Can You Give Probiotics To Your Dog?
Being confused as to what foods are safe for our furry friends is a common dilemma among pet owners. What’s healthy for us might be bad for them or what’s bad for us might be recommended for them.
So, is probiotics safe for dogs? As a matter of fact, it is. And your dog might even thank you for it. There are health benefits of probiotics that are good for them too. However, not all probiotics are beneficial to canines. Some can even be harmful. Distinguishing one from the other is essential to your dog’s health.
Choosing the Right Kind of Probiotics
Not all probiotics are the same. There are thousands of different strains and they each have their functions. Remember that probiotics are identical to the good bacterias lining our digestive tracts. The same goes for dogs. So, you need to choose a probiotic strain that is naturally present in your dog’s stomach. These strains include:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Bacillus coagulans
Enterococcus faecium, according to studies, helps boost your pet’s immune system. It increases the levels of antibodies in their intestinal lining. Bacillus coagulans, on the other hand, prevents different types of diarrhea and other common digestive issues in dogs.
Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are probiotic strains common in human foods. It’s also bottled into probiotic supplements. These two probiotic strains also help prevent diarrhea in your fur babies.
Another consideration when choosing probiotics for your dog is the presence of live organisms. Some pet food companies claim that their products have probiotics but, in reality, most of the strains are killed during the manufacturing process. This lessens their effectivity.
The number of good bacteria matters too. The higher the bacteria count, the better. This ensures that enough strains will survive the acid in your dog’s digestive tract.
Health Benefits of Probiotics on Dogs
The main health benefit your dog can get from probiotics is a healthy gut. And, as with humans, it has a domino effect on your dog’s overall health. Some of the health benefits your dog can get from probiotics include:
Just like humans, canines get “grumpy” when they’re not feeling well. This leads to displays of aggressive, erratic and obsessive-compulsive behavior. But studies suggest that an improved digestive function in dogs
also causes an improvement in their behavior.
Decreased Side Effects of Antibiotics
Taking antibiotics can be a double-edged sword. True, it kills the viruses in your body but it also wipes away the good bacteria. It can heal you but it can also cause a variety of other illnesses. Giving probiotics to your dog before they take antibiotics can help minimize its undesirable side effects.
Lesser Gastrointestinal Impact of Dietary Change
Every pet owner knows that a shift in their dog’s diet will most definitely lead to an upset stomach. Probiotics can help caution these effects by keeping the balance between the gut’s good and bad bacteria.
If constipation is hard for humans, it can be even more so for dogs. That’s because their digestive tract comprises a large part of their body. Thus if it’s compromised, it can affect their overall health. The muscle cramps can also be very painful for your dog. If left unchecked, it can cause lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Protect your furry friend from constipation by introducing probiotics to their regular diet.
With regular probiotic intake, your dog is protected from various illnesses. This is particularly true for older dogs with weakened immune systems. Probiotics maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your dog’s stomach. So diseases brought about by the imbalance of these two are easily prevented. Some probiotic strains also have anti-inflammatory properties that can further boost your dog’s immune system.
Healthy Skin and Coat
When their gut is healthy, it also shows in your dog’s physical appearance. Probiotics can make your dog’s skin and coat soft and shiny. It also prevents shedding so you won’t have to worry about dog hairs on your couch anymore. Skin allergy symptoms might also be lessened due to the probiotic’s immune-boosting properties.
Several studies support the probiotic’s strengthening effect on your dog’s teeth and gums.
When to Give Probiotics to Your Dog
Some fur parents choose to give probiotics to their dogs only when they’re sick. But most experts recommend
giving probiotics on a daily basis. Apart from probiotic supplements, you can also give them probiotic-rich foods.
If you’re going on a journey that might cause a lot of stress to your dogs, giving them probiotics is also recommended. The same goes for when you’re planning to make a significant change to your dog’s diet.
Though most probiotics fit for human consumption is safe for dogs, it might not necessarily be effective. So choosing strains that are already in your dog’s gut is important. Remember that each dog has different needs and might react differently to it. Consult your veterinarian to be sure.