Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics for Pets
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The state of your pet’s digestive system plays a massive role in their overall health. An imbalance of bacteria in the gut can lead to a wide variety of issues including constipation, diarrhea, a weakened immune system, and even skin problems.
That’s why a good pet probiotic supplement is such an essential part of your furry friend’s daily intake. Without their intestinal microbiome, they wouldn’t be able to digest food or properly retain essential vitamins and nutrients.
Finding the pawfect probiotic for your pets can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what to look for, but as a veterinarian and co-creator of organic pet supplements, I’m happy to provide some helpful insight.
Here is what you should know about probiotics for pets and how dogs and cats of all breeds, sizes, and ages can benefit from them.
What is a Probiotic?
Probiotics are the trillions of GOOD bacteria living in your pet’s gut. This thriving community, commonly known as a microbiome, is responsible for maintaining balance in the digestive system and sending sustenance through the body.
The bacteria also influence your pet’s health by:
- Supporting the immune system
- Producing enzymes
- Generating important vitamins including Vitamins B and K
- Reducing pH in the gut
- Creating serotonin that boosts your pet’s mood
- Blocking harmful bacteria from entering the digestive tract
How Probiotics Work
The food your pets eat is also enjoyed by the probiotics living in their gut. They especially love fiber since animal bodies have a difficult time digesting it.
As the bacteria feast, the fiber ferments and is turned into short-chain fatty acids known as acetate, butyrate, and propionate. These fatty acids either remain in the digestive tract to discourage the growth of harmful bacteria or travel to other parts of the body to perform functions such as:
- Helping the body absorb calcium, iron, and magnesium
- Preventing leaks by keeping cells closer together
- Averting food allergens
- Reducing chronic inflammation by building T-cells in the immune system
Types of Probiotics for Pets
There are many types (or strains) of probiotics that are beneficial for pets. Here is a closer look at some of the most effective that you’ll want to check bottle labels for.
This bacteria is the most commonly found in probiotic supplements. It is essential for immune system cells and supports lactobacillus in the gut while preventing harmful clostridia.
If your pet is in a good mood, you can thank this bacteria. It thrives in the mucus membrane of animals and plays an important role in the gut-brain axis, which directly influences mood and emotions.
Say goodbye to diarrhea! This strain is a type of tropical yeast that is known for managing gastrointestinal issues as well as improving heart function, protecting the walls of the intestines, and more.
These strong bacteria play an important role in your pet’s liver health and can help treat diarrhea. They also have a high survival rate as they move through your pet’s digestive system.
If your pet struggles with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gas, or bloating, they may greatly benefit from this probiotic. They may also help with some forms of inflammation.
Not only does this bacteria help prevent diarrhea and food allergies, but it has also been shown to reduce signs of stress in animals.
This is one of the most potent probiotic strains and thrives in the colon. In addition to supporting the GI tract and immune system, it’s also known to help the body properly break down dairy products such as your pet’s cheese and yogurt treats.
When to Give Your Pet a Probiotic
Small shifts in your pet’s bacterial biome happen all the time, but when a major shift takes place, it can have a noticeable impact on their health. You may notice symptoms such as:
- Yeast Overgrowth
- Mood Swings
- Leaky Gut
- Skin Problems
- Food Allergies
When this happens, a probiotic will likely be recommended by your veterinarian to restore balance in the microbiome. Probiotics are also highly suggested if your companion is put on a course of antibiotics, which are known to kill both good and bad bacteria.
I suggest a probiotic as an everyday supplement to stay ahead of gastrointestinal problems and keep your pet’s digestive system balanced.
The Difference Between a Probiotic, Prebiotic, and Postbiotic
If you’ve been in the probiotic section of your pet store, you’ve likely come across prebiotics and postbiotics, as well. They may sound the same, but each serves a unique purpose in your pet’s microbiome.
Prebiotics are soluble fibers that serve as a “food source” for probiotics residing in or on the host that provide a health benefit.
A probiotic is defined as live microbes that are beneficial for the host's health.
A postbiotic is defined as intact non-viable organisms or cell fragments, with or without metabolites, such as butyrate, that provide a health benefit.
Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics harmonize to create a healthy and happy gut, which leads to a healthier and happier pet. That’s why I recommend using all three if you want to step up your fur baby’s digestive health.
Fera Pet Organics’ USDA Organic Probiotics with Prebiotics is a great place to start! These natural probiotics for dogs and cats contain 5 billion CFUs per scoop and 12 live powerful strains of living good bacteria. Plus, the included prebiotics will provide the nutrients needed to keep your pet’s digestive tract running smoothly.
In March 2023, be sure you’re one of the first to grab our all-natural postbiotic, the newest addition to our collection of digestive system supplements.
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