Is your dog having diarrhea, and you just cannot figure out why? Have you tried every food you can think of, and nothing seems to work? Are you worried about dehydration, or other digestive issues? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, the following article is perfect for you and your pup! You might just be dealing with a case of dysbiosis in dogs.
What Is Dysbiosis in Dogs
Dysbiosis in dogs is a problem with the dog’s small intestines, otherwise known as:
- Antibiotic-responsive diarrhea;
- Leaky gut syndrome;
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO);
- Small intestinal dysbiosis (SID);
- Tylosin-responsive diarrhea.
It can lead to intestinal lining damage and is nearly always caused by dietary problems or medications.
More specifically, it is a problem with the ratio of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria inside your pup.
To make it easier, think of a person in the hospital taking antibiotics. Sure, the antibiotics might kill off the bad bacteria that caused whatever problem that patient has, but they can also kill ‘good’ bacteria the patient needs to remain healthy. This sometimes leads to cases of pretty bad diarrhea.
Now, let us assume that a human patient is actually a dog. Believe it or not, our digestive systems are pretty similar in this way! Some of these symptoms below are universal, but in general can vary depending on the cause, age, and overall health of the dog.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Bad breath;
- Weight loss/gain;
Possibly Related Medical Issues:
- Gum disease;
- Immune system disorders;
- Respiratory illnesses such as asthma;
- Joint pain;
- Gastrointestinal cancer.
Antibiotics are the most common cause of dysbiosis in dogs, but not the only one. Too many grains (or a poor diet in general), parasites, toxins, stress, infections, failing health, or several other things can cause this condition.
Always Offer Medications as Prescribed
Be sure to talk with your veterinarian before stopping any antibiotic medication! Discontinuing an antibiotic before it has killed all the bad bacteria it was meant to (before you were told to stop) could cause that bacteria to become resistant, and even more difficult to treat.
Make Sure they are Drinking!
The occasional mess might be expected, but excess diarrhea or vomiting is never normal. This can become dangerous to our pets- especially if they are refusing to eat or drink! Be sure to contact a veterinarian if your dog refuses to drink. This isn’t a ‘wait for an appointment’ situation.
How to Restore Gut Bacteria in Dogs
The very first thing we want to do when it comes to our dog’s health is figuring out what the problem is. Let us assume you have taken a stool sample to your vet (along with your pup), and they’ve diagnosed the problem. You are dealing with a case of Dysbiosis in dogs.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are a fantastic way to restore gut bacteria in dogs, and return your dog’s gut microbiome back to health! They are made of a combination of both live beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Probiotics are actually one of the recommended treatments to help restore gut bacteria in dogs suffering from Dysbiosis.
Thankfully, probiotics for your pup are easy to find in supplement form! Yogurt is a good probiotic for humans but many dogs have an intolerance to lactose, the sugar in milk.
Meanwhile, prebiotics stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which in turn produce nutrients for colon cells, which improves the health of the digestive system. They come in many different forms including powders, pills, and often cookies.
For instance, Black Balance by Medrego prebiotics is a veterinarian-approved tasty snack made from natural ingredients with a positive impact on digestive health.
They improve the work of the stomach and intestinal microbiome, absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract, and removes heavy metals and free radicals from the body.
Thereby, these prebiotics improves the work of the dog’s digestive system starting from moth including teeth and breath to excretion and everything between, including esophagus, stomach, also liver, pancreas, intestines, and rectum. Researchers and pet owners approve that these prebiotics also have a calming effect, a positive impact on fur condition, immunity, weight management, etc.
Now, in order to prescribe the best overall treatment, your veterinarian will need to know what exactly caused the dog Dysbiosis and treat that exact problem. If you think about it, your pup’s leaky gut is only a symptom of the issue that caused it.
- Processed foods;
Your veterinarian will ask for your pooch’s background and medical history, perform a detailed physical exam, examine the stool sample under a microscope, ask about symptoms, and need to know about any current medications. Abdominal radiographs (possibly an ultrasound) will probably be taken to check for any underlying diseases or disorders that could have caused the problems.
Dehydration can become a problem if dysbiosis in dogs leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Those two can lead to severe dehydration in young puppies, which can become especially dangerous and possibly life-threatening!
In order to treat this, your vet will need to stabilize your pup with IV fluids & electrolytes.
In some cases of mild dehydration, fluids are injected right underneath the skin to then be absorbed by surrounding tissues.
Supplements will likely be prescribed, along with a specific meal plan. Depending on your dog’s condition, other medications might be part of the treatment. Your pup usually will not need to be kept for observation, not unless the complications are more severe.
Your Dog’s Gut Microbiome
Dogs gut microbiome is a fancy word given for all the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in his or her gastrointestinal tract. Believe it or not, our dogs need these microorganisms living inside of them, working together in a sort of symbiotic relationship, to keep them happy and healthy.
Some of these microorganisms might be harmful, but the ‘good ones’ keep them in check, preventing them from growing in number and causing problems.
The same can be true the other way around. Too much of a certain microorganism can cause problems, such as your dog’s dysbiosis.
Both vomiting and diarrhea, two common symptoms of dysbiosis in dogs, can be like the body’s way of expelling these irritants. It is not ideal though because it can lead to problems like dehydration.
Restoring the gut microbiome in dogs does not have to be a tricky process! In fact, the concept is simple. Just follow the steps listed below!
Provide a Nutrient-dense Diet
- Make sure this diet is biologically appropriate according to what a dog should eat. If you are unsure, look at the nutritional label on the back of your dog food package (or ask your local veterinarian for advice). The first general rule of thumb- the first three ingredients should contain a source of animal meat.
- Talk to your veterinarian. Be sure to discuss any current medications and vaccinations.
- Provide probiotics and prebiotics to build up healthy bacteria!
- Help reduce stress with daily exercise, play, and mentally stimulating enrichment activities.
- Make sure your dog is free of any parasites (i.e. fleas, ticks, def. heartworm), and be sure to use monthly preventatives.