Why we all need bacteria in our lives
Are you afraid of bacteria? If so, you're not alone.
The fear of bacteria has been burdening humans since the invention of the microscope. It seems our society has fallen for the bacterial drama and sensational media reporting that has turned bacteria into life-destroying monsters. It may surprise you to know that life would cease to exist without the tireless work of bacteria.
Plants and animals and humans need bacteria to exist and there is only a very small proportion of pathogenic bacteria causing disease. Unfortunately, the life-giving, good bacteria have now been battered for decades by antibiotics and chemicals, which gives more space to resistant pathogens - superbugs.
What can good bacteria do for your dog?
- Digestive - there are many canine-specific bacteriae in probiotics that aid digestion and balance the proper bacterial flora in the gut.
- Prevention of infections - the most commonly known probiotic strains are acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and some species of streptococcus. These good bacteria create balance and prevent pathogens from growing out of control. They are the guards.
- Disease and cancer prevention - many people are not aware that most of the immune system capacity is located in the bowel. That is why colon health directly affects immune system function and plays an important role in disease and cancer prevention.
High carbohydrate, starchy diets have a tendency to disturb the bacterial balance and promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Sugar and starches also affect the pH of the digestive tract which can cause digestive disturbances, infections and metabolic problems.
Salmonella and E.coli – the media darlings
Sensational and exaggerated news stories are as common as salt water in the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps you remember some of the food or drinking water scandals related to Salmonella or E.coli. I do not want to discount the serious nature of some of these cases, however, these occurrences are relatively rare in comparison with the number of people dying from starvation or even the side-effects of drugs. Most people are not aware that more than 100,000 people in North America die every year from this cause.
Stronger disinfectants and chemicals may promote superbugs
Fear of bacteria and the lack of understanding about how important they are is the main reason why so many people continue to use very strong and toxic disinfectants in their households and on their hands.
The use of strong disinfectants can be compared to clear-cutting the Amazon rainforest. The balance is seriously disturbed and parasites and diseases move in. That is why I strongly suggest you replace your conventional cleaning products with natural alternatives or simple baking soda, hot water and vinegar.
Move a cow in your living room
I'm just joking, however, a study comparing children living on farms and cities documented that children growing up on farms have three times lower rates of allergies. This is likely due to a more robust immune system from constant low-grade exposure to bacteria in their environment.
We all understand that in order to be strong, we need to exercise our muscles. The immune system is no different, it needs to be gently challenged in order to be strong.
Scary cleaning product commercials create the impression that bacteria is ready to attack us at any moment. The paradox is that the chemicals in cleaning products are likely more harmful to you and your dog and are the main reasons for the spread of superbugs.
Can I feed my dog raw meat?
In my practice, I've made one interesting observation. Over more than 17 years recommending a raw diet, I've not had a single client come back to me saying that their dog was diagnosed with Salmonella or an E.coli infection from feeding their dog raw food. I had only one case of a questionable diagnosis of salmonellosis in a dog and it was not confirmed that food was the source.
In summary, dogs are designed to eat raw meat and their immune systems are highly effective in containing pathogens that may be present in their food.
Now you know why we all should celebrate bacteria, use probiotics and be grateful for their tireless and hard work. Without our bacterial superheroes, our dogs would not be able to enjoy good health and life on Earth would cease to exist.