The benefits of Probiotics for your dog can be numerous. Probiotics are essential for gut health. They maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria. Just like humans, dogs’ stomachs feature a delicate balance of bacteria. When the balance gets out of the sink, the harmful bacteria can wreak havoc on the digestive tract.
You and your beloved pet’s gut microbiome feature billions of bacteria. This includes Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, and Enterococcus. Some of these species live in different parts of the gut. Lactobacillus, for instance, lives primarily in the small intestine, while Bifidobacteria resides inside the large intestine or colon.
Benefits of Probiotics for your dog
The benefits of probiotics for your dog are no different as they are for people, especially in aiding digestion and boosting the immune system.
Probiotics are abundant in short-chain fatty acids. SCFAs inhibit the growth of and activity of harmful bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and clostridium perfringens. There are fewer studies on dogs than humans; however, these studies have shown positive results in treating:
- Intestinal inflammation
The benefits of Probiotics for your dog also include preventing and treating urinary tract infection, allergic reactions, decreasing intestinal permeability, and controlling inflammation.
Your dog’s intestinal microbiome
Bateria exists in every part of your dog’s digestive tract. Some live in your dog’s stomach, but those numbers increase as you travel through the small and large intestine. The colon has the most bacteria. If bacteria leave the colon, imbalances start to occur. One of the key benefits of Probiotics for your dog is maintaining the balance between good and bad bacteria without any side effects.
Animals and people have six-bacteria phyla or families, in their gut. These Phyla make up 99% of all your dog’s gut bacteria, these include
Even though there are only six-bacteria colonies, each one contains several thousand different strains throughout the intestine.
This complex symbiotic system of bacteria and other microorganisms, including yeasts and viruses, is called the microbiome. The microbiome is such a massive part of the animal and human system that some scientists have even referred to it as “the forgotten organ“.
What do the bacteria eat?
Every time your dogs eat a meal, the food is not just feeding your dog, and it’s cells, it is also feeding the bacteria in the intestinal tract. The friendly bacteria, called the commensal when fed the right foods flourishes; however, when the health of the colonies is compromised, so is the health of your beloved pet.
So what are the healthy bacterias prefered food sources? Fibre! There are three primary sources of fibre that keep your microbiome in good balance.
This form of fibre is classified as soluble because it forms a hydrated mass when water is absorbed. This aids in naturally helping the digestive process and moving digested food through the intestinal tract.
Examples of soluble fibre could include some grains, pectin from fruit and healthy algae like seaweed and chlorella.
An excellent example of insoluble fibre is cellulose. It doesn’t come hydrated but ferments in the colon, promoting healthy colonies.
Starch, more specifically, resistant starch, is a type that is resistant to digestive enzymes and passes through to the colon relatively unchanged. This can help with insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and regulate appetite.
Many dog probiotic products on the market will also have a prebiotic, which is a non-digestible food ingredient that is beneficial in selectively stimulating the growth and activity of the probiotic colonies.
Prebiotics are soluble, fermentable fibre. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are the most common types. However, other oligosaccharides, arabinogalactans and lactulose are also considered prebiotics.
How to administer dog probiotics to extract maximum benefits of Probiotics for your dog
Canine probiotics come in several forms; however, they are all administered orally. From powder added to your dog’s food, to a chew treat, or liquid, the options are many.
Improperly formulated or administered probiotics can be destroyed in the stomach, so you must follow the instructions closely. This renders them ineffective in reaching the intestinal tract to do their job.
Risks to your dog
Dog probiotics are safe for your pet with few reported side effects. However, they should be used with caution and under a veterinarian’s supervision, especially when dogs are still young puppies.
You should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplement or treatment, especially in the case of probiotics.
If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, we strongly advise that you contact your dog’s veterinarian for a check-up, and follow the professional advice given.
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