What is it?
Leaky gut is when the tissue lining the gut becomes stretched too thin, either through inflammation, or other factors, and allows particles to pass into the bloodstream.
How do I know if my pet has it?
Generally a pet has Leaky Gut when they appear to be allergic, or intolerant, to all the foods they ingest. These signs can present as itchy skin/body parts, a slightly foul-cheese like odour, hair loss, constant scratching, etc.
What do I do for my pet?
Starting with an elimination diet to determine which proteins and fibre sources your pet can tolerate, and slowly add in additional proteins one at a time. While their gut is in a state of inflammation, they may only be able to tolerate certain proteins for a length of time, before their symptoms get worse. Controlling what they eat lets us create a sort of safe list for them, and allows for changes to be monitored in a controlled way.
Digestive enzymes can do wonders for your pets system at this point in time. If you do choose to add them to their diet, measure out their dosage and add to a bit of water (diluted bone broth/goat milk) 15 minutes before their meal, this will allow the enzymes to enter the system and be more effective. Otherwise, if they are added to their meal, the enzymes will begin to digest the food in the bowl, and not be as effective. However, if your schedule does not allow for that 15 minutes before, simply having them in the pets’ diet will be far more beneficial than omitting them.
Probiotics are another great addition to your pets’ diet. Making sure it is a strong multi-strain containing prebiotics as well, such as Adored Beasts’ Love Bugs, is perfect for your cat or dog. If your budget will allow for it, Fido’s Flora from Adored Beast is a superb probiotic option for dogs. Containing 2 additional strains from the stool of healthy dogs, and humic and fulvic acid, it is a true powerhouse for your dog’s gut.
For dogs: generally starting with a fish option is a safe bet, with the addition of a greens supplement (leafy greens/green beans are great), or tripe, as the fiber source. Fish seems to be tolerated on average a bit better than most other proteins. However, some dogs do not like the smell and will not go near their bowl. Pork is a good alternative.
For cats: generally starting with a pork, or fish, option is a safe bet. However, some cats do not like the fish smell and will not go near their bowl.
After a few successful meals, or weeks, depending on how immediately your pet reacts, change the protein of one meal only to see if there is a change in their body; keep all other additions to their meal the same. It is ideal to be able to monitor your pet after their meal to note any reactions. If there are no changes, try that same protein for a second meal, again keeping any additions the same.
I have found with my dog, he could tolerate three meals of a different protein before he would react (if he was going to react). All dogs are different, this is simply based on my years of experience managing my dog.
Will they ever get better?
It all depends on the animal, and what they are eating. Many will get better after a long time of management, and controlled feeding, though this is largely based on numerous factors. Senior, or older dogs, may not fully recover 100% because old age has depleted their bodies of its many natural immune defence. Keeping a healthy rotation of probiotics, digestive enzymes, and a minimal ingredient raw diet will help keep your pet on the right path.