- Leaky gut syndrome is also known as dysbiosis.
- It occurs when a dog’s intestinal lining becomes damaged, for example due to poor diet or antibiotic use.
- Symptoms include diarrhea and excess gas, but leaky gut can also contribute to a range of more serious health problems.
- Managing diet, using pre and probiotics, and helping your pet recover after antibiotics can all help heal a leaky gut.
If you’re at all interested in the importance of good gut health for our dogs, you will probably have come across something known as leaky gut syndrome.
And while its name might sound slightly humorous, this serious problem is certainly no joke.
But what is leaky gut syndrome, what causes it and what does it mean for your dog?
Keep reading to find out.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut syndrome, also known as dysbiosis, occurs when a pup’s intestinal lining becomes damaged.
In normal circumstances, the mucosal wall in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract is semipermeable — it allows all the essential nutrients your dog needs to be absorbed into the bloodstream while stopping toxins and other nasties getting through.
But when the intestinal lining is compromised, it no longer provides such a barrier. As a result, toxins and undigested food can then enter the bloodstream.
Causes and symptoms of leaky gut syndrome
What causes leaky gut syndrome? There are several reasons why your dog’s intestinal lining can become damaged or compromised, including antibiotics, a poor-quality diet, parasite problems and even emotional stress.
All of these factors can throw the balance of good and bad bacteria in your pup’s gut out of whack, and we all know that a healthy gut is a crucial factor to ensure overall health and wellbeing. The gut is responsible for up to 70% of your pet’s immune system function, so nourishing the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract is essential.
But if the proper balance of gut bacteria isn’t maintained, the intestinal lining can become inflamed.
The most common symptoms of dysbiosis are diarrhea, excess gas and bloating. However, it can also lead to a wide range of other symptoms as the immune system stirs into action to defend your pup against the nasties entering his bloodstream. This could potentially increase your dog’s chances of suffering from allergies and other autoimmune disorders.
Treatment and prevention
Dysbiosis is a serious problem, but there’s plenty you can do to heal a healthy gut. This includes:
Improving your pup’s diet. Switching to a high-quality dog food, especially one designed to promote good gut health like Heed, can help restore the balance between good and bad bacteria.
Pre and probiotics. Talk to your veterinarian about the potential benefits of probiotic supplements for your dog’s gut health. You can also consider adding foods that are natural prebiotics to your pup’s diet, while a holistic vet may recommend using digestive enzymes and herbs to improve digestive function.
Antibiotic recovery. If your dog is prescribed a course of antibiotics, make sure you understand the effect antibiotics can have on gut health and what you can do to help your pup recover.
Tackle food allergies. If your pup suffers from a food allergy or intolerance, diagnose the cause of the problem by feeding an elimination diet. You can then switch to a diet that doesn’t cause any discomfort for your pet.
Eliminate emotional stress. If anxiety is contributing to your dog’s gut health problems, find the source of the stress and work out how to eliminate it from your pup’s life.