Most pets experience some type of bacterial infection in their lives. Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed medication for such issues, specifically oral antibiotics. Antibiotics take care of one part of the issue but there is more work to do once the medication has done its job.
Doing a low bulk cleanse is the best way to heal the digestive tract, repopulate intestinal flora, and get rid of mucous that hinders nutrient and moisture absorption.
There are 5 classes of antibiotics.
Most commonly used are “narrow spectrum” and “broad spectrum” antibiotics. “Narrow-spectrum” antibiotics target specific types of bacteria, whereas “Broad-Spectrum” antibiotics affect a wide range of bacteria and are not discriminant.
As a side-effect, antibiotics can change the body’s normal microbial population by attacking both the problem bacteria and naturally-occurring, beneficial or harmless bacteria found in the intestines, lungs and bladder. The destruction of the body’s normal bacterial flora provides an opportunity for commonly occurring bacteria (Candida, Clostridium, Helicobacter, Streptococcus, etc…) to overpopulate and create an imbalance of the system. In worst case scenarios, the imbalance creates an opportunity for drug-resistant microorganisms to grow vigorously. This can lead to secondary allergies, infections of the ear, digestive tract, irritation or skin/coat problems. These issues may not show up for months until after using antibiotics but to make sure this doesn’t happen there is a simple way that the body can completely recover from the illness and the effects of the antibiotics.
First, it is very important to finish the entire cycle of antibiotics. Even though your pup’s symptoms are gone and he/she is feeling much better. The reason for this is that bacteria have a life cycle and you want to make sure that every “generation” is taken care of or else the problem will come back and become a chronic issue.
Second, once the course of antibiotics is over, you must replenish the good bacteria in the system by providing “food” for the good bacteria in the form of enzymes. Doing a low bulk cleanse is the best way to heal the digestive tract, repopulate intestinal flora, and get rid of mucous that hinders nutrient and moisture absorption.
Here is a suggestion for helping the body get back in balance after a course of antibiotics:
Low Bulk Cleansing Diet for Dogs
Boiled Protein: chicken, turkey, beef, or bison.
Low or No sodium Broth (chicken, vegetable, or beef) or keep broth from boiled protein
Digestive Enzymes (amylase, protease, lipase, etc…) – You can get at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods.
Make enough rice and boiled protein source for a couple of day’s worth of meals and keep in the refrigerator. Store separately. This makes it less time consuming to prepare 2-3 meals a day.
For Medium to Large dogs:
Mix about 1 cup of cooked rice, ½ cup of boiled protein (chicken, beef, or bison), ½ cup broth. Heat in the microwave and add ½ teaspoon of digestive enzymes per meal. Feed 2 or 3 x per day.
For small dogs: decrease the above amounts in half.
After about 10 days gradually add in small amounts of dry kibble. Start with ¼ cup of kibble and increase ¼ cup per day. Decrease rice, protein, and broth. (keep adding in the same amount of enzymes), until each meal is all kibble.
At 10-14 days give one capsule of Cayenne Pepper (Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, etc…) per day. This loosens up mucus in the lining of the small intestine for the last phase of the cleanse, so absorption of nutrients is no longer hindered. Also, give one capsule per day of Echinacea / Goldenseal for immune support. **For small dogs give ½ capsule of each**
- The low bulk aspect of this diet gives the small intestine time to heal at the same time populating intestinal flora and providing nutrients. Therefore the entire course of the cleanse must be completed.
- This is a low bulk diet, at first bowel movements will be small and Infrequent. This is normal. Once the system catches up everything “moves” smoother. Your pup might slim down a little but this is o.k.
- The digestive enzymes are important for replenishing the “good bacteria” in the small intestine. This should continue with each meal even after the cleanse is done.
- To ensure proper healing, do not feed treats during the cleanse. This can upset the small intestine and not give the system a chance to heal. A few teaspoons of plain yogurt (with live cultures – L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, etc..) can be given as a treat.
Contributed by Lauren Zimmerman.
Lauren has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Wellness from Regis University.