There’s an epidemic of itching, oozing, scratching, uncomfortable, suffering, allergic dogs. Is your dog one of them? Then you’ll want to know what’s going wrong and how to make it right.
Allergies are one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in dogs today. And if your dog has this problem, you know how hard it is to treat.
That’s because conventional medicine only treats the symptoms, not the cause. Your dog’s distressed eyes, ears, feet and belly are not the disease. They are the symptoms.
Researchers are finding out why conventional allergy treatments don’t work. That’s because they’re learning more about the microbiome. And how a healthy, balanced microbiome is the key to your dog’s good health.
Good Health Starts In The Gut
There’s a colony of bacteria that lives throughout your dog’s body. But the most important bacteria live in your dog’s intestines and gut. That’s the microbiome. The gut microbiome contains 100 trillion organisms. And they outnumber your dog’s cells by 10 to 1. The microbiome plays a huge role in your dog’s immune system. It’s estimated that about 80% of the immune system is in the gut.
The microbiome contains good and bad bacteria along with yeasts, other fungi and viruses. The good bacteria are probiotics. They balance the microbiome and repopulate the colon with healthy bacteria. They protect the body from bad bacteria, yeasts and viruses. But when there isn’t enough healthy bacteria to fight off the bad guys, your dog suffers.
Most conventional allergy drugs, prescription diets and treatments destroy the delicate balance in your dog’s microbiome. They kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria. That makes your dog more likely to suffer from allergies and autoimmune diseases. Veterinarians prescribe drugs to help but they cause illness instead.
Why The Microbiome Is Important
The bacteria and microorganisms of the microbiome have important functions in your dog’s body:
- Manufacture of vital nutrients including vitamin K and some B vitamins.
- Absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
- Regulation of the immune system. T cells can increase or decrease inflammation in the body. The body begins adapting early in a dog's life. Bacteria in a puppy’s microbiome trains T cells to differentiate between friendly and harmful bacteria.
- Strengthen the gut lining by producing fatty acids.
A healthy microbiome means a healthy dog. But if the bad bacteria gets out of control, they’ll survive by attacking your dog’s body. And that weakens your dog’s health.
6 Ways to Damage The Microbiome
The balance between the friendly and harmful bacteria in your dog’s microbiome is easy to upset. Here are some causes.
- Antibiotics. They kill good and bad bacteria. They can wipe out the entire colony of good bacteria and leave resistant germs to grow and multiply. Even your dog’s food can contain antibiotics. Conventionally raised animals get antibiotics that end up in the meat your dog eats. 2
- NSAIDs, Prescription Drugs and Chemicals. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other prescription meds make it difficult for friendly bacteria to thrive.
- Steroids. Steroids suppress the immune system and can encourage growth of harmful bacteria.
- Vaccines. They disturb the immune system and interfere with the growth of friendly bacteria.
- Stress. Your dog feels stress just like you do … and this can affect his microbiome.
- Diet. High carb, high fat processed kibble diets breed harmful bacteria. Grains cause an overgrowth of fungus and yeast. Other kibble ingredients that damage the microbiome include: dairy, genetically modified (GMO) foods, preservatives, coloring and chlorinated water.
The Leaky Gut Epidemic
Harmful bacteria left unchecked causes leaky gut. These are holes that develop in your dog’s gut lining. This allows the bacteria, fungus and undigested food particles to “leak” into the bloodstream.
When these substances get into the bloodstream, they cause the immune system to attack and neutralize them. But sometimes the body identifies its own tissue proteins as a foreign invader. And then it creates antibodies against itself. This is the cause of autoimmunity and allergies.
Bacteria passes through the gut lining. Then it travels to the liver, kidneys, heart and other organs. From there bacteria causes chronic inflammation and disease.
Leaky gut is at the root of much more than allergies and hypersensitivity issues. It can create autoimmunity, which causes countless common health issues including:
- Joint pain that can lead to arthritis
- Cruciate ligament damage
- Thyroid disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nervous system and eye issues
- Intestinal problems like inflammatory bowel disease
- Collapsing trachea
- Laryngeal paralysis
- Organ disorders involving the liver, gallbladder and pancreas
- Behavioral problems (the gut and brain communicate via the endocrine system)
Researchers are learning more about the delicate balance of bacteria within the microbiome. And leaky gut has become one of the most common and preventable diseases in dogs (and humans).
Treat Allergies By Treating The Gut
If leaky gut is causing your dog’s allergies, it’s dangerous to treat his skin conditions with antibiotic creams and steroids. And it’s pointless. And prescription allergy diets are also futile. They’re loaded with carbohydrates and preservatives. These are the exact things that cause leaky gut. And they’ll cause more harm to the microbiome.
Do you want to get rid of your dog’s allergies for good? Then stop treating his skin and destroying his immune system – and start treating his gut!
10 Steps To Fight Leaky Gut:
- No more drugs or medications: Look for a holistic or homeopathic vet. They'll help you find alternatives to toxic flea meds and drugs. Learn more about the dangers of these products.
- Stop unnecessary vaccines: Most adult dogs don’t need to be re-vaccinated. There’s long been research showing most vaccines protect for life. Ask your vet to run a titer test to see if he really needs that vaccine (chances are, he’s protected). Here’s more information on titer testing.
- Lessen your dog’s stress: When he’s alone, have a neighbor visit or take him to daycare.
- Stop feeding kibble: Kibble is at least 30% carbohydrate, often more. And it has grains and lectins, which irritate the gut. Starchy foods feed harmful bacteria. A fresh, raw diet is a better option.
- Stop feeding processed foods: Processed foods contain preservatives, genetically modified ingredients (such as alfalfa, soy, corn and canola oil) and colorings that damage the microbiome.
- Choose organic foods: Organic vegetables are free of harmful pesticides. Organic meats will be fed organic feeds. And they’ll be free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
- Avoid antinutrients: Antinutrients called mycotoxins are another reason to avoid kibble. They’re molds that cause severe gut and autoimmune reactions. You’ll find them in kibble. And peanut butter too.
- Add probiotics to your dog’s diet: Probiotics help recolonize the friendly bacteria. You can find store-bought probiotics as well as fermented foods. Be aware of probiotics that contain allergens that can worsen your dog’s symptoms. It’s best to avoid dairy based probiotics and avoid bacteria species like Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus reuteri.
- Add prebiotics: Prebiotics are food for the probiotics. And they help produce fatty acids that protect intestinal mucosa.
- Add digestive enzymes: Digestive enzymes break down food to help your dog absorb nutrients. Grains and legumes block digestive enzymes so avoid these foods for your dog. Plus, kibble is enzyme deficient because enzymes are destroyed during processing.