Questions About Your Dog or Cat's Gut Microbiome
6 Important Questions about Your Pet’s Gut Microbiome
- WHAT IS A MICROBIOME?
A cat or dog’s microbiome are all the microorganisms living on or inside of each cat or dog’s body. All microorganisms include bacteria, fungi (yeasts), protozoa and viruses.
- WHAT IS THE GUT MICROBIOME?
The GUT microbiome are all the microorganisms living inside the digestive tract. The last part of the gut is called the large intestine (or colon). The colon is important as it contains the highest number of microbes in the dog’s entire body. We call this the pets gut microbiome.
- WHY IS THE GUT MICROBIOME IMPORTANT?
Your pet’s gut microbiome has trillions of microorganisms. The microorganisms work hard to digest food. They also fight diseases like E. coli, fungi (like Candida), viruses (like Parvo.) and protozoa (like Giardia) as well as supporting the dog’s immune system.
- WHAT CAN AFFECT THE GUT MICROBIOME?
Just like humans, with pets there are things that can lead to a weakened gut microbiome. Things like age, diet, activity level, stress, use of antibiotics, and environmental conditions.
When a cat or dog's digestive system is out of balance, we call it “dysbiosis”. Dysbiosis causes diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, or other wellness or immune issues.
- HOW CAN ANTIBIOTICS HARM MY PET’S MICROBIOME?
Antibiotics are antibacterial substances that kill bacteria or slow their growth.
Antibiotics cannot tell a good bacterium from a bad bacterium.
Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad. The microbiome will become imbalanced and leave the immune system depleted and vulnerable. This leaves your dog open to other diseases and serious issues.
Antibiotic medications for dogs are:
Amoxicillin/Clavulanate, Gentamicin, Chloramphenicol, Sulfamethoxole and Tetracycline.
Antibiotic medications for cats:
Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Clindamycin, Enrofloxacin, and Metronidazole.
6. HOW DO I STRENGTHEN MY PET’S MICROBIOME?
Some medications like antibiotics can have a negative effect on our pet’s gut health.
There are several things we can do to support our pet’s gut microbiome.
Add some fermented foods such as tripe to your pet’s diet (it is now available in cans and dogs love it!). For cats try sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir as they are a little pickier than dogs. Yogurt and cheese can work but do not contain as much fermented food as tripe and sauerkraut.
Use probiotics and prebiotics to boost the new growth of bacteria.
Try a high protein low fat diet for a couple weeks.
Try to get your pet to drink more water.