The Perfect Poop And Why It’s So Important
There’s a reason your vet asks you for a fecal sample when you go in for well-checks. In addition to looking for harmful parasites and bacteria, your vet is also looking at the sample much like how a human doctor does. Your stool can tell if you’re absorbing enough nutrients, are dehydrated, have hemorrhoids, and even if you are getting enough fiber. Health starts with nutrition and nutrition begins in our gut, so a well-oiled digestive tract is critical. In addition to helping us avoid bouts of diarrhea or constipation, a properly operating digestive tract can help strengthen our immune system, help us maintain our weight, increase our energy levels and so much more.
And our pets’ poop is no different – their stool can show us whether they’re getting the right nutrition, whether they have bacteria or toxins inside of them, and even give an indication to things like inflammation and many other conditions. You could be spending hard-earned money to serve your pet top-notch food (and we hope you are), but an unhealthy gut may be stealing a lot of that beneficial nutrition you’re giving them.
Healthy Digestive Systems: The Poop Starts Here
What makes a healthy digestive system in pets, and what can we do to maintain it?
Just as in humans, our pet’s digestive systems work to digest foods, absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients and weed out toxins and other harmful organisms. The digestive system also houses the stomach and intestines (gut) and harbors billions of bacteria that aid in the digestive process and support the immune system. There are many more factors that go into the digestive system and we’re learning more and more as vets perform more research.
To help understand our pets’ digestion better and figure out what I specifically could do to help our recently adopted rescue dog (who was having some major poop issues), I scoured one of the world’s largest pet conventions and learned from many companies and about products that could help. In the process, I met and spoke with Jim Finnigan, the creator of Bernie’s Perfect Poop and president of Bernie’s Best – a company dedicated to improving our pet’s gut health.
Jim says that the key to a good digestive system for our pets starts with good nutrition. What we put into our bodies matters, and what we put into our pets’ bodies matters too. A healthy GI tract in our pets leads to higher absorption of minerals, amino acids, vitamins and nutrients. Additionally, a healthy GI tract in dogs and cats acts as a barrier for many of the disease-causing bacteria and viruses they come in contact with on a regular (my dogs find deer and goat poop particularly gourmet) basis. It also creates the optimal environment for beneficial bacteria to grow and fight off harmful organisms.
Checking your dog’s poop is the easiest way to tell how healthy your pet’s gut is. When it ‘looks good’ in appearance, size and color, odds are it is the sign of a healthy GI tract. Bad breath (no, dog breath doesn’t normally reek), stinky stool, and lots of flatulence (it really is the dog, and not just you blaming him for that stink!) are also signs of gastric distress in your pet, and should be addressed to ensure maximum health. Plus, a good health poop is easier to pick up and less stinky for the pet parent!
What Makes Perfect Poop?
Good gut health has a few key factors that are involved. First and foremost, dietary fiber is pivotal. And we’re not talking just roughage—we’re talking good fiber. All pet food manufacturers include fiber in the foods they sell, but not all of them want to spend the money to ensure the fiber ingredients are clean and green. In fact, many dog foods (and even some human products) will use cellulose or other byproducts to add fiber. Cellulose can come from shredded wood or wood pulps and is processed with harsh chemicals. Not necessarily what you want in your body or your pet’s, so it’s essential to read labels and know your fiber sources.
Jim says that’s the number one reason Bernie’s uses Miscanthus grass fiber as the primary ingredient in their digestive support supplements. Miscanthus is an all-natural perennial grass that simply makes sense for pets – our dogs and cats eat grass in the backyard and when in the wild all the time! Miscanthus shows excellent health results in university studies and is sourced from farmers in the Midwest. It is grain-free, gluten-free and non-GMO. Bernie’s selected Miscanthus as it’s fiber because the supplier controls the entire process from growing to processing. Jim says that in addition to being a healthy source of fiber for pets’ guts, Miscanthus grass is environmentally friendly because it captures carbon in its root system and flourishes without the use of pesticides or herbicides. To make Bernie’s Perfect Poop even better, Bernie’s compliments Miscanthus with pumpkin and flax seed to create an even more comprehensive fiber blend.
How do Prebiotics, Probiotics & Enzymes Help?
Fiber is just the first part of perfect poop and good gut health. In today’s world where most dogs are eating heavily processed foods, prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes are essential.
Experts estimate that there are more bacteria in the intestinal tract of our pets than there are cells in its body! In fact, mammals in general average about 1,000 different types of bacteria at any given time, and the key to good health is ensuring that the good bacteria that exist are predominant and not overrun by harmful strains.
This is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are live beneficial microorganisms that support a healthy gut flora, produce vitamins and play key role in encouraging a healthy digestive tract and immune system. They are what line our pets’ GI tracts and fight the good fight when it comes to keeping them healthy. But, live probiotics need food too, and that’s why prebiotics are essential to the good gut health recipe as well. Probiotics feed on the prebiotics, if you will, and are critical to balancing gut bacteria ratios.
And when it comes to probiotics, Jim says that it’s critical to use strains that won’t die before they get to your dog’s gut – from exposure to heat while being shipped to your home or while passing through the harsh acids in a dog’s stomach. Not all probiotics are created equally, and many end up being lost because the bacteria die off before they reach your dog’s gut. To account for this, the probiotics in Bernie’s Perfect Poop are spore-forming, which means they won’t be` destroyed by heat or stomach acid.
Enzymes round out the digestion process by helping break down food and encourage maximum nutrient absorption in our pet’s body. Enzymes in our pet’s diet can help naturally reduce dry or scaly coats and hair, skin problems, hairballs, allergies, joint issues, obesity and of course, digestive issues. Enzyme inclusion in Bernie’s Perfect Poop means that your pet has the best chance of fueling their body with all the right stuff from the inside out.
Bernie’s Perfect Poop – 4:1 Gut Health Formula
We all want to keep our pets as healthy as they can be. And, sometimes even the most straightforward things like good food and good gut health seem like they can be complicated. Supplement this, add that…which one is the best and has the greatest value? Jim and his wife Christie felt the exact same way when it came to the health of their handsome three-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Bernie. Knowing how good gut health was beneficial for their human family members, they sought out how to best solve some rather unpleasant (okay, smelly and gross) digestive issues Bernie was having but found that finding individual supplements to address different aspects of overall gut health was costly, messy and just too involved for a busy and active family.
So they turned their kitchen into a research lab and spent countless hours with Ph.D. veterinary science researchers to come up with the perfect combination of natural fibers, prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes in an all-in-one supplement. Because their motivation was their own furbaby Bernie, they sought out the highest quality ingredients and made sure that Perfect Poop is all natural, made in the USA, non-GMO, grain free and gluten free. They are now are working to help pet owners everywhere achieve the same positive changes as they saw in their big boy. Bernie’s Perfect Poop says there’s ‘No Poop Left Behind,’ and this year will also work on a specific formula for cats with the added benefits that Miscanthus has been proven to reduce hairballs.
Do Digestive Supplements Work?
I’ve been serving Bernie’s Perfect Poop to our dogs for a while, as I was specifically looking to address the gut health of our rescue pup who’d been on the streets before we adopted her. Her breath and poop were both off the charts gross and her gas? Well, let’s just say she could make grown men cry.
But Bernie’s Perfect Poop has improved her poop, and certainly her gut, which means that it’s also changed her health for the better. It’s easy to add to her food (she thinks it’s a treat since it has cheddar cheese and goes wild) and I know her gut (and butt) are thanking us. And I benefit too – her poop is firmer (easier to pick up) and even smells less!
If you’ve been looking for an easy, healthy, clean and natural supplement to help your pet be the healthiest he or she can be, look no further. The answer is poop. Bernie’s Perfect Poop, to be exact!
More by Lori Ennis