We’re always getting questions about the #1 thing dog owners can do to boost their dog’s health. The problem is, there isn’t just one thing.
So instead, I’ve gathered a list of 5 things that can help make your dog healthier.
5 Ways To Boost Your Dog’s Health
In no particular order, here's our top advice to get your dog on the path to good health.
1. Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut is becoming a common condition in dogs. It’s well-named because, with Leaky Gut syndrome, the gut lining lets toxins “leak” into the bloodstream. Here’s what happens.
Sometimes the delicate mucosal lining protecting your dog's gut gets damaged. The lining is a bit like cheesecloth that allows tiny digested food particles into the bloodstream. That’s when it’s working properly.
But if the bacteria in your dog’s gut get out of balance, and the “bad” bacteria start to outnumber the friendly bacteria. When this happens, the “cheesecloth” gets damaged and stretched out. This means it can let larger undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins pass through into the bloodstream. This causes many adverse reactions. First, it makes the liver work overtime to filter out the toxins. And then the immune system jumps into action to fight off the intruders (toxins). This can cause chronic inflammation in your dog.
And this chronic inflammation can lead to all kinds of health conditions:
- Allergies, skin disease, thyroid, joint, heart disease, spinal cord, eye or brain issues.
- Inflammatory bowel disease, chronic cystitis, collapsing trachea, laryngeal paralysis.
- Liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders.
- Behavior problems such as aggression and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
- Autoimmune disease and nutritional deficiencies. These can lead to cancer or chronic inflammation.
Leaky gut is serious. But you can manage it.
2. Feed Raw
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market. People are recognizing that when it comes to feeding for health, kibble isn't the way to go.
There are many reasons kibble isn't good for your dog:
- Most kibble contains 25 to 45 percent starch and dogs don’t need starch in their diet.
- Excess starch supports unhealthy gut bacteria.
- The high-temperature cooking process destroys the nutrients in the food.
- Manufacturers add synthetic vitamins to replace the missing nutrients, which are harmful to your dog.
- High heat denatures the protein, making it hard for your dog to digest.
Animal nutritionist Dr Richard Patton makes it clear. "A bowl of kibble once a day is tantamount to daily endocrine abuse and is unhealthful. After eating, blood sugar spikes, insulin pours forth, blood sugar plunges."
Natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria are in raw pet foods. They're undamaged by any type of cooking process, making them much healthier. Raw foods are also full of REAL, natural vitamins and minerals, not fake ones.
And, a raw diet can help prevent and manage many common health conditions:
- Gastrointestinal, liver and kidney disease
- Allergies and skin disease
- Hormonal disease
3. Add In Some Antioxidants
Your dog gets bombarded by toxins at every turn. I’m talking about pesticides, antibiotics and toxins in food. Cleaning and lawn chemicals and vaccines too. And these toxins build up in the body and generate free radicals.
Free radicals are a natural byproduct of certain processes in the body, including metabolism. They cause oxidative stress on your dog’s body, damaging his cells, proteins and DNA. So what can you do to control the proliferation of free radicals?
The answer: antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep those free radicals under control and promote better health for your dog.
A healthy diet full of antioxidants helps prevent free radical takeover. And there are several foods you can add to your dog's diet to boost his antioxidants. One of my favorites is berries, which are full of a powerful antioxidant called quercetin.
4. Detox The Entire Body
It's impossible to deny it. We live in a toxic world.
I covered toxins earlier with antioxidants, but there's even more you can do to clear them out. Detoxifying your dog means cleaning out the various systems - from head to tail. Just like you'd do a detox for yourself, your dog also benefits from a good cleanse.
Whether you do it yearly or every 6 months, a regular detox is a great way to “clean house” and boost your dog's health.
5. Switch Out The Fish Oil
Last, but not least, we're going to talk about fish oil. This is a hard one for some to accept, but it's important.
Millions of people feed their dogs fish oil because of the omega-3s. And that's a good reason to because your dog needs omega-3s. Omega-3s support immune health, heart health, brain health and more. They also balance out omega-6s, which can cause inflammation and chronic disease.
But fish oil isn't the best (or even a good) source of omega-3s. In fact, it could be harming your dog. Fish oil:
- Is extremely vulnerable to oxidative damage and rancidity.
- May contain toxins like heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls.
- Is often full of radioactive particles.
It's also killing the ocean.
So what's the alternative ... no omega-3s? Of course not. There are several safe alternatives that give your dog the fatty acids she needs. One of our favourites is green lipped mussels.
Giving your dog a healthy life is a choice. But if you use these tips, you cans tart to get your dog back on track to healthy living.