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Digestive health


Health & nutrition

What is the Microbiome and How Can it Affect Your Pet’s Health?

If you follow any wellbeing or health news, you may be familiar with words like “probiotics” or “kombucha.” You might even recognize hard-to-pronounce bacterial names like “bifidobacterial” or “lactobacillus” as being a key feature in your yogurt. Gut-health related messages and benefits are everywhere, both in popular media and in science. For our pets, gut health is a top priority when it comes to promoting their health and wellbeing; however, understanding the real function and importance of the bacteria that populate our dog’s and cat’s digestive system is no easy task. Here we provide a back-to-basics introduction on the gut microbiome, and why it is important to consider these microorganisms when it comes to choosing the right food for your pet’s health.

What is the Gut Microbiome?

The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material that live inside a dog or cat’s intestinal tract. Comprising mainly of bacteria, the microbiome is involved in functions critical to a pet’s health and wellbeing, which includes digesting the food your pet eats and helping absorbing and synthesizing nutrients.

The benefits of these gut bugs are further involved in many other important processes that extend beyond your pet’s gut. This includes:

  • Metabolism
  • Body weight
  • Immune regulation
  • Some brain functions and mood

There are many factors that influence the type and the amount of bacteria a pet hosts and, although most pets have similarities, each and every pet will have a unique bacterial footprint.

How Does the Gut Microbiome Develop?

At birth, a pet’s microbiome is the result of genetics, but external factors come into play as soon as the puppy or kitten begins interacting with the outside world. The following factors can have both positive and negative effects on your pet:

  • Diet
  • Environment
  • Lifestyle
  • Medications (particularly exposure to antibiotics, which can deplete gut bacteria)

The result is that every dog and cat having a uniquely individual microbial and keeping these tiny organisms in the optimal balance is key to wellbeing.

Just like any other living organism, you need to create the right conditions and provide a supply of good food to keep them functioning properly.

What is a “Healthy Gut?”

When it comes to maintaining good health, there is nothing more important than a healthy gut. Once considered a relatively “simple” body system, comprising essentially of one long tube through which food would pass through, be absorbed, and then excreted, the digestive system today is recognized for doing so much more than just digesting and eliminating food. Inside its winding tubes lives a whole ecosystem of organisms that work together to keep an individual healthy.

Just like any other living organism, you need to create the right conditions and provide a supply of good food to keep them functioning properly. The microbiome is no different. Optimizing the balance of the trillions of organisms living in the digestive system is key to true gut health and the secret to helping all pets achieve a lifetime of wellbeing.

What is Dysbiosis?

In some instances, the gut microbiome of our pets can become imbalanced or disrupted and is referred to as dysbiosis. This state of an imbalanced microbiome can be caused by many things, including:

  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Obesity
  • Disease
  • Surgery overuse of antibiotics
  • Eating a poor-quality diet

In fact, diet is the most important modifiable factor affecting the composition of bacteria living in our gut. Pets with dysbiosis may suffer a compromise in the barrier lining their intestinal wall which in turn can allow small particles, like bacteria or small bits of food, to enter the bloodstream, triggering an immune reaction. Continuous immune activation and the inflammation that is associated with it can in turn put our pets at risk for a range of diseases as well as compromise both their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

What Can You Do for Your Pet?

Happily, there is good evidence showing that there are several things you can do to keep your pet’s microbiome healthy, balanced and functioning optimally. What food they are eating is one of the best examples of happy-gut factors within our control. Wellness CORE Digestive Health is a line of new recipes from Wellness Pet Food that focuses on fueling every pet’s wellbeing from within.

With a highly-digestible, probiotic-coated kibble crafted with digestive enzymes, a unique blend of prebiotic fibers, and guaranteed levels of probiotics to support digestive health for wellbeing, these new recipes will fuel your pet’s best life, starting with their digestive health.

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