We love cuddling with our pets, brushing their glossy coats, or rushing with them through the great outdoors. We try our best to feed them prime quality foods to keep them active and healthy, which is why probiotics for pets and other animals have become such a popular notion among pet owners today.
Pet owners are now learning that probiotics are not only a great idea for human consumption – they are equally important for our canine and feline friends. In fact, animal probiotics have also been extensively used by farmers and livestock owners to improve the health of farm animals!
What do Probiotics do for Your Pet’s Health?
Probiotic supplements are good news for animals, since they can improve natural digestive processes, reduce and treat ailments like diarrhea, constipation or indigestion, and promote better breath as well as less flatulence. These benefits of probiotics are equally applicable to both cats and dogs, the more common type of pets, but some pet stores also offer probiotics for rabbits and other animals.
Dogs can be affected by anything they may have chewed up, which didn’t agree with their digestion, stress due to an environmental change, or reduced vitality with age. Cats, on the other hand, are often infected by the ingestion of pathogens and parasites with their captured food, making them susceptible to a host of diseases.
Here are a few of the benefits that probiotics can offer for your canine or feline companion:
- When your pet has been suffering from an infection that needed treatment with antibiotics, the use of probiotic pills or other supplements can restore the microflora in its digestive system and prevent recolonization of the pathogens.
- Probiotics for dogs that help fight bad microbes like Clostridium perfringens, E coli or Salmonella are great for canines who suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cat probiotics can help to tackle UTIs in felines, which are rare but do happen.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections and diarrhea affect both cats and dogs. Probiotics can compete with the pathogens, produce acids to kill them, and grow viably to promote a healthy gut and urinary tract.
Just like probiotics for people, you need to make sure you’re including the right probiotic bacteria in your pet’s diet to ensure that they actually enjoy the health benefits, so it’s a good idea to ask a vet for recommendations.
What is the Best Probiotic for Dogs and Cats?
The digestive systems of cats and dogs are more similar than most people would think. Their intestines play huge roles in immunity, and even the slightest disruption of the digestive balance would lead to diarrhea, gas and/or vomiting.
Even so, cat probiotics and dog probiotics are very different and the specific probiotic for one’s pet should always be looked into. The important things to be looking for when choosing a dog probiotic or one for cats are that it be a dry stabilized variety of bacterial strains. Always check for expiration dates and shelf life.
A few billion bacterial cells is a good amount; anything less or more may either be ineffective or may trigger the digestive problems you were setting out to prevent. Also, a probiotic with a large variety of strains is usually preferred (at least 8-10). Ask your vet for recommendations about the best probiotics for dogs, and search for customer reviews too.
Using human probiotics for pets is not ideal in any case. You should discuss with your vet regarding potency and dosages of probiotic supplements according to your pet’s age, body mass and breed. Possible side effects like increase in gas, bad breath or diarrhea may occur and it’s good to be equipped with this information as you delve into probiotics to ensure great health for your pet.
How Should You Give Your Pet Probiotics?
The best probiotic supplements come in many varieties, ranging from cat or dog food with probiotics to powders, liquids and pills that you can mix in their food. While the options may seem confusing, they’re based on the fact that not all pets are alike in their needs and preferences. For instance, some animals may not be very happy with probiotic pills being pushed down their throats, while others might take them with no fuss at all.
Natural probiotics are a great way to supplement a dog’s diet with healthy bacterial strains. Many pet owners testify to feeding green tripe to their dogs – its easy digestibility, probiotic benefits, and other health benefits make it a safe choice for many. Dog owners may see what their breed of dog is comfortable with; probiotic yogurt, lacto-fermented vegetables and green tripe may work for some but not for others. It is always imperative to work with your vet to develop a healthy meal plan for your dog.
When Should You Give Your Pet Probiotics?
Many vets now recommend that rather than waiting for an infection or a bowel irritability to happen, the best time to give probiotics supplements to your pet is when they are still young and growing.
Of course, when there’s a specific ailment to treat, you should look into dog probiotics that can help. One of the main situations in which you need to give your dog or cat probiotics is when their normal bodily microflora balance gets disturbed, which can happen due to illness or infections, improper diet and low immunity.
A regular daily probiotic added to their diets can ensure that their gut immune system is prepped with healthy microorganisms from the start. This will create a strong barrier against the development of allergies, pathogenic attacks and other health issues later in life.