The small intestine or gut is a protective barrier between the outside world and the inside of the body that lets nutrients from food enter the blood stream while blocking toxins.

The lining of the gut is only one cell thick and is covered on the inside with small hairs called microvilli that absorb nutrients. It  protected by the mucosal lining that is a layer of mucus containing 80% of the immune system that normally prevents toxins and waste matter from coming into contact with the gut lining.


The most important element of the gut, and one that has generally been ignored, is a massive colony of 100 trillion bacteria and microorganisms called the Gut Microbiota that:

  • Maintains proper functioning of the gut,
  • Regulates the immune system,
  • Helps extract nutrients from the food and
  • Is directly affected by diet

Recent research is confirming a connection between diet and imbalance of the Gut Microbiota, called dysbiosis, that can lead to further dysfunction and disease states, like Leaky Gut.

This is a huge step forward in nutritional research because, in effect, it is the missing link that connects diet to the overall health or dysfunction of the organism. diets effect on the Microbiota must be considered separate from its ability to be metabolized. Even though something can be metabolized, it can have a highly detrimental effect on the Gut Microbiota, as they are beginning to realize.

They have been loading dog food with carbohydrates based on tests that showed dogs have developed an increased ability over their wolf ancestors to metabolize carbohydrates but now we are discovering that too many metabolized carbohydrates can cause imbalance in the gut microbiota that results in dysfunction and disease. 

Running a dog food store for 15 years we observed that diets loaded with carbohydrates, especially when combined with the use of antibiotics, had a detrimental effect that led to overweight, obesity, and certain diseases like leaky gut, and now it appears research is finally understanding how that happens.

Leaky Gut is a condition where the gut becomes too permeable and some of its contents leak into the blood stream. It has been doubted or denied by most veterinarians and nutritionists until fairly recently when research into the Gut Microbiota confirmed that Leaky Gut was indeed real.

The Cleveland Clinic describes their understanding of Leaky Gut as follows:

"Leaky gut syndrome is a theory that intestinal permeability is not only a symptom of gastrointestinal disease but an underlying cause that develops independently. If your intestinal barrier is impaired, it may be letting toxins into your bloodstream. These toxins may trigger an inflammatory response that may manifest as various diseases. The theory has some appeal as a way of explaining various conditions that we haven't been able to fully explain yet, but the evidence is lacking. We know that the condition of having intestinal permeability or a “leaky gut” is real, but we don’t know that it's a disease in itself or that it causes other diseases. It’s not currently a recognized medical diagnosis."

In other words, they acknowledge Leaky Gut is real but, lacking proof of what causes it and its full effect on the organism, there is no medical diagnosis yet which means it still does not officially exist, and therefore no guidance or dietary suggestions are provided about how to treat it.

This is unfortunate because it will continue to be misdiagnosed and the symptoms will continue to be treated with antibiotics and steroids, as they have been, which in the long run only increases the imbalance in the Microbiota.

On the other hand, holistic medicine has been aware of Leaky Gut, what causes it, and its solution, for a few decades now, and I know this to be true because over thirty years ago, I had Leaky Gut myself.

For years the regular doctors I saw had no idea what was wrong with me or what to do about it and the antibiotics they prescribed only made matters worse. Finally a Holistic Doctor diagnosed me with Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida.

When I asked what caused it and what I needed to do, I was told:


The prescription was to eliminate grain, potatoes, refined carbohydrates, and sugar in any form from my diet, and a few months later I was healthy for the first time in a decade.

About 10 years after that, we opened a pet food store in Fort Lauderdale, and I recognized the symptoms of Leaky Gut in many of the dogs that came into our store. Excessive itching, thinning hair, hot spots, weepy eyes, low energy, upset stomach, gassy, rashes, sores, yeasty ears, feet, and skin, cloudy eyes, joint pain, auto-immune issues, and food allergies.

In addition to that, two out of three dogs were overweight or obese, which was a clear indication to me there were too many carbohydrates in their diet, and it reinforced my suspicion that Leaky Gut was the problem and diet was the cause, especially since they ate the same high carb diet twice a day, every day, day in and day out.

We decided to see if the diet that worked for me, would work for the dogs as well and hired an animal nutritionist with 35 years experience and a Ph.D in gut biology. We explained the problem and asked him to design the healthiest kibble dog food possible to solve it. He told me in thirty-five years he had worked for almost every dog food manufacturer in the country, designed and redesigned thousands of dog foods, and never once had he been asked to make a dog food healthier, much less make it the best it could possibly be, they always asked him him to make it cheaper.

He said if we would authorize the extra cost to completely balance the nutrients to each other and to the whole, something no other dog food he was aware of had ever been willing to do, or done, he would guarantee the results.

We authorized it, and true to his word, the new food resolved Leaky Gut, Systemic Candida, and their symptoms. Every dog that stayed on the food long enough, sometimes it can take a few months, without exception, got healthier.

There are other things that contribute to Leaky Gut like gluten, glyphosates from weed killer, heavy metals, pesticides, synthetic preservatives, dyes, GMO’s and others but in our experience the primary cause in dogs appears to be a constant diet of too many carbohydrates especially when combined with the use of antibiotics, because when we eliminated those two components, Leaky Gut resolved itself.

The excess carbs fuel the growth of harmful bacteria and cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota that eventually leads to Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida.

I’ll spare you the complex details of all that but once Leaky Gut starts, the Candida fungus is usually one of the first toxins to leak into the blood stream and is a fairly reliable indicator of Leaky Gut. The Candida fungus, fed by excess carbohydrates, multiplies and spreads through the blood stream causing the symptoms already mentioned.

After observing thousands of dogs in our store over 15 years and seeing Leaky Gut, and the symptoms associated with it, reversed by a healthy, well balanced, high protein, low carb food, with prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics, digestive enzymes, and over 90% of its protein animal sourced, the connection between too many carbohydrates in the diet and Leaky Gut was obvious and undeniable.

A limited amount of the right kind of carbohydrates can definitely be combined with animal protein and fat to make a healthy food, but based on our experience, the amount and kind of carbohydrates in dog food these days far exceeds what is optimum, and despite claims to the contrary by many veterinarians and nutritionists, does in fact, cause a lot of health problems in dogs.

You can start with the fact that two out of three dogs are overweight or obese on those high carb diets, and that is just the beginning.

Leaky Gut causes chronic inflammation throughout the body that has been linked, in people, to problems like arthritis, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and heart disease; and I assume it would affect dogs similarly.

Leaky Gut causes food allergies and auto-immune disease as a result of partially digested proteins leaking into the blood stream.

The body uses individual amino acids to repair and rebuild but when the immune system sees random lengths of amino acids, which are partially digested proteins, it perceives them as invading pathogens, records them and if it sees that particular sequence in the blood stream again, attacks it, which is an allergic reaction.

If Leaky Gut continues long enough, the immune system eventually becomes hyper-sensitive and begin to attack amino acid sequences it has seen repeatedly in the blood stream when it sees them in a healthy body organ. This is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system is attacking its own body.

There is new research directed toward the gut microbiota which is beginning to confirm what holistic medicine has known about Leaky Gut for at least 35 years but until it does veterinarians hands are tied because Leaky Gut is not a recognized medical diagnosis.

I’ve seen ads for different additives and supplements that are designed to treat Leaky Gut but, if you want the problem to be resolved permanently, you have to change the food that is the source of the problem to begin with.

The good news is that a proven solution was developed by an animal nutritionist with a Ph.D in gut biology fifteen years ago that has been helping resolve Leaky Gut, in thousands of dogs ever since, which brings me to the point of this Blog Article - to let you and your veterinarian know that a dietary solution exists if your dog is suffering from Leaky Gut, Systemic Candida, food allergies, and their related symptoms, and you do not want to wait for science to eventually prove what we already know works.

If a solution works, it works, whether the complex biological process involved is completely understood or not. Perhaps, instead of letting science convince us that something is not real unless they can prove it, we use some common sense, acknowledge solutions that do work and use them while we continue with research.

Where Leaky Gut is concerned you do not need to let your dog suffer and feel powerless to help. Brothers Dog Food is a solution that has been around for 15 years and all you need to do, to find out it works, is try it.


Richard Darlington, CEO

Brothers Dog Food, llc

December 15, 2023