Dietary Changes that will help
heal your pet’s digestive issues
Science and experience have determined that high fibrous processed foods wind up feeding pathogenic bacteria if they greatly outnumber probiotic bacteria. This is the case with candida overgrowth and other parasitic or pathogenic bacteria situations. We have all seem the increased advertisements for Probiotics added to processed pet food in the past 3 years.
Once there is a serious intestinal flora imbalance, fibers feed the bad bacteria. General Veterinarian practitioners will initially suggest abstaining from processed food with a plant fiber percentage of greater than 45%. It is normal for Vets to tell their clients to feed boiled chicken and rice in hopes of alleviate the symptoms of the problem. This is not a remedy for the over all problem but a quick fix. The solution calls for a great depth of understanding of nutrition, the ills of processed food and nutraceutical therapy.
When the beneficial probiotic bacteria to pathogenic bacteria balance is restored, then a diet made of whole food containing natural whole food fiber is a good idea.
The Science of Digestion
Digestion is a combination of at least three processes:
1. Mechanical breakdown of food begins in the mouth where food is chewed into smaller pieces. Once swallowed the food is broken down through muscular contraction of the stomach.
2. Chemical breakdown through the action of digestive enzymes. These enzymes are very specific, working only on a particular type of chemical bond. The enzyme amylase produced by the pancreas breaks down polysaccharides.
3. Microbial breakdown, mainly by bacteria in the small intestine and colon. The extent of microbial activity depends on the species of animal and the diet.
Absorption of nutrients
The breakdown products of carbohydrates and proteins are absorbed across the small intestine wall into capillaries (small blood vessels) which are just below the surface of the intestinal villi. From here the breakdown products are carried to larger blood vessels and enter the general circulation.
* Intestinal villi greatly increase the surface area of the small intestine
* The cells lining the villi are continually lost and replaced every 3-4
* The intestinal epithelium secretes mucus to protect itself from
* Digestive enzymes secreted by cells in the tips of the villi help
break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the small intestine
The products of digestion of proteins and carbohydrates are
absorbed into the capillaries inside the villi.
* Fats are absorbed into small lymphatic vessels called lacteals.
Five suggestions for healing the digestive tract
1. If your pet’s digestive bacteria ratios are heavily out of balance by evidence of gas, stomach grumbling and/or loose stools, eliminating processed kibble and grains in your homemade food may be necessary for a while. One way to reduce fibers is to rely heavily meats from grass-fed livestock, boiled yams, boiled wild rice, and steaming green leafy vegetables as a fiber source. You can process the veggies by using a food processor with a slow speed to finely chop them up.
2. Fermented foods should be added to your pets diet. Miso (fermented rice and barley with chicken broth added to boiled chicken), Kimchi (boiled cabbage, spinach, ginger, garlic and fish or chicken) and live yogurts added to homemade Chicken and wild rice. water kefir (without sugar) All are excellent sources of beneficial bacteria in your pets diet during this time of healing. Just make sure you use water that's been de-chlorinated and de-fluorinated for use in making the food and for your pet to drink.
3. Coconut oil, preferably organic cold pressed, contains medium chain fatty acids that are easily converted into energy. It is also anti-microbial and anti-fungal, another remedy for getting rid of your pet’s digestive issues.
4. Pumpkin, bananas or boiled sweet potatoes are all good with boiled ground beef or chicken for 4 to 5 days.
5. Chia seeds form a soothing soluble fiber gel while providing omega-3. Add steamed spinach and boiled ground chicken.
(These are very generic but effective ingredients for a simple home recipe/remedy. For a more complete prescriptive formulation call a veterinary nutritionist or contact me at Pet Nutrition Systems for a veterinary consultation)