Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2013

Dietary Changes That Will Help Heal Your Dog’s Digestive Issues

dogfoodDietary Changes That Will Help

Heal Your Dog’s Digestive Issues

by J. Darryl Chester

The foundation of optimum health resides in the stomach. This is a centuries’ old maxim of Traditional Chinese Medicine, India’s Ayurvedic, holistic medical and integrative medical practices, as well as that of the native cultural healers.

Over the last two decades, holistic veterinarians, veterinary nutritionists, and alternative pet healthcare specialists, have realized this basic truth as well. This ancient “health maxim” has even been determined to affect both physical and mental health, where the digestive tract is responsible for providing nourishment to the organs, genetic systems, nerves, and the brain.

I am a part of a community that has embraced this wisdom and developed GI diets, which has a proven track record of returning pets who are experiencing digestive issues to normalcy. One half of all pets will exhibit GI problems (i.e., vomiting, diarrhea, gas, picky eating, etc.), in their lifetime.

Science and experience have determined that high fibrous processed foods wind up feeding pathogenic bacteria if they greatly outnumber probiotic bacteria, as is the case with Candida overgrowth and other parasitic and/or pathogenic bacteria situations. (We have all seen the increased advertisements for probiotics that have been added to processed pet food in the past 3 years.)

Once there is a serious intestinal flora imbalance, fibers feed the bad bacteria. General veterinarian practitioners will initially suggest abstaining from processed food with a plant fiber percentage of greater than 45%. It is normal for vets to tell their clients to feed boiled chicken and rice in hopes of alleviating the symptoms of the problem. This is not a remedy for the overall problem, but just a quick fix. The true solution calls for a great depth of the understanding of nutrition, the ills of processed food, and nutraceutical therapy. When beneficial probiotic bacteria to pathogenic bacteria balance is restored, then a diet made of whole food containing natural whole food fiber is a good idea.

The Science of Digestion

Digestion is a combination of at least three processes:

1. Mechanical breakdown of food begins in the mouth where food is chewed into smaller pieces. Once swallowed, the food is broken down through muscular contractions of the stomach.

2. Chemical breakdown through the action of digestive enzymes. These enzymes are very specific, working only on a particular type of chemical bond. For instance, the enzyme amylase, produced by the pancreas, breaks down only polysaccharides.

3. Microbial breakdown, mainly by bacteria in the small intestine and colon. The extent of microbial activity depends upon the species of animal and the diet.

Absorption of nutrients

The breakdown products of carbohydrates and proteins are absorbed across the small intestine wall into the capillaries (the small blood vessels), which are just below the surface of the intestinal villi. From here, the breakdown products are carried to larger blood vessels and enter into the general circulation.

Key Points

* Intestinal villi greatly increase the surface area of the small


* The cells lining the villi are continually lost and replaced every 3-4


* The intestinal epithelium secretes mucus to protect itself from

digestive enzymes.

* Digestive enzymes secreted by cells in the tips of the villi help

break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the small intestine.

  1. The products of the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates are
  2. absorbed into the capillaries inside the villi.

* Fats are absorbed into small lymphatic vessels called lacteals.

Five suggestions for healing the digestive tract

1. If your pet’s digestive bacteria ratios are heavily out of balance by evidence of gas, stomach grumbling and/or loose stools, eliminating processed kibble and grains in your homemade food may be necessary for a while. One way to reduce fiber is to rely heavily meats from grass-fed livestock, boiled yams, boiled wild rice, and steaming green, leafy vegetables as a fiber source. You can process the veggies by using a food processor with a slow speed to finely chop them up.

2. Fermented foods should be added to your pets diet. Miso (fermented rice and barley with chicken broth added to boiled chicken), Kimchi (boiled cabbage, spinach, ginger, garlic and fish or chicken), live yogurts added to homemade Chicken and wild rice, and water kefir (without sugar), are all excellent sources of beneficial bacteria in your pets diet during this time of healing. Just make sure that you use water that has been de-chlorinated and de-fluorinated for use in making the food, as well as for your pet to drink.

3. Coconut oil, preferably “organic cold pressed”, contains medium- chain fatty acids that are easily converted into energy. It is also anti-microbial and anti-fungal, another remedy for getting rid of your pet’s digestive issues.

4. Pumpkin, bananas, or boiled sweet potatoes are all good with boiled ground beef or chicken for 4 to 5 days.

5. Chia seeds that form a soothing, soluble-fiber gel provide a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Add steamed spinach and boiled ground chicken.

These are very generic but effective ingredients for a simple home recipe/remedy. For a more complete prescriptive formulation, call a veterinary nutritionist or contact me at; Pet Nutrition Systems.

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