Can probiotics improve your dog or cat’s health?

September 5th 2018

Probiotics for Pets 

The saying goes “you are what you eat” and to a good degree there is truth in that expression.
Keeping our pet’s gut healthy means feeding them a well-balanced, nutritious diet and ensuring they have all the good bacteria so they can absorb and digest all the nutrients in their food.

What is good and bad bacteria?

You see, there are hundreds, if not thousands different kinds of good bacteria. Then there are the bad bacteria like E. Coli, salmonella, campylobacter, clostridium perfringens and helicobacter that make our pets ill.
Clearly, when those bad bacterial infections are at play, veterinary intervention is required and antibiotics will likely be needed.
Antibiotics are necessary in eliminating those bad bacteria, but the drawback is they also may destroy the good, beneficial gut bacteria, creating an imbalance. That’s where prebiotics and probiotics come in.

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics essentially is dietary fiber which enhances the growth of healthy bacteria, they are found naturally in many foods, or they can be supplemented.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the good bacteria given in very high numbers, typically given as a daily supplement.

When should I give my cat or dog probiotics?

Probiotics are very useful when our pets are being treated with antibiotics, but they can also be given as a daily supplement to maintain overall good health.
To make things a bit more complicated, not all probiotics are created equal. Labelling on probiotics can be confusing and is not always accurate. So it’s not a bad idea to have a chat first with your veterinarian about the brand of probiotics he or she feels would be best for your pet.
Further research is still needed to determine which good bacteria are most crucial to maintain good gut health in our pets.

Why is good gut health for pets important?

About 70 percent our pet’s immune system is located in the gut. A gut that is not in good health cannot support a strong immune system and we all know how important the immune system is to the health of our pets.
The importance of feeding a balanced, wholesome food to our pets with the necessary prebiotics allows for healthy growth of good bacteria and the sustenance of a well-functioning immune system.

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