Why real food could be your dog’s gut health hero

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Reviewed by our experts. More info
Dr Matthew Muir

If your dog has digestive issues, new foods can feel like a game of roulette. Will they take to it with gusto? Or will you be cleaning up their vomit or poo before you know it? 

If this hits home for you and your dog, stay with us. When their digestive system goes awry, there’s even more need to feed a nutritious real food diet that’s easy to digest and provides all the nutrients they need to recover.

The microbiome: the centre of good health

Your dog’s gut microbiome is an ecosystem, made up of trillions of microorganisms. The microbiome works with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is responsible for digestion.  

But the gut goes beyond processing food: this powerhouse has an indirect effect on almost every part of your pup’s body, from immune function to metabolism, and eliminating toxins

What happens when the microbiome is off balance? 

An imbalanced microbiome is known as dysbiosis. There are three types of dysbiosis: 

  1. Loss of “good” bacteria in the gut; 

  1. Too many bacteria in general, but especially bad bacteria;  

  1. Lack of diversity in your pup’s microbiome. 

Dysbiosis can lead to inflammation, food sensitivities, and gut hyperpermeability (leaky gut syndrome).

Read more about the microbiome

Weighing up which diet is best for your dog

Before you begin comparing the various types of food (there are many!), check in with your vet. Together, you can determine whether food sensitivities or the level of processing are impacting their gut.

Raw (not processed)

The raw (or ancestral) dog diet is minimally processed, but this isn’t always suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Raw meats are more difficult to digest, containing bacteria that modern dogs with gut issues can’t tolerate.  

Wolves, from which the ancestral diet is inspired, likely had more robust microbiomes and gut linings — better equipping them to handle bacteria, compared to their domestic counterparts.

Kibble (highly processed)

Highly processed dog foods (like kibble) are cooked, often repeatedly, at high temperatures. This results in many nutrients being destroyed. Some nutrients are replaced with synthetic versions, which can be difficult for dogs to absorb — especially for those with gut issues. 

According to this study from DogRisk 2022, puppies fed an ultra-processed, high carbohydrate diet may have a higher risk of developing IBD later in life.  

High heating of foods containing carbohydrates have been shown to produce large amounts of by-products called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), because of the Maillard reaction.

Why are AGEs bad? 

AGEs — specifically Acrylamides — are implicated in the development of many health issues. They have been shown to: 

Did you know: dogs consume up to four times as much of this substance as humans? 

Gently cooked real food: why is it best?

Gently cooking low carbohydrate ingredients stops any dangerous by-products from developing. 

Lyka's meals are full of ingredients to boost gut health, like turmeric — a superfood with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Purple sweet potato is another go-to ingredient in our kitchens, being a high-fibre, low-GI carbohydrate: aiding disease prevention with lots of phytonutrients. 

dog gut health

Our pack tells us often about reduced gut issues — like diarrhoea for Emma & Buddy, and reduced flatulence. Other key gut health benefits of Lyka include: 

  • Being digestible and dense in nutrients that have a direct impact on gut lining repair. By building friendly gut bacteria for your dog, you can help them maintain optimal gut health. 

  • Healing to the digestive tract takes place, with our real food ingredients repairing and stabilising the microbiome. 

DYK: our Kangaroo, Fish, Chicken, and Turkey Bowls are lower in fat? They’re hypoallergenic and limited protein, making them a great choice for sensitive tummies. 

End the stress of tummy troubles today

Lyka's meals, crafted by board certified veterinary nutritionists, nourish the gut microbiome with bioavailable ingredients. This gut-first approach goes beyond digestion, promoting vitality, stronger immunity, and more energy overall. 

Just ask Hurley the Weimaraner: his colitis completely disappeared after finding Lyka. For Boston the Cavoodle and Penny the Bull Terrier, making the switch led to digestive benefits — that led to more energy and enjoyment in life. 

Cavil Penny testimonial

Diet transitions can take some adjustment, even if they’re for the better in the long run! If you’d like to explore Lyka as an option for your pup, check out our transitioning guide to see what to expect — or get in touch with our friendly Customer Care specialists for more personalised support.

This article was reviewed by Lyka's veterinary and nutrition experts

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