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Taking Care of Your Pet's Microbiome: The Gut-to-Mouth Connection

June 3, 2024 Stephanie Clark, PhD, CVT, PAS, CFS, Dpl. ACAS, VTS (Nutrition)

A pet might not tell us when their tummy troubles occur, but taking consistent care of their gut health is important for their overall well-being. Like humans, pets have a microbiome, a complex community of tiny organisms in their intestines. This microbiome plays a vital role in digestion, immunity, and even mood! And guess what? The health of a pet's mouth is linked to its gut health too!

The microbiome is essentially a mini-ecosystem within the body. It's made up of trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, but also including fungi and viruses. These tiny organisms live in different parts of the body, with the gut being a particularly important one for pets.

Think of it like a zoo for microscopic creatures! These little residents play a big role in the pet's health. A healthy microbiome is crucial for a dog's overall health and well-being. It contributes to a strong immune system, proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and mental health.1

The Gut-to-Mouth Connection

The bacteria in a pet's gut can travel up to its mouth. An unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to oral problems like bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss. On the other hand, a healthy gut microbiome can help keep a pet's mouth healthy.

Keeping Your Pet's Microbiome Happy

So, how to keep a pet's gut microbiome thriving? Here are a few tips:

Signs of an Unhealthy Microbiome

Here are some signs that a pet's microbiome might be out of whack:

Other potential signs of an imbalanced gut microbiome are changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, and a weakened immune system. It is important to remember that these can also be caused by underlying health problems, but if these signs are noticed, talk to a veterinarian. They can help diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan. Ensuring formulation by experts, especially those well-educated in feeding the gut microbes. Taking care of a pet's gut health is not just helping their tummy – it is helping their whole body stay happy and healthy!


  1. Suchodolski, J.S. 2022. Analysis of the gut microbiome in dogs and cats. Vet. Clin. Pathol. 50(Suppl. 1):6-17.
  2. Craig, J.M. 2016. Atopic dermatitis and the intestinal microbiota in humans and dogs. Vet. Med. Sci. 2:95-105.
  3. Rostaher, A., Morsy, Y., Favrot, C., Unterer, S. Schnyder, M., Scharl, M., Fischer, N.M. 2022. Comparison of the gut microbiome between atopic and healthy dogs – Preliminary data. Anim. 12:2377.
  4. Di Cerbo, A., Pezzuto, F., Canello, S., Guidetti, G., Palmieri, B. 2015. Therapeutic effectiveness of a dietary supplement for management of halitosis in dogs. J. Vis. Exp. 101:52717.
  5. Middelbos, I.M., Vester Boler, B.M., Qu, A., White, B.A., Swanson, K.S., Fahey, G.C. 2010. Phylogenetic characterization of fecal microbial communities of dogs fed diets with or without supplemental dietary fiber using 454 pyrosequencing. PLoS ONE. 5(3): e9768. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009768
  6. Park, S.Y., Hwang, B.O., Lim, M., Ok, S.H., Lee, S.K., Chun, K.S., Park, K.K., Hu, Y., Chung, W.Y., Song, N.Y. 2021. Oral-gut microbiome axis in gastrointestinal disease and cancer. Cancers. 13(9):2124.

About the author – Stephanie Clark, PhD is a board-certified companion animal nutritionist, veterinary nurse and nutrition specialist, and a mother who had a baby during the formula shortage. She has done literature reviews on the formula shortage and is up-to-date on the latest recalls.

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