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  • Writer's picturePlay With Purpose

Preventative Measures Part 1: Gut Health and Brain Health

In my last post, I wrote about the link between our dog’s behaviour and their overall health and well-being. The better our dog’s overall physical and mental health, the less stress they will be under, the less pain they will be in, the more trainable they are and the better their behaviour will be. If our dogs do have underlying health issues that we are unaware of, or that we do not address appropriately, we may not see the training results we would like even if we do everything right in that department. At the same time, when we let behaviour problems go and do nothing to help our dogs out, we leave them stressed and that negatively impacts their health. It is a cycle that we *can* get out of.

Photo courtesy of A-OK9

My Own Dog’s Struggles

I adopted my young dog from a rescue that takes in abandoned and abused street dogs. Minnie had very little positive human contact in her first 3 months and was found abandoned on a beach, timid and malnourished. When I took her in at 4.5 months old, she was suffering from a debilitating and painful condition (hypertrophic osteodystrophy) that affected her ability to stand and walk. She spent periods of times of up to two weeks over the following 6 months not being able to get herself up and crying out painfully if touched the wrong way. Her early lack of exposure to the world in positive way, coupled with this health issue meant that Minnie was rather fearful of novelty and anxious of new sounds, movements and cautious around people and other animals due to the painful periods she went through.

In addition to using games-based concept training to help build her confidence, I began to give her the CALM-K9 supplement last year to see if it would actually help her relax a little more around the things that continued to upset her on a regular basis. Loud noises outside such as car doors slamming were the worst...I would think that she was fast asleep and then, ‘bam!’, up she’d be, racing to the window in a frantic way to see what was going on outside. These bursts of stressed out moments were affecting her bowel movements, which would always be a little looser on the days when this was happening, and she would be much more hyper-vigilant in the hours following resulting in less rest and a fuller bucket. We were playing games every day, but these other factors were hindering our progress.


After about three months of taking the CALM-K9 supplement, I noticed a marked improvement in Minnie’s ability to rest and relax in our home when there was activity going on outside in the neighbourhood. Outside noises do not bother her nearly as much, and her startle response to them has diminished to a frequency of approximately once every two weeks (and there are times where she simply raises her head upon hearing something, and then goes right back to sleep). She sleeps though the night regularly now, and her bowel movements are consistent and regular. Since adding in CALM-K9 to boost brain health and help settle gut health, we have made many more gains through our games-based training and her confidence has sky-rocketed.

Why Does CALM-K9 Work?

The brain is full of chemicals (called “neurotransmitters”) like Serotonin (the happy chemical), which impacts everyday choices. Numerous studies show that supplementing these chemicals into a dog’s diet (in their precursor form) has transformational effects on their behaviour. There is increasing evidence to show that the microbiome – the tiny (yet hugely important) guys in your dog’s gut – play a huge role in the development of Serotonin and other neurotransmitters. When not supported, these tiny bacteria directly impact your dog’s behaviour (including reactivity and lack of focus).

Made with high-quality, all natural, ingredients, CALM-K9 supplements your dog’s diet with what is needed to boost neurotransmitter production and calm the gut microbiome.

· Mood-boosting Tryptophan

· Passiflora Incarnata Powder to help with anxiety

· Lemon Balm Extract which aids digestion and decreases stress and irritability

· A gut-supporting probiotic (Enterococcus Faecium)

· L-glutamic acid

How Quickly Does CALM-K9 work?

Every dog is an individual, with individual health and behavioural struggles. There are many factors that determine how quickly any supplement you give your dog will result in a marked change. I noticed a gradual change over the course of a few weeks, but really saw an improvement a few months in (after giving about 1 bottle). Some people see very pronounced changes in only a week’s time. Any supplement that claims to ‘fix’ your dog in a set amount of time needs further consideration on our part and is not something that I would choose to give to my dog. The interconnectedness of the health of body’s systems, diet, stress, and training (methods, quantity and consistency) all need to be considered when looking for something to help our dog’s behaviour.

For more information on CALM-K9 and how it may help reduce your dog’s reactivity and improved their overall health and well-being, visit the link below:

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