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How to Maintain a Healthy Gut for Your Mutt

How to Maintain a Healthy Gut for Your Mutt 0

How to Maintain a Healthy Gut for Your Mutt

When it comes to the overall health of a dog, you might not consider the digestive system to be as significant as it is. The gut is connected to the entire body and plays a huge role in a dog's quality of life. Understanding how the gastrointestinal tract works and what happens when things go wrong are the first steps towards knowing how to maintain a healthy gut in your dog.

The Inner Workings of the Canine Gut

The gastrointestinal tract marks the path that food must travel from your dog's mouth all the way to its anus. Digestion begins as soon as your dog puts food in its mouth. A dog's saliva contains digestive enzymes that chemically break down the food. As the dog swallows, muscles in the esophagus push the food down toward the stomach. When food reaches the stomach, it is broken down even more by stomach acids. Now the nutrients, vitamins and minerals can be absorbed by the intestines, which is where beneficial bacteria is found and the balance of salts and fluid is maintained. Waste passes through the rectum and is eliminated as feces.

 

 

Beneficial Gut Bacteria

Naturally occurring bacteria in the intestines of dogs help to maintain a healthy balance in the digestive system. Five strains have been found to be most effective in dogs:

  1. Lactobacillus Acidophilus -- Eliminates disease-causing bacteria and facilitates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
  2. Lactobacillus Plantarum -- Removes toxins that can cause diarrhea and irritate sensitive stomachs, and it helps strengthen the immune system.
  3. Lactobacillus Brevis -- Supports absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the digestive tract.
  4. Lactobacillus Fermentum -- Stops the growth of harmful bacteria that cause urinary tract, bladder and yeast infections.
  5. Lactobacillus Lactis -- Prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria and provides support for the roles the other beneficial bacteria must perform.

Most Common Disorders of the Gut

When the microorganisms in the gut get out of balance, your dog may show typical symptoms of digestive disorders. This disruption in gut health can allow harmful bacteria to grow and cause intestinal infections and associated diarrhea, irritation and vomiting. Bleeding, bloating and constipation can result from issues with the intestines, as well as the stomach and rectum. Viruses can also be culprits of severe infections, including kennel cough, parvovirus and canine hepatitis. While some dogs may merely have sensitive stomachs, others may require more drastic measures to fight illness.

Connections Between the Gut and Entire Body

It's not that obvious, but a dog's gut is connected to their entire body, from the immune system to their mind. You'll probably be surprised to learn that 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut. The bacteria that live in the intestinal tract significantly impact your dog and its ability to fight infection. Poor gut health can make your dog miserable both physically and mentally. Maintaining the good bacteria in your dog's gut and keeping harmful bacteria at bay is vital to a dog's overall well-being.

Best Dog Supplements for a Healthy Gut

There are many supplements on the market designed to improve canine gut health. The most effective dog probiotics are those that contain the relevant strains of Lactobacillus, along with pea flour, garbanzo flour, flaxseed meal, lecithin, duck, egg powder, cod liver oil, salmon oil, glycerin, carrot, celery, beet, watercress, spinach, triglycerides and crystalline cellulose. The combination of ingredients not only helps to treat digestive disorders and relieve associated symptoms but also boosts the immune system, prevents infection, minimizes allergies, supports dental health, and improves the appearance of the skin and coat.

Keeping your dog's gut healthy is easy once you have a basic understanding of the digestive tract. Choosing the right supplements can make all the difference when it comes to your pet's happiness. 

  • Jennifer M
Best Ways to Care for Your Aging Dog

Best Ways to Care for Your Aging Dog 0

Caring for Your Aging Dog

In many ways, dogs are just like people. We care for them as we would any family member, supporting their changing health needs as they age. Like people, every dog is different, with a distinct personality, temperament, and favorite activities.

The steps you take to keep them well into their later years also depends on their size, breed and existing health concerns. But despite those differences, there are some general things to keep in mind as your loved one grows older.

Is Your Dog a Senior?

Most large-breed dogs age more quickly than small breeds. On average, small-breed dogs are seniors at about age 7, while large breeds reach that milestone at about 5 to 6 years of age. A small or medium-sized dog weighing under 50 lbs. at adulthood is approximately 44 to 47 human years old by the time he's seven. A large dog over 50 lbs. is about 50-56. Since canines age faster than people, your 10-year-old pooch may be about 56-60 or 66-78 in human years.

Of course, these numbers are just estimates to give you an idea of the general phase of your loved one's aging. The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that dogs of all breeds can remain healthy and active well into later life, with good care from their guardians.

What to Expect as Your Dog Ages

Because canines age more quickly than people, the senior years can sneak up on guardians. It may seem like all of a sudden their companion is moving more slowly or doesn't seem to see or hear as well as he once did.

As he gets older, your dog is experiencing changes on both the inside and outside. As his joints and hips don't work as well and his coat becomes more grey, his organs are also declining and immune system is less effective. While it's always important to keep up with veterinary visits to monitor your dog's health to rule out chronic illnesses or ailments, here are some common signs of old age:

How to Support Your Older Dog

As a guardian, there are many steps you can take to keep your dog happy and content as his needs evolve and change. Because it may be challenging for him to get up and down stairs, you may want to create a space for him to sleep that does not put pressure on his joints. You may want to put in a ramp, raise feeding bowls to make it easier for your dog to eat, or buy an orthopedic bed.

Your dog may become more of a indoor canine, with fewer sprints or vigorous ball-chasing sessions. Exercise is still vitally important in order to maintain mobility. Daily walks, taken at a slower pace than in the past, help your canine to stay active. If your pooch seems sore to the touch or has great difficulty moving, he may have arthritis, a condition you should discuss with your veterinarian.

A proper diet, suitable for older dogs, is crucial to your dog's overall health. As the immune system becomes weaker, it is harder for dogs to fight off infections. For that reason, the AVMA recommends parasite control. As well, maintaining a healthy weight reduces some of the pressure on aging joints, hips and bones. To improve the immune system and overall physical health, some guardians choose to provide a diet that supports a healthy gut.

Some guardians notice their beloved canine has some cognitive decline as he gets older. You can discuss these changes with your veterinarian, and support your pet's mental acuity with interactive attention.

Should You Give Supplements?

Like people, many pets may benefit from foods and supplements that support their changing health needs as they grow older. Specifically, many guardians are turning to probiotics to support a healthy immune system and joint supplements to promote physical well-being in their canine companions.

In 2015, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences reported that several studies showed that certain strains of probiotic bacteria held the potential to improve canine health. Specifically, the bacteria may be promising in preventing stress diarrhea and may promote anti-inflammatory properties.

In 2017, the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University reported that veterinary diets designed to reduce joint pain had some documented success. These diets typically contained such ingredients as glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3 fatty acids.

In consultation with their veterinarian, who can assess the potential role for supplements in a senior dog's health plan, many guardians may, therefore, opt to try these ingredients to support their loved one's well-being.

Working with Your Dog

As your dog ages, his needs with change. As his guardian, you probably know and understand him better than anyone else. Working with a veterinary professional, you can introduce concrete measures to help your canine have a comfortable, happy old age, making your years with him as joyful as possible.

  • Jennifer M
Putting Our Best Paws Forward...

Putting Our Best Paws Forward... 0

It’s the season of giving and here at Doggie Dailies, we believe there is no better feeling than helping those in need.

That’s why we’re putting our best paws forward and donating a portion of all proceeds through the end of the year to RedRover.

RedRover is an awesome organization that supports animals and the people who love them in times of crisis - including natural disasters, puppy mills, health emergencies, cruelty cases and domestic violence.

We love this organization because they don’t only help animals, they help people too! 

Their mission is to bring animals out of crisis and strengthen the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance, and education. 

They offer soft hands and warm hearts when animals and people are in crisis or pain. Using innovative solutions to prevent animal cruelty and neglect, they are educating youth and helping to build a more compassionate future through the power of empathy, resilience and the human-animal bond.

How amazing is that?!

More About RedRover...

RedRover has been helping pets and people for 30 years. Established in 1987, RedRover is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Sacramento, California, that serves the United States and Canada. It is funded solely by private donations and grants to bring animals from crisis to care and does not receive government funding.

Through three vital programs, staff and volunteers offer temporary emergency sheltering, resources, financial assistance and emotional support when animals and people are in crisis and need it most.

RedRover Relief Program…

Provides financial assistance, resources and emotional support to pet owners and Good Samaritans to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations. Through this program, resources are also available to help victims of domestic violence escape abusive environments with their pets.

  • Pet owners, rescuers, and domestic violence shelter advocates apply for financial assistance through an easy online application
  • RedRover Relief case managers provide emotional support and guidance to pet owners struggling with economic hardship when pets are in life-threatening situations
  • RedRover Relief also provides funding for boarding and vet care to help domestic violence victims care for their pets through their Safe Escape grants
  • RedRover’s Safe Housing grants fund start-up costs to domestic violence shelters seeking to build on-site housing for pets.
  • SafePlaceforPets.org is a national directory of pet support programs for those seeking to escape domestic violence with their pets

Click here to learn more about RedRover Relief

RedRover Responders Program…

Shelters and cares for animals displaced by natural disasters and helps reconnect them to their human companions. Additionally, cares for animals rescued from mass cruelty such as criminal seizures, hoarding cases, and puppy mill cases in the United States and Canada.

  • 3,800+ active, trained RedRover Responders volunteers in the United States and Canada
  • 300 RedRover Responders volunteers are trained each year on average
  • Individuals must take a half-day training workshop and are encouraged to complete an online course to become a RedRover Responder volunteer
  • Volunteers are trained in emergency sheltering and caring for animals in stressful situations
  • Since 1987, RedRover has cared for thousands of animals during more than 180 crises, including wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, puppy mill seizures and cruelty and neglect cases
  • In 2016, RedRover volunteers responded to 10 emergencies, sheltering more than 1,400 displaced animals.
  • Respond to an average of 11 deployments per year
  • RedRover Responders volunteers educate their communities about the need to include animals in disaster planning
  • Nearly two-thirds of American households include animals. Many people consider pets part of their family, thus any disaster plan that does not include animals is incomplete

Click here to learn more about RedRover Responders

RedRover Readers Program…

Helps children understand the emotional states of others, develop the skills needed for empathy and explore the bond between people and animals through select stories and discussion. Children are encouraged to share information about animals, reflect on the roles of animals in their communities and determine collective responsibilities towards them.

  • RedRover launched E-Books for Empathy as a complement to RedRover Readers program
  • RedRover provides training opportunities for teachers (online and in-person professional development trainings)
  • RedRover Readers curriculum is a Social and Emotional learning program that aligns with curriculum standards in the United States and Canada
  • RedRover Readers can be implemented in schools, after-school programs, shelters and other venues where there is an opportunity to explore values like kindness, compassion, respect, and responsibility
  • Those trained to implement the curriculum read books from a pre-identified list and follow a research-based teaching methodology that combines listening, discussion and reflection
  • Curriculum designed by professional educators provide supplemental enrichment activities
  • RedRover Readers has reached 51,000 children nationwide and trained more than 1,220 teachers, humane educators, and volunteers to implement the program

Click here to learn more about RedRover Readers

#DoggieDailiesDoingGood

As you can see, RedRover is an amazing organization who helps a lot of animals and people when they need it most. Every dollar donated to RedRover supports their lifesaving work, and there is no better feeling than helping those in need!

Donate by buying any Doggie Dailies product through the end of the year on our website, Amazon or Chewy.com.

Or, go here to make a direct donation on their website → Donate to RedRover

  • Jennifer M
Winterize Your Doggie

Winterize Your Doggie 0

When the outside temperatures drop, we like to stay indoors and drink some hot chocolate or tea.  Similarly, we bundle ourselves into our nice, warm coats, put on our warmest shoes, and may even add some earmuffs before heading outside.

Our canine companions may be in need of such a treatment, but there are different things we need to observe before taking out furry friend out in winter weather.

Here are tips to help you to winterize your mutt and keep him a healthy hot dog:

  • If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it is important to bring him inside more often. Keep in mind the wind-chill factor, which makes the weather actually feel colder than it reads on your thermometer. Even if your dog has a doghouse outside, do bring him in for the night. Frostbite is a very real danger to your dog’s extremities, such as the legs, ears, and even the tail.
  • Do not assume that you can forego giving your dog water in the winter since there is snow all over the ground.  Snow is not a substitute for a readily available supply of fresh water.
  • If you keep your dog in a tiled area of the house, such as a bathroom or a kitchen, make sure you leave some bedding, such as blankets, pillows, or towels.  Tiled floors can become extremely cold in winter, and if there is nothing between your dog and the floor, so will he. 
  • You will need to keep your dog safe from drafts. 
  • If your dog is a long-haired breed, it is a good idea to clip the hair around the paws to make sure that clumps of ice and snow do not accumulate and thus make it uncomfortable for him to walk.  On the other hand, if your dog is of a breed known for its short to medium hair length, this may be a good time to unpack the doggie sweaters to make sure he can enjoy your walks as much as you can!
  • If you live in an area where salt is used to de-ice streets and sidewalks, you will want to make extra certain that your dog’s paws are clean when you get back home.  You may even wish to go so far as to spread a very small amount of petroleum jelly on his paw pads to ensure that the salt is not leading to painful cracks in the skin that may become infected.
  • When you come inside after playing in the snow, be sure to blow-dry your dog so that he will not have the coldness of water next to his skin for extended periods of time. 

Yet there are other things to consider when winterizing your dog, and this involves winterizing your home as well.

For example, while you may stock up on antifreeze to keep your car from freezing up, or while you may have a sack of de-icer for your driveway, you do not want to have these items accessible to your canine companion. 

Dogs simply love the smell and taste of antifreeze, yet it is a deadly poison to them that has already cost many a dog’s life. Make sure that your car is not leaking antifreeze, and when you replenish the antifreeze in your car’s engine, be certain to clean up any spills, no matter how small they might be. 

With the cold winter weather also come the festive winter holidays...

Quite often these bring with themselves a whole host of items potentially dangerous to your four-legged companion, and winterizing your mutt may also mean keeping these problem items out of reach. 

Two things that come to mind immediately are tinsel, such as it is used to decorate Christmas trees and poinsettia plants that sometimes line our entryway or decorate our festive living rooms.

These items may cause severe illness in dogs if ingested, and it is best to forego the tinsel altogether while leaving the poinsettias on high shelves where the dog will not be able to reach it.

So go ahead and enjoy the winter with your mutt! With a little bit of preparation and some simple safety precautions, you should have a great time together!

  • Alex Brown