All about probiotics for dogs
Probiotics for Dogs
What are probiotics? What do probiotics do? What can damage your dog's gut health? How do you choose a good probiotic supplement for your dog? Answers to these questions and more below, so read on!
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are tiny good bacterias. In this day and age, we tend to think that all bacteria bad. We surround ourselves with antibacterial soaps, cleaners, sprays, and throw antibiotics at any cough or cold. But the truth is, not all bacteria are bad. In fact, if you don't have enough good bacteria you'll get sick!
We humans and our dogs, and all living creatures have bacteria inside us and on us. On our skin, in our mouth, in just about all our organs, and especially in our guts. In fact, it is thought that for every 1 cell in your dog's body, there are at least 10 bacteria in his body. A 10:1 ratio of bacteria to cells?! This is some pretty important stuff.
What Do Probiotics Do?
So, probiotics are good bacteria, but what do they do? There is only so much space for the bacteria in and on the body. So, the more good bacteria we and our dogs have the less room there is for bad bacteria. So, job one of a probiotic is to populate your dog's body to keep invading bad bacteria out!
Good bacteria are responsible for may process throughout the body. One of the main things that good bacteria do is to help us and our dogs break down our food. I know what your thinking "doesn't my body break down food without help? " Well, sort of. The body can break down food quite a lot but it's often still in biggish chunks. That's when the bacteria come into play, they take these larger chunks and break them down more. The broken-down pieces are easier for our bodies to use.
Good bacteria are just starting to get really studied. Our understanding of what all they do and how they work is only beginning! We do know that when we or our dogs have less good bacteria we are sicker, weaker, and more prone to disease.
What Can Damage Gut Health?
There are lots of things that can damage your dog's gut health and good bacterial population overall. Things like over-vaccination, synthetic supplements and medications, lawn chemicals, cleaning chemicals, anti-bacteria anything, poor diet, and antibiotics.
Why are antibiotics and anti-bacterial items so bad? In theory, anti-bacteria and antibiotics are made to kill bacteria that could be or is making you sick. But they are indiscriminate killers. They kill good bacteria right along with the bad.
Why is this an issue? Remember how there is only so much space for bacteria to take up in your body? Well, if good and bad bacteria are killed by the antibiotic then that leaves a lot of empty spaces. This gives bad bacteria a place to live if it comes into the body before good bacteria. It also gives any surviving good or bad bacteria a chance to expand their territory. If bad bacteria get to take over then your dog could be in worse shape then he was before he took the antibiotic.
Best Probiotic Supplement For Dogs?
How can we help our dog get enough good bacteria so we can protect against bad bacteria? Simply add some probiotics to his diet! Probiotics are found in many foods and can be given as a supplement.
You could feed your dog foods like kimchi, kefir, water kefir, yogurt with live and active cultures, or raw goats milk. These are all excellent food sources of probiotics. Anything fermented that has no alcohol is a good option.
If you choose you can also add a probiotic supplement to your dog's diet. It is best to choose a probiotic that is made for dogs. Their gut bacteria should be different than a humans. So, you want a probiotic made for dogs that has as many strains as you can find. For instance, some probiotics will have 12 strains while others have 23 or more. You want the probiotic with 23 or more strains.
This is because the bacteria in your dog should look like a rainforest. Think of all the diversity of creatures and plants that live in a rainforest. How many species fo trees alone are there? How many different kinds of bugs? Lots and lots! So, the more species-appropriate strains you can give your dog the better. I also recommend rotating the probiotic supplement you use. Once you use one up, try a different brand.
One more thing, with a probiotic supplement, be sure to get one that has an added prebiotic. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics. So, the more food they have the more likely they will be to stick around in your dog's body.
Probiotics are good bacteria. They make up more of your dog then his own cells do. Probiotics are in and on your dog helping prevent invading bad bacteria from getting a foothold. Probiotics also help your dog's body with many different processes such as breaking down food. Choose probiotics that has many strains, this could be from a supplement or from fermented foods.
- Pet Life Admin