Gut Check: What Most Doggie Parents Don’t Know About Probiotics
Did you know that the immune system of dogs resides in their gut just like that of humans? The gut is made up of about 70% of immune cells making it the biggest immune organ found in a body. Gastrointestinal health is critical to your pup’s overall well being.
Just like humans, your dog’s gut is filled with bacteria - both good and bad strains - that can have a profound impact on your pup’s health and how he feels. This bacteria is often referred to by experts as the “forgotten organ”, or our microbiome. Bacterial imbalances can make your pet sick in all sorts of ways. The good news is that you can help fix those imbalances with the help of probiotics.
Let’s take a look at the importance of bacteria to gut health, learn what probiotics are, and find out how probiotics can help your pup.
The Importance of Bacteria in Your Pet’s Gut
An animal's body plays host to trillions of bacteria on a regular basis, and at least 70 percent of this bacteria lives in the mucosal tissues that line the digestive system. If the thought of your beloved dog filled with bacteria makes you cringe, think again. While some bacteria can indeed have damaging effects, other strains of bacteria actually provide a variety of health benefits, including:
- Protecting the body against infection
- Synthesizing vitamins and other key nutrients
- Helping your pet digest food
What happens when your dog has too little of this "good bacteria" in his gut? The bad bacteria has an opportunity to overrun his digestive system -- and so it does. Many of the resulting problems strike the digestive system directly, resulting in constipation, diarrhea, digestive ulcers, bloating, discomfort, and gas. Cases of "leaky gut" related to bacterial imbalances may be factors in the development of diabetes, arthritis, allergies, mood disorders, liver disease, and obesity.
Fortunately, you can fight fire with fire -- or rather, you can fight bad bacteria with good bacteria. These positive bacterial strains take up space in the gut that would otherwise be occupied by destructive strains, resulting in a healthier gut and a healthier dog. The foods and supplements that provide these positive strains are called probiotics.
What are Probiotics for Dogs?
Probiotics are useful living microorganisms in the digestive tract. They produce short-chain fatty acids, which help treat and prevent several gastrointestinal system diseases by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria.
There are a variety of different probiotics that provide a range of benefits. A variety of probiotic strains and their different benefits complement each other, enhancing their effectiveness. It ensures a healthy balance of bacteria is maintained and that no single group becomes too abundant.
Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics help to heal your pup from the inside out. By balancing the come with several health benefits to dogs. These include:
- Stronger Immune System: Probiotics work throughout the dog's digestive tract to maintain good bacteria for the optimal immune system. They also reduce inflammation and other chronic diseases.
- Improved Brain Function: Probiotics support the production of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters in the gut. These microbiomes are helpful for brain health.
- Supports the Digestive System: Probiotics enhance the digestion of food and the assimilation of minerals and vitamins. They also relieve irritable bowel syndrome and constipation.
- Prevents the Adverse Effects of Antibiotics: The presence of probiotics ensures antibiotics do not affect the good bacteria. This helps avoid side effects like diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases.
- Improved Dental Health: By inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and promoting the growth of good bacteria, probiotics reduce the growth of bacteria that leads to common oral and dental diseases, including periodontal disease and halitosis.
- Other benefits: healthier coat and skin, allergy relief, and improved behavior and disposition.
What to Look for in a Dog Probiotic
A variety of foods offer probiotic effects for dogs. If you want to make certain that your pet is receiving a healthy daily dose of probiotics, you’ll want to look into supplementation. Always consult with your veterinarian, but there are a few things you will want to look out for:
- Variety of Bacteria Strains: It’s important that the probiotic you choose includes a variety of different strains. This will make sure your pup is getting the full benefits of probiotics and ensure a healthy gut environment is maintained. Some of these strains include Lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus brevis, and bifidobacterium bifidum.
- Colony Forming Units: Probiotics are made with colony forming units (CFU) to guard against the acidic stomach environment. The higher the number of CFUs, the more effective the probiotic. For the best supplements, go for probiotics with over 1 billion CFUs.
- Additional Prebiotics: Prebiotics help support the growth of probiotics in the gut, improving the balance of good and bad bacteria.
Top Tips for Probiotics for Dogs
You are most likely to have several concerns when starting with the probiotics for dogs. Here are some of the tips to help you through:
- Consult your veterinary on the best probiotics for your dog’s needs. The professional will advise you on the recommended probiotic strains and dosage.
- Read the label of every probiotic before use. It provides information on ingredients, dosage, and direction of use.
- The exact time it takes to notice positive changes in your dog depends on the dog and the probiotic.
- Some dogs experience upset stomachs at the start of probiotics. Be sure to introduce new supplements gradually to your dog’s diet.
Bottom LineProbiotics can help heal your dog from the inside out. If you're looking for one handy product that gives your pet the benefits of many powerful probiotic strains, look no further than Doggie Dailies. Our Advanced Probiotic Supplement for Dogs is rich in five critical Lactobacillus strains, with each strain including 200,000 live organisms. That's a total of 1 billion good bacteria in every dose.
- Holly W