When your dog's gut is healthy, the lining of the gut is somewhat porous - designed in good scenarios to allow small digested nutrients to pass through into the bloodstream. That's how nutrients get absorbed into your dog's body. The lining is just porous enough to allow nutrients to seep out, but sturdy enough when it is healthy to keep toxins and pathogens out of the bloodstream and stuck in the gut, so they can be properly digested and expelled.
When the lining of the gut gets inflamed, however, the pores become damaged and are no longer able to properly keep bacteria and toxins from hitting the bloodstream. Toxins seep out of the instestinal wall and into the bloodsteam, causing the liver to work overtime. Your dog's immune system becomes overwhelmed and these toxins end up getting absorbed into his body's tissues. This leads to inflammation and in really bad scenarios, autoimmune diseases that the immume system can no longer handle.
This is about the time when your dog's body starts to see food as the enemy and the intruder. It's also when you begin to see so many dogs who are allergic to foods. Their body is attacking the food because the body sees it as an intruder after a long period of toxins leaking out of the gut and into the rest of the body. Your dog's body basically starts attacked itself and its food (its source of nutrients.) Your dog ends up allergic to many foods, chronically tired, inflamed and stressed.
A really common culprit of leaky gut syndrome is a poor diet, especially one that is highly processed, high in grains, low in protein and uses meat from stressed factory-farmed animals aka really low quality ingredents that decay the integrity of your dog's gut lining. It's basically all of the low quality ingredients found in kibble that lead to leaky gut.
So what can you do if you suspect your dog has a leaky gut? Here are some natural treatments to get things back on track:
- Diet - This is almost a no-brainer, but a healthy, high nutrient, high quality diet will play a huge role here. That's part of the reason we became raw feeders and transition our dogs onto raw food. A complete raw diet has no processed foods and provides your dog with all the nutrients he needs to repair his gut, particularly because raw food diets contain the digestive enzymes your dog needs to help properly break down food.
- Pre and probiotics - These are both a great way to repair gut health and balance the good bacteria in your dog's gut. You can use them as a supplement or source them from real food sources such as goat milk.
- Omega-3s - Adding in an Omega-3 supplement into your dog's diet can help to reduce inflammation caused by leaky gut though it won't relieve the underlying cause.
- Digestive enzymes - Your dog naturally produces digestive enzymes to break down his food, but sometimes your dog needs a boost. If you're not ready to switch to a raw food diet (where digestive enzymes naturally occur), you can always add in a supplement.
At the end of the day, many of the ailments our dogs face are usually caused by low quality foods and nutrient poor diets. Changes to your dog's diet can help her live a much happier less inflamed life that lets you two get back to what you actually enjoy doing.