How to Support Your Pet's Digestion

Supporting your pet’s digestive system is the most important thing you can do for them. Over 80 percent of your animal's immune system lies within their digestive system. Why the gut? Because the gut is the battlefield. For instance, a harmful virus is pushed to the gut once it is marked as an invader by the body. From there the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that lie within the stomach go to work to fight the harmful invading cells. If the digestive system is healthy and running well, it should be able to handle the viral attacker and prevent the onset of illness. If the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system has been compromised by overmedication, an insufficient diet, or stress, it will not be able to perform very sufficiently when an attacker introduces itself. The battlefield is still there but the soldiers -- having been murdered by their toxic environment -- are not available to protect against invaders. To read more about how your pet's immune system is affected by digestion check out Erica’s blog post.

By Vikki Zimmerman

Cat Digestive System - Felis Catus Anatomy - isolated on white

Supporting your pet’s digestive system is the most important thing you can do for them. Over 80 percent of your animal's immune system lies within their digestive system. Why the gut? Because the gut is the battlefield. For instance, a harmful virus is pushed to the gut once it is marked as an invader by the body. From there the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that lie within the stomach go to work to fight the harmful invading cells. If the digestive system is healthy and running well, it should be able to handle the viral attacker and prevent the onset of illness. If the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system has been compromised by overmedication, an insufficient diet, or stress, it will not be able to perform very sufficiently when an attacker introduces itself. The battlefield is still there but the soldiers -- having been murdered by their toxic environment -- are not available to protect against invaders. To read more about how your pet's immune system is affected by digestion check out Erica’s blog post.

Digestion in Animals

The animal's digestive system -- very similar to our own -- consists of many players. The mouth and tongue contain the salivary enzymes that begin the breakdown of carbohydrates. Then the food of choice moves into the stomach and the gastric enzymes begin the process of protein digestion. The “chyme” then travels into the small intestine where other organs release their enzymes to aid in the digestive process. The small intestine is broken into three parts: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Most digestion and absorption occurs in the duodenum where the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder release their digestive enzymes. The digestive enzymes breakdown the chyme so the walls of the small intestine containing villi and microvilli can absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. Some digestion and absorption occurs in the jejunum. The ileum is where the chyme transitions from the small intestine into the large intestine. The ileum in lined with Peyer’s patches -- patches of lymphoid tissue -- that diminish many of the the bacteria in the digestive system. Next, the remaining chyme passes into the large intestine, which absorbs water and certain electrolytes. The bacterial action then synthesizes certain vitamins by the use of intestinal bacteria. After everything that can be broken down and absorbed into your pet's body has been, the waste then moves into the sigmoid colon where it is held and eventually released.

Digestive Ailments and Remedies

Many ailments that wouldn't be classified as digestive ailments by your traditional medical doctor are indeed ailments of the gut. Common digestive ailments include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, regurgitation, allergies, gingivitis, stomatitis, weight loss, weight gain, depression, and hyperactivity. Below are some of our top natural remedies for alleviating digestive issues in pets:

Goat’s Milk

Goat's milk is an effective and inexpensive way to build up your pet's digestive system and boost their immunity. Goat's milk is gluten-free and is known as the universal milk around the world. It contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids. Because unpasteurized goat's milk is illegal to sell in Michigan, companies have added spices to their products. Spices such as cinnamon are added in select formulations, which boasts antibacterial/antifungal properties that can assist with arthritis and inflammation. The key benefits of goat's milk are the naturally occurring digestive enzymes inside. Lactobacillus acidophilus increases immune resistance against harmful bacteria and fungus. Lactobacillus lactis assists with synthesizing B vitamins folate and riboflavin while producing large amounts of lactic acid. This alone in some cases can aid in the treatment of irritable bowel disease. Enterococcus faecium provides nutritional support in the event of a diarrheal disease.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is also a great digestive supplement to add when your pet is having an upset stomach. The fiber in pumpkin is soluble so once it hits the digestive tract it dissolves into a gel-like substance that coats the bowels. Pumpkin also contains a large amount of potassium (505 milligrams per cup), which is essential in preventing dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting that digestive upset often brings about. Read more about pumpkin and its benefits on your pet's digestion system here.

For the month of October we have many of our pumpkin products on sale for you to stock up on during the changing weather - when immune systems are the most susceptible, including:

Nummy-Tum-Tum’s Canned Pumpkin

This canned pumpkin is organically grown in the USA and is packaged in a BPA-free can. One-hundred percent, pure organic pumpkin with all of its soluble fiber benefits should always be on hand if you are a pet owner. Feed on top of food or freeze in an ice cubes tray for a healthy pumpkin treat.

Fruitables Pumpkin Supplements

These supplements are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamins A, C, and E. Their digestive formula helps harden up loose stool and diarrhea. It is made up of pumpkin, apple, spinach, cinnamon, ginger, flax seed and a few other vitamins and minerals to help replenish what has been lost during a digestive upset. Fruitables Weight Loss formula helps keep your animal from begging when on a diet. The combination of pumpkin, oatmeal, and inulin help fill your pup with healthy fiber while spinach, blueberries, and cinnamon (with some added vitamins) help nourish the body during weight loss. They also have a formula specifically for food transitioning that contains just pumpkin. Shop our selection of Fruitables pumpkin supplements through our online market below:

 

Diggin Your Dog Firm Up! Pumpkin

If canned pumpkin isn’t you or your pet's forte you may want to try Diggin Your Dog Firm Up! Pumpkin SupplementThis pumpkin and apple supplement has been dehydrated for less waste. Apple is also a soluble fiber that is high in vitamins and helps maintain lower bowel function. Firm Up! Pumpkin comes in a resealable pouch for ease of use and storage. Each four ounce bag makes up to three eight ounce cans of pumpkin.

Nature’s Sunshine Wild Yam

Wild Yam is an anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, cholagogue, contraceptive, diaphoretic, and diuretic. This herb is known for aiding in female reproductive ailments and digestive support. Wild Yam soothes ailments as serious as Crohn's Disease and as minor as dull cramping. This is an excellent tool to use if you or your pet are prone to digestive ailments. Wild Yam comes in a capsule, but can also be opened quite easily and put onto food.

CocoTherapy Five-Star Coconut Gingered Pumpkin Training Treats

We know why pumpkin is beneficial to pet’s digestion, but have you heard about coconut? Aside from being one of your dog's favorite treats it is also high in dietary fiber and very soothing to the intestinal tract. When ground into a flour coconut makes a great gluten-free biscuit. CocoTherapy Five-Star Coconut Gingered Pumpkin Training Treats contain coconut flour, ginger and pumpkin, some of the most soothing ingredients there are to the animal's digestive system. These treats are a healthy, low-calorie option to use when training, especially for the socially anxious companion.

 

Holistic Blend Pumpkin Spice Hearts

Holistic Blend Pumpkin Spice Hearts are a great treat for fall. These treats are wheat-free and promote healthy teeth by assisting in the prevention of tartar build up. Pumpkin Spice Hearts contain barley and oat flour as well as pumpkin puree and cinnamon to help aid in digestion. With the addition of honey, sunflower oil and carrot puree this treat is perfect for a pup who just wants a simple crunchy biscuit.

Crumps Sweet Potato Chews

Crump’s Naturals Sweet Potato Rawhide Dog Treat and Crump’s Naturals Sweet Potato & Liver Rawhide Dog Treats are human-grade hypoallergenic tools to keep your pet's digestive tract running smoothly. This sweet potato snack packs the same digestive benefits of pumpkin, but in a treat form that dogs can't get enough of! Crumps' sweet potato and liver formula is great for picky eaters who need something meaty to go along with their veggies.

As you can see, there are many ways to support your companion's digestive needs. These simple yet effective formulas have proven successful for thousands of years, but have only recently gained credibility. If your pet is having a minor digestive issue and you aren’t sure where to start, be sure to check out our animal wellness services. You can either call us at (248) 548-3448 or stop by to set up an appointment with our staff so we can formulate a personalized program that works for you and your pet.

Supporting digestion has become a lost solution to many problem we are facing today as pets and people. Even with a proper diet, our environments are constantly bombarding us with immune destroying agents. Your pets feel this threat as well. Additional digestive support in the form of goat's milk, pumpkin, and sweet potato help replace what your pets are constantly losing so your pet has less visits to the vet and, more importantly, more time with you.

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