Benefits of Probiotics for Your Dog
Fad or fab?
Dog probiotic supplements are everywhere. But are they just a fad or do they have a meaningful impact on your pooch’s health?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria residing in the digestive tract. They assist with digestion and strengthen the immune system. The short-chain fatty acids produced by probiotics control the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and clostridium perfringens. They are also helpful in preventing urinary tract infection, and may also manage allergic reactions and inflammation in the intestine.
Your pet’s digestive system must have a healthy level of good bacteria to ensure an optimally-functioning immune system. If not, the bad bacteria will trigger gastrointestinal symptoms, and affect your pet’s vitality, as well as its defense against illnesses. Here’s where supplementation with probiotics comes in.
The multiple benefits mentioned above may make you optimistic about probiotic supplements. And you should be; however, remember that for probiotics to work their magic on your pet, they must
Contain at least some dog-specific probiotic strains
Be high quality, stable probiotics that reach your dog’s intestinal tract and seed it with healthy flora. Healthy intestinal flora is key to forming stools, preventing constipation and maintaining immunity
How can you tell if a probiotic supplement is actually working?
There will be noticeable improvements in your dog’s health if it has been taking quality probiotic supplements in the right doses. Depending on your pet’s specific health issues, probiotics may be prescribed for the short or long term.
Also, while humans are susceptible to the placebo effect, animals don’t possess the ability to understand such intentions. So, it can be safely assumed that if your pet’s digestive health takes a turn for the better, the probiotic supplement is working.
What are some stable probiotic strains?
Lactobacillus acidophilus: Studies have shown that Lactobacillus acidophilus can be especially advantageous for puppies. It encourages weight growth in puppies, and safeguards against allergies and illness in older years. It also improves the quality and frequency of stools in sensitive dogs.
Lactobacillus plantarum: Lactobacillus plantarum can reduce gastrointestinal effects commonly associated with antibiotics. Animal tests have shown that this strain can also reduce bacterial translocation, improving intestinal barrier function, and preventing intestinal abnormalities. One way to give your pet Lactobacillus plantarum is to choose a supplement that includes it in combination with other strains.
Lactobacillus brevis: Clinical studies have shown that Lactobacillus brevis has anti-inflammatory benefits in the digestive system. According to neurologist and author Dr. David Perlmutter, targeted supplementation with this strain in combination with others can improve cellular immunity, and in turn immune function.
Lactobacillus lactis: Abbreviated as L. lactis on ingredient labels, this is a common strain used in the treatment of diarrhea. A number of factors can lead to an imbalance in your pet’s gut flora, including food-borne infections caused by salmonella or E. coli, treatments using antibiotics, and acute stress. Supplementation with Lactobacillus lactis colonizes the GI tract and stems the growth and activity of harmful bacteria.
Lactobacillus fermentum: In healthy canines, Lactobacillus fermentum is present in large concentrations. This contains the levels of pathogenic bacteria that can contribute a range of illnesses in dogs. Effective canine probiotic supplements must contain at least some of this probiotic strain.
L. Plantarum L. Brevis and L.Lactis: These are canine-specific probiotic strains that do an excellent job of addressing bacterial imbalance and provide general immune system support. Supplementation with these strains can go a long way in rebuilding your pet’s gut health and maintaining long-term health.
An important aspect to note is that some probiotic species may require refrigeration to provide the expected benefits. A stable, freeze-dried probiotic supplement may not need refrigeration and not react to moisture in the way that unstable products do. It reconstitutes in your pet’s stomach, moves to the intestine, and proliferate here.
The right probiotics can make a world of difference to your pet’s health. Make a smart choice and boost your pet’s immune system against common and potentially life-threatening illnesses.