While some bacteria can cause harm to your pet, there are other bacteria that are crucial for your pet’s overall health.
They live inside your pet’s body and play an important role in maintaining a good immune system, promoting good digestion and aid in overall health. These good bacteria are known as probiotics.
In this blog, we’ll explore exactly what probiotics are and how they can benefit your dog or cat.
What Exactly Are Probiotics?
The word “probiotics” is derived from the Latin word “pro” which means ‘for’, and “bio” which means ‘life’. So together the word means “life-promoting”.
Probiotics are microorganisms that naturally occur inside your pet’s body and there are billions of them in the gastrointestinal systems of your pet. They are gut-friendly and promote overall health.
A common example is yeast, and some others include Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium lactis and lactobacillus casei.
Each of these bacteria has its own roles to play and affects your pet’s health in a specific manner.
If any good bacteria is destroyed or dies, your dog or cat can experience stomach upset or a general decline in its overall health. If your pet experiences vomiting or diarrhea then it might be because they have lost some of its essential gut-friendly bacteria.
What Are The Benefits of Probiotics?
So, we know that probiotics are naturally occurring, but how do they actually help your pet? There are a few benefits of probiotics:
- Helps to settle an upset tummy
- Reduce medication side effects
- Digestive System benefits
- Reduce allergic reactions
Let’s look into these in more detail…
1. Helps to Settle Upset Tummy
If your pet often experiences diarrhea or other stomach related issues such as bloating or weak digestion, probiotics can help.
Certain good bacteria or probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis can help your pet settle its tummy and help reduce diarrhea.
Besides a settled tummy, probiotics can also uplift mood, improve skin and coat texture, and reduce bad breath in pets.
2. Reduce Medication Side-Effects
Probiotics also help your pet get back to normal after a course of medication or antibiotics is taken to treat an infection.
Medicines given to treat an infection often kill all the bacteria present in the body including the good ones.
This might result in diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Using probiotics can cure the side effects of medication and bring your pet back to normal.
3. Digestive System Benefits
Probiotics have a load of gut-friendly bacteria, that help the overall health and functioning of your intestines and digestive system.
They produce short-chain fatty acids which prevent harmful bacteria from taking hold inside your body by producing some antibiotic-like substances that kill harmful bacteria.
They can also boost the immune system of your pet, making the cells capable of fighting harmful bacteria or viral infections.
4. Reduce Allergic Reactions
Probiotics also decrease intestinal permeability and reduce inflammation in pets.
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What Are Prebiotics?
Now that you know what probiotics are, let’s look at prebiotics. You might be surprised to know that you’ve probably been feeding your pet prebiotics for years without even knowing about it.
While probiotics are the living microorganism that resides inside the intestine of your pet, prebiotics is the fiber that feeds these friendly microorganisms. In essence, prebiotics are a kind of nutrients that nourishes and promotes the growth of probiotics or good bacteria.
Do Your Pet Need Probiotics?
Probiotics are essential to maintain a healthy intestinal environment and balancing it for a strong immune system. A healthy pet should be able to maintain a healthy balance of probiotics naturally.
However, due to certain health-related issues such as malnutrition, stress, or medicinal side effects, a pet may not be able to maintain a healthy gut, resulting in a weak immune system.
This is when a dog or cat might need to take probiotics to boost up its immunity and maintain a healthy digestive system. We suggest several products in our convenient store.
Some of those include:
Probiotic Dry Freeze Treats: Treats are appealing to pets and they come as a good source of probiotics. Again, check that the treats that you are giving your pet have the appropriate probiotics in them.
Probiotic Organic Powder: This is another good option for your pet as you can mix the powder with your pet’s regular diet in the recommended proportion. However, if you choose to give your pet probiotics please consult us first before deciding on any of these.
Can My Puppy Or Kitten Take Probiotics?
Your puppy or kitten has a more sensitive digestive system and can be more prone to sickness and diarrhea. So they may benefit from probiotics and can be given them to help maintain a healthy gut by supporting the immune system.
This will also reduce the risk for diarrhea, constipation, and any other kind of intestinal infection.
When Should You Give Probiotics to Your Pet?
We now understand what probiotics are, how they are beneficial, and how they are different from the ones meant for humans.
But if you decide to give probiotics to your pet, when should you begin?
This is when your pet will require probiotics:
When sick: If your pet has stomach cramps, diarrhea, or constipation, you can use probiotics to bring back your pet to full health.
When your pet is stressed: Just like you, your pet too goes through emotional ups and downs due to several reasons ie. moving home, separation anxiety. Whatever the reason, probiotics can help lift their mood, and improve their intestinal health.
If suffering from infections: If your pet has gone through a bacterial infection, probiotics can work wonders, especially if your pet has been prescribed antibiotics. Antibiotics may kill both the good and bad bacteria in the body, so probiotics help restore the good.
When your pet switches diet: Diet change can bring dramatic changes to the overall system of your pet. Sometimes your pet might feel sick by eating something for the first time. Probiotics can be beneficial during this time to settle your pet’s tummy and boost their immune system.
If you have an adult pet: Like humans, pets too come across a number of ailments with age. If you have a matured pet, probiotics can be given to them to maintain an overall healthy life as it will boost the immune system and help the body to fight against viral invaders
Can Probiotics Have Side Effects Too?
This will depend on your individual pet, everyone will have a different immunity and will react to probiotics differently. Some pets might experience discomfort and might have issues digesting the probiotics when taken for the first time.
They may experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, or constipation, and you may notice a change in appetite.
It is always a great idea to check with one of our team to understand the needs of your pet and whether they need probiotics, and if so which variety is the best for him.
So, Should You Give Your Dog or Cat Probiotics?
Probiotics can be an excellent supplement that will help improve your pet’s overall health. They may not always be essential as healthy pets will naturally produce them. However, there are some circumstances in which a dose of probiotics will help improve the health of your pet.
If you think your pet might need probiotics we recommend contacting us to ensure that you are giving them the right type and dose.