The benefits of gut health for pets

The gut is inhabited by billions of microbes (microflora). These bacteria have a fundamental impact on the physiology and wellbeing of your pet. The benefits of a healthy microflora are not just limited to digestion.

Your pet’s gut can’t function properly without the trillions of microbes living and working there – called the gut microbiome – this ecosystem of bacteria provides a myriad of life-supporting functions that can help your pet live their healthiest days. There is increased awareness of the benefit of probiotic support for hospitalised and convalescent animals where microflora balance and the GALT immune response can be affected while animals recuperate.

Supplementing your pet’s diet with a high-quality probiotic and maintaining a healthy gut flora provides a wide range of health benefits, which include:

Supporting immune function

With so much of the immune system centred in the gut, it’s no wonder that the microbes living there have such a supportive impact on a pet’s immune function. Probiotics work hard to support the gut barrier, which blocks out harmful bacteria and toxins from leaking into your pet’s bloodstream.

Approximately 70% of the body’s immune Lymphatic tissue is located in the digestive tract, mostly in the form of ‘Gut-Associated Lymphatic Tissue’ (GALT). The GALT contains many types of immune cells that optimise the efficiency of the immune response. Studies have shown that having a healthy microflora stimulates this immune tissue. Therefore, a healthy digestive system is important for optimal immune support.

Healthy weight management

A healthy gut full of friendly flora can help your pet with weight management. Probiotics support blood sugar levels already within a normal range, help to encourage safety hormones and maintain healthy digestion, all of which can help to keep your pet from wanting to overeat and gaining unwanted weight.

Soothes sensitive tummies

Sensitive digestion is a common reason for pet owners to take their animal to the vet. Studies indicate that both cats and dogs experiencing temporary diarrhoea see significant benefits from taking a probiotic supplement when it comes to both recovery and prevention.

Easing stress

Both cats and dogs can experience stress in a number of situations. Probiotics can help the body to produce and regulate feel good neurotransmitters (like Serotonin and GABA) that can support a positive mood. Beneficial bacteria can also keep stress at bay by supporting appropriate levels or cortisol, the ‘stress’ hormone.

Maintain energy levels

As they get older, pet’s energy levels can wane, which can be due in part to an imbalanced microbiome. Probiotics can help to support energy levels by helping your pet to thoroughly absorb all the nutrients from the foods they eat. Some friendly flora even produces B Vitamins, which are essential for energy production.

Maintain joint health

Painful joints can majorly impact on active pets and surprisingly a healthy gut can do wonders to support your pet’s physical strength. Some strains of bacteria produce vitamins that can help you pet metabolise calcium for strong bones and beneficial bacteria can also help to make enzymes that support the body’s overall mineral absorption.

If you are worried about your pet’s gut health, you should consult your vet who will be able to offer advice dependant on your pet’s health needs.