Well-being for dogs from a varied diet
Healthy gut means a healthy dog
The gut health reflects the overall well-being in both humans and dogs. The knowledge about the significance of gastrointestinal microbes on dogs’ well-being is continuously increasing. Studies suggest that gastrointestinal microbes, or gut microbes, are linked to metabolism, immune system, and even to nervous system.
The food your dog eats really matters, hence the nutritional content of the diet changes the composition of the gut microbes. These changes can be connected for example to gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases, dog’s oral health as well as allergies and weight management. According to studies, the nutritional content of the diet influences on the dog’s intestinal bacteria and metabolites, which are certain fatty acids and vitamins that participate in the metabolic functions.
Unbalanced gut microbiota has been associated with obesity and disorders in metabolism and the immune system. Also, the quality of the gut microbes impacts on the absorption of nutrients. Studies have shown that overweight dogs have lower diversity in gastrointestinal bacteria than dogs with normal weight.
The dog’s gut is healthy when the intestinal bacteria is balanced and diverse.
Benefits of a varied diet
- A varied diet supports the dog's gut health, since the stimulus brought by different foods enrich the gastrointestinal bacterial flora.
- When a dog eats a varied selection of different sources of protein and different kinds of foods, the dog gets used to variety. This helps, for example, changing the dog’s diets later in life. Read our tips on how to change your dog’s diet.
- Adding raw food as part of the diet, especially with puppies, supports the dog's immune system and can help prevent allergies and food sensitivities. However, we recommend complete dog food as the basis of a puppy’s diet, so the puppy gets enough nutrients for healthy growth. Learn more about feeding a puppy.
- Offering wet dog food in addition to dry dog food can help with the dog's weight management. Wet food contains water, so it is served in bigger portions than dry food. Big portions of wet food can make the dog feel fuller without increasing the energy content of the dog’s food.
- A picky dog may eat better when there is sometimes something else than dry food in the food bowl.
How can I add variety to my dog’s diet?
The most important thing in feeding a dog is that the dog gets the right amount of energy and the nutrients it needs. That is why it is easiest to feed a dog mainly with complete dog food, like dry food.
When 70% of a dog's daily diet is complete dog food, the dog gets the protective nutrients, i.e., certain vitamins and minerals, that it needs. You can substitute the remaining 30% of the dog's daily food intake with wet food, sausages for dogs or ingredients of your choice, such as meat or fish.
According to studies, especially raw food is effective in diversifying the dog's intestinal microbes. However, raw food does always carry the risk of pathogens, i.e., disease agents. A dog can get a parasite infection from raw meat, and harmful bacteria can also transmit to humans. Hygienic handling of raw food and cooking the meat reduce the risk of disease.
By changing the ratio of macronutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrates – of dog food, you can try to influence the quality of the dog's gut bacteria. Studies regarding the gut microbiota on overweight dogs indicate that a diet with high protein and low carbohydrate content improves the balance of the gut bacteria and can help with the dog’s weight management.
Additionally, prebiotics, which promote the growth of good gut bacteria, can improve the diversity of a dog's intestinal microbes. For this reason, all PrimaDog dry foods contain fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS).
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