Not only are potato pasta and rice excellent sources of energy for your dog, read on to find out how to turn them into superfood for your dog’s long term health. It is easy!
Importance of Gut Health and the Microbiota
The gut and its microbiota are all the rage currently, although we have known the benefit of fibre for some time, we are starting to see just how important fibre is, not only for a healthy colon, digestion, good poop, microbiota affects everything from cancer and our immune system to our moods. And this applies equally to your dog as it does to you. Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 has gut health at its core with prebiotics, inulin, lignans to name a few of the ingredients.
While it is still early in our understanding of the complexity of the gut and the bacteria that we and our dogs are made from, recently you may have heard about ‘resistant starches’.
This gets very complicated very quickly so in the interests of brevity and sanity (mine)…one of the easiest ways to have resistant starch in the diet is with potato, pasta or rice:
When cooked and cooled, potato, rice, and pasta become 50% resistant starch. This means half the starch is not digested in the small intestine and is sent off to the colon (bowel) for a workover. The bacteria there love it and thrive. These bacteria then create butyrate which in turn creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and that is very good news because SCFA is anti-inflammatory and not just in the bowel.
Short Chain Fatty Acids:
We are just starting to understand SCFA;
- they contribute to good colon health
- good motility (which means moving through the bowel)
- repair the mucous lining
- are anti-inflammatory
Let’s be honest – good poop is priceless. We all want to pick up a good poop, (not sure on that expression – picking up poop is an occupational hazard and necessity if you have the love of a dog- kinda goes with it). If your dog has intermittent Irritable Bowel or diarrhoea, building SCFAs through resistant starches would seem like a good idea. Ditto for constipation.
Of greater consequence (or perhaps not if you are cleaning up after a dog with IBS) is that a new understanding of SCFA is their benefit to the rest of the body. It appears that some SCFAs travel in the bloodstream and are positively affecting the immune system, blood lipids & cholesterol, certainly colon cancer but affecting T-cells and even moods. It appears that SCFA may be the key between diet, gut microbiome, and health and for the more academic.
Chicken and Rice Dinner
We are at the tip of the iceberg in what these hungry bacteria do for us and for our dogs. For instance, we haven’t really known why chicken rice dinners help settle dogs digestion but it is the go-to recommendation for many vets and for many of us too. Now we know it is the SCFA doing all the heavy lifting, the cooked and cooled rice is making the difference because resistant starch settles the colon. Simple. (Chicken & Rice is NOT a healthy long term diet for your dog)
It is very early days in understanding the complexity of our gut and that of our favourite companions, but the little we do know points back to old wisdom, eat real food and don’t waste it (don’t throw it out). Of course, be mindful of food safety, don’t leave these out of the fridge, they need to be kept cool because nasty bacteria also love warmish rice…