Could my dog’s anxiety be linked to gut health?
Anxiety in dogs can be really difficult to deal with - and very hard on the dog! Feeling worried, insecure, scared or lonely is no fun for anyone, person or canine. The resulting behaviour can drive you - and your neighbors - around the bed as you try to work out how to give your dog what they need.
What HAVEN'T you tried to help your dog's anxiety?
If you have a stressed-out dog, you may have tried every remedy under the sun to help support them. Dog trainers, anxiety wraps, pheromone sprays, anti-bark collars, essential oils, even medication from the vets.
But I'm guessing you haven’t looked at how to try and improve your dogs gut bacteria!
Gut bacteria can affect mood and behaviour in dogs
Thats's right - as strange as it may sound, the bacteria that live in your dog’s gut can visibly affect their mood and their behaviour.
How the gut can influence the brain
The gut communicates with the brain via a bi-directional highway. We call this pathway the gut-brain axis. Bacteria in the gut make chemicals that transmit to the brain via this highway.
The chemical messages that land in the brain from the dogs gut can have a big impact. And importantly, whether the effects are positive or negative depends on which bacteria are in the gut. Different bacteria make different chemicals - some calming and soothing; some triggering and likely to induce anxiety in your dog.
Science shows how a dog's behaviour varies with different gut bacteria
Certain gut bacteria are present in higher levels in aggressive, or anxious dogs.
Manipulating the dog's microbiome can reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and anxious behaviours! We can positively impact our dogs’ moods and behaviours by restoring a healthy gut balance.
Of course, if your dog has severe behavioural challenges or traumas, we do recommend you should take them to visit their vet.
However, regardless of the level of anxiety your dog has, restoring a healthy canine gut balance can only have a positive impact. You may find that your dog sleeps more deeply, barks less, has less odorous poo, seems happier and calmer, and your work supporting their gut health may also be helpful in managing any anxiety or aggression.
Often, customers tell us that their pet has other health improvements alongside lower anxiety. This is no surprise as, just like us, dogs can flourish more with a healthy digestive system and balanced gut bacteria.
Thank you to Sdf Rahbar for the use of this photo.