What is the gut microbiome?

By Chippin Time

What is the gut microbiome?

Did you know that 92% of dogs experienced at least one symptom of a gut microbiome imbalance in the last 12 months? Though we can’t communicate verbally with our dogs to learn how they’re feeling, one way to be proactive about your dog’s overall health is to ensure their gut is healthy.  

What is the gut microbiome? 

The gut microbiome are the trillions of microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal system of people and animals. These microscopic organisms consist of fungi, viruses, and good and bad bacteria.

In the last decade, new scientific discoveries have unearthed the complex relationship between our gut health and overall wellbeing. We now know there is a great opportunity to enhance our physical and mental health by nurturing our microbiome.

What does the gut microbiome do?

The gut microbiota are involved and predict the health of a wide variety of bodily functions. It protects against pathogenic invasion, supports the processing of nutrients and keeps the immune system educated so it can continue to protect the body.

What causes poor gut health in dogs?

According to our friends at the Animal Biome Project, almost 30% of dogs have unhealthy levels of a single bacteria in their gut.

A bacterial imbalance in the gut can cause inflammatory bowel disease, depression, immune responses, diabetes, and other issues. These bacterial imbalance can be caused by ingesting foreign bacteria, but more often it’s caused by food allergies, malnutrition, and prolonged use of anti-inflammatory medicines. 

How do you fix a dog's gut?

Incorporating healthy foods that are rich in prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber are great for dogs! 

Prebiotics: Prebiotics help grow good bacteria in the gut. They’re found in fruits and veggies, as well as healthy sources of fiber. Our favorite prebiotic is cricket protein! The University of Illinois conducted a digestibility study and found that cricket protein is more digestible than chicken or beef.

Chippin also conducted a separate study with Holly Ganz, Ph.D., a microbial ecologist and co-founder of AnimalBiome. This study demonstrated that when our cricket treats and spirulina treats were added to a dog’s diet, they had a more diverse and robust array of healthy bacteria in the gut!

Probiotics: Probiotics nourish and restore the bacteria in the gut after it’s been disturbed by a negative source. This means that probiotics are crucial to supporting a healthy immune system. 

Raw plants: Raw dog-safe fruits and vegetables (washed to remove any bad bacteria) introduce natural microbes to your dog’s gut, bringing further diversity to the microbiome. 

Fermented foods: Dog-safe foods that have been fermented provide a boost of probiotics and help bring balance to the gut. The AnimalBiome suggests yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut to all be safe options in small amounts.

What is the best food for the microbiome?

Diversity of dog-safe foods will lead to diversity of good bacteria that live in the gut! However, it’s wise to keep your dog’s meals focused around one protein source. As dogs often can develop allergic reactions to proteins even mid-life, having alternative proteins you can turn to at mealtime can support their bodies if they develop an allergic response. 

Changing a dog’s diet should be done slowly over time, as any rapid changes can shock the digestive system and cause gastrointestinal upset. 

Aim to avoid high-fat, ultra-processed foods. Start to incorporate healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are rich in naturally occuring prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber to ensure your dog is receiving a wide variety of healthy bacteria to influence the gut microbiome. 

Chippin’s Cricket Daily Food contains a curated selection of all natural ingredients including human-grade cricket, healthy veggies, vitamins and minerals. This complete & balanced meal is rich in prebiotics to support the microbiome. Our cricket recipe also contains all 10 essential amino acids that dogs need to thrive and is packed with omega-3s to support a shiny coat and healthy skin. The dehydrated recipe is both fresh and convenient, while also having a small environmental footprint compared to beef, chicken, turkey or lamb!  (Each 3.5 lb bag saves over 1,000 gallons of water!)

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