What’s up with animal health? Fussy-eating, itchy skin, allergies, cancers?
Have you ever wondered why your dog is so picky, eats grass, or even, attempts to eat other dogs’... excrements? These “interesting” behaviors are actually ways our dogs are trying to communicate with us. Often, they are trying to tell us that something is up with their gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome is the community of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi & other tiny organisms) living in the gut. They play a very important role in our health and nutrition. Many serious conditions - allergies, fussy-eating, cancers - have now been closely linked back to imbalances in the gut microbiome.
Every gut microbiome is unique and differences in the bacteria in our dog’s guts, can mean two identical dogs may have a dramatically different response to the same food and environment. It is very important to understand our dog’s microbiomes and to ensure these remain healthy for both their short- and long-term health.
Digging, eating poop, licking paws,... these are all ways that our dog’s try to regain balance in their gut microbiome. Not so stupid now huh? But bottom line, dogs cannot talk, so how can we as pet parents understand what they need to be eating? We have to work from the inside out.
How can Treat help you?
We’ve all been there popping a new bowl of food in front of our dog to see which they’ll go for. Or preparing 5 new bowls of food in the hope they’ll pick their favourite (venison… oh la la), and, crucially,... not get the runs in the meantime.
Treat takes the guesswork out of nutrition. Treat has created the first Dog Gut Wellness Kit for South-East Asia. From just a small fecal sample (scoop of poo), Treat can provide you with a report analysing your dog’s overall health, as well as the composition of your dog’s gut microbiome. They then use this information to give you tailored lifestyle and nutrition recommendations to help balance and diversify your dog’s gut microbiome.
What can I do for my dog’s (& my) health?
- Incorporate more fresh foods - There is an abundance and convenience of ultra processed pet foods. Bad for us, bad for them. Incorporating more fresh foods into their diet (we’re talking fruit and veg straight from the fridge), is a simple, cheap way to replenish their gut health. Keep a check on the ingredients when you by any manufactured foods, and avoid anything that is high-carbohydrate, heavily-processed or containing artificial additives (those artificial colours and chemicals are bad for them too!)
- Exercise - You have most likely heard 100s of time, but it is true! A healthy amount of exercise promotes a healthy dog. Take them out on a 30 minute walk at least once a day (size-dependent!). What’s more, our studies have shown that more exercise is linked to a healthier gut microbiome in dogs. Win-win.
- Re-balance after antibiotics - This revolutionary medicine has many benefits, killing the bad bacteria making our dogs sick. But, they also kill lots of the good bacteria that are essential to keeping your dog healthy - ever had the runs after anitbiotics? Avoid antibiotics when they are not essential and make sure to check the health of your dog’s gut microbiome after your dog has taken antibiotics.
- Feed your dog a variety of foods - Diversifying your dog’s diet will help to diversify your dog’s gut microbiome, making them resilient to disease and ensuring they are getting the most from their nutrition. Switching their diet every once in a while will expose your dog to a variety of different bacteria, keeping their gut healthy. You would not eat the same thing everyday would you? Well your dog should not either.
- Supplements & Probiotics - Curating the perfect balanced diet for your dog can be very difficult and time consuming. A great way to make sure your dog is getting all the nutrients they need is through supplements. Do be careful what supplements you are giving your dog though - all dogs are different! Consider using a Treat fecal test to see what your dog is missing and follow the tailored recommendations to help you level-up their nutrition!
- Water - Just like humans, dogs have to stay hydrated. This is extra important if they’ve been exercising or hanging out in the AC. Another effective way of hydrating your dog is through feeding them more wet foods such as bone broth or fresh vegetables and fruits, such as watermelon (just remember to take out the seeds).
- Understand your dog’s gut microbiome - The key to a healthy dog is the balance and richness of their gut microbiome. Knowing what is going on inside their guts and if their diet is affecting them positively is one of the most important and effective ways to keep your dog healthy.
How can you help Treat?
By using fecal test kits, such as Treat’s, not only are you helping your dog, but also taking part in the advancement of animal health and research in the gut microbiome. With every sample sent to the labs, you help us to get closer to understanding how this complex area of science impacts their health.
Want to learn more? Buy your Treat kit online or contact the Treat team for advice on nutrition, health and wellness for your dog.