Probiotics for Dogs: What and Why
Microbiome, probiotics…these buzz words aren’t just for health nuts and fitness pros. Veterinarians are beginning to recognize the importance of gut health for dogs and how it can lead to overall wellness for your pet.
Amid the power salad recipes, Cooking Light magazine recently highlighted the trending topic in their “Well Balanced” pet column. They featured insight from Colorado Holistic Vet Angie Krause. “‘Just like with people, pets’ gut health is the cornerstone of their overall health.’“
One way to balance and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract is through probiotics. Dogsnaturally, an online pet health magazine defines probiotics as “a part of the entire population of intestinal micro-organisms referred to as the microbiome.” Just like the human gut, these strains of healthy bacteria are being studied for their overall contribution to good health. Said to benefit everything from anxiety to cancer prevention, the microbiome is an area scientists are exploring with increasing interest for both pets and their human companions.
Are There Safe Probiotics for Dogs?
Providing pets with probiotics through a supplement or nourishing food choices can be a safe and beneficial choice. Krause recommends checking first with your vet and making smart choices about the type of probiotic used. Probiotics for dogs are not the same as human supplements. They contain strains of bacteria specific to canine stomachs (dogs should never be given probiotics meant for humans).
How and What to Choose
When choosing probiotics for dogs, look first at the number of strands of good bacteria. The higher the colony-forming units, the better. We’re talking in the millions for maximum effectiveness. Certain delivery methods are also more effective for Fido.
While some dog foods boast probiotics on their label, the bacterial strains may not hold up through the digestive process. Supplements in pill form can be added to your doggy’s dish. Some probiotics are even kept refrigerated to maximize the life of the bacterial strains. One easy probiotic to add to a dog’s food is fresh yogurt which also contains beneficial bacteria. Remember, if you do choose a pill supplement, make sure it is a dog-specific probiotic with bacterial strains for the canine gut.
Giving probiotic supplements to your dog can provide benefits beyond the digestive tract. Probiotic consumption has been shown to increase energy, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risk of cancer, tumorous growths, and chronic diseases. Since the gut is so closely linked to the health of nearly every other system in the body, when digestive functions are optimized, so is a dog’s well-being.
Prebiotics: A Helping Hand
Prebiotics also play a role in strengthening gut health. While they sound alike to probiotics, prebiotics are the opening act for good bacteria. Prebiotics become the food that good bacteria use to maintain their positive influence on the gut. Boosting you pet’s prebiotic intake actually helps maintain the good bacteria found in probiotics. Prebiotics are found in the fibrous skins of many fruits and vegetables. Whole food additions to kibble make it easier to get these nutrients into your pet’s diet.
Cushing’s Disease and Probiotics
What does this mean for Cushing’s dogs? Since the disease causes a host of discomforting symptoms, many can be positively impacted by better gut health. Besides the obvious benefit of increasing the dog’s ability to process and absorb CushAway’s active ingredients, there can be many other benefits as well. Gastrointestinal balance has been shown to help reduce joint inflammation, lower anxiety, increase energy, and optimize the immune system among other benefits. Many of these areas can be impacted in dogs suffering from Cushing’s Disease. That’s why CushAway uses probiotics as a part of its supplement formula. We believe your pet can regain a healthy lifestyle by naturally restoring the balance of the digestive tract.
Whether you choose to enhance your dog’s kibble with fresh foods rich with beneficial bacteria and fiber or use a dog-specific probiotic supplement, there are virtually no negative side effects to increasing a dog’s overall gut health. No matter the age or breed, this is a health trend to follow.