So often our best friends struggle with itching, scratching, staining, and unpleasant irritations.
Does your dog have:
- Abdominal Pain
- Bad Breath
- Weight Loss or Gain
- Gum Disease
- “Allergies” AKA as ear infections, licking of the feet, hot spots, hair loss, constant itching
- Joint Pain
- Lethargy – tired all the time
- “Picky” eating habits?
- Smelly ears or feet
- Excessive shedding/coarse coat
- Staining of the feet and/or face?
- Weepy eye or staining (Not yellow discharge).
These symptoms are all possible indicators that your dog is suffering from Dysbiosis, more commonly known as “Leaky Gut”.
The lining of the intestines is incredibly delicate and complex. It regulates what digested nutrients do and do not pass through the digestive system’s walls and into the blood stream, much like a super-fine “sieve”. It is responsible for deciding, on behalf of the body, what food passes either into the blood stream or out of the body entirely. This includes any beneficial nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and those which are not so beneficial (pathogens, toxins, synthetic slop).
With Leaky Gut, this intestinal lining is irritated, inflamed, and sent into shock through these “bad actors”. This causes the fabric of the “sieve” to become so over-taxed and irritated that they lose their ability to filter out larger food particles, bacteria, and toxins.
Left unregulated, these harmful substances now have the ability to pass unfettered through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream and lymphatics, setting off a catastrophic chain of events. The next recipient of this endless attack is the liver, and it can be compared, at this point, to a dammed-up river. Without the ability to properly purge the body of these invaders, they push themselves out in much the same way they did with the intestines, and the chain reaction continues to intrude upon and infest the body.
Eventually, the body becomes shocked by its own inability to regulate its inflammation, and it begins to attack its own immune system, which can lead to autoimmune deficiencies and disease. One such attack is the perception of the body to comprehend food as an invasive enemy. This is very often perceived by owners and veterinarians alike as specific protein allergies, environmental allergies, grain allergies, etc., when what is really wrong is a weakened immune system due to chronic poor food consumption.
Overuse of medications, over-vaccination, and/or a substandard diet are the root causes of Leaky Gut. Weakened in this way, the body can become extremely vulnerable to other invasive toxins or forces that otherwise might not cause inflammation to a healthy body. Left unchecked, this can lead inevitably and irreversibly to a number of chronic diseases.
Most often, Leaky Gut is a direct manifestation of the abundant, cumulative effects of carbohydrates in your dog’s food. Sadly, just because dog food lists “beef”, “chicken”, “turkey”, etc. on the bag, those meat proteins are not necessarily the greatest in by-volume quantity ingredients within the bag. Often, popular brands like Purina, Beneful, Rachael Ray Nutrish, and the like bulk up their foods with high-carbohydrate, sugar- and yeast-overload inducing, allergy-creating bulky foods that are entirely inappropriate for life-long feeding. Foods like legumes (green beans, peas, pea protein, chickpeas), sweet or white potatoes, rice (brown or white) or tomato pumice are common fillers added by food companies to fill the bags and your pup’s stomach, but have little to no nutritional value to their bodies. Grain-free diets are all the rage as of late, but are full of these volumizers, often to your pet’s detriment. The food companies test these ingredients, in varying quantities, to stay just below the danger zone. Legumes in high enough concentration will kill your dog. Legumes contain substances called phytates that carnivores can’t break down because they lack phytase, the enzyme necessary to process phytic acid. A little of these substances every now and then are not harmful in the long-term, however a steady diet of them is detrimental to a dog’s delicate digestive biome. This is much like you or I saying, “a little arsenic won’t hurt me, right?” NO! There are hundreds of food sources and combinations that render such ingredients unnecessary and easily replaceable.
Leaky gut is a slow-developing but steadily increasing symptom or class of symptoms for many, if not most dogs, today. Often mislabeled and misdiagnosed as “allergies”, these symptoms almost always manifest through your dog’s skin. They are treated with steroids such as Prednisone, “seasonal” medications such as Apoquel, deworming drugs, pesticides, and a myriad of other very harmful pharmaceuticals. None of these medications are safe for your dog long-term, yet often pet parents are told to dispense them daily for months or even years – sometimes, pet parents are told that the use of such medications will be for life. They may work initially, but inevitably and eventually, without changing your dog’s diet, the original symptoms will return or transition into an entirely new set of symptoms.
Your dog’s gut health is responsible for more than 80 percent of their immune system and is directly responsible for the absorption of all the food, medications, and treats that you’re feeding them. Choosing a high-quality, natural animal protein source food for your dog is critical. Look for a percentage of ACTUAL MEAT CONTENT on the bag, rather than trigger words like “with”, “flavored”, or “enhanced”. Read the ingredient label. Can you recognize or even pronounce the words it contains? Stay away from synthetic vitamins altogether, as they can have the opposite effects of the vital vitamins and nutrients they were created to mimic! Transparency is key where food companies are concerned – colorful photos of prime cuts of meat or vegetables on the bag and statements of quality assurance are not guarantees of quality ingredient sourcing. Words like “Recipe”,” First ingredient”, “Natural”, “Holistic” are all hot-button words, but are in no way a guarantee of a quality product that is high in actual muscle-meat and healthful organ-meat animal protein.
There is a simple way to calculate the carbohydrate content in your dog’s food. When reading the ingredient percentages, add up the numbers for Protein, Fat, Moisture, and Phosphorous. Subtract the resulting number from 100. The remaining balance is how much true carbohydrate load is actually in the food.
The following are a few examples of popular, commercially-available dog food brands:
Phosphorous not listed
21 + 10 + 12 = 43 100 – 43 = 57% carbohydrates
Purina Pro Plan
28 + 18 + 12 + 0.8 = 58.8 100 – 58.8 = 41.2% carbohydrates
Nulo canned Grain-free Turkey & Sweet Potato Dog Food
Phosphorous not listed
10 + 7 + 78 = 95 100 – 95 = 5% carbohydrates
OC RAW Frozen Raw Turkey & Produce Dog Food
21 + 7 + 69 + 1.1 = 98.1 100 – 98.1 = 1.9% carbohydrates
Simply put, by comparison, a diet of balanced, healthy food is equivalent to lean meats and produce versus a lifetime of fast-food, sugary cereal, and over-processed, chemical-laden convenience “foods”. You wouldn’t live that way… should your dog?
Carefully consider what you are feeding your dog. Healthy dietary choices are the best insurance policy against pricey medications and veterinary visits. If you suspect your pup may already be suffering from Leaky Gut, the damage caused can be reversed. Dogs’ systems are highly responsive to change and can be easily corrected with the proper food and, if necessary, all-natural supplements. The staff at Feed Right Pet Food can assist you with the information necessary to make a more healthful choice for your fur baby, giving them not only a better quality of life but a longer, happy life.