If you've seen any of my social media posts about Ember, one thing should be clear: I think she's pretty perfect. I am obsessed with her, but if I could change one thing about her, it would be her breath. For such a sweet, adorable little pup, she has some of the worst breath I have ever smelled. It started shortly after she lost her baby teeth.
Around 8 months old, months after her adult teeth grew in, I was surprised that the typical stinky breath associated with losing teeth never faded. It was so bad, I was quite worried that she had some underlying health issues going on. I took her to the vet and with a clean bill of health (including bloodwork, and consistently small, solid poo), they didn't have any suggestions other than to put an additive for breath in her water.
Around this time I started brushing her teeth regularly with enzymatic toothpaste. Her teeth were building up plaque rapidly. Within a week or two of not brushing them, her back molars would be so thick with plaque it was going from yellow to thick brown. I couldn't believe that my <1 year old puppy, on a good diet, had tartar!
I did my research and found that most dental chews, treats and water additives contained two common ingredients: chlorophyll and zinc. Ember already gets zinc as part of her raw diet, so I started added chlorophyll pills. Weeks went by with no change. She eats 50% raw and 50% Victor Hi Pro Plus, so she already gets bones to chew on but I started allowing her to chew harder toys, such as Benebones, to see if that helped. Still, no change.
At this point, I was frustrated and quite honestly, sad. I have this adorable, sweet, cuddly young dog that I do my best to take the best care of, but her breath is so bad I don't want her near me. If I was sitting at my kitchen island and she was laying on the ground below me, even if she wasn't panting and had her mouth closed, I could smell her breath from above her. It often smelled like sewage and occasionally like sulfur/rotten eggs. As we approached her first birthday the sulfur smell got even worse. I was fed up with it and went back to researching.
I found a post on Facebook from a friend recommending the AnimalBiome DoggyBiome™ Gut Health Starter Pack. She had struggled to get her dog to eat and maintain weight and was so impressed with the changes she saw after using the Gut Restore Supplement. Knowing that most bad breath starts in the gut, I figured it was worth a try!
On January 29th, I collected the sample for the Gut Health Test and sent it in. To collect the sample, they send you all the supplies you need to get two pea-sized drops of poo into sample collection containers then you mail it back in a pre-addressed package. Super easy! They received my sample on February 2nd and I got the report back on February 12th.
The results showed that Ember has moderate microbiome imbalance. Her overall diversity score was 1.8 when the recommended range is 1.77-5. She scored vary low on "evenness," meaning few types of bacteria make up her microbiome instead of a healthy abundance of different kinds. Ember's biome was very high in fusobacteria (which is related to high-protein diets...makes sense!) and very low in megamonas. Megamonas "help preserve energy so your pet doesn't lose weight." This is also interesting, because Ember has been really difficult to put weight on. Based on this imbalance, they recommended a diet change of more fiber (also makes sense, she eats a fairly low fiber diet). The results show a ton of information that I thought was fascinating! It was really neat to see what each bacteria does and the value she had for each one.
It was also recommended that she take 1 capsule a day for 30 days of the Gut Restore Supplement. This supplement came with the starter pack and I had already started it after I collected her sample on January 29th.
As of today, February 13th, we are two weeks into the supplement and I am so shocked by the change I have seen. It's really quite surprising and almost unbelievable. In less than two weeks, her breath has improved tremendously and she is no longer building plaque. Her breath changed rapidly; there's still some smell, but much more of what you would expect from a normal dog. I keep checking her teeth expecting them to be yellow with plaque, but they continue to be pearly white! I figured the plaque was genetic and that it would be something we would battle her whole life, I can't believe it has changed so much in two weeks. Her poo has always been consistent, but she's been putting on weight, too! I have had a hard time keeping weight on her, so this is really exciting.
I have been so happy with the changes I have seen in her, I went ahead and ordered some for Blitz, too. Blitz was on antibiotics in December and has had some inconsistent poo since then. I have been really struggling to keep weight on her, as well. She's been on crate rest for the past 10 days after being spayed and is eating over 2000 calories a day (she weighs 49 lbs) and still isn't putting on weight. She started the gut restore supplement today, so I am excited to see the changes!
If you are dealing with any issues that could be gut related, I would highly recommend trying the Gut Health Starter Pack. I am not endorsed by AnimalBiome in any way, but am just so excited to be able to kiss my sweet pup's face without gagging now. Thank you, thank you AnimalBiome! If you do try it for your pet, please reach out with your results!