Probiotics literally stand for “for life.” They magically enhance your gastrointestinal health and, therefore, contribute to your improved overall wellness. Similarly, dog probiotics are utilized for nurturing and maintaining the dog’s GI health.
In general, dogs have healthy microbes in the digestive tract already to support healthy digestion on a daily basis. There are millions of them in the GI system of dogs that aid in smooth digestion, blocking out potential pathogens, making vitamins and nutrients, and boosting the immune system.
Do you know? About 80% of dog’s immune system depends on his gut health.
Sometimes, the beneficial gut-dwelling bacteria are damaged or destroyed, and it leads to gastrointestinal discomfort. If your furball is suffering from digestion problems like constipation, diarrhea, or flatulence, probiotics can help in boosting beneficial bacteria in dog’s digestive tract.
What are Probiotics?
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Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for maintaining the health of digestive tract. Probiotics block out the harmful bacteria which cause discomfort. Various probiotic species naturally grow in a dog’s stomach including bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. Few other species like Enterococcus faecium are also beneficial for dog’s wellness.
Probiotics are good against infectious bacteria like Clostridia and Giardia that are culprits of causing chronic digestion problems.
Do Canine Probiotics Differ from Human Probiotics?
The live cultures containing beneficial bacteria are similar in both the canine probiotics and human probiotics. But, it doesn’t mean that you can give your dog human supplements without consulting the veterinarian.
There is a difference between the probiotics that are designed for dogs and humans. Manufacturers put a lot of effort in research to ensure the survival of bacteria for longer in GI system. With a prolonged effect, the trouble is cured in dogs effectively. The dog’s pH level in stomach differs from ours. So, It’s best to invest in canine probiotics.
What are the Benefits of Probiotics?
Probiotic supplements have a range of advantages for your dog. Probiotics are not only concentrated on healthy digestion but also provide a ‘firewall protection’ against future health illnesses. When you add probiotics to your dog’s diet, he can enjoy many benefits that include low cholesterol levels, enhanced anti-inflammatory properties, decreased flatulence, reduced impacts of food poisoning, increased potency of antibiotics, and improved diarrhea resistance.
Do you have a dog that loves to chew on everything that comes in his way? Then, its best to benefit from the probiotics that provide resistance against food poisoning and diarrhea in dogs.
If you are skeptical about the health of your dog, it’s recommended that you consult the vet for expert advice before you give your dog added supplements.
When Should We Give Our Dog Probiotics?
You, as a pet-parent, have to consider giving probiotics to your dog when he is suffering from stress due to a change of environment or routine. If the anxiety and stress persists, consider giving your dog melatonin. It helps in the regulation of daily routine. With less stress, GI problems are naturally cured.
If the dog has eaten spoiled food or is on medication for a long time, probiotics can help regrow the damaged bacteria. In old age, dogs can have digestive problems due to a weak immune system.
How to Pick the Right Probiotics Brand?
The primary concern with the cheap brands of dog probiotics is that they do not have enough funds to invest for ensuring the survival of bacteria, present in their products, in the harsh conditions of a dog’s stomach. If the bacteria fail to survive the acidic environment in the stomach, it will not be able to reach the intestines-where they are required most specifically.
However, there’s nothing to worry about yet! Some good brands put in a lot of research, and invest in culturing good bacteria that can survive the harsh conditions and provide the dog with essential benefits. You just need to pick the best probiotics keeping in mind following things:
1. Look out for Dry Powder:
If you are selecting a dry powder brand, you will find the information on the packaging about the bacteria strain it contains. When your dog gets probiotics in powder form, the added bacteria gets alive once the powder reaches the stomach, and immediately multiplies to move into the intestines.
Note: There are commercial dog food and dog treat brands that claim to have added probiotics in their products, but unfortunately the method of adding bacteria to food items, in fact, kills it. Would you like being tricked the next time you buy dog food? Stop wasting your money.
2. Find out Prebiotics:
Prebiotics are nutrients that have been designed to promote and nourish the growth of beneficial bacteria, which is already present in the colon.
Prebiotics help in the survival of bacteria through the stomach. A small amount of prebiotics in the supplement can ease your dog’s trouble. They are a Must-Have element to go along with probiotics. Some of the common prebiotics are acacia gum and insulin.
3. Check for the Number ‘Bacteria Strain’ It Contains:
There are billions of bacteria strains that are cultured and added to different supplements. For probiotics, you have to check mark two things: the number of bacteria strain should be around 3-6 billion and check out the types and number of bacteria species that are present in it.
You can look out for two most beneficial bacteria strain in probiotics: Enterococcus faecium and Bacillus coagulans. The former helps in increased levels of an antibody in the intestines that combats bacteria and viruses. The later is good for protecting the dogs from various types of diarrhea and minimizes the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and others.
Regarding the species of bacteria present in probiotics: the higher, the worse. A large number of bacteria species signify greater competition among them and minor benefits to the dog’s GI system. About 6 to 7 different species are enough for proper gut health.
4. Beware of the Side Effects, Are There Any?
No medication comes without its side-effects. Luckily, probiotics have a minimal range of side effects. In rare cases, giving the dogs probiotics has resulted in infections, but they are countered readily by taking the prescribed antibiotics.
Whatever the case, if you have found your dog to be suffering from digestive health issue, then consult the vet before giving probiotics to your dog.
James Shore is a part-time dog-trainer and dog behavior consultant. He is a professional freelancer with years of experience in dog training. He is interested in finding out fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors to help dog-owners enjoy their companions at all times. His pet-passion led him to develop https://www.labradortraininghq.com/ to help people.