Probiotics For Dogs – Do They Need Them?
You've come here to learn about probiotics for dogs, a product that could make a world of difference for your pet, one you didn't know was missing. Let's break it all down.
Dogs that are on a kibble diet don't get nearly the amount of nutrients their body requires. The FDA is so loosely regulated when it comes to the food we feed our pets that, unfortunately, in many cases, nutritional supplementation is necessary - just as it is for humans. On a raw or lightly cooked diet, they will certainly obtain more of what they need; however, they still may not absorb an optimal amount. This is why we feel that you can't go wrong with probiotic supplementation / nutritional supplementation in general.
There are many supplements for pets on the market today; the goal is to find a top-quality product that will actually aid their system, one that has the necessary ingredients without added fillers.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the 'good' live bacteria and yeasts that you want to have in your gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms that reside in your intestinal tract. The microorganisms play a role in your health and well-being, and naturally, your gut has a surplus of harmful microorganisms (bacterias, viruses, fungi, algae, etc.) living in it. For this reason, we want to be cautious of the food we feed our dogs and supplement when necessary. We want to create a surplus of the good bacteria.
How Do Probiotics Work?
Typically, when our pets take medications, eat a poor diet, are under stress, around environmental toxins, or have an infection/parasites, they naturally lose good bacteria; probiotics help to put the good bacteria back into their system. By giving them a probiotic, the good supplemented bacteria will help re-balance their body to keep everything working correctly and defend against harmful pathogens.
Risks Of An Unbalanced Gut
Many health complications can come as a result of an unbalanced gut biome. The gut microbiota (gut flora) are the microorganisms living in the intestines. They help with digestion, immune function, brain health, and proper functioning of the metabolism. If the gut is unbalanced, inflammation may occur, which can put your dog at risk for physical and mental disorders. Healthy gut flora is imperative for a strong immune system.
What To Look For In A Probiotic
Look for probiotic strains that are known to benefit dogs and make sure the supplement contains most, if not all. It may be challenging to find a product that includes all of the below, so just do your research on the product before purchase and ensure that most of the necessary strains are listed on the bottle.
The below strains have been researched and supported to prove that they are safe and beneficial for dogs:
Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Bifidobacterium Animalis, Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Bifidobacterium Breve, and Enterococcus Faecium.
Each strain plays a different role in a dog's body; for example, Bifidobacterium strains help the quality and frequency of a dog's stool, while Bifidobacterium Animalis helps explicitly with diarrhea. Lactobacillus strains work well in their digestive tract and help them to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Also, keep an eye out for expiry date and a guaranteed analysis of how many live bacteria are present in each bottle / how many there will be by the end of shelf life.
It's always a good idea to keep the probiotics refrigerated, as the live bacteria will be better preserved.
Types Of Dog Supplements
Many probiotics sold for dogs are made from human probiotic strains. The microflora for dogs is not the same as in humans, so it's important to find a supplement that caters to our furry friends.
After doing extensive research, I have found two companies that I can stand by and that take pride in the product they produce. Both include specific strands of probiotics necessary for dogs, with added prebiotics:
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are plant fibers that help stimulate the growth of the 'good' bacteria in your gut. They are essentially food for the probiotics. When taken with a probiotic, the prebiotic promotes the growth of the beneficial bacteria and helps them to thrive; they work better as a pair. So when looking for a good probiotic supplement for your dog, make sure it includes prebiotics.
Are Probiotics Safe For Dogs?
Yes, and unless your dog is eating fermented foods (which they likely are not), they aren't getting any probiotics in their diet. Probiotics are especially great if your dog is on a disciplined antibiotic routine. Rocky will be taking steroids for his Addison's Disease every day for the rest of his life, so probiotics are an absolute necessity for him.
Benefits Of Probiotics For Dogs:
- Hinders the growth of bad bacteria
- Digestive support
- Immune support
- Better digestion
- Control and reduction of inflammation
- Replenish good bacteria
- Soft/shiny coat
- Urinary tract support
- diet-related sensitivities
- Helps to treat diarrhea or irritable bowel
- Better/more frequent bowel movements
- More energy
- Helps skin irritations
- Better absorption of nutrients
- Boosts brain health
- Helps to fight bad breath
How Often Should They Be Taken?
Every day. It's best to have a set routine when giving probiotics to your dog. If you give them once a week, skip days, or forget, your dog's body isn't able to properly regulate itself. So just as with any prescription plan, you'll want to supplement these every day.
Helpful Tip: If the pills are too large, you can break them apart and sprinkle the powder onto their food.
Rocky's Experience With Probiotics
Rocky has been taking antibiotics daily for nearly seven years now; he has chronic ulcers, so he's on Omepherzol daily. Almost two years ago, he was diagnosed with Addison's Disease, which is a cortisol stress disorder, and with that, he takes Prednisone (steroids) daily. Needless to say, he NEEDS probiotics. When I started him on GutSense - Dr. Dobias's brand of probiotics, Rocky was still on a vet prescribed kibble diet; I noticed an unbelievable difference in him. His runny stool was healthy and more frequent, his coat had an incredible shine to it, and his energy levels were through the roof. When I switched him to a lightly cooked holistic diet, his health soared, and he's been a new dog ever since. Diet and probiotics are literally a game-changer, and I can't imagine going back on either.
I felt obliged to write this article because I can speak to how well probiotics work for Rocky, how essential they are for all dogs, and how especially important they are for dogs with chronic ailments.
Always talk to your veterinarian before you supplement your dog with anything new. Probiotics are deemed safe for dogs; however, every dog is different.
If you're interested in purchasing probiotics or other products from PetWellbeing, new customers can save 10% by clicking the here and using promo code: TENF1A
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