Why Do Dogs Need Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide a health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. These microorganisms are often referred to as good bacteria and are similar to the beneficial microorganisms that naturally exist in the human gut. Probiotics are believed to improve digestion, support the immune system, and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. While research on the health benefits of probiotics is ongoing, they have gained popularity as a natural way to promote overall health and well-being. But do dogs need probiotics?
Dogs need probiotics to help support a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which can promote better digestion, boost immune function, and improve overall health. Probiotics can be particularly helpful for dogs with digestive issues, food sensitivities, or a history of antibiotic use, as these factors can disrupt the natural balance of gut bacteria. Additionally, some dogs may benefit from probiotics to help manage certain health conditions, such as skin allergies or inflammatory bowel disease.
What Exactly Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living organisms that provide health benefits to the host when consumed in sufficient quantities. Probiotics can be either bacteria or yeasts. The term probiotic is derived from the Greek words pro and biota, which mean “for life.”
Probiotics are abundant in humans and animals’ gastrointestinal tract, skin, and vagina. They are sometimes referred to as “friendly bacteria” because, when consumed, they help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gut. They also aid in nutrient absorption and digestive health. Furthermore, there is evidence that the composition of the gut ecosystem may influence immune health and weight control.
Humans and animals can obtain probiotics through certain foods, such as fermented foods or probiotic supplements. Commercial dog foods lack probiotics and prebiotics, fermentable fibers that feed probiotic bacteria and help them thrive. Dogs who eat commercial dog food get fewer of these beneficial bacteria.
What are the Benefits of Probiotics on Dogs?
A healthy bacterial balance is essential for healthy dogs. Probiotics can help your dog digest food, produce and absorb vitamins and minerals, and maintain a robust immune system. According to some research, giving your dog-friendly bacteria can help improve the following:
- Breath that stinks
What are the Best Probiotics for Dogs?
Probiotics for dogs come in various forms, including food-based powders and pills.
Probiotic Food for Dogs
Yogurt or kefir with live cultures is a good source of natural probiotics for dogs. Certain brands use cultures to make yogurt or kefir, but these cultures are not probiotics. Artificial sweeteners, which can harm dogs, may be found in yogurt and kefir. Dogs should only consume plain yogurt that contains no artificial sweeteners.
Dog Food with Probiotics
Probiotics have been added to some dog foods. This could be a more convenient way to give your dog probiotics. It’s also essential to look for prebiotics in food to feed the friendly bacteria.
Bacteria are temperature, air, and moisture sensitive. This means that the method used to make dog food, how probiotics are added, and the type of food can all affect the quality of the food and probiotics.
Probiotic Snacks or Treats
Soft treats containing probiotics may be the most convenient way to provide them to your dog. Some treats do not have live probiotics and may contain additives and additional preservatives.
There are also probiotic capsules available. You can give your dog a pill hidden in canned food or a treat like peanut butter. Even when pills are disguised as treats, some dogs do not tolerate them well. Because your dog may spit out pills, you may need to place them directly in their mouth. This may be more difficult to give to your dog.
The probiotic powder is also available. Individual pockets of live probiotics are thought to be superior. This regulates air and moisture exposure. On the other hand, Powdered probiotics may be more difficult to administer to your dog.
What to Know Before Giving Probiotics to Your Dog?
If you’re considering giving your dog a probiotic, there are a few things to consider.
Do Your Research
Much research has yet to be done on how probiotics affect dogs. Dogs have many different types of bacteria in their gut, but most research has focused on single types rather than multiple types and how they interact. This means we need to understand how probiotics work in dogs thoroughly.
The way probiotics are made and packaged and how they are added to foods and treats can affect how well they work. This could mean squandering your money on a supplement that does not work.
Probiotics are Delicate
Probiotics are extremely temperature, air, and moisture sensitive. Live probiotics are usually better and should be kept in the fridge, so read the labels carefully.
The Type of Probiotic
Probiotics come in a variety of forms. Read the label to ensure you’re giving your dog the correct type. Check with your veterinarian to ensure that it is the right type.
Check the Date of Expiration
Probiotics may lose their effectiveness after a certain period. Check the expiration date and finish the probiotics before then.
Diet Can Have an Impact on the Microbiome
A high carbohydrate diet is typical in dogs. This can alter the bacteria in your dog’s stomach. It is critical to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is receiving the proper nutrition.
Concerns About Dog Probiotics
One concern about the available dog probiotics is whether the bacteria survive in sufficient quantities to be beneficial during storage. If you give your dog a probiotic, do your homework first and purchase it from a reputable company that tests the quality of its products. According to veterinarians, dogs should get between 1 and 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) daily.
Some manufacturers of dog probiotics go the extra mile by microencapsulating their probiotic bacteria to increase their survivability. Only buy a few probiotic supplements. The longer the product is stored, the more viable probiotic bacteria it loses. Only two of the 26 probiotic products studied in one study had the number of probiotic bacteria listed on the label.
The Dietary Sources of Probiotics
Giving a dog fermented foods containing active probiotic bacteria is another way to optimize its gut microbiome. Yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables such as fresh sauerkraut are all options. A tablespoon of one of these foods in your dog’s food will help seed their gut with probiotic bacteria that they won’t get from commercial dog foods. It’s best to gradually introduce these foods into your dog’s diet, as too much-fermented food can cause diarrhea and stomach upset.