Leaky Gut Syndrome Part 2: Healing Your Dog’s Gut
If you think your dog has leaky gut, it’s time to start healing your dog’s gut with his diet.
We have defined leaky gut as a condition where the mucosal lining of your dog’s intestine is damaged, allowing the microscopic portals in his gut wall to enlarge and let food and toxins into his bloodstream.
Therefore, to heal leaky gut, we must find what will close those gaps. In this article, you will learn how to use food and some natural dog care tips to help your dog.
The three steps to healing Leaky Gut Syndrome are :
Remove the inflammation.
Use your dog’s diet to heal.
Tune the Immune system.
We’ll go over these one at a time.
Some of the most destructive irritants of the digestive system are things we give our dogs regularly. Vaccines and medications.
Vaccines stress the immune system by forcing it to deal with a disease unnaturally. Every year our dogs’ immune systems are attacked by combination vaccines that force a confused immune response. Vaccines cause the immune system to become unbalanced and to over-react to future stress.
Instead of vaccinating yearly (the only exception being rabies, which is regulated by law and must be given at least every three years), space them out. Give them time to be useful instead of deadly. Research now shows that a single vaccination can effectively protect your dog for seven years or more. You can also ask for a titer instead, a blood test that checks for antibody levels to core diseases.
To learn more about vaccination protocols start reading here: “Are Annual Booster Vaccines Necessary?”
Flea, tick and heartworm medications are another regular stress. Think about it; they’re poisons made to kill off biting insects and invading worms. So, on top of yearly vaccines, we give them monthly irritants as well. Instead of giving monthly medications, try using natural repellants during the cold seasons. If you give flea and heartworm medications, it’s good to follow up with a detox using herbs like milk thistle.
Yearly, monthly, anyone ready to add the daily irritants?
The Daily Irritant:
The most damaging irritant to your dog’s gut is his diet. Commercially processed kibble and canned foods are the cause of many dog’s miseries. Their inert ingredients provide inadequate nutrition that’s difficult to digest, inflammatory and even potentially toxic.
Commercial diets, including kibble and canned formulas, often contain 4D meats, synthetic preservatives, flavors, vitamins, and amino acids, as well as toxic dyes, antinutrients, mycotoxins, and massive loads of carbohydrates.
These ingredients are putting our dogs at risk for Leaky Gut Syndrome, obesity, and allergies, diabetes, arthritis, and inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances and sensitivities, and nutritional deficiencies.
Your first big step in healing your dog’s gut will be adjusting his diet.
Using Diet to Heal
What your dog eats will either cause inflammation and damage the gut lining, or it will nourish the gut lining and the rest of his body. It’s up to you to give him the diet that won’t cause inflammation and damage.
When healing a leaky gut, here are some foods you will want to avoid:
- Carbohydrates, especially in the form of grains. Carbohydrates create inflammation, irritate the gut lining and overall stress the digestive system because of their indigestibility.
- Commercially processed foods. Kibble and canned foods are much more difficult to digest, contain unnecessary amounts of carbohydrates, and their fats become rancid quickly. Commercial feeds also often contain preservatives, dyes, and gums that irritate the digestive tract. Kibble or canned food also doesn’t allow you much room to adjust the diet to your dog’s sensitivities.
- Dairy products: These are often significant irritants to a dog’s gut. Some dogs react to dairy proteins and carbohydrates very poorly.
What kind of foods will heal your dog’s gut? You probably know what I’ll say: Fresh food!
Whole, fresh, possibly even raw, meats, vegetables, and fruits. Your dog needs a diet that’s teeming with live enzymes, bioavailable nutrients, protective antioxidants, healthy fats, ample protein, and immune stimulants.
Here’s a breakdown.
These should be well balanced in omega 3 and omega six fatty acids so as not to cause further inflammation. These might include turkey, salmon, duck, venison, and other wild game. Wild caught fish are very welcome. Chicken and pork are too high in omega 6 and will not help your dog heal. Look for Organic, free-range, pasture raised, non-GMO, no hormones or antibiotics, grass-fed, wild caught, and other naturally grown forms of meat.
Vegetables are a source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Use leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, and kale, and yellow-orange vegetables like squash, peppers, and carrots.
Other possibilities include mushrooms, green beans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These options are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If you can afford organic vegetables, all the better.
You will need to be careful using fruits for a while to avoid high carbohydrates. However, given in small amounts, they can have benefits. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples and many other fruits are great additions. Always make sure the fruit is safe to give your dog before feeding it to him.
You can use a site like canigivemydog.com to find safe fruits and other foods. Remember that not everything you can give your dog will constitute a healing diet.
Meal Plans – Making it Balanced
Now that you know some foods that will heal, it’s time to make some simple meals for your dog. You could work with a veterinary nutritionist to create a complete and balanced diet for your dog. This video put together by a holistic veterinarian and pet nutrition blogger shows how easy this process can be:
You don’t have to freak out about a complete and balanced diet, as a dog would naturally eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients he needs. Rotate vegetables and protein sources for the best results.
There are also many books now written by vets to help you make a healthy diet for your dog. Remember to keep your dog’s individual needs in mind. Here’s a list of recommended books for homemade dog food: Resources for Homemade Dog Food.
So, you’ve removed common irritants to your dog’s gut, and you’ve changed his diet to heal. One last step!
Use some of these unique supplements to heal your dog’s gut further and close those gaps!
- Bone broth – Bone broth contains amino acids like Proline, Glycine, and L-Glutamine that are necessary for healing the gut. L-Glutamine protects the mucosal lining against inflammation and strengthens the gut lining. Proline restores the cell structure, while Glycine supports the production of collagen, thus keeping those gaps closed.
- Pre-biotics and Probiotics – Fermented vegetables can be given one to three teaspoons a day for every 20 pounds of body weight. Prebiotics and probiotics support the balance of good bacteria in your dog’s microbiome.
- Kefir – Another source of probiotics, use kefir from goat milk or coconut water. A medium sized dog can be given up to two tablespoons at each meal. Decrease or increase depending on your dog’s size.
- Coconut oil or MCT oil – Coconut oil, and or it’s condensed form MCT oil, are super healing to the gut. The fats line to stomach walls, protecting against inflammation, and provide lasting energy for the body.
- Digestive enzymes – digestive enzymes will help break down food particles before they leave the gut, reducing symptoms seen in IBD and Allergies.
- Quercetin – this fantastic supplement is excellent for dogs with allergies, and turns out it’s also great for dogs with a leaky gut. Quercetin supports a healthy gut mucosal lining. Quercetin also inhibits histamine, limiting over-reactions of the immune system.
- MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) – MSM is a natural form of sulfur. It is necessary for supporting the strength of connective tissues and is often found in conjunction with Glucosamine supplements.
- Turmeric – Turmeric is one of the ultimate herbs for good health. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-carcinogenic! It is most effective when fed with a healthy fat like coconut oil. Here is a recipe for a Turmeric gravy that can be poured right on top of a meal.
- Ginger – Ginger stimulates digestive enzymes, and increases the production of bile for improved digestive function.
These steps are an on-going commitment. It doesn’t work to give your dog a healthy diet long enough to heal him, then return to commercial products. You will only have to repeat the struggle to find his health again.
Go on. Give your dog the gift of long life in return for his loyalty. Satisfy him with healthy foods!
– Cassy Kay
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CLee, Julie Anne. “Dysbiosis: Does Your Dog Have Leaky Gut?” Dogs Naturally Magazine. Web. Aug. 8, 2017. < http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/leaky-gut-syndrome-in-dogs/>
DScott, Dana. “The Leaky Gut Epidemic: Why Your Dog’s Allergy Treatment Doesn’t Work.” Dogs Naturally Magazine. Web. Aug. 8, 2017. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/why-your-dogs-allergy-treatment-doesnt-work/