If you would like to subscribe you can follow this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or simply listen right here.

Episode 28: The year in review & why every dog needs Gut Protect

00:00:32 Glenn:   Welcome back to Natural Health for People and Pets. I'm co-host of the show, Glen Cooke. It's been a bit of a dry spell between episodes, however, I'm gonna introduce you to the one who knows all the information. Narelle Cooke.  

00:00:45 Narelle:     Hello everyone and Happy New Year.  

00:00:48 Glenn:      Happy New Year. It is actually New Year. It's January 1st, 2023 today, and we're sitting down to do a podcast.   

00:00:54 Narelle:       I know. I thought what better way to start the year than to get back on track with recording a podcast.  

00:03:47 Glenn:       2022 in review. What a big year it's been for CanineCeuticals

00:03:51 Narelle:        It has, and look, I've done a lot of high level study in my life. I've gone through a lot of challenges, but the last 18 months, the learning curve, like the steepness of the learning curve over the last 18 months in bringing the idea of CanineCeuticals to fruition has just been beyond anything I would've expected. From stress and energy, and time and money. I don't think people realise it's one thing to have  a dream and a vision, but to actually make that happen, it really takes 100% and takes more than a hundred percent. But you know, it really is a commitment and a belief. You really do have to believe in the bigger picture of what you are aiming to achieve. And for me, that is improving the quality of life of our dogs. To be able to endure and to stick with it day after day, like seven days a week, week after week, month after month. So, love it. It's been a really huge year. I've been to lots of trade shows where I've got to speak to consumers, customers and vets about the range and it's been really well accepted. So at this early point, we are not quite a year old yet

00:04:52 Glenn:        And you've had great support by a very good friend of ours, Deb Philipson.  

00:04:57 Narelle:        Absolutely.  

00:04:57 Glenn:        Who's been an absolute rock, especially for you. She comes to the trade shows with you. She supports you mentally and physically and likewise, you both hold each other up and she's just been an absolute asset to you and to CanineCeuticals.  

00:05:10 Narelle:        Yeah, that's right. You know, you can't do everything by yourself. You do need a team around you, and Deb's certainly part of that team.  

00:05:18 Glenn:       What a big hearted lady, where you guys met online and started talking to each other.  

00:05:23 Narelle:      Well actually she came to my Sydney nutrition seminar.  That's how we met and we sort of just clicked from there.  

00:05:28 Glenn:        And she's become family to us. She's very close to us now.  We love Deb. She's been an asset and I know that when she goes to trade shows with you, she gets out and chats to people, and goes out and meets and networks, and talks about CanineCeuticals. And she's done this outta love. She's just an amazing person.   

00:05:44 Narelle:        People may not realise, but I'm an extreme introvert.  

00:05:47 Glenn:        I know that  

00:05:47 Narelle:       Speaking to people is not my forte, but when I'm at a trade show trying to promote my brand, I have to talk. It's funny 'cause even in those situations, I still struggle to put myself out there, even though I believe in what I'm doing so much and Deb will often step in and take over the conversation and get it going.  

00:06:03 Glenn:         Well that's an interesting thing. And before we do get onto the topic, which I know people will be looking forward to, there's a couple of points that I wanna put forward just as somebody who's been observing from the outside, because although I'm your husband and I live with you, and I'm involved in CanineCeuticals financially, I'm not involved in the business in any way, shape or form other than I help you with a little bit of marketing here and there. I do a little help with a little bit of social media and stuff like that, but you are really in the engine room cranking out everything, studying up and doing a lot of the research and development, and building the product and working with people with marketing and so forth. So it's all you really, that's what CanineCeuticals has been bouncing on, your intuition and your know-how. I had an interesting question raised to me just by somebody on social media a while ago, and they said, would you still support CanineCeuticals in a marketing fashion if it wasn't as good as what it was?  

00:06:59 Glenn:       And I said, it wouldn't matter what I thought I said, Narelle would burn it to the ground if she didn't think it was going anywhere. If it wasn't what she thought it would be, she would literally just dump the whole thing and say, it doesn't work. I don't believe in it. And that's as far as it would get because I know how much blood, sweat, and tears that you genuinely put into this over the 18 months that you've been doing it. And especially since your launch day on Australia Day 2022, where you were so nervous about getting it out there. The wonderful thing about it, the real thing about it, the genuine thing about CanineCeuticals is what the customers are saying. It's all for nothing unless it's actually doing what it suggests it does. And that's where CanineCeuticals has been very successful, is that customers are coming back and saying, oh my God, it actually does what it says it does, and more.  

00:07:53 Glenn:       And there are the reviews that have been really life-changing for so many people now. I've seen other products pop up in the marketplace, which is good. Competition is healthy. And there's always gonna be competition. There always is. And there's been supplementation for dogs and cats before CanineCeuticals came along. One thing that I would ask people to do when they're looking at it for themselves, or if they're even investigating it for somebody else is, when you're looking at another comparable product, have a look at who's actually behind the product, and what their profession actually is. Is it somebody who is dabbling in it and they're invested in like an equity company who's backing them? Or is it actually somebody like you, and others in the industry as well, who that's all their job is, is literally R and D research and development for that product, and specialising and literally shaped your entire career around developing that product.  

00:08:49 Glenn:       And I don't say that with any vitriol, I'm just saying that there are people out there who are putting a product out and it's just a payday for them. It's literally just my face on the product and there's a monetary goal involved. It would be facetious of me to say that this isn't a business, and we are looking at hopefully making a profit outta this one day. It's cost a lot of money. However, what I am saying about all this at the end, is your customers are coming back and saying, Narelle, this is life changing for my dog. What it's done in the short time that I've been giving it to the dog, and networking backwards and forwards with you has actually changed the whole health picture of where my dog is compared to where it was, and all the suffering that I've had to go through mentally and physically in trying to go backwards and forwards to try and find some sort of health plan for my dog that wasn't working, that was failing my dog's poor health was really distressing me and my family. And suddenly I found something that has worked. And even though, you never make claims that it's absolutely going to work or it's never going to do this.  

00:09:55 Narelle:      Yeah and no one should. Like, there's never any guarantees in life, unfortunately.  

00:09:59 Glenn:        That's right. You've gotta try it. It's the same thing with us. You've gotta try it. But that's the thing that I'm being so impressed about and so proud of you for, is just seeing the hordes of emails coming back. It'd be nice to see those people actually putting them into genuine reviews, 'cause you do get a lot of people who come back and say, oh my God, and a portion of those do put 'em in reviews. It would be nice if the majority put them in reviews because it would really have a massive impact on your social media.  

00:10:26 Narelle:        Yeah, if you could do that, that would be hugely appreciated. So just a couple of points from what you've said. On a weekly basis, I'm making business decisions where I've gotta decide between profits and quality. Part of me is like, oh you know, if I'm running a business, I really need to make money to sustain the business. But at the end of every day with any decision along those lines, I'm like, what if it was my dog? What would I want for my dog? And that's been one of the major stresses of the past 18 months in formulating the CanineCeuticals range, is that I'm a perfectionist.  

00:10:58 Glenn:        I can vouch for that. I have to live with you.  

00:11:01 Narelle:      And poor, poor Deb. She has to live with it too.  

00:11:04 Glenn:       Yes, she does.

00:11:06 Narelle:      So there's a stress of making sure it's right, because as you said, if it's not gonna do what it claims to do, then what's the point? There's no point having a range that's not gonna benefit dogs.  

00:11:15 Glenn:      Entirely, and that's a falsehood. And as I was alluding to before, there's people out there who throw products on the market. It's very low grade, but the marketing is exceptional. Unfortunately, that's what people will buy into. And to be honest, as I've said in probably other episodes of this podcast, I've done that myself. Where I've gone off online and looked at something and come back to Narelle and said, I'm looking at this online, what do you think? And Narelle will laugh and she'll say, I can give you five times the quality of that in things that I've got in supplements that I've actually got in my clinic right now. And she goes, what is it about this product that you're intrigued by? And all it is honestly folks, all it is, is just the marketing. It's just the hype and the buzz around the marketing. Unfortunately, Narelle is absolutely terrible at marketing. We laugh about this often. She's got a few people that are helping her with marketing at the moment because her absolute weakness in business is anything to do with marketing fact. Research and development know how, she's an absolute genius at that, but marketing, oh my god. Terrible. 

00:12:22 Narelle:       Can't deny. Well, you know, I keep saying you can't be good at everything, but I really wanna stress the point from what you're saying earlier. One of the huge stresses for me in this whole process, and I imagine it will always exist for me as a perfectionist, there's not a day that doesn't go by when I'm working and dealing with customers that I'm thinking everything I'm doing, at the end of the day, there's a dog's health at stake. I'm getting all emotional now just thinking about, but that's a huge responsibility. And I didn't think I'd get emotional. I don't get emotional generally, just ask Glenn. And I always think, what if that was my dog? You know, what quality would I want? You know, I wouldn't wanna be ripped off by something that didn't work. I would want the highest quality ingredients. I'd want transparency, I'd want support. All of those things are what I'm trying to bring to the range. Didn't expect that, I guess my heart is in this.  

00:13:17 Glenn:       Yeah, no, I know. I understand that. I have toiled with you over this entire discussion, when back in the day I kept saying to you, when are you going to launch? When are you going to get there? When are you going to do it? When are you gonna put it to market? The conversation that you and I were having back then was you just felt it wasn't right. It wasn't ready. I said to you at one stage, you've been on this for a long time. Now it's gotta get to a stage where you believe in the product and it's, and it's gonna be good enough because it will never be perfect. But your ambition was always, well, I want it to be as close as. And as we've divulged in past episodes, like a lot of the fire that was lit under you for producing CanineCeuticals came from the distress that we had to go through with Ladybug.  

00:13:58 Glenn:        That was the catalyst that created it. The pandemic was a terrible thing that happened to all of us. We all shared in that, I've mentioned this before. However, the one thing about the pandemic was that it forced you and I to re-evaluate things that we had to do in our life. And also Ladybug had that accident right at the start of the pandemic, right in the start of 2020. So therefore we had to get busy with either planning for her euthanasia or planning for how to sustain the rest of her life and not have her in pain, and not have her suffering and not have her unable to walk. And terrible things happening for her. That's why Narelle literally hit the internet, researching papers, researching anything she could get her hands on, on how she could transform Ladybug. Along the way, Narelle and I had conversations where she said, I think I can help other people with their dogs for a lot of other symptoms based on the research that I'm doing along the way. And I said to her, you should do this. This is your calling. You are brilliant at this sort of thing. If you've been following along with the podcast that we've been doing for a while, Narelle and I are the greatest critics of each other. We love to tell each other what we're not doing so well.  

00:15:10 Narelle:      I think that's just marriage, isn't it?

00:15:11 Glenn:      I think that's a husband and wife thing. Definitely. However, I wouldn't placate her and just tell her that she's doing a marvellous job if she wasn't doing it. I can testify through all the people that I'm speaking to on a continuous basis, and I'm not talking about just people with unwell dogs. I'm talking about industry peers who are coming back to me and saying, my God, she's a genius. The information that she provides, whenever she does a talk or whenever I listen to her podcast, it actually sometimes intimidates me with the knowledge that she actually has in those areas. So I couldn't be more proud of you. And there's a whole bunch of people in the industry who are overwhelmed and completely proud of what you're doing, but what you're actually bringing to the table intellectually as well. So it's a big congratulations from many people in the industry. I really think that what CanineCeuticals has done has lifted the bar in the pet supplement range.  

00:16:01 Narelle:        Thank you. And I am hugely humbled and appreciative of the support I'm getting from industry, from all aspects of industry. Even technically competitors, like direct competitors, are still supportive of what I'm doing in my range.  

00:16:13 Glenn:        Yes. They're actually listing your range. Also, supportive of you as well. As you said, they get in contact with you, they are speaking with you, they are networking with you, which is great. It's lovely to see that people are networking directly with you and also raising the bar together. That's been a real highlight for me to see how many people in that space, because it can be a really grubby area, where people will use a lot of low quality material. Because they, as I said before, don't care about it. It's just a payday for them. They're happy to put their face on it. They're happy to invest in a ton of marketing. They're happy to get equity behind it, but they'll use the lowest of the lowest grade of material because, for them it really doesn't matter. They don't pine over it the same way you do and some of your colleagues in the industry do, who are consummate professionals themselves in what they do. And congratulations to you as well, there's some people out there that you've listed already as sponsors, but you know, people like Shy Tiger and Sasha Parker.  

00:17:14 Narelle:       The Balanced Canine.  

00:17:15 Glenn:        Yeah. The Balanced Canine. I mean, just marvellous people who are so, so ethical in what they do and they're the same as you. They get upset about thinking about how you could really screw up the life of a dog by giving it crappy quality ingredients and being happy with that's good enough. That's not how it should be. Folks, even in human health or canine health, or feline health, or equine health or whatever it is, the industry needs to raise the bar. It shouldn't be just about profit. The focus has to be on outcomes on improving quality of life.  

00:17:45 Narelle:       Yeah. Something I was actually surprised about in this journey over the last 18 months was there were a few times where I hit barriers that I just didn't know how to get over. Because this was literally just me trying to figure it all out by myself. And then when I was hitting those barriers and you're looking around, and you're like, who can I ask for help? But all the people who had the answers technically are competitors. Because they're doing it. They've done it. Like they're the ones that know, and it's so hard to think, well I can't approach that person because why would they wanna help me? I'm gonna be competing with them. But the few people that I did reach out to and say, “Hey, you don't have to answer me, but this is my struggle at the moment. Can you guide me into how I might work through this or get over this?”  

00:18:28 Glenn:        Shout out to Gabrielle.  

00:18:30 Narelle:       Gabrielle Pierre. He's got Nectar of the Dogs. He's got other things going on too. He's a busy man. Check out Nectar of the Dogs.  

00:18:37 Glenn:        What a lovely guy.  

00:18:38 Narelle:      Yeah. So really great. And I do believe there's room for all of us. 

00:18:41 Glenn:       Of course, there's room for everybody. There's millions of dogs and cats out there. Millions and millions and millions of them. And they're not all gonna buy your product. They're gonna move around and shift around. And some of them are gonna be product loyal and some of them are going to have a cross combination of all of 'em. We don't have to chew each other up, and not at all sabotage each other's business. What it's all about is collaboration. As I suggested before, I do this a lot in the dog training space. That's, I guess the legacy that I'm trying to create in the dog training and behaviour space. And for you and your colleagues in the natural health space, it is the same sort of thing. It is all collaborating to raise the bar to build and lift each other up. And also at the end of the day to create that win-win by you guys doing well in your companies. But pets are also like their health comes first.  

00:19:30 Narelle:       And I think that's what defines that group of people. You know, we are all putting the quality of life of dogs as our primary focus, and the businesses around that. So that's how I see it. So we might need to split this episode into two. The way we're going, we haven't even got onto today's topic, but the reason I wanted to talk about the topic that we're gonna talk about today is because when I'm formulating a product, the challenge is there's so many ingredients that could potentially go into a product. So today we're gonna talk about Gut Protect, specifically because it is absolutely my number one seller. I've got, you know, multiple vets who use it and recommend it to their clients. I've got a lot of pet owners on social media who are recommending it because of the amazing benefits they've seen with their own dogs. I mean, I have to say it's my flagship product.  

00:20:20 Glenn:        It's going gangbusters. And the amazing thing is it's about Gut Protect, but it does so many other things. And it's been clearing up so many other problem areas for dogs that dog owners are just overwhelmed. They come back and say, I can't believe that an ear infection that my dog had, which has been lasting for years and years, and it's not listed to do those sort of things. But they're saying, since I've been giving Gut Protect, all of a sudden the ear problem that the dog has had for the last two years has gone.  

00:20:47 Narelle:       And I will talk a little bit more in detail about that and give some examples as we go through today. But the challenge is, there's a million ingredients that could theoretically be beneficial for gut health. If we just talk about gut health, I guess the challenge is, okay, which ingredients, because you can only fit so much into a surf. Which ingredients are gonna give the most bang for buck and which are gonna be the most efficacious for the dog for the given situation. Since so many people are using Gut Protect that I would just go through each ingredient and highlight why I chose it. Why is it in the product and how does it work to have all of the amazing health benefits that it has. Like you said, it's not just the obvious gut specific symptoms that indicate that something may not be right with your dog's digestive system.  

00:21:33 Narelle:        So other conditions that you know might relate back to poor gut health that owners should be looking out for are, things like food and environmental allergies, if your dog has impaired immune function. So if you've got a dog that's often injuring itself, or once it is injured, it's slow to heal, that could relate back to the gut. Unexplained weight loss, dogs with poor skin and coat quality, and as you said, recurrent ear infections is like a classic. And I always bring it back to the age old saying by Hippocrates that all disease begins in the gut. I know you've heard that a lot from me over the time,  

00:22:07 Glenn:       But it's important.  

00:22:08 Narelle:       It's important for pet owners to consider treating the gut, even when they may not see that obvious gut connection. To give an example that happened just recently. I had a customer leave a voice message and he was just so blown away. So in his case, his dog had sores, like ulcerated sores on the tips of its ears. That he'd seen multiple vets over a six month period, and these sores, they just would not heal. They tried antibiotics, they tried anti-inflammatories, they tried topical lotions and potions. And after about six months he's just like, oh, I give up. These ears are just always gonna be issues. But then his dog also had bad breath and one of his mates said, Hey, you need to get onto CanineCeuticals. They're like the best in the country. You need their Gut Protect for the bad breath. And so he started his dog on the Gut Protect, he wasn't even thinking about the ears, but after about a week, he's like, oh my gosh, the sores are actually healing. He rang me and he's like, oh, what magical ingredients are you putting in your Gut Protect, because the vets couldn't fix it and I'm not saying always get vet treatment and a vet to look at your dog first.  

00:23:11 Glenn:        Of course you've always been very supportive of vets and never poo-pooed their advice.  

00:23:15 Narelle:      Yeah. I'm not  a vet. I can't diagnose. So you always do need to get your dog checked by a vet first.  

00:23:19 Glenn:       And that's one thing that you do say, 'cause I need to interject there just so people know, is that Narelle also supports the veterinary profession. If people are coming to her with symptoms of the dogs, she always says go to the vet. Get bloods, make sure the vet does a thorough investigation of what happens. And the same thing with vets and products. You have an old saying that you use, ‘oils ain’t oils’, and it's the same thing. Some vets are very thorough and some aren't.  

00:23:43 Narelle:      I think the best outcome for the dog is those two people working together.  

00:23:48 Glenn:        Parallels.  

00:23:49 Narelle:       Yeah, it's complimentary. It's not antagonistic. We shouldn't be against each other. They're specialists at what they do. You know, I'm a specialist at what I do, I can't do their job. And a lot of vets don't have the knowledge that I have for health and nutrition. And I'm like, oh, we just compliment each other so well. Why aren't we working together for the betterment of this dog's health?  

00:24:07 Glenn:        Well the good thing is you are,  

00:24:09 Narelle:        I am. I've got some really great vet support, which is just growing and really encouraging for me, 'cause that's like the pinnacle for me. It's one thing for me to believe in my products, and I do believe completely in my products. But then to have someone with that level of knowledge of education and their reputation at stake when they recommend my products, that's really great.  

00:24:28 Glenn:       Well doesn't that highlight how exceptional they are? That, instead of trying to combine an all in one process with what they're doing, they look outside and say, yes, I'm exceptional at what I do in the veterinary field. That's my role. However, you are exceptional at what you do. Look at the qualifications you've got and the study that you've got. I mean, you're one of the highest educated people in the country as far as it goes, as far as qualifications goes in your field.  

00:24:54 Narelle:        Yeah, I certainly do try.  

00:24:55 Glenn:        I know you don't brag about it, 'cause I'm gonna brag for you. But I've seen over the years the study you've done. You've got two bachelors, one in agricultural science with honours and you've got one in health science with honours. And you won, what was it?  

00:25:10 Narelle:        Highest marks for the state. 

00:25:12 Glenn:       Highest marks for the state. It's not only that, you've also got multiple diplomas. How many diplomas have you got in health? 

00:25:18 Narelle:        Three advanced diplomas and more certificates than I even record these days.  

00:25:23 Glenn:       I think you've done pretty much every reputable and industry recognized course in animal health in natural medicine that you could possibly think of.   

00:25:31 Narelle:        I mean, there's lots of courses out there.  

00:25:33 Glenn:        But yeah, thee reputable ones,  

00:25:35 Narelle:       I guess when it comes to vets supporting my range, I see it as inevitable. Like that's the direction that medicine, human medicine, and animal medicine is sort of gonna be forced to go. I think consumers, pet owners are just expecting a more holistic approach. They understand that they need veterinary treatment, but they also appreciate a vet that can be a bit more broad-minded and look outside their box of education and go, okay, if I'm looking at the dog as a whole, yes the dog needs this medication. But, why not bring this in as well? And I think pet owners really are wanting more of that from their vets. And perhaps as you know, the newer generations of vets come out, that that will sort of start to take over a little bit more. So that's my hope anyway.  

00:26:16 Glenn:       I think it's something that's coming to fruition because people are becoming more educated themselves. The internet has certainly woken people up to the potential of further educating themselves, not just listening to the rhetoric of marketing. Before the internet came along, people were just subject to what they were told. If somebody advised 'em something, or if they read something in a magazine, that was literally from God's mouth to their ears and that was it. Now there is a broad spectrum of educational portals that people can dip into and have a look and think, there is a lot of contradiction in some of the things that I've been told. And I really need to further educate myself and understand what's best for me. It doesn't mean that these industry professionals dunno what they're talking about 'cause they do. But as you stipulated, it is really nice when you can have a look at the parallels and say, I really do need to have a look at this holistic approach.  

00:27:07 Narelle:        Part of what you said there about education, I'm huge about educating people about the why. Despite my introversion and anxiety about speaking, I do my podcast because I do wanna get information out there. And I think that's a big part with the vet community as well, because they don't study nutrition. And I think educating them about how the specific ingredients in a formula are working in the body, like that mechanism of action. Once they understand that, I think that really opens their mind to, ah, now I get it. Like, now I know how it's working to improve the health of that dog. I want the same for pet owners. I don't want a pet owner to say, oh, Narelle said it, I'll just blindly accept it. When it comes to your health, when it comes to your dog's health, you know, you should always be questioning, how is this helping me? How is this helping my dog? And I'm really passionate about getting the why out there. And today is a perfect example.  

00:27:57 Glenn:        Yeah, that's a good point that I wanna make before, because I did have a little bit of a dig at it during my earlier points. But if there is a person out there, like a face to a brand that's an industry person, question their education, it might be worth asking, what is your actual knowledge and expertise in this area? Because I know that you have knowledge and expertise in another area that you are mainly attributed to. What is your knowledge and expertise in the health and nutrition industry?  

00:28:24 Narelle:        Yeah, something that’s sort of a little bugbear of mine. There are so many people giving advice online. So I always say, just be mindful that their dog story isn't necessarily your dog story. What worked for them may not work for you. They may not know the full story. People give advice without knowing or even asking, is the dog on any medications? What's the dog eating? What else is going on in that dog's life? They'll just say, oh, you need to do this. and that's it. They don't know the backstory, the health history. 

00:28:52 Glenn:       I agree with you. My colleagues and I share the same thing with behaviour. There are so many old mates out there who want to tell people what to do with their dogs, especially family members. Family members are generally big-hearted, stupid family members. Uh, the worst of all of them because they will give the most outrageous advice with no evidence and no backup. It's just something that they heard on some random chat group that they're willing to share and it has no impact on the behaviour, or the health of their dog at all. So yeah, reach out and speak to somebody who actually does have the industry qualifications.  

00:29:25 Narelle:        Let's finally move on to the show proper.  

00:29:26 Glenn:        Well, we did have to get a little recant of last year out.  

00:29:30 Narelle:        Yeah. Look, it has been a hugely emotional year. Like it's been a rollercoaster. Wouldn't have it any other way in terms of the journey. Glad to see 2023 and…  

00:29:40 Glenn:       Listening to you talking about that reminds me of when we met Mel from Layla and Me, and she was talking about how the company has pressed all her buttons, and all the things that she's learned along the way. And you guys, are one in millions of people who in order to make your business survive, you have to suffer. And I've watched you endure this along the way. And it's not about the product, it's just about the amount of work that you have to do and all of the hats that you have to wear. There's so many hats. In small businesses that people don't appreciate. Your day is a 10 to 12 hour day, seven days a week.  

00:30:17 Narelle:        I guess we move in circles of small business owners more than most. You know, in the dog training world. And me with naturopathic businesses tend to be small businesses. So I know a lot of the listeners will appreciate and understand the challenge

00:30:30 Glenn:       They will, because some of them are small business owners.  

00:30:32 Narelle:       Yeah, so Gut Protect. My favourite product, my top product. Let's talk about why it's so amazing. What I thought I'd do is I'd just go through each of the ingredients individually and just say, this is how it works to improve the health of your dog. So most people would be familiar with Psyllium through products such as Metamucil for constipation in people. Psyllium has so much more to offer than just easy flowing poo. So we'll talk about what else it is good for. Most of the Psyllium is grown in India, but comes from all around the world. But the seeds, the Psyllium seeds, they're covered in an added layer or a husk. And it's really high in fibre. So that fibre layer is often referred to as mage and it's hydrophilic. So that means that its molecular structure causes it to attract and bind onto water. So when you add water, that's where you see it swell up and gel. 

00:31:22 Glenn:        Right

00:31:22 Narelle:       I think there was an ad back in the day for Metamucil. Was it there's a spoon? 

00:31:27 Glenn:       Yes, in the glass. It was. They put the product in, then they added water, stirred it up and left it for a period of time and it set like a gelatin.  

00:31:33 Narelle:       That's my recollection of Metamucil as well. And it used to be believed that Psyllium was highly fermentable by bacteria in the large intestine, but that was done in what's called in vitro fermentation studies, which basically means like Petri dishes and test tubes. But when they actually did further studies on humans, they discovered that Psyllium’s not highly fermented in the gut. And the benefit of that is it doesn't produce excess gas. So as a human clinician over the years, people come and see me, and they get all motivated to get healthy. So they go grocery shopping and they buy all these fruits and veggies and whole grains and they go home and then suddenly they're like gourmet cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner full of fruits and veggies that they've never eaten before. And then they come to the next consult and they're like, oh my gosh, I was so bloated. I had so much gas. Oh I had diarrhoea. I'm trying to eat healthy and I feel miserable. And I'm like, oh, too much fibre. I'm always telling people, dog clients, human clients, if you're gonna add fibre into your diet, you need to do it slowly and gradually. Because if it is a highly fermentable fibre, the bacteria in your gut are gonna throw a party and be like, oh my gosh, look at all like this food. Let's binge on it and let's produce a lot of gas.  

00:32:40 Glenn:       Let's do a fart party,  

00:32:41 Narelle:       Basically.  

00:32:43 Glenn:        <laughs>.  

00:32:44 Narelle:       But one of the reasons this is such a problem for humans. So today I am gonna be switching between humans and dogs as we talk about ingredients. The reason that's a problem when people suddenly eat a higher fibre diet, is most adult diets and children's diets are suboptimal in fibre intake. So most people are not getting anywhere near enough fibre that they need for good health. And to put it into perspective, there was a study done looking at ancestral indigenous Australians and they were estimated to consume over 130 grams of fibre a day. And the study said it's probably actually a lot more than that because they didn't even factor in resistant starch, which is a type of fibre. And to put that into perspective, the most recent national nutrition and physical activity survey in Australia showed that less than 20% of adults met the minimum suggested dietary intake for fibre, which is set to reduce chronic disease. And the sad thing about that is for women that's only 28 grams of fibre a day. And for men that's 38 grams of fibre a day.  

00:33:42 Glenn:        That's a minimum amount.  

00:33:43 Narelle:       Well that's the minimum recommended amount for chronic disease prevention like cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, colon cancer, all cause mortality, those sort of things. Less than 20% of adults are hitting those minimum requirements, so that's why, you know, when suddenly people try and get on the health kick, which a lot of people will be doing today, going forward with their New Year's resolutions. If you feel bad with gastric upset, just pull it back a little bit. Go a bit slower.  

00:34:07 Glenn:       I did see a funny meme about that yesterday, the 31st of December. And had a picture of a guy sitting there with this whole bunch of cash in front of him, like millions and millions of dollars. And it said, every gym owner on January 1st. I thought that was clever.  

00:34:24 Narelle:       Yeah, so true. But just take it slow. Try not to be all or nothing for your resolutions. Just increment gradually.  

00:34:30 Glenn:       That is sage advice. I really think that that is sound advice to anything that you're doing. Whether you're doing behavioural training, or you're doing health and fitness, is rather than having this one silly New Year's resolution, that you know you're not gonna do, it's just not achievable every year, 'cause it's one goal. Have lots of little incremental, achievable goals and just do something, because you'll get a dopamine effect from it. Like if you do something and you achieve it, your dopamine will start to pump up and then you can look at your list and say, well I've done that. I can tick that off the list. If you've got one that you never achieved, then you'll think I'm a failure. I can't do it. I'm not good enough. And that's what a lot of people do. And I've done that in the past before. I've set these goals where I've thought, yeah, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna smash this out this year and it doesn't happen. And I get so despondent by it. It doesn't inspire me, it sets me back, it drops my mood. Everything about that transforms me from the person I want to be into the person that I'm trying to run from.   

00:35:24 Narelle:       Yeah, I always tell people, particularly people who are struggling a lot with their health and their diet. Every day, what's one thing I can do differently today that takes a step closer to where I wanna be? And it can be as small as that. If they're drinking eight cups of coke a day, they might change one cup for a cup of water. That's one thing that they've done differently that's towards a better health outcome, and that's achievable. But if they said to themselves, I'm gonna go cold turkey on Coca-Cola, they'd probably freak out, have an anxiety attack, feel shit, and then binge on Coke the next day. I listen to you with the dog training side of things. Like we would never expect our dogs to go from zero to a hundred in a day. So you talk about millimetres, centimetres, metres. In terms of incremental changes in shaping behaviour, we need to apply that to ourselves. We would think it's so unfair to expect that of a dog and then be disappointed if they didn't go from millimetres to metres in a heartbeat. But we are not as compassionate with ourselves when it comes to changing our own ingrained behaviours.  

00:36:21 Glenn:       I'm one of the few people in Australia who have trained people who've never done or understood anything about dog training, or behaviour, and helped them along their journey through doing the practical side of the NDTF and other courses We've done seminars, both you and I. However, one of the points that I'd lead with people is the reason a ladder has rungs is because you're supposed to climb each one of them incrementally. You can't start at the bottom and jump all the way to the top. I've never met a person who can do that. And it's exactly the way that all life journeys is about Anything that you're learning, anything that you're adding to your repertoire of knowledge, it starts incrementally. And you have to know the incremental passage in order to start becoming learned and knowledgeable in that field where you can start to form new opinions. Once you start getting into that avenue, it opens you up to a whole new paradigm of learning possibilities. But you still have to go through the basics. You still have to travel that path.  

00:37:18 Narelle:       Starting to think we should have done a New Year's motivational, um, podcast, how to change behaviour. You for dogs, me for people. But we didn't,  

00:37:25 Glenn:       Well I do that through The Canine Paradigm anyway.  

00:37:27 Narelle:        I know, so people should check out your latest episode on The Canine Paradigm.  

00:37:30 Glenn:        The one that I think people are getting a lot of value out of at the moment is Episode 243.  

00:37:36 Narelle:        And that was about change and goal setting.  

00:37:38 Glenn:        Perfection is Paralysis.  

00:37:40 Narelle:       Yeah. So definitely check that out and you can get some tips on how to achieve your goals. So the other great thing about Psyllium is because it's got a lot of soluble fibre in it, it's great for lowering cholesterol. And the way it does this is as it moves through the intestines, it binds to what's called bile acids. So they're absorbed from the intestines, they get pulled up into the gel and then they get eliminated by the stool. Once the level of bile acids decreases, this stimulates the liver to produce more bile. But because cholesterol is a component of bile, the liver's gotta find more cholesterol. So it starts to pull that low density lipoprotein, or the bad cholesterol out of the blood. So Psyllium has a great effect at lowering LDL cholesterol, and it's stated up to 24% as well as total cholesterol by up to 20%.  

00:38:27 Narelle:        But it does this without affecting our good cholesterol, or our HDL cholesterol, which is really important. And even if you're on statin medications, there's benefit to adding Psyllium. And one of the papers I said stated that if you take Psyllium during the day and you're also taking statin drugs, that it's having a doubling effect on reducing cholesterol. But you're not having to double the statin medication and the side effects that come with that. So that's really great. If you've got high cholesterol, jump onto Psyllium. Dogs get high cholesterol too. So good for them as well. I guess the reason I primarily put Psyllium in this product is that it has a paradoxical stool normalising effect. And what that means is it can soften hard stools. Like if your dog's constipated, you've given too much bone or whatever's going on. There's lots of reasons why dogs would be constipated.  

00:39:15    Narelle:    By drawing water into the stool, it bulks it up, because Psyllium has that mucilaginous effect. It becomes slimy. So it makes it easier to move through the intestinal tract, but by bulking up the size of it, that can innovate the nerves in the intestine, which then stimulate peristalsis. So that makes everything go out a lot easier as well. And that's how it works in humans as well because it does suck up moisture. It can firm up loose stools. So really great for dogs experiencing diarrhoea. And I have to say, it's probably the main feedback I get for Gut Protect from customers, is customers who have had dogs with just chronic diarrhoea and nothing has worked. And they get onto the Gut Protect and they're like, oh my goodness, it's resolved. And there was one case in particular, this guy, he had a working farm dog who had to have a large chunk of his bowel removed.  

00:40:05 Narelle:        And from that point on, he just had constant chronic diarrhoea. And that's, I mean, any dog owner knows just how challenging that is to deal with on a day-to-day basis. It's not quality of life for the dog, it's not quality of life for the family. And it's just a horrible, horrible experience and a feeling of helplessness when your dog is experiencing that and you can't fix it. So he got onto the Gut Protect, he also used the Gut Restore, 'cause you know, his dog situation was quite full on. And he was so overwhelmed with gratitude at the reduction in diarrhoea, even going from like every day, like every week to every few months. And then went out from there. He's like, oh my gosh, this has changed our life significantly. If your dog's constipated, great. If your dog's got diarrhoea, really great.  

00:40:47 Narelle:       The other good thing about Psyllium, it's shown to reduce symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. And this is becoming really common. Both of these conditions have become quite common in dogs from the emails that I get from people inquiring about the products. And it's actually the only fibre recommended for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome by the American College of Gastroenterology. In terms of people, it's great for haemorrhoids, great for faecal incontinence, which is why I created it for Ladybug, because she's got mild faecal incontinence as a result of her spinal injury.  

00:41:18 Glenn:        But she's got amazing poo.  

00:41:19 Narelle:        Just the best. I've never met a dog that just creates such good poos. Amazing. Consistently,  

00:41:25 Glenn:       Consistently touch wood. I'm actually poking wood right now. She has got amazing poos. Thank God. 

00:41:30 Narelle:      That is a quality of life issue.  

00:41:31 Glenn:        We were always worried that if she had soft or sloppy poo, it was gonna be very challenging for us.  

00:41:37 Narelle:        Even sticky poo, 'cause she's not in a carpeted room. So even sticky poo would be…  

00:41:41 Glenn:        Yeah. It'd be an issue, it'd be a setback. But it's been, again, touch wood has been amazing.  

00:41:46 Narelle:        Yeah, Psyllium’s great to help regulate blood sugar levels. So if you've got diabetes, it can be a really great addition to your regime. And the way it does this, it increases the viscosity of what's called the chyme. So this is the partially digested food that passes from the stomach into the small intestine. So it's just a lot thicker and more viscous. But by slowing down the breakdown of food, it also slows down the absorption of nutrients, including glucose or sugar. So that's what's improving. Fasting blood glucose levels, haemoglobin A1, C levels, so really beneficial for people or pets with blood sugar issues, such as diabetes. Because it slows down digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also works to prolong satiety. So it's delaying hunger. Great option for anyone who wants to lose weight in the New Year because it can just make you feel fuller, so you're less likely to overeat. So people, if you're gonna do this, I'd say, you know, have a heap of Psyllium in a lot of water half an hour or an hour before your main meal or the main time of day that you're likely to overeat. So for most people that's dinner and evening. This is really corny, but in one of the papers I was reading on Psyllium, and this was like a proper scientific journal paper, it said that the clinical data support the conclusion that ‘Fibre needs to gel, to keep your patients well’.  

00:43:05 Narelle:        That was my reaction. It was such a serious paper. And I got to that statement and I'm just like, ah, nerdy scientists, that's what we do.  

00:43:14 Glenn:        You love those things.  

00:43:15 Narelle:        I do.They make me giggle. Lots of reasons to add Psyllium into your diet and your dog's diet. And you might say, well why don't I just Psyllium? Like why do I need Gut Protect? Well, the feedback I'm getting is from a lot of dog owners, who over the years have used Psyllium by itself and thought, oh yeah, my dog's doing well. But then they try the Gut Protect because you know, they've heard such amazing things about it. So they're like, oh, well I'll just give it a go. And they email 'em and say, oh my goodness, I thought my dogs were doing well. But they've just stepped it up a notch. Like I've noticed a difference again by using the Gut Protect instead of just plain Psyllium. I mean, that's what I do in terms of formulating, there's a reason I put certain ingredients together. And it's that synergistic action of all the ingredients in Gut Protect that's elevated above an individual ingredient. So there really is benefit in using the product rather than just an ingredient here and a single ingredient there. And the interesting thing with Psyllium is in the human space, most of the research is around constipation. But in the dog space, the research that's coming out in the last couple of years is around diarrhoea.  

00:44:18 Glenn:        Right, okay.  

00:44:18 Narelle:        Yeah. It's quite different. But there was a study done, and I like this one because it's more relevant to the circles we move in, in terms of dog training. But they did a study in 2021 for the management of chronic idiopathic large bowel diarrhoea in working dogs. And look, there's a lot of reasons why dogs can have ongoing diarrhoea, which is why you need to get a vet check. You know, worms, dietary indiscretion, bacterial infections, tumours, inflammatory bowel disease. So you need to rule out all of that. But with working dogs, the high energy, the high drive, the stress can really contribute to diarrhoea, and we heard a lot about it. We were at the K9 Scent Detection Conference.  

00:44:54 Glenn:        Well, you got to talk, you were part of the seminar group.  

00:44:57 Narelle:        Yeah. That was in October in Sydney. And these are all high-end…

00:45:02 Glenn:       PhD’s Yeah.  

00:45:03 Narelle:        Well not just the scientists, the people on the ground.   

00:45:07 Glenn:       Well they’re people from government agencies, they're people from the military, police, border force, quarantine. So many of the high tier people in the industry, who are working to protect Australian shores to ensure that even the things that people are trying to smuggle into the country, the people from the explosive detection units, even the nose works guys, you know, who are very serious about their dog's health and wellbeing as well. Which is a good point along the way of this, I'm glad you brought this up because it amazes me. Absolutely amazes me. And even I'm appalled sometimes when I see some of the highest end working dogs who are not being considered properly by people high in the tier. That aren't considering the highest diet and supplementation for their dogs. They're still being fed pretty average diets at times. And it's good to see that there's a shift in that paradigm, folks. There has to be. You know, if you're involved in the bean counting side for these dogs, if you want to get the best out of them for work performance and longevity, you have to consider the health and wellbeing of the dog through diet and supplementation. It is just crazy that that is not even being considered, and these dogs are still eating bowls of dry food.  

00:46:20 Narelle:       The handlers see that, the handlers that are working with these dogs…  

00:46:23 Glenn:        The handlers are never the problem.  

00:46:24 Narelle:       Well, they're the ones realising something's not right. Like my dog's got diarrhoea more often than not. Um, or…  

00:46:30 Glenn:       Or apathy in work…  

00:46:31 Narelle:        Struggling to maintain body weight. And they're the ones saying, you know, something needs to change, something's not right, but I don't understand what to do. But they're not giving any guidance or help from the powers that be. So it was really, I just found it great to speak to that group of people. And just to put some information and ideas and starting points in their heads about this is what you can do, this is where you can go, this is what you can ask for to be done differently, tTo support your dog. Because I mean, in this study they were assessing Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, you know, Dutch Shepherds. So all really high drive dogs. These dogs are also kenneled, so you've got the stress of the kennel environment as well.  

00:47:08 Glenn:       Well, they're dogs that stress easily anyway. They're amongst the breeds of the highest stress type of dogs anyway. 

00:47:14 Narelle:        So in the study, it just seems so simple to me, but it was so effective. They gave the dogs four tablespoons of Psyllium per day for four weeks. I wouldn't say just give your dogs four tablespoons of Psyllium off the bat. You know, as I've mentioned, start small buildup. But by the end of four weeks, just four weeks, 90% of the dogs had significant improvements in their stool regularity in the bulk of their stool, which means it was better formed and not loose and diarrhoea. And they also had a mean increase in body weight of two kilos. So that's really important too, because a lot of emails from owners of sporting dogs and working dogs saying, I just can't keep condition on my dog. And if your dog's suffering from diarrhoea, like what's going in one end, it's just coming out too quickly the other end.

 00:47:53 Narelle:       They're not absorbing the nutrition that they need from that food. So then that will have a detrimental effect, 'cause if you're not getting your nutrition, the nervous system's not getting what it needs to function well. Then neurotransmitters are not getting what they need and it just spirals. It's like a vicious circle. So really important. So that was a great study. There are other studies I won't go through now since we're going on for a bit longer, but it was the same sort of outcome that a dog, unknown diarrhoea, they tried all the vet treatments, the dog's owner was a vet, they did a hydrolyzed elimination diet. They did antibiotics, all those sort of things. Nothing worked. They tried Psyllium, and it was resolved. So there's a lot to be said for Psyllium,  

00:48:28 Glenn:       To be honest, and without sounding biased, I think a lot of these dogs, a lot of these agencies would benefit from having their dogs on your Gut Protect product.  

00:48:37 Narelle:       Absolutely. I believe that too.  

00:48:38 Glenn:       A hundred percent. Again, it's not biased, it's just based on seeing what colleagues that I know that are on your product with their working dogs, and the transformation they've seen and what they're already doing. If they're not considering it, there has to be some sort of problem there, where people are, look, to be honest, I know that in some of the industries, the professional industries, there's problems there because as you pointed out, the handlers know what needs to be done. The bean counters at the top are the ones that are deciding whether or not they're going to allocate this small amount to supplement the dog's dietary income. But it needs a review. It does need a review.  

00:49:13 Narelle:       Yeah. Absolutely. So hopefully we can instigate change over time with the work that we're both doing in the industry.  

00:49:19 Glenn:       Well, that's the legacy that I'm trying to leave behind. I know you are as well. When you and I do seminars together and we're educating people, and we've done this throughout a few states in Australia, and we're going to do a bit more this year as well. The work that we're actually doing, it is, I'm coming from the head and you are coming from the gut. So we're complimenting each other on what we're actually working with, and why dogs are behaving the way that they are through apathy at either end. A little bit mental and a little bit physical. 

00:49:46 Narelle:      Yeah, absolutely. You know, there's no point in putting bandaids on things. You know, you've really gotta work out what's driving the problem.   

00:49:53 Glenn:       You gotta get to the core. A lot of people out in the industry, and this is a critique that I do have, especially for people who don't have the know-how, is they remove the satellites in orbit. They don't take out the core. And it's the core that keeps pumping The satellites out there all the time. If you're just knocking satellites up, another one will pop up in another area. The core is where it needs to be worked out, how to resolve that. And then the satellites will dissipate from there.  

00:50:16 Narelle:       That's the great thing about working with vets. Like holistic vets that are happy to work with me and my products is, you know, if a dog's suffering, we need to give that dog quality of life. There's no point saying, oh, I don't believe in vets. I'm just gonna do all natural and the poor dog's suffering, you know, from whatever the issue is.  

00:50:33 Glenn:        It’s not the way to do it.  

00:50:34 Narelle:       People email me and say, oh, you know, my dog's suffering from this. My vet wants to do this, but I don't wanna do it. I'm like, you've just told me your dog is suffering. You need that veterinary treatment. Let's just do that to give your dog a better quality of life now in the short term. And then we can start working on the underlying cause, that hopefully the problem will not come back again. So you stop that cycle happening.  

00:50:55 Glenn:       The industry word is collaborative. 

00:50:57 Narelle:      Yeah. Next two ingredients. I'm gonna group these together. So these are Inulin and Larch Arabinogalactan. So they're both really potent prebiotic fibres. And to be classified as a prebiotic, the fibres must be able to pass through the gastrointestinal tract, undigested and stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which then confers a health benefit to the host. So the host could be us, it could be our dog. So nearly all prebiotics are fibre, but not all fibres have prebiotic properties just to make our lives more difficult. But Inulin, it can be found naturally in a range of different foods like chicory root artichokes, asparagus, and bananas. Things that dogs shouldn't eat, like leaks and onions. The Inulin in the Gut Protect comes from organic Jerusalem artichoke. Arabinogalactan, it's a compound that's found naturally in lots of different plants, but it's found in highest concentrations in larch trees. That's why you tend to only see Larch Arabinogalactan listed in health supplements. And by acting as a food source for bacteria, I think people still get confused online. I see this a lot. Like what's the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic? Always remember a probiotic. It's a live microorganism, could be a bacteria, it could be a yeast in the case of saccharomyces boulardii, but it's a live microorganism. A prebiotic is a food source for that live organism.  

00:52:18 Glenn:        Okay, that makes sense.  

00:52:19 Narelle:        Prebiotics help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. But what's more important is that by doing that, those beneficial bacteria then go on to produce a highly valuable immune boosting compound or compounds I should say, called short chain fatty acids. And the main ones we talk about are butyrate, propionate, and acetate. So it's the short chain fatty acids that are really conferring that health benefit to us and our dogs. And some of the ways it does this is by nourishing the growth of other beneficial bacteria. So not all bacteria like to eat the same things. Some like one type of short chain fatty acid, others like a different type of short-chain fatty acids. So yeah, short-chain fatty acids help to protect the intestinal mucosa against disease and cancer causing agents. One of the great things is in the way they work, is that they help to regulate the pH of the gut.  

00:53:09 Narelle:        And this is really important, because beneficial bacteria tend to thrive and do better in a slightly acidic environment. Whereas a lot of the pathogenic bacteria tend to prefer a slightly more alkaline environment. So short chain fatty acids, they're acidifying, so they help to keep the colon a lot more acidic, which is great for our overall health. They can also bind to receptors in the gut lining, which can help to control appetite and regulate the storage of fat. So having enough prebiotics to feed the probiotics to create these short chain fatty acids is really an important part of a weight loss strategy. Butyrate, which is one of the main short-chain fatty acids that we talk about, it's an essential energy source for colonocytes. So these are just cells lining the colon and they need these short-chain fatty acids so they can carry out all of their important functions, but particularly in preserving the integrity of the gut lining and preventing leaky gut.  

00:53:59 Narelle:        And we all sort of know the problems now that come from chronic leaky gut. Short-chain fatty acids. They've got antioxidant properties, they've got anti-cancer properties, they've got anti-inflammatory properties. And there's now research to show that they target many of the same pathways associated with brain-related conditions. So they're now considered somewhat neuroprotective, in their effects, which is really great too. So there's lots of evidence to support the role for prebiotics for reducing the risk and severity of gastrointestinal infections, inflammation, you know, things like diarrhoea and inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome. They also increase the bioavailability and the uptake of minerals, and that's gonna play an important role in, you know, gut health, immune health, but skin health as well. So a lot of dogs with skin issues, you know, we're targeting the gut. And Owen's like, why are we targeting the gut?  

00:54:45 Narelle:       My dog's got a skin issue. This is why Larch Arabinogalactan has growing evidence behind it as an adjunct to cancer therapies because it's able to stimulate natural killer cells. And they're just the type of immune cell that is great at killing tumour cells or cells infected with the virus. So I always think of them as like the special forces of our immune system, and because of its ability to activate the immune system as well as to create a healthy gut environment, Larch Arabinogalactan, it's been shown to help with allergies, autoimmune diseases, joint diseases for reducing bacterial and viral infections and chronic ear infections. And there was actually a study done in children with recurrent ear infections that showed that by supplementing prophylactically with larch, that there was a significant decrease in the occurrence and the severity of their ear infections.  

00:55:36 Narelle:        And the study author said, well that's because it's promoting their immune system and working from the inside out. And I do get feedback from customers for their dog's ear infections, for improvements using the Gut Protect. Chronic ear infections are notoriously hard to overcome. It's usually not about just giving one thing. You need a multi-pronged approach when it comes to chronic ear infections, which we won't talk about today. But supporting gut health is definitely part of that multi-pronged approach. The next group of ingredients in the Gut Protect are the digestive enzymes. So this is a proprietary blend called DigeZyme. We've heard the saying that you are what you eat, but really we are what we absorb. So if you have the best diet in the world, so you've made your new news resolution, you know you're gonna eat a healthy diet, but you've got terrible gut health. And you're not absorbing what you are consuming, then you know the benefits aren't gonna be what they potentially should be.  

00:56:30 Glenn:        I'm somebody who has endured that before. Early in our relationship, I remember being treated for gut health and I think my gut health was estimated to be working at about 10%. And that was just a life of eating bad food, excessive consumption of alcohol. And that contributed to a lot of issues in physical and mental health decline. Ironically, well, funnily enough I should say, when that cleared up, so did a lot of the other symptoms that I was enduring at the time, which were physical symptoms and mental health symptoms.  

00:57:03 Narelle:        The majority of adults I think are suffering gut issues. And part of the reason is 40 to 60% of the adult diet is the energy coming in is ultra processed food. So, you know, no fibre, sugar, fat, salt, alcohol. None of that is conducive to good gut health, but that is what people are living on these days.

00:57:20 Glenn:       All things that taste delicious and literally strip their insides out.  

00:57:24 Narelle:       Yep. This is why digestive enzymes are so important, 'cause they do catalyse the breakdown of food, which then allows those nutrients to be released and absorbed into the bloodstream and do all their good work. So if our dogs aren't producing enough digestive enzymes, naturally this can lead to problems of nutrient insufficiency. So it's not that you'll see a frank deficiency, like suddenly something goes majorly wrong. It's usually a lot more subtle and long term that they're not getting what they need. And then you get chronic degenerative diseases showing up. But it can lead to skin issues, coat issues, gut issues, fertility issues, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, immune issues. If your dog's body is not getting the nutrition it needs, everything suffers. Including behaviour. But some of the more obvious symptoms of reduced enzyme production that dog owners can look out for include excess bloating, excess gas, stinky gas.  

00:58:16 Narelle:        If you think your dog's got abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, undigested food in the stools, food intolerances. So all of those could be a red flag for just not having enough digestive enzymes to do the job. So the Gut Protect contains all of the key digestive enzymes that our dogs need. So it's got proteases which act to break down protein, and something I didn't know many years ago as a human naturopath I never thought to ask was, that you can have different types of proteases. So we tend just to talk about proteases as, oh yes, they break down protein, but you can get acid proteases, neutral proteases and alkaline proteases. So each one is designed to function best in a certain pH. So acid proteases function best in a highly acidic environment. And since our dog's guts are highly acidic, that is the type of protease that I've selected to put in the Gut Protect.  

00:59:06 Narelle:       It contains lipase, which breaks down fats. amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates and starch. And that's really important these days with dogs on a kibble diet, which are just full of carbohydrates. It's got lactase, which breaks down lactose from dairy products and cellulase. So cellulase is not naturally present in humans or dogs. And it also breaks down carbohydrates like amylase, but specifically the insoluble plant fibre cellulose. And again, this is really important for dogs on a kibble diet, because some kibble’s actually adding pure cellulose into the formula because it's cheap. So think sawdust and it's a bulking agent. If your dog is on a kibble, I believe you need to be giving a formula with digestive enzymes in it. Dogs that may benefit from the addition of digestive enzymes. Uh, our older dogs, particularly if you've got an older dog that's struggling to maintain a nice body weight, because as we age, as our dogs age, we naturally produce less digestive enzymes.  

01:00:02 Narelle:        We also produce less acid. So supporting gut health in senior dogs is really critical, in my opinion. Dogs with any digestive disorders, particularly if there is a lot of gas or rumbling noises from the gut or diarrhoea, or you see food in their stools or a lot of mucus. But do be aware, Psyllium because it is mucilaginous, when you add a Psyllium based product to your dog's diet, you may see an increase in the mucusy slimy layer on the stool. But that's not always a bad thing 'cause people think inflammation with mucus in the stool, which is accurate. But because Psyllium does create that slimy mucilaginous coating, you can sometimes see that in the stool, as well. So that's, that's good to know. That's not any need for concern. I think digestive enzyme formulas are really, really important during any diet transition.  

01:00:50 Narelle:       So if you do have a dog on kibble, and you wanna transition to a raw food diet or a cook food diet, because dogs on a kibble food diet tend to have poorer health function. Supporting their gut during that transition can be hugely beneficial. If your dog is on a largely plant-based diet, whether that's by choice, or you are feeding one of the standard commercial kibble on the market, because most of them are bordering on being vegan, I think a digestive enzyme's indicated. Dogs that are highly stressed, we forget, you know, everyone tends to forget about the impact of stress for us and our dogs on not only overall health, but gut health as well. And I know I've spoken about this before, but whenever we are stressed, when our dogs are stressed, it's a sympathetic nervous system, dominant state. And whenever that's occurring, blood flow is moving away from the digestive organs to the extremities.  

01:01:42 Narelle:       So we can run or fight. Digestive function in terms of acid production and enzyme production is diminished, because digesting a meal is not going to ensure our survival when we're in a life-threatening situation. So all of that's just shutting down, and if you've got a dog that is constantly anxious or stressed or overwhelmed by the world, give a gut product, but you also need to target that stress and that anxiety. And that might come from seeing a trainer or behaviourist or giving a supplement that can help target that as well. So I've got two supplements in my range. So there's a lot of dogs where I will recommend both, like the Gut Protect and a stress formula to really get on top of that aspect.  

01:02:23 Glenn:        Is that your Stress Ease formula that you've got?  

01:02:25 Narelle:        Yeah, there's Stress Ease and Relax. So if you've got a highly anxious dog, I recommend you give both. Otherwise you could start with one or the other, and see how it goes.  

01:02:33 Glenn:       I laughed when you showed me that clip from Kirsty Fuller,  

01:02:36 Narelle:       Ah, classic.  

01:02:37 Glenn:        She's got a malinois. Frankie. Frankie can be a bit of a stress head sometimes. And Kirsty got in touch with Narelle, got the relaxed formula and she was literally just sitting there looking like she'd smoked a joint.  

01:02:50 Narelle:        And I mean,there's nothing illegal in the product. It's just effective in working on the endocannabinoid system, which is the same bodily system that CBD works on. But it's not CBD, it's nothing illegal, but it's working indirectly on those same pathways, which is why it's so beneficial for dogs with stress.  

01:03:09 Glenn:        Yep. And I sent it down to my uncle in Victoria. He's got like a little poodle crossbreed, she's got some resource guarding issues which we're dealing with behaviorally, but she's just a little bit of a stress head as well. And he just noticed that it's having a profound effect on her behaviour as well. She's not so anxious and jumpy and jittery, it's quietening her down. 

01:03:29 Narelle:       That’s good. I hadn't known that feedback.  

01:03:31 Glenn:       I only got it the other day, so I hadn't given it to you yet, like a typical husband does for wives.  

01:03:37 Narelle:       Yeah, but with any product like Relax or the Stress Ease, yes it's gonna bring them down a notch in their stress and their anxiety. But you still need to work on the behaviour with someone that knows what they're doing. But by bringing the stress levels down, it just makes the dog more open to training. So it's a really good combination. Like I said, often things aren't just one thing in isolation, it's gonna hit the spike. You need to look at it from all angles.  

01:04:01 Glenn:       Yeah, it's complementary and collaborative.  

01:04:04 Narelle:        Yep. The next ingredient in Gut Protect is the probiotics. So lactose spore is the specific trademark probiotic that I've put in here. Its proper name is Bacillus coagulans, MTCC5856. So that's the strain. And we know now from research that  you've got the genus, which is bacillus, you've got the species which is coagulants, and you've got the strain, which is letters and numbers. But you can have the same genus and species, but different strains can have different health benefits or health effects in the body. So one strain might be great for one thing but not another. And then the other strain might be great for that other thing, but not another. So I think it's really important for any product that you buy that it does have the strain listed. Because that really highlights that there is good evidence behind it for that particular issue.  

01:04:50 Narelle:        So the other reason I really liked the lactose spore for this formula is because it's a spore forming bacteria. So most traditional probiotics come naturally from the gastrointestinal tract. Whereas spore forming probiotics such as the bacillus species, they're really widespread in nature. So they're often referred to as soil-based probiotics. So they're able to grow under extreme environmental conditions. Things like high temperature, high humidity, extreme drying, extreme radiation. And it's these resilient properties that also allow them to resist those aspects of our dog's bodies that are naturally designed to have an antimicrobial effect. So gastric acid is designed to kill off bacteria. Pancreatic enzymes, bile salts, they're all antimicrobial. But because of their robustness, the spore forming bacteria are more likely to reach their destination in the intestines where they then revert to active growing bacteria, which can then have all their amazing health benefits.  

01:05:49 Narelle:        So a lot of the traditional probiotic species, you lactobacillus and your bifidobacterium, they're great. Like they have, you know, a lot of demonstrated health benefits, but they're very fragile and they're very prone to dying off, either in the container that you buy them in or in the body if they're not formulated correctly. So recent studies on bacillus species have shown that they can competitively inhibit pathogenic organisms, produce antibiotic substances that work against pathogenic bacteria, reduce diarrhoea, prevent intestinal inflammation, improve the integrity of the gut lining, regulate bowel movements, prevent gastrointestinal disorders, reduce gas, reduce faecal odour, which is great for some dogs. And they helped improve the immune system by stimulating the production of a compound called secretory iga, which I won't talk about today. But that's a really, really important first line of defense of our immune system from things coming into the body from the environment.  

01:06:43 Narelle:        So by doing all of those things, it's naturally going to improve digestion, improve immune function, reduce the risk of allergies, promote nutrient absorption, and support skin health, like et cetera, et cetera. So really, I love the spore forming bacteria because they are just so robust. And you know, I really believe what gets put into the product is gonna end up in your dog and not just die off in the container. So the last couple of ingredients are the herbs. And as a herbalist, I just love herbs. They have so many applications for humans and dogs. The first herb that I chose to pop in the formula is chamomile. So most people will be familiar with chamomile. It's one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. And I just love it for dogs because of how gentle it is and how well tolerated it is.  

01:07:29 Narelle:       And it has a really wide range of different health conditions that it can be helpful for. As an example, if we look at human traditional medicine, chamomile is being used to treat wounds, ulcers, eczema, and other skin conditions, gout, bruises, burns, nerve pain, sciatica, arthritic and rheumatic pain, pms pain, haemorrhoids, mastitis, anxiety and depression, seasonal allergies, muscle spasms, migraine pain, vertigo, insomnia, infections of the respiratory tract and oral cavity, and gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS and IBD. I was just reading that from a herbal monograph on chamomile. But there's a whole extra list of things that it's been used for healthwise, so a really comprehensive herb. But the main reason that I chose to put it in the Gut Protect is because it acts as a powerful digestive relaxant and a really powerful gastric healing agent. So chamomile is widely used to treat inflammation, not only of the external skin.  

01:08:28 Narelle:        And I often will tell customers with dogs with allergies to make some chamomile tea, pop it in a spray bottle, pop that in the fridge, and then just spray your dog's skin to give them some relief. But it's also highly beneficial to the internal mucosal membranes. And then because it's a digestive relaxant, it's highly beneficial in reducing flatulence gastric spasms in digestion, diarrhoea. It can help dogs with motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting, and just generally working to soothe the stomach. So I love it for dogs, it's really safe in terms of herbs, 'cause some herbs aren't safe. We really need to know what we're doing when it comes to herbs with our dogs. And finally, the last ingredient that I chose to put in the Gut Protect out of all the ingredients that I could possibly choose, it's fennel. So like chamomile, fennel provides a really wide array of health benefits.  

01:09:18 Narelle:        It has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial effects in the body. It's the essential oils from the seed that possess the antibacterial properties in particular. And this can be helpful for maintaining good gut health as well as good dental health and getting rid of bad breath. So I do get great feedback on the product for improving breath in dogs, whether it's coming from the gut or the mouth. But if it's from the mouth, definitely get a full on dental check for your dog. It also works to increase the secretion of saliva, which again can aid digestion and support good dental health. The essential oils in the fennel seeds also help to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices, and digestive enzymes, that will then work to improve digestion and nutrient absorption, which we really want. Fennel seeds contain various antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory compounds that work really well for gastric spasms. Things like cramping, indigestion, bloating, and just general gastric upset. So, we had a phase back many years ago in Melbourne where we were going through an Indian eating phase, whether we were getting takeaway or dining in. But whenever we dined in and we'd go to pay, you know, on the counter that'd have that little dish. It's fennel seeds and you'd take a spoonful before you left. I think they were more sugar coated, 'cause they were colourful, weren't they?  

01:10:32 Glenn:        They were, yeah, to aid digestion.  

01:10:33 Narelle:       Yeah. But that was fennel seeds because it's so good for digestion and gut health. And once you've had three courses of Indian food, you need all the support you can get. Great for our dogs. So I think we should probably wrap it up there. But to summarise everything that we've spoken about, giving your dog a combination formula that contains probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and herbs, specifically designed to support canine digestion and immune function, it's really important. It's gonna help to restore and maintain the integrity of the gut lining, promote a healthier more robust gastrointestinal tract overall, promote a healthier and more robust immune system, promote a more balanced gut microbiome. It's gonna help to exclude and suppress pathogenic organisms, which is why it's called Protect as part of the name. It's gonna help with diarrhoea, it's gonna help with constipation. And by doing all of that, as I've said throughout the show, it's gonna help reduce allergy risk, chronic skin conditions, chronic ear infections, and just improve overall health.  

01:11:33 Narelle:       And the Gut Protect, unlike some other products in the range, the Gut Protect has been designed to be used every day long term. All of our dogs are on it every day. They will remain on it every day. The benefits are huge. The safety is great if your dog has a flare up of a certain health condition. There are other supplements that can be brought in for short-term use. But the Gut Protect really is designed to strengthen the gut and your dog's immune system to hopefully prevent anything from happening. You can read more about Gut Protect on the website, so canineceuticals.com.au. If you've got any questions about Gut Protect or any of the products in the range, email me at info@canineceuticals.com.au. If you wanna provide feedback on the podcast, you can jump onto the Facebook page, Natural Health for People and Pets. And we can have a conversation there, like all my social media, because as Glen said, I'm terrible at promoting my social media. So please support me by supporting my social media.  

01:12:30 Glenn:        Yes. If you are a customer of Narelle’s and the product has worked for you and it's genuine, why not write a review?  

01:12:37 Narelle:       Please do. That would be greatly appreciated.  

01:12:39 Glenn:       It is really nice to read through the experiences that other people are having. You've shared many, many of your emails with me. The non-personal ones, just the review based ones. It really is nice. It'd be nice for other people who are…. 

01:12:52 Narelle:       Well,we all do it when we're wanting to buy or invest in something. You know, we wanna know what other people think.  

01:12:57 Glenn:        That's exactly right.  

01:12:58 Narelle:       I think it's just human nature. It's due diligence. If you're using the product and you believe in the product and it's helped your dog, you can leave a review on the product page, on the website. So if you scroll down towards the bottom of the page on the left hand side, there'll be a little tab saying write a review. So you can do that on the product page specifically. You can also go to Google Reviews and leave a review on my Google page.

01:13:20 Glenn:        Or, you could also leave a review on your podcast page. 

01:13:24 Narelle:        I'd forgotten about that. Yeah,do that too. Just copy and paste. Yeah, if you like,put them everywhere. 

01:13:28 Glenn:       That works. 

 01:13:29 Narelle:       It does. You don't have to rewrite a different review. Just copy and paste it on all the different platforms.  

01:13:34 Glenn:       Sounds good.  

01:13:35 Narelle:        See, I'm getting the hang of it.  

01:13:36 Glenn:       Same, same.  

01:13:36 Narelle:       Thank you for listening and we will catch you next time.  

01:13:39 Glenn:       Thank you very much everyone. Take care. Bye.

Mentioned in this article

More stories

Episode 27: The benefits of colostrum

00:00:32 Glenn:       Welcome back to Natural Health for People and Pets. I'm co-host of the show, Glen Cooke. It's been quite a while since episo...

Episode 29: The health benefits of organ meats

00:00:33 Glenn:      Welcome back to Natural Health for People and Pets. I'm co-host of the show, Glen Cooke, and I'm gonna introduce the host of ...