains for dogs and cats:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Enterococcus faecium
- Bifidobacterium lactis
These are examples of pet digestive health supplements that aid our pet’s digestive function and help them keep a strong immune system.
PAW Digesticare 60 150g is a great nutritional choice for pet parents who want to support their pet's healthy microbiome/gut health, regularity, stool quality and overall digestive health. The product is a highly palatable powder that can be easily sprinkled on your pet's food. It is suitable for both cats and dogs.
- Provides good bacteria to maintain, restore and improve intestinal balance and a healthy digestive system.
- Developed specifically to fortify the unique bacterial species found in the pet GI or digestive tract.
- Provides easily absorbed nutritional support, the pet supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes – delivers essential amino and fatty acids, key vitamins, and minerals.
- Helps to exclude and suppress bad bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella.
- Also suitable for rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals.
(credits to: Purina Institute)
OKEY DOGGY Advanced Synbiotic Digestion Plus not only has an excellent cat and dog food with probiotics and prebiotics but also comes in individual 3g packages making it safer to store and better measure your pet's dosage.
- The pet dietary fibre supplement that supports digestive health.
- Contains both probiotics and prebiotics that are vital to prevent digestive disorders in dogs and cats.
- All ingredients we sourced are natural and safe.
- Assists in boosting pet healthy immune system function and reducing allergies.
“All diseases begin in the gut. Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food”
There you go! These are just two of the pet digestive care supplements available today. Maintaining good pet health is a must, however, it is foremost important that your pet has a healthy gut or healthy digestive system more than anything else. As Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine once said “All diseases begin in the gut. Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food”.