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So, your dog hasn’t been feeling well. Maybe he’s getting sick frequently. Maybe he’s constantly gnawing on his legs. And you’ve been to the vet with little explanation or solution for what’s happening. It’s highly possible that your dog’s gut health needs a restart. Check out these five tips on restoring gut health from Dogs Naturally Magazine, written by Jenny Elwell-Gerken.

1. No Grains
Grains are definitely not for all pets, and they’re certainly not the best source of protein around. Grains lead to inflammation of the gut. Once eliminated, it’s highly likely some of the symptoms your four-legged friend is experiencing will be reduced.

2. Add Pre- and Probiotics
Probiotics help keep our gut healthy via good bacteria. Inflammation kills these bacteria and leads to problems such as diarrhea and constipation. But there’s more – probiotics also help with overall skin health. Could adding these to your pet’s diet help with all that itching? It’s worth a shot! You can also try:

  • Fermented vegetables – buy organic or make your own. Start out slowly by adding them to your dog’s food daily or feed as a snack.
  • Raw goat milk – buy organic and feed it daily according to body weight.
  • Kefir – buy organic, unsweetend kefir or you can make your own. You can use water or even coconut milk.

Along with adding probiotics to your pup’s diet, also consider adding prebiotics – a source of food for those beneficial bacteria. Try bananas or dandelion greens.

3. Gelatin and Bone Broth
Your dog’s intestines break down food so that the body can absorb needed nutrients while leaving the junk behind to be passed as waste material. Simply put, the walls of the intestines ensure that water and nutrients are used by the body, while toxins and pathogens get stuck inside the intestines until they move out.

Along with helping boost fur and nail strength, gelatin can help to heal up leaky gaps in the intestines, creating a healthier gut system. When the system works the way it’s meant to, the health of your pup’s whole body is improved.

4. Variety
Add variety to your pup’s diet by feeding vegetables and fruit as well as switching up the protein sources on a regular basis.

You can achieve this by adding variety in several ways. Try feeding real food to dogs rather than kibble. You can add variety by feeding vegetables and fruit as well as switching up the protein sources on a regular basis.

Remember: An animal has to be exposed to something to be allergic to it, and allergies usually come from something they’ve been eating for a long time. So just because you haven’t changed their food doesn’t mean they don’t have a food allergy! In fact, they may be more likely to have one!

5. Things to Avoid

  • Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. When taken by mouth, antibiotics kill off many of the good bacteria in the gut (and everywhere else), as well as the bad bacteria. Therefore, if you have to give your pup an antibiotic, make sure you give a probiotic at the same time.
  • Skip the NSAIDs. We also know that many of the medications given for pain and inflammation can affect the gut. For example, the most common side effects of most non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are diarrhea and vomiting. However, we’ve learned that the effect on the gut is more dramatic than that. NSAIDs can actually contribute to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Therefore, it’s worth considering other options to replace or, at minimum, supplement long-term pain control.

Restoring Gut Health Takes Time
Remember: it takes time to improve. The longer the problem has been going on, the longer it will take to heal. Weeks to months, sometimes more. The healthier you can keep his gut, the healthier you can keep his entire body.