If you’ve read a book, listened to a podcast, or watched any tv at all in the past 4 or 5 years it’s very likely you’ve heard about the importance of gut health. In humans it’s been tied to all sorts of things relating to well being, but what about pets? This time on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog we’re talking gut and gastrointestinal health for pets!
Diarrhea might just be the most common reason a pet gets a trip to the vet. Now add in IBS, constipation, and other gastro problems and you might begin to see just how common gastro problems crop up. Another name for the gastrointestinal system? The gut.
What the Gut Is and Does For Your Pet
The gut is the colloquial term for the gastrointestinal system. That system, also called the digestive tract, is used for digesting food, absorbing nutrients and passing along waste. From there it regulates and promotes all the functions throughoughout the body as the various systems rely on those nutrients to function correctly. This means everything from energy, skin health, immune function, everything.
So how do we encourage proper, healthy gut health? Here are five ways to do just that.
5 Keys to Good Gut Health for Your Pet
Key 1 – A Good Diet
Provide your pet with nutrient-dense, and appropriate foods. For many pets a diet made up of whole foods (not processed kibble) can be incredibly beneficial. But there are kibble options out there that are properly balanced and full of everything your pet needs. And of course, speak with your vet before changing up your pet’s diet.
Key 2 – Check for Allergens
Believe it or not, dogs and cats have allergies just like us. Even with a whole food diet there is the potential that your pet is eating something that doesn’t agree with them. And that’s a huge problem! Allergic reactions inflame the linings of your pets gut and can completely throw off their ability to digest and absorb food correctly. Check with your vet to see if this might be a problem for your pet.
Key 3 – Address Any Infections
Infections, bugs, parasites, any of these need to be tackled before you can convsider your pet’s gut health on the right track. Typically antibiotics are going to be needed and those can do a number on the good gut bacteria too. So, clear any infections to start from a solid foundation.
Key 4 – Help Heal the Gut!
After infections, allergens, or poor diets your pet’s gut health is bad. It won’t just bounce back, you need to help support their gut. This means things like giving them the food and nutrients they need to promote good bacteria, a healthy gut ecosystem. Talk to your vet about probiotics or other supplements your pet may need to repair, restore, and replenish the proper ecosystem for your pets gut health.
Key 5 – Exercise
Believe it or not, exercise is just as important for a healthy gut! Daily exercise gets the body moving, the brain stimulated and helps reduce stress! Stress is one of the worst things on our bodies, creating inflammation and messing with the balances of hormones etc in the body. So give your pet their daily doses of workouts to keep them stress free and happy!
Poor gut health has been linked to everything from allergies to cancers and much in between. For all of this, and more, it’s best to be proactive in the gut health of your pet! So take these first steps, speak with your vet today, and ensure your pet is living a healthy life!