Probiotics are most often prescribed for maintaining a gut health for humans — but did you know that probiotics can also help support the health of your dog?
It turns out, dogs too can benefit from probiotics as a regular part of their overall healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
How do probiotics work?
The intestines contain billions of bacteria that are collectively called the “microbiome.”
When an imbalance exists in the microbiome, it can cause digestive upset, leading to unpleasant symptoms — including excess gas or loose stool.
That’s where probiotics come in.
Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that help promote balance in the intestines — for humans and animals alike.
Probiotics decrease the pH in the gut and help the good gut bacteria thrive.
What are all the benefits of probiotics?
One key benefit is that probiotics can support immune health.
Most of our immune system is located in the digestive tract.
This creates lots of opportunities for the good bacteria to interact with immune cells and support immune health.
Another benefit is connected to dogs displaying anxious behavior.
Some probiotics work faster than others, and the long-term effects may also vary, depending on the strain of probiotics and what it is being used for.
It can take anywhere from one or two days to several weeks to see results from probiotics given to your pets — and it depends on the specific probiotic strain and its intended benefit.
How can you choose the right probiotic for your pet?
There are several different options when it comes to probiotics for your animal companion.
Some probiotics come in the form of a supplement, while others are added to pet food to provide their benefits through your pet’s diet.
Regardless of the form of the probiotic, It’s important to choose the right probiotic for your specific need.
Some probiotics are good for digestive health or addressing digestive upset.
Some help support the immune system.
Along with the right probiotic strain, the number of live” bacteria also matters.
Regardless of the probiotic selected and used, the product must contain an efficacious amount to exert its positive health benefits for the pet.
While probiotics do offer numerous benefits, they aren’t suitable for every pet or for every situation.
In some circumstances, like for animals with a significantly compromised GI tract or who may be undergoing treatments like chemotherapy, the decision to start probiotics should be made only with your veterinarian’s advice.
We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what probiotics can do for our pets, as well as the importance of the intestinal microbiome.
It’s an exciting area that is now getting a lot more attention.
I am hopeful we will have even more understanding of what probiotics can do in the near future.
To make decisions about the best nutrition for your pet, you should always consult your veterinarian.
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