Ask Pinto: What is Gut Health?

Hi everyone, Pinto here! 

For this newsletter, I would like to give you the inside “scoop” on something we see in our Life at Camp A Better Pet, bellies that feel good and healthy poop.

Healthy, yummy food and treats are always in our bowls and given to us when we listen. 

Mama Rachel knows just what to feed us so that our bellies feel good! She says that some of her ideas about food come from the nice man who checks out our bodies and sometimes gives us these pinchy needle medicines that stop us from getting sick. 

She has a great relationship with Dr. Kim, an animal doctor grown-ups call a veterinarian. He talks a lot about how the yummy foods we eat need to be “high quality” and that they make our bellies feel good when we eat what he says is the “right combination.” He works at this place called Shaker Animal Hospital with really nice people who take care of me and my dog siblings (and mom Franny) plus other types of furry creatures that I would like to chase around. Mama Rachel says that everyone should know about our vet! 

Mama Rachel and Dr. Kim say that sometimes our bodies can make themselves better. This can happen when we eat good foods that help all of our body parts work well together. It is called food therapy and it helps us have good belly or “gut” (Dr. Kim’s word) health. The way we know this good is when our poop looks like the picture I found, all smooth and stacked up. 

I know that when we get scared or worry too much or are around people that don’t treat us well, our tummies can hurt and then our poop can get runny. 

But, other things can change our poop. Things like too much medicine we have to take for a hurt in our body that won’t go away. Another thing that can make this happen is eating food that is too rich or too much, or eating other things in it that aren’t good for you.  You know, things that make our poop go soft.

If things like this happen, and for some dogs, in addition to loose poop they might also feel itchy or get bigger problems, like their body fighting against itself (this is called an auto-immune dis-order).  

The experts say that dogs can have good gut health by following these steps: 

  • Feed us a lot of food that has something called “protein” as the first thing in it. We should not eat a lot of food with salt or preservatives. We can also eat a bit of food from the can or solid food or that is freezer dried out (Mama Rachel says “freeze dried”). Mama Rachel uses (and recommends) Life’s Abundance — right now while I’m young I’m eating small/medium puppy food mixed with canned food and we eat this mixture in frozen kongs or chew kings (here is a video of Mama Rachel and my human sister Sophie preparing them).  
  • Add some rough food or fiber to our food. Mama Rachel gives us something called Olewo carrots which has little hard carrots that the water is not in. Mama Rachel says they’re dehydrated. Whatever. She puts some of these hard carrots into warm water to make a carrot mush that she squishes into our food and then freezes in a kong to make our meals be part of our work and training. Remember that video I mentioned a few lines ago? That one is actually really helpful.  Together the good food and the carrots help our bellies feel good and our poop stays like the picture I showed you! 
  • Get us a lot of fun exercise and the “socialization” I talked about in my first “post,” we do this at our DIPs with a whole bunch of our friends! 
  • Go easy on giving us medicine. There are some times when we might have a problem that needs medicine so if we have to take it, we need to also take something called a “probiotic” which helps our bellies get back to normal after the medicine clears out the bad germs. 

I hope this helps you learn what dogs’ tummies need to feel good and how you can help our poop stay smooth and solid. 

If you need to know more about what Mama Rachel does to help us stay healthy or how we became so well-mannered, reach out to her to learn all about her training and knowledge!