Many dog parents are aware that gut health is important for overall wellness and that there is a relationship between gut health and food intolerances and allergies. Inflammation from within is often expressed externally as itching, scratching, and loose stools.
We see problems arise when well-intentioned owners try to treat their dog’s food sensitivity or intolerance issues by adding probiotics and fermented foods -before they’ve eliminated the food triggers.
Although human studies have assessed probiotics for treatment of food allergies, they were done prenatally, in infants and in children and the results were inconsistent. The gut microbiome changes throughout life so more research is needed in determining whether probiotic supplementation can alleviate food allergies in adults. We also have to remember dog’s have different microbiota composition so the results can’t be easily transferred.
Keep in mind that many fermented foods are very high in histamine which can actually trigger an inflammatory response in a compromised individual. Remember that increasing microbial diversity has wide benefits, but it’s dependent on whether the particular bacterial cultures agree with your dog!
*At this time, an elimination diet is still the first proven step in identifying food triggers and allowing the body to calm enough to work on healing the gut.
When we work with a client, we first guide them through an elimination diet or a gentle gut reset protocol – depending on the dog and their situation -and that in itself can bring a lot of relief. Only after we’ve seen positive results from the chosen approach do we consider additional tailored supplements and functional foods.
Our proactive general dietary suggestions:
- Feed a fresh food, nutrient dense, balanced diet. Ensuring your dog receives optimal vitamins and minerals helps support a healthy gut and immune system.
- If you feed processed dog food, look at adding some fresh foods that nutritionally complement the diet.
- Feed small amounts of a variety of probiotic and prebiotic foods to your healthy dog/puppy. In fact, starting with the mother is ideal.
If your dog develops a food sensitivity or intolerance, go back to basics with a strategic elimination diet plan. First instincts seem to be to ADD things to help your dog, but this can backfire and create more confusion and doesn’t address the underlying dysbiosis.
**Fermented foods can be wonderful additions to a dog’s diet, but don’t rely on them to treat allergies and sensitivities.