Many dog owners choose to use probiotics for dogs when they are still puppies to take full advantage of its benefits. An animal’s digestive system is similar to a human, in that it is a host to good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria's function is to aid digestion of food and keep the levels of the bad bacteria to a minimum.
So what exactly is a probiotic? The word probiotic comes from the Greek word meaning “for life”. Several studies have shown that these living bacteria are able to replace the good bacteria in the dog’s digestive tract. Introduction of probiotics in the diet will encourage the immune system to do better and enhance the functioning digestive system.
If your dog is healthy then the chances are that he has an adequate amount of good bacteria in his system, that will enable him to fight off damaging yeast and other unwanted microbes or bacteria. However, there might come a time when due to infection or illness or even a poor diet choice will compromise his digestive system. This may result in the digestive tract being inflamed or infected. His body will need extra help to get it back to a healthy amount of good bacteria and suppress the bad bacteria.
All animals, even dogs are stress inclined, just like humans, either emotional or physiological stresses. Anyone of these stresses can affect the gastrointestinal tract of the dog, as the largest immunity barrier is the gastrointestinal tract. And, hence with the consequences of the stress, the burden falls on that part of the body. Anything from the loss of an owner, or a move to a new home, or chomping on a piece of stick can disturb the fragile equilibrium of the good bacteria found in the digestive tract.
Here is when the use of probiotics for dogs will help. Probiotics work by using the bacteria or yeast enzymes in the digestive tract to advance the well-being of the dog. They produce Vitamin B such as biotin and folic acid to promote the health of the dog. Probiotics work in the same way in human digestive tract. Essentially probiotics are the good bacterial enzymes that are able to suppress the growth of the bad bacterial enzymes.
Some pet owners start probiotics for dogs when they are still puppies to get the most benefit of probiotics. The digestive tract of a puppy is usually clean and in most cases sterile, so with introducing probiotics early the tract is better equipped to handle foreign enzymes better. When weaning a puppy off from their mother's milk, probiotics are extremely beneficial. During this adjustment from liquid food to solid food, probiotics will aid digestion and help absorb essential vitamins and nutrients from the food consumption. Another time when probiotics are important is when your dog has been on antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all bacteria, unfortunately even the good ones. Upon completion of the antibiotic course, probiotics will keep the dog’s digestive tract healthy and replace any lost enzymes. Dogs who are suffering from digestive disorders will also benefit from probiotics. Symptoms of poor digestive health include diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and constipation. Some other signs of poor digestive health are skin disorders and allergies.
A useful probiotic for dogs called Lactobacillus acidophilus which means “acid loving”. This probiotic produces a lactic acid bacteria which resides in the stomach, where it will secrete just enough acid to sustain a pH that an unwanted pathogen will not survive in. In addition, there are other probiotics available that will survive in the less acidic environment of the large intestine, with the same effect on unwanted pathogens.
Probiotics for dogs can come in the form of a supplement as well. The supplement will have the same effect of the digestive tract where it will strengthen the immune system and help the dog recover from any digestive system disorder. If you look at the label you should notice that many are natural or organic with no addition of artificial ingredients. The most common form of a supplement is a powder form, with some that have no gluten or lactose for dogs who have special dietary needs. A major advantage of using probiotics is that there are no side effects. If you do not wish to use a supplement rest assured there are other ways of introducing probiotics into your dog’s diet.
A simple way to introduce probiotics for dogs is to use yogurt containing live cultures. Just top the dog food with a spoonful of yogurt one time a day. Some vets believe that vitamins do not offer the same effect as probiotics, but a pet store or health food store will recommend you on other alternatives. Shop around for the best prices and sometimes buying in bulk may save you some money.
Here are some more benefits of introducing probiotics for dogs into their food:
- Probiotics will reduce allergy symptoms
- Improves skin condition and controls skin rashes
- Believe it or not it will eliminate smelly feces
- Well reduce excessive shedding
- Increase energy levels and appetite
- Improve the appearance and gloss of the hair
- Produces less gas and improves better breath
- Reduces recovery time after digestive ailments such as diarrhea and constipation
- Lessens the amount of scratching caused by stress associated with the digestive tract
- Enables the dog to support a healthy digestive system
- The gastrointestinal tract will be greatly improved to work properly
Other factors to consider when deciding to give probiotics for dogs is if he is aging, has a weakened immune system or is eating cooked or processed food.
Now that you know of probiotics significance you can ensure your pet's health with a huge health advantage. Probiotics benefit dogs by thwarting the onset of chronic health troubles. Your dog will benefit from reduced toxins in the digestive tract and the added benefit of a strengthened immune system. Be sure to select a probiotic based on your dog’s health requirements and with any veterinary treatment.