Protecting Our Pets’ Gut Health

Fluoride Can Compromise the Microbiome in Humans and Animals

Fluoride accumulates in all living things and can have a harmful effect on all aspects of the body’s systems. Additionally, it can have a powerful effect on other chemicals inside and outside the body, making them more potent and potentially more dangerous. In part, because of this, fluoride may be a big contributor to gut microbiome dysbiosis.

Chemicals like fluoride, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides (e.g. glyphosate/ Roundup), preservatives, fluorinated and non-fluorinated antibiotics, as examples, can damage the microbiome, which is the community of microbes in the gut. In humans and animals, a normal gut contains 500 species and 1,000 subspecies of microbes, totaling many trillions. It is now estimated that 75 to 85 percent of our immune system comes from the gut microbiome so it is vital to nurture and strengthen it.

Our pets are the “canaries in the coal mine.” They are exposed at higher concentrations to the same chemicals that we are. Along with their smaller body size and faster aging, this has resulted in mounting cases of cancers and autoimmune diseases over a 20-year period, through many generations of animals. Many more animals now have chronic gastrointestinal and immune problems, and it is believed that the loss of microbiome balance is a major contributor to this problem.

To avoid pervasive fluoride and other chemicals, a fully organic, holistic approach is advised. Because of elevation of fluoride in bone meals and animal products, should we be thinking more about feeding carnivorous animals more of a plant-based diet? Ultimately, raising animals to feed our pets may also be environmentally non-sustainable. In the fourth edition of Dr. Richard and Susan Pitcairn’s book The Natural Health of Dogs and Cats, they have presented information on feeding a more plant-based diet to dogs and some cats. The book has recipes and nutritional values for each species.

Other adjustments should be considered as well. A rule of thumb to keep in mind: An environment that is good for us is also good for our companion animals, and vice versa. This includes raising and eating food in a way that is conducive to a more sustainable planet and a healthier microbiome for us all. For more information on fluoride’s toxic effects, visit and

Margo Roman, DVM, CVA, COT ,CPT, FAAO, is a veterinarian at MASH Vet (Main St. Animal Services of Hopkinton). She has practiced integrative and functional veterinary medicine for almost 40 years. For more information, visit

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