Think your dog or cat just has chronic diarrhea, inflammation, or is suddenly allergic? Surprise, your pet could be a victim of leaky gut.
What exactly is ‘leaky gut’ when it comes to your pets? The phrase seems like a new trend, but it’s been known for decades as what happens when their intestinal lining becomes permeable, allowing harmful bacteria, toxins, and even food particles to seep through into the bloodstream.
Leaky gut is a bit controversial with regard to it being a cause or rather a symptom of other underlying problems. What experts do agree upon is that intestinal permeability is real and it’s something that needs to be addressed.
In fact, it’s correlated to many common pet health dysfunctions: including allergies, poor digestion, diarrhea, arthritis, chronic inflammation, and skin issues. It’s a chronic problem that can lead to a host of acute onset conditions, so, learning how to protect your dogs and cats from leaky gut is very important.
3 Things That Trigger Leaky Gut in Dogs and Cats
We can thank the modern pet diet of processed and inappropriate foods, and low quality treats for the digestive stress and intestinal mucosa damage imposed on our pets. Identifying the main diet culprits is the first step towards getting our dogs and cats healthy again.
1. ANTIBIOTICS & OTHER MEDICATIONS
The highest concentration of healthy bacteria lies in the gut, and for good reason. When this delicate balance of intestinal flora is destroyed through antibiotics (either necessarily or unnecessarily), the intestinal lining is compromised and your pet is more vulnerable than ever to developing a leaky gut, and even a leaky bladder!
Unnecessary steroids, NSAIDS, deworming treatments, and flea and tick medications can contain harmful pesticides or generally disrupt the microbiome of your pet. Use with care and caution. When needed, counteract with some of our leaky gut protectors, below.
2. FOOD ADDITIVES
Sodium, gluten, and thickeners (gravies) are totally unnecessary for dogs and cats and will harm your pet’s health in a matter of time. It’s not uncommon to have a perfectly (seemingly) healthy animal for a while, and then they’re suddenly allergic to many foods, even healthy foods that they used to eat without issue.
Your pet’s digestive tract is not equipped to break down these complex and simple carbohydrates alone. In fact, a wild dog or cat will generally only get carbohydrates in their diet through eating the digestive contents of their prey, which is inherently full of natural digestive enzymes to help break down the meal.
When fed processed grain, your pets will have to steal enzymes from other metabolic processes in the body to fully (yet inadequately) break down a carbohydrate meal. The result is sometimes undigested food that irritates the intestinal wall. Over time, this process burdens both digestive and metabolic systems and further damages the lining of the gut.
Again, some dogs may have grains in their diet for a long time without any noticeable issue, but eventually, their digestive system will say, “No more!”
How to Counteract Leaky Gut in Pets
Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to protect your pets from developing leaky gut as well as counteracting a chronic issue:
1. GIVE PROBIOTICS DAILY
The number one thing you can do for your dogs and cats is supply their diet with healthy bacteria daily. Probiotics are not just for sick animals, they are a wellness supplement that should be given every day. Make sure the probiotic your choose contains prebiotics (inulin fiber/FOS), and is one that is appropriate for your pet, like Probiotic Miracle®.
Animals with damaged intestinal linings are known to have improved allergy symptoms and less digestive issues when given daily probiotics. It’s also a great defense for the intestinal lining from developing leaky gut or incurring damage. If your dog or cat is already suffering from leaky gut, supply a large dose of probiotics morning and evening.
2. PROVIDE SUPPLEMENTAL ENZYMES
Digestive-compromised animals need help. Even when fed a healthy diet, raw or cooked, there is bound to be some toxic triggers that bother your pet. Enzymes offer an insurance against leftover food being stuck, lodged, or fermenting in the body and irritating the gut. An appropriate multi-enzyme formula, such as Enzyme Miracle® is a perfect compliment to every meal you feed your pet and supports complete digestion. The plant-based enzyme blend is gentle yet powerful and supports both digestive and metabolic processes.
The probiotic/enzyme combination is something we talk about a lot because it's so helpful for providing a foundation of wellness to dogs and cats. For this reason we offer the Miracle Pack™ and MiracleZyme® chews.
3. PROVIDE SUPPLEMENTAL AMINO ACIDS AND ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
L-glutamine and other amino acids, as found in Dermix™, are known for their ability to rebuild and repair the intestines. Essential fatty acids, like lecithin and omega-3 from fish oil further work to protect the cells and fortify the body overall. They also help produce substances known as eicosanoids, that help to balance out and modulate the body’s natural inflammatory responses, very appropriate for gut inflammation issues.
4. FEED A RAW DIET
For cats, as strict carnivores, we recommend as close to a raw meat diet as possible, with the above mentioned supplements included. Even a healthy raw meat can contain toxins, herbicides and pesticides, which irritate the bowels, so provide insurance against these invaders with probiotics, enzymes and amino acids.
For dogs, Nusentia Raw & Grain Free is a cornerstone diet for health. USDA dehydrated raw meat and produce is packed with natural vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that will help streamline your dog’s digestion. Boost the diet with additional probiotics, enzymes, and essential nutrients, and you’ll find your dogs have more natural energy, healthier weight, and generally show less digestive-related health issues.
If you’ve been worried about your pets’ digestive health, or possible leaky gut, stop worrying and take action steps to help your dogs and cats thrive.
CITES AND REFERENCES
Alterations in intestinal permeability. M C Arrieta, L Bistritz, and J B Meddings. 2006 Oct; 55(10): 1512–1520.
Abnormal Intestinal Permeability Could Play a Role in the Development of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy in Irish Setter Dogs
Edward J. Hall Roger M. Batt. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 121, Issue suppl_11, 1 November 1991, Pages S150–S151, Intestinal permeability and autoimmune diseases. Megan Ciarra Smith. Bioscience Horizons: The International Journal of Student Research, Volume 10, 1 January 2017.
Intestinal permeability testing in dogs with diet‐responsive intestinal disease. H. C. Rutgers R. M. Batt E. J. Hall S. H. Sørensen F. J. Proud. July 1995.