There are many factors that may contribute to your dog’s health, including what they eat on a daily basis, how much exercise they receive, the love and attention that they get, as well as how attentive their owners are to their specific health needs. When it comes to digestion specifically, any number of different issues may arise during the course of your dog’s life, many of which can be traced back to an unbalanced microbiome.
Prebiotics for dogs is an important part of keeping their digestive system working optimally. This guide will explore some of the reasons why this is so that you can better understand your dog’s dietary needs and help to ensure that their digestive system remains strong and functioning as it’s supposed to.
Even if you haven’t noticed any changes in your dog’s bowel movements or eating behavior, being aware of their needs is crucial and allows for preventive measures to be taken. Many dogs encounter various kinds of digestive problems throughout their lives, regardless of age or breed. However, these issues do tend to get more prevalent with age, and complications with digestion can quickly lead to more serious issues that you will want to avoid if possible. Helping your pet maintain a healthy digestive system is simply an important aspect of being a responsible dog owner, because of how much digestion plays a role in their overall health.
Exploring Your Dog’s Microbiome
To better understand why prebiotics for dogs is even necessary, it may be helpful to learn a little bit more about your pet’s microbiome, or the various bacteria, fungi, and single-celled organisms that reside in their digestive tract.
Just like us, and all mammals for that matter, dogs have a vivid and diverse array of creatures that live inside of them and which are responsible for many vital processes. While it’s somewhat strange to think about on the surface, we all rely on these microscopic organisms for our survival. These tiny bacteria and other organisms help to break down food so that it can be absorbed by our bodies. They also play a role in general cleaning and maintenance, by “eating” certain nutrients and particles that we would otherwise not digest.
Even more surprising, research into the human microbiome has revealed that these organisms may even play important roles in the health of our immune system, as well as the processing of certain vitamins and other nutrients. The long and short of it is, it would be impossible to live without these creatures. Essentially, we have formed a complex symbiotic relationship with these microbes, and that means in order to maintain proper health, we have to keep them healthy and balanced as well.
This may seem like an obscure idea, trying to keep the bacteria inside of your dog’s gut well-fed and happy, but that’s the reality. The trouble with appeasing these creatures is that the microbiome of every animal can be significantly different. This is largely due to the fact that we have all evolved to subsist on different diets. What passes for a perfectly balanced diet for us may not be the same story for a dog, which means that over the years, they have developed different gut bacteria than we have.
This difference in microbes means a difference in dietary needs. The canine microbiome is extremely complex, thought to include hundreds of distinct species of bacteria and other organisms, and in order for health to be properly maintained, these groups of microscopic animals need to exist in a proper balance with one another, with no one species dominating or overtaking the others. It has been shown that a multitude of complications and diseases can arise due to an unbalanced gut, which is why prebiotics may be so essential.
What a Natural Diet For Your Dog Looks Like
Critical to the health of your dog’s digestive system and microbiome is tied to what they eat. The reason why adding prebiotics to your dog’s diet may be so important is because this kind of herbal supplement kind of “fills in the gaps” in regards to certain plant-based nutrients that could be otherwise lacking in your dog’s diet that they would ordinarily be getting in the wild.
You may be wondering, what is a prebiotic exactly? These beneficial supplemental formulas are designed to feed gut bacteria in order to keep them healthy and in balance. A prebiotic can take many forms, but here at Animal Essentials, our prebiotics for dogs is an herbal blend that consists of nutrient-rich plants like marshmallow root, chicory root, fennel seeds, and Yucca root that help in maintaining optimal gut balance for your pet.
If you are not familiar with natural dog diets, this might sound a bit bizarre. You might be under the assumption that a pure meat meal diet is all your dog needs to be healthy and keep their digestive system in balance, but this is actually not correct, because most dog food does not actually represent what your dog would be eating in the wild.
Dogs are natural scavengers and actually eat a very diverse assortment of food if given the chance. While meat does make up the bulk of their diet, you also have to factor in that a live animal is much different, nutrient-wise, than your average kibble. Most mass-market dog foods don’t contain all of the different nutrients and enzymes that could typically be found in an actual live animal, and these foods also don’t factor in fruits and vegetables.
In a natural setting, dogs will partake of the occasional plant in order to fulfill their bodily needs. They also would derive nutrition from the stomach contents of their vegetable-eating prey. It’s this varied assortment of different food sources that would naturally support the gut biome of a wild animal and prevent them from ever needing a prebiotic.
However, it’s extremely unrealistic to think that we could provide this kind of diet for our dogs. The reality of pet ownership is that we have to be acutely aware of these kinds of issues and take the necessary steps to compensate. Even a diet of high-quality dog foods that contain fruits and vegetables may not be entirely enough to prevent digestive imbalances in certain dogs.
Rather than try and completely mimic what a wild dog would have access to, it simply makes a lot more sense to feed our dogs high-quality wet food and kibble, plenty of nutritious treats, and bolster their diet with the appropriate natural pet supplements, such as beneficial prebiotics.
Digestive Complications That Can Arise
At this point, you might be wondering what happens if your dog doesn’t get the necessary prebiotics. Are the consequences really all that serious?
The issue here is that it’s difficult to predict what exactly could happen to your pet if their digestion is neglected to any degree. Some dogs get along fine with just a minimal amount of plant-based nutrients while others can get gassy or develop chronic constipation. Because gut imbalances typically don’t develop all at once, it’s more of a steady decline in health that would compound on itself over time, leading to complications.
There are many issues that can arise due to gut imbalances. Some of these can be quite minor and not really noticeable, while others can be potentially dangerous to your dog’s well-being. By paying close attention to your dog’s behaviors, eating habits, and so on, you may be able to spot irregularities and complications as they arise. In some cases though, this may not be possible.
One issue that is serious, which can develop as a result of an unbalanced microbiome, is poor nutrient absorption. This is an issue that many people struggle with as well because a poor diet is one of the leading causes. When certain kinds of gut bacteria are thrown off balance, it can be difficult for the body to completely absorb all of the nutrients in food, which simply leads to an overall deterioration in health over time. Obviously, this could be a serious issue if allowed to persist and could be difficult to spot, so it makes more sense to take a preventive approach with a prebiotic.
Other, more common issues that can appear include diarrhea, stomach cramps, constipation, gas, bad breath, and similar digestive upset. These problems can become chronic, which can certainly impact the health and quality of life of your pet. When it comes to the digestive system of dogs, you want to be extremely vigilant. Constipation for us might mean a day of stomach cramps and trips to the bathroom, but for a tiny animal, such an issue could be far more serious.
In general, you want to be watchful when it comes to your dog’s behaviors in all matters dealing with their eating habits and digestion. Small changes could indicate a digestive problem that warrants the use of prebiotics. While the issue could be quite minor, there’s no reason to take a chance. If you notice a pattern or the onset of chronic constipation or a similar digestive problem, a prebiotic is definitely something you want to consider.
Your dogs don’t have as many options when it comes to self-care as we do. We know pretty much right off the bat if there’s something amiss with our digestion and we immediately take the necessary steps to correct it, whether that means taking a certain medicine or seeing our doctor. Our pets rely on us to notice these kinds of things on their behalf and make the appropriate decisions from there.
To prevent complications such as these from occurring, it falls on us as pet owners to use our awareness and stay engaged in our dog’s habits and behaviors. It also means providing them with the necessary dietary elements to keep them fit and healthy as well.
Keeping Your Dog’s Gut Healthy With Prebiotics
In order to make sure all of your dog’s beneficial bacteria stick around, you are going to want to introduce a high-quality prebiotic into their diet. Here at Animal Essentials, we carry a great variety of different pet supplements that use the power of natural plant extracts to potentially help the body, including an all-natural Healthy Gut formula.
Digestion is always something that you want to take seriously when it comes to the needs of your pet. Rather than let an issue develop and then have to try and reduce the symptoms or take your animal to the vet for an emergency situation, you can take the necessary steps now to keep your dog’s microbiome in top shape.
While you may not think that your dog specifically needs prebiotics in order to be healthy, you do want to be aware of how gut unbalances develop and that your dog could already have a minor unbalance that simply hasn’t manifested as an obvious symptom yet. If your dog is getting on in years and you care about their overall health and longevity, adding a beneficial prebiotic into their diet is a great way to give them that extra little health boost.
Whether your pet is in need of a natural digestive supplement or an herbal tonic for their immune system, heart, or other wellness issues, you will find what you’re looking for here at Animal Essentials. It’s so important as responsible pet owners to make sure we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our dogs are healthy and happy, and that means paying close attention to their health needs.
If you are at all concerned about your pet’s digestive system, or simply want to make sure that their microbiome is well cared for, our Gut Health formula is exactly what you need. If you have any questions about our various herbal pet supplements or would like more information in regards to ingredients or whether or not one of our formulas is safe for your pet, simply give us a call at 888.551.0416. Here at Animal Essentials, we are wholly dedicated to helping pet owners provide their dogs with everything they need to stay healthy and strong.