Is the microbiome of a dog really that important?

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microbiome of a dog

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Delicate Care.

Of recent times the marketing gurus have been focusing on benefits of a healthy gut microbiome. So what evidence is available to back up these claims? A quick search on Google Scholar brings up a plethora of papers from reputable institutions that show the importance of focusing on achieving a balanced gut microbiome in dogs. There is now also a large amount of research being conducted into how the gut microbiome can have an effect on diseases including autoimmune diseases, mental disorders, and cancers.

This article—SCIENCE 101 :Your dog is wonderland of microbiomes (Jan 4,2017) (https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/article/science-101-your-dog-wonderland-microbes)—provides a succinct overview. “For every cell in your dog’s body (and yours, too!), there are more than 10 microbes living in or on them, including bacteria, viruses, and other single-celled organisms. All of these organisms are collectively known as the microbiome and they affect your dog’s health in countless ways, both for good and bad. Any body system that is not sterile has a microbiome, so dogs have a microbial ecosystem in their gut and mouth, on their skin, inside their nose, and in their reproductive tracts. A robust microbiome plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy dog. One example of the importance of a dog’s microbiome is the multitude of organisms living in its gastrointestinal tract. These guys are not just freeloaders; they are essential for proper digestion, vitamin synthesis, boosting the immune system, weight regulation, and protecting against potentially disease-causing microorganisms. Understanding how the gut microbiome is influenced by diet and environment, and influences health outcomes, is the first step toward manipulating the microbiome to help prevent or treat disease.”

Gut microbiome and diet

The ‘gut microbiome’ is made up of trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material that live in your dog’s intestinal tract. These microorganisms, mainly comprising of bacteria but including other microbes such as viruses and fungi, are involved in functions critical to your dog’s health and wellbeing. 

The microbiome plays an important role in overall health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system. If the balance of the gut microbiome is dominated by unhealthy microbes in the digestive system then unwanted outcomes such as weight gain, diabetes, and other gastrointestrial issues can occur.

The good bacteria in the microbiome helps to digest food, regulate your dog’s immune response and protect against bad bacteria that can cause disease. 

What can modify the microbiome?

Over the past 20 years manufacturers of super premium dog foods have focused on the general gut health with careful choice of fibre, prebiotics and probiotics. 

By the inclusion of an appropriate dose of fibre which provides a good balance between soluble and insoluble fibre, and prebiotics such as FOS (fructo-oligo-saccharides) and MOS (mannan-oligo-saccharides) many modern canine diets are designed to enhance the gut microbiome with the aim of maintaining the dog in optimum health. Diet is only one of twelve acknowledged influences on the gut microbiome, thus it can only ever be one of the inputs into maintaining a healthy dog. A more diverse microbiome leads to a healthier gut and a healthier pet!

For more information on how Delicate Care products can benefit a dog’s microbiome please contact your Delicate Care sales representative or dcsales@delicatecare.com.au

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