For 15 years, from 2006 to 2021 our family owned and operated a dog food store. We witnessed a constant stream of dogs through our store with food allergies, yeast overgrowth, sensitive stomachs, skin problems, excessive scratching, and other problems that required constant trips to the veterinarian.
The cause of the problems was unknown or misdiagnosed because the proposed solutions were ineffective.The veterinarians focused on treating the symptoms, usually through the use of steroids and antibiotics which, over time, only made the situation worse.
I was personally familiar with the symptoms the dogs were experiencing, having had them for over twenty years before finally being diagnosed with Leaky Gut, a condition not generally acknowledged by the medical professionals at the time and one they were unfamiliar with.
THE UNDERLYING CAUSE - LEAKY GUT
The half dozen doctors in the AMA, I had seen over the twenty or so preceeding years had no idea what my problem was and usually gave me antibiotics which in the long run made things worse. The doctor who finally diagnosed me correctly as having Leaky Gut was a doctor of Chinese medicine who had recently moved to my area from Maui.
She also accurately diagnosed me with Systemic Candida, and while there is no way to directly test for Leaky Gut, there is a way to test for Systemic Candida which is a common result of Leaky Gut and a fairly reliable indicator that Leaky Gut is present. I had never heard of either condition but when the tests came back Systemic Candida was confirmed.
The doctor put me on a strict diet of vegetables, legumes, meat protein, and fat (olive oil). No grain, especially products made with highly processed grain like bread, cereals, pasta, etc. No high glycemic carbohydrates, white or sweet potatoes, sugar, or anything with sugar in it (like ketchup, sodas, salad dressings, etc.) and 6 months later I was a new man.
Many of the dogs coming through our store had the same symptoms that had plagued me and I ran some initial feeding trials with grain-free food that was just coming on the market at the time. It helped a little but not for long because the grain was replaced with white potatoes and sweet potatoes, so the symptoms returned.
SEEKING A SOLUTION - A Ph.D in GUT BIOLOGY
Knowing the diet that had worked to restore me to health, we decided to make a dog food that would heal Leaky Gut and prevent it from occurring to begin with. We hired a Ph.D Animal Nutritionist with a Ph.D in gut biology, and over thirty-five years experience.
I told him we wanted to make a kibble dog food that would be the healthiest, most nutritious kibble dog food possible.
He had worked for 35 years formulating dog food, run numerous clinical research projects on dog nutrition, and had worked for nearly every major dog food manufacturer in the country. He was excited for the opportunity and at one point asked if he could balance the nutrients to each other and not just within high and low parameters set by AAFCO. He said no other dog food he was aware of had ever gone to the trouble and expense to do that, and said if we would do that, along with using the healthiest whole food ingredients, we would achieve our goal.
DIET IS THE CAUSE - DIET IS THE SOLUTION
Look for a dog food that comes as close as possible to the formulas we have used successfully to heal Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida for the last 15 years.
The solution on a dry matter basis has the following characteristics:
Protein 34% to 40% - (over 90% animal sourced protein, as opposed to vegetable protein)
Fat 16% to 18% - Equal amount of calories of Fat (@ 9 calories/gm) and Protein @ 4 calories/gm.
Fat @ 18% x 9 = 162 calories
Protein @ 40% x 4 = 160 calories
Carbs 30% or less- Low glycemic carbs (Tapioca from Cassava root), peas, etc
Whole Cell Algae dried - pure source of Omega 3 DHA
Protected Encapsulated Probiotics (normal probiotics do not survive)
Long Chain Prebiotics (only feed the good bacteria, not the bad)
Digestive Enzymes (help ensure complete digestion and nutrient absorption, and help prevent allergies from forming until Leaky Gut is healed).
NO Ethoxyquin, chemical preservatives. or coloring
Only natural preservatives - Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract, and Green Tea Extract
Nutrients meticulously balanced to each other (good luck with that one).
NO grain, refined grain products (bread, cereals, pasta, etc), white potato, sweet potato, high-glycemic carbs, or sugar in any form.
In 2008 we brought home the first batch of this dog food and began an informal feeding trial with a few dozen customers that quickly grew into a few hundred.
THE HEALING PROCESS
There is usually an immediate improvement in the symptoms within a couple weeks; and another level of improvement as Leaky Gut heals and the gut lining no longer allows fecal matter and partially digested protein to leak into the blood stream, triggering an immune response similar to an allergic reaction.
An additional level of health and vitality is restored as the mucosal lining on the inside of the gut wall is regenerated and restored to full function, since 80% of the immune system is generated in the mucosal lining and it is an added filter to prevent unwanted fecal matter from getting through the gut wall into the blood stream.
Over the next 3 to 6 months the Candida Fungus in the blood stream dies off in stages due to lack of sugar from high-glycemic carbs to feed it. Eventually the Systemic Candida is so weak, the restored immune system is able to completely remove it from the blood stream, and full health is restored.
Our customers were thrilled to see their dogs return to robust health and while shopping would often tell other customers how it had restored their dog to health and within 6 months we were selling more of it than all the other dog food in the store combined.
DIET IS THE CAUSE - DIET IS THE SOLUTION
It has been fifteen years since we introduced the Brothers line of dog food. The formulas have not been changed and the solution based on the theory "DIET IS THE CAUSE - DIET IS THE SOLUTION" has stood the test of time.
The theory that dogs are omnivores that are capable of eating any amount of carbohydrates and remain healthy has not.
LEAKY GUT IS NOT WIDELY KNOWN OR UNDERSTOOD
It has been twenty five years since I was diagnosed and recovered from Leaky Gut and I don’t think the doctors are much further along in understanding it; and, as a consequence, sadly, neither are most of our Veterinarians. Hopefully some intrepid Vets will lead the way and begin treating it with a diet that has been proven effective over the last fifteen years.
The following is content quoted from an article that was just published in Web MD Feb 20, 2022. See Footnotes.
Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It?
“From an MD’s standpoint, it’s a very gray area,” says gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic. “Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ.”
"Leaky gut syndrome" isn't a diagnosis taught in medical school. Instead, "leaky gut really means you’ve got a diagnosis that still needs to be made,” Kirby says. “You hope that your doctor is a good-enough Sherlock Holmes, but sometimes it is very hard to make a diagnosis.”
“We don’t know a lot, but we know that it exists,” says Linda A. Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center.
“In the absence of evidence, we don’t know what it means or what therapies can directly address it.”
“Diet likely plays a big role in having a leaky gut, Lee and Kirby agree. So if you have symptoms of leaky gut, you would do well to see a gastroenterologist who is also trained in nutrition."
- END OF EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE -
THEORY versus EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE
I have always been fascinated by the world and curious to understand it. Theories are great, and many of them turn out to be true, but I like to check them against empirical evidence in the form of observable reality whenever possible to see if real world results confirm the theory, or diverge from it.
There is a theory, originally generated by billion dollar dog food companies whose interests it serves, that domesticated dogs have evolved from carnivores into omnivores, as a result of hanging around people and eating their food for a couple thousand years. They are specifically referring to dogs being able to eat carbohydrates, like the kind they are filling dog food with these days.
Most families that fed their dogs over the last thousand or so years were probably sensible enough to give them meat and bone scraps, as our family of did with our dogs.
My point is that dogs were probably not fed carbohydrates like the ones being put into dog food these days, over the last thousand years, so it is not likely that they have evolved into omnivores based on that theory.
They have adapted a little over the years and their ability to produce the enzyme Amylase (that breaks down carbohydrates) has increased slightly but that does not mean that the other energy pathways and biological functions involved have adapted as quickly, if at all.
Feeding dogs high glycemic carbohydrates did not really start in earnest until after World War II when food manufacturers found themselves with a huge surplus of grain from the war effort and decided dog food would be a good place to use it up.
That That is hardly enough time for Mother Nature to change a carnivore into an omnivore, capable of eating food that has up to 75% carbohydrates derrived mostly from grains.
It is probably accurate to classify dogs as Facultative Carnivores since they do have the capacity to eat something other than meat and fat, but the fact remains that the diet they are designed to thrive on is predominantly animal sourced protein and fat.
It is one thing to say that a dog can metabolize a few carbohydrates and yet another to say it is healthy for their diet to contain 50% to 75% carbohydrates, which is the trend in dog food these days.
Mother Nature gave dogs a sense of smell to guide them regarding what they should eat, which is why the grain and potato in dog food is flavored to smell and taste like meat. Offer a dog grain and potato in its natural form and they will sniff it and leave it, which tells you what Mother Nature recommends they eat.
RECORD OF SUCCESS
Some of the problems associated with Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida can be caused by other situations but in the vast majority of cases after three to six months on Brothers Dog Food everything listed below was usually resolved. That is a major claim but it is our actual experience with thousands of dogs over the years.
What I said earlier bears repeating:
It has been fifteen years since we introduced the Brothers line of dog food. The formulas have not been changed at all and have resolved Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida nearly 100% of the time when fed without the addition of any grain products or sugar in any form.
The theory "DIET IS THE CAUSE - DIET IS THE SOLUTION" has stood the test of time.
The theory that dogs are omnivores and can eat any amount of high-glycemic carbohydrates and remain healthy has not.
PROBLEMS COMMON TO LEAKY GUT & SYSTEMIC CANDIDA
Dry itchy skin, Constant scratching
Licking and gnawing of paws
Yeasty ears, Ear infections
Dry hair, Hair loss, Hot spots
Red irritated skin, hives
Weepy eyes, staining
Dull, Brittle hair
Lack of energy, Listless
Butt scooting, itchy butt
Hazy, cloudy eyes
by Richard S Darlington, CEO
Brothers Dog Food, LLC
Written February 2, 2023
Updated September 28, 2023
BLOG POST LINKS:
HEALING LEAKY GUT SYNDROME IN DOGS https://brothersdogfood.com/blogs/blog/healing-leaky-gut-syndrome-in-dogs
Leaky Gut Syndrome in Dogs https://brothersdogfood.com/blogs/blog/leaky-gut-in-dogs
FOOD ALLERGIES Caused by Leaky Gut
Probiotics and Beneficial Bacteria in Dog Food
 Less is more? Ultra-low carbohydrate diet and working dogs' performance
 Altered Immunity & Leaky Gut Syndrome
Dr Zoltan P Rona MD, MAc
 SEMANTIC SCHOLAR
In vitro fermentation and prebiotic potential of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) flour
 Dogs Naturally Magazine
 Wiley Online Library
Cassava-enriched diet is not diabetogenic rather it aggravates diabetes in rats.
 Dog Food Advisor
Are High Protein diets good for overweight dogs?
Dog Food Advisor
Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss
Dog Food Advisor
Best Dog Foods for Allergy