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. Leaky gut is what happens when the intestinal lining becomes permeable. This can happen to dogs and cats. A leaky gut allows harmful bacteria, toxins, and even food particles to seep through into the bloodstream.
Leaky gut is what happens when the intestinal lining becomes permeable. This can happen to dogs and cats.
Leaky gut is a bit controversial. It's not certain whether it is a cause or rather a symptom of other underlying health problems. What experts do agree upon is that intestinal permeability is real and it’s something that needs to be addressed in pets.
In fact, leaky gut is 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.
Leaky gut is a chronic problem that can lead to a host of acute onset conditions in dogs and cats.
3 Things That Trigger Leaky Gut in Dogs and Cats
With leaky gut, the digestive stress that damages the intestinal mucosa has 3 main triggers. 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, see 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. Remember, your dog and cat have the digestive tracts of wild animals, and these wild animals eat raw meat almost exclusively. 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 use enzymes from other metabolic processes in the body to fully break down a carbohydrate meal. The results in undigested or fermenting 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!”
Protecting our pet's intestinal lining from leaky gut triggers is step one to avoiding the problem. Remove grains, low nutritional value foods, and use medications only when absolutely necessary.
How to Handle Leaky Gut in Pets
Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to protect our pets from developing leaky gut. And, we can help pets suffering from this chronic issue through the following natural remedies for leaky gut below.
1. Protect with Probiotics and Enzymes
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®.*
Probiotics serve on the front line for leaky gut defense.
Animals with damaged intestinal linings can be rehabilitated through probiotic therapy. When giving probiotics, these animals are known to have improved allergy symptoms and less digestive issues. 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 in the morning and evening.*
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.
Supplemental enzymes offer an insurance against leftover food being stuck, lodged, or fermenting in the body and irritating the gut.
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® combo chews.
2. Rebuild and Repair Intestinal Tissues with Amino Acids and EFAs
When it comes to leaky gut in pets, strengthening the structure of the intestinal walls is an important factor. To repair and rebuild the intestines, L-glutamine and other amino acids, as found in Dermix™, are known for their ability to do this. Essential fatty acids (EFAs), like lecithin and omega-3 from fish oil further work to protect the cells and fortify the body overall.
EFAs are known to help produce substances called eicosanoids that help to balance out and modulate the body’s natural inflammatory responses. Controlling inflammation is very appropriate for these gut inflammation issues.*
3. Remove Food Triggers
For our carnivore pets, we recommend a grain-free raw meat diet with the above mentioned supplements included. Keep in mind, even healthy raw meat can contain toxins, herbicides and pesticides. So, to prevent irritation to the bowels, provide insurance against these invaders with probiotics, enzymes, and amino acids.
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.
See recommended products and bundled discounts below. And, if you have any questions, just ask us!Related: Understanding Probiotics for Pets: CFU, Species, and Dosage Explained
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.