Published: September 2020 | Updated: April 2023
Dogs are undeniably man’s best friend. They bring us immense joy and love, becoming an integral part of our families. Naturally, we want to shower them with happiness and ensure their well-being. However, sometimes our choices, even with the best intentions, may not be the healthiest for our canine companions.
Feeding our furry friends is one area where we can unknowingly make poor decisions. While it may seem heartwarming to share our own treats with them, it’s important to remember that not all human foods are suitable for dogs. Twinkies, for instance, are a definite no-no. But fear not, it’s never too late to make a positive change!
Why Are Twinkies Bad for Dogs?
Even though some of us enjoy indulging in a Twinkie on occasion, we know it’s not a healthy choice. This is especially true for dogs. Think about it: a Twinkie is essentially cake wrapped around an excessive amount of sugary filling.
The type of sugar found in Twinkies is not the same as the natural sugars in fruits like apples. Fruits, which contain fructose, can be enjoyed by dogs in moderation. However, Twinkies are laden with carbohydrates that can contribute to obesity, a condition dogs are prone to without the necessary enzyme, amylase, to break down carbs. These carbs can also cling to their teeth, leading to dental problems.
It’s worth noting that commercial kibble can also be high in carbohydrates. Many pet parents are now considering raw food or homemade diets for their dogs, as they offer a healthier alternative.
Improving Dog Gut Health
Obesity is on the rise among companion animals in the United States. Interestingly, there is a connection between gut health and obesity, as well as various other medical conditions.
Recent studies have shown that dogs on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have improved gut microbiomes with better balance. In fact, obese dogs tend to respond better to dietary changes than their lean counterparts, giving us hope that positive impacts can be made through diet modifications.
To ensure a happy digestive system for your furry friend, consider incorporating probiotics. Probiotics and prebiotics for dogs introduce beneficial bacteria strains into their gastrointestinal tract, aiding in digestion and providing numerous other benefits. These supplements are particularly useful when dogs are on antibiotics, as they protect their gut bacteria.
One highly effective strain to look for is S. boulardii, found in Daily Dog. Even if your dog is taking antibiotics, S. boulardii will continue to maintain the balance in their gut.
Optimizing your dog’s gut health not only helps prevent obesity but also contributes to their overall gastrointestinal and immune well-being, as well as reducing the risk of metabolic diseases, cancer, and neurological disorders.
Choosing the Best Treats for Dogs (Not Twinkies!)
When it comes to treating your dog, it’s important to select options that are safe, healthy, and delicious. Here are some great choices:
Natural treats: Opt for treats made with natural ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, and meats. Avoid those with artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. Dehydrated meat, like beef jerky or turkey strips, and freeze-dried single-ingredient fruits like apples or bananas are excellent options.
Dental treats: Treats that promote dental health are a wise choice. They can help clean teeth, freshen breath, and reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Dental chews, sticks, and bones designed for safe chewing and digestion are ideal.
Training treats: Bite-sized treats low in calories are perfect for training and rewarding good behavior. Look for treats high in protein and low in fat, and break them into smaller pieces as needed. Soft, chewy treats or small pieces of cheese or cooked chicken are great choices.
Homemade treats: Get creative and make your own treats at home! It can be a fun and rewarding experience. Just ensure you use ingredients that are safe for dogs and avoid any that are harmful, like chocolate or onions.
Remember, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet. If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet or nutrition, consult with your veterinarian for guidance.
The Future of Gut Microbiome Research
While research on the gut microbiome in animals is still ongoing, it’s well-established in humans that an imbalanced gut microbiome can lead to cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, and liver and brain diseases.
While we await further studies on the gut microbiome in dogs and cats, one thing is clear: maintaining proper gut health, accompanied by a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria, is vital for your dog’s overall well-being.
So, instead of rewarding Fido with a Twinkie when he’s been extra good, opt for healthy alternatives like CBD treats or sliced apples. And don’t forget to add the best probiotic for dogs to their meals to contribute to a long and healthy life for your beloved four-legged companion.
- How a Dog’s Diet Shapes its Gut Microbiome
- The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health
- The Unknown Sugar in Pet Food
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