Digestive Health: Part 1
Updated: Jun 23
The digestive system is basically where the immune system starts and can be the body’s first line of defense from the external world. The health of the gut is so important and is a foundation to start managing many chronic problems such as allergies, pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots), digestive issues, etc. We have to keep in mind that the foods consumed also play a large role as we are what we eat. Discussions about food will be incorporated in future topics.
Many have heard of probiotics. Prebiotics can be less mentioned at times. Prebiotics assist to create a nicer environment for probiotics, such as the heating and cooling system in a home. Prebiotics provide more nutrients for the probiotics to be healthier and thus to function better. Probiotics contain the “good bacteria” that live and grow in the gut to support many functions of the body such as assist in strengthening the immune system.
We are what we eat, so I recommend organic products as much as possible to maximize clean natural benefits and ensure to not add any artificial ingredients. Pumpkin is a natural prebiotic that helps to foster a healthy environment for good bacteria to live and grow. Goat’s milk is a natural probiotic that contains the good bacteria that live in the gut.
My dogs are fed twice a day, in the morning and evening. I add pumpkin and goat’s milk to each of their bowls. Amounts can be dependent on each dog’s size and any reference to feeding instructions noted on the packaging. I mix the pumpkin and milk together at the bottom of the bowl to create a small layer. Then, I add in their dog food to mix with the layer of pumpkin and milk. They love the added flavor!
Sudden changes in diet can upset the stomach, so keep in mind that you will not start out with the recommended amount noted on packages. You will work up to that amount over the course of weeks by slowly adding a little more each week.
It is important to pay attention to your dog’s stool. If there is a sudden change, then you may be adding too much of an item too soon. My dogs each receive a large spoonful twice a day after years of incorporating into their meals. I can say their stools are healthier than they were went I started feeding them pumpkin and goat’s milk over four years ago. Keep in mind that a stool in the form of “hard marbles” is not healthy as it can be a sign of less moisture in the system and possible issues with constipation. Your vet may say feeding your dog two spoonfuls of pumpkin a day, which is a good source of fiber, will cause stools to be too soft in a more liquid form of diarrhea. My dogs do not have such issues, and yours should not either if you incorporate all new products at a slow rate. If you are not confident in how much to add initially, start with one-fourth of a small measuring teaspoon and increase the amount from there to track progress.
Pumpkin and goat’s milk are a good first step to building a stronger foundation in the gut that can benefit the whole body. This is not a simple quick fix. Consistency of providing such foods daily and for life is key. Unless your veterinarian has any recommendations to not use or stop use of these products due to any unique needs of your pet, I recommend incorporating pre/probiotics into your dog’s diet for life.
In my Pippy Nor video on this topic, that can be viewed on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube, I mentioned Green Juju as I use their goat’s milk in my dogs’ diets. If you have any interest in learning more about their story, beliefs, and products, you can go to Green Juju | Whole Food Supplements for Dogs | Feed Fresh.
Paw Note: If your pet has had any long-term issues with allergies, hot spots, digestive issues, etc., then I recommend conducting a full-panel blood test through your vet to rule out any major issues such as thyroid problems, etc. that can appear to be allergies on the surface. My dogs have blood testing completed every year at their annual check-ups to monitor for any changes within their bodies.