The Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
As probiotics for humans become more popular, many pet owners are starting to consider the many benefits of probiotics for dogs. Probiotics play an important role within the body, especially within the digestive tract. Could probiotics benefit your dog? Read on to find out!
The Importance of Digestive Health
Similar to humans, the majority of a dog’s immune system is in the gut. According to PetMD, the gut is the largest immune organ in the body and contains approximately 70% of all immune cells. Therefore, keeping your dog’s digestive system healthy is key to his overall health.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide a wide array of health benefits when they are consumed. They are a mixture of live bacteria and yeasts. While many people think of bacteria as harmful, probiotics are actually good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy.
These beneficial bacteria are normally found in the intestinal tract, and they help reestablish and maintain a healthy gut. They also fight off harmful bacteria that could cause infection and illness.
Probiotics can be found in food, like yogurt and sauerkraut, as well as in supplements. Supplements can come in different forms, including chews, powders, and capsules.
Understanding Bacterial Imbalance
When dogs are living a stress-free and healthy life, the beneficial bacteria in their guts are able to function normally and maintain a healthy intestinal tract. However, certain conditions, such as stress or antibiotic therapy, can easily cause bacterial changes and an imbalance of beneficial microorganisms. This can lead to diarrhea, difficulty in digesting food, vulnerability to disease, and decreased appetite.
There are a variety of triggers that can cause digestive disorders in dogs, including stress, medications, parasites, old age, diet changes, and infection.
The Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics can help improve your dog’s health and provide many benefits. They can support the immune system, improve gastrointestinal health, aid in the digestion of food, provide essential nutrients, and inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens.
Good gut bacteria play an important role in producing short-chain fatty acids, which help support nutrient absorption and help protect against diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease. Short-chain fatty acids are also essential for building T-cells in the immune system (which help reduce chronic inflammation), protecting against food allergens, and discouraging the growth of harmful bacteria.
Probiotics can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli. The trillions of beneficial bacteria accomplish this feat by crowding out the harmful bacteria. Since bacteria need food and resources to thrive, the good bacteria compete with the bad ones for these resources and starve the bad bacteria in order to help keep your dog healthy.
According to PetMD, probiotics for dogs are believed to help treat and/or prevent a variety of illnesses and diseases, especially those related to the gastrointestinal system. They also point out that pet owners can potentially improve their dog’s digestive health by offering a daily probiotic supplement.
Choosing the Right Probiotic
Finding the right probiotic for your dog can seem overwhelming. There are so many options available and differentiating between them can be difficult. It’s important to point out that probiotic supplements can contain one or more different types of bacteria and/or yeast, and these organisms carry out different functions within the body.
According to PetMD, there is scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of the following bacteria strains in dogs:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium animalis
The Lactobacillus strain is known for increasing nutrient absorption and optimizing the digestive system, while Bifidobacterium are known for helping slow down diarrhea and boosting the immune system in dogs.
The effects of probiotics can vary from dog to dog, and it can often take some trial and error to find the right one. As with all supplements and medications, it’s best to consult your veterinarian beforehand. Your dog’s vet will help you determine if your dog will benefit from a probiotic and help you find the right one for your dog.
Thomas Pet Probiotics for Dogs
At Thomas Labs®, we offer two different probiotic supplements to support digestion and a healthy immune system.
Acidophilus Forte is a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria, which helps promote natural bacteria levels in your dog’s gut to support digestion and a healthy immune system. The easy-to-digest supplement supports gut health and can help with occasional stomach upset.
Total Digest is a digestive enzyme and probiotic supplement that supports your pet’s digestion and absorption of essential nutrients. It provides 7 digestive enzymes and probiotics necessary for proper digestion and a healthy digestive tract. It’s great for food transitioning, sensitive stomachs, and digestive issues such as occasional digestive upset, loose stools, bloating, and gas.
There are so many benefits of probiotics for dogs. If you think your dog might benefit from a probiotic, talk to your vet to see what probiotic they would recommend for your furry friend!
The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.