Benefits of Dog Probiotics
If you’ve seen any ads for food or supplements in the past few years, chances are good that you’ve heard about probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the intestines of people, dogs and other animals. When we don’t have enough, our digestive systems can go haywire. Supplements exist in pill and edible form that allow the consumption of probiotics to aid symptoms by restoring intestinal balance.
There are several common canine problems that probiotics for dogs are used to help treat. Dogs who are suffering from yeast infections and skin issues, excessive flatulence, bad breath, diarrhea and constipation can all benefit from the implementation of a probiotic regimen. Before starting your dog on a probiotic supplement, consult your vet to rule out any other potential conditions and find out if probiotics are right for your dog.
How the Treatment Process Works
If you’re given the go ahead to pursue a probiotic supplement for your dog, it is important to know that there are many different products available on the market. Some are easier to use than others. Probiotics are living cultures, and because of that, they need to be stabilized in order to be stored at room temperature in a way that maintains their efficacy. Once the probiotics have been stabilized, they can be included in dry supplement powders that can be stored in air tight containers without refrigeration. A measured dose of the powder is blended with food during feeding as directed. These are the most commonly used and convenient types of probiotic supplements for canines.
Overall Health Benefits of Canine Probiotic Use
Including a probiotic supplement in a dog’s nutritional regimen can have effects beyond treating the unpleasant health issues mentioned earlier. If you’ve noticed that your dog has slowed down a bit in the past few months, a digestive imbalance could be part of the problem. A treatment of antibiotics can deplete the good bacteria in your pet’s digestive system, making them feel sluggish and sleepy and stopping them from wanting to take walks and play. Regular exercise is crucial to your pet’s long term cardiovascular health, and a probiotic supplement can bring lazy dogs back to life.
For some dogs, stress can be a serious problem. Triggers like car horns, vacuum cleaners, fireworks and thunderstorms can leave dogs frantic and scared. Probiotics have been shown to increase dogs’ resistance to all types of stress, making a supplement an ideal choice for nervous dogs. Additionally, like humans, dogs can experience reactions to allergens like dust, mold and pollen. Regular use of a probiotic can help lessen the presentation of allergic reaction in canines.
Probiotics can lower canine cholesterol, increase virus resistance, stimulate the immune system and create greater resistance to food-borne illness. In the long term, using a probiotic supplement during regular feedings as advised by your vet can improve your pet’s length and quality of life.
What to Look For in a Probiotic
When you’re searching for the right probiotic supplement for your dog, you may be wondering what criteria you should be using to compare the products you find. One thing that is important to make note of is the CFU per serving. CFU, or colony forming units, are the units with which probiotics are measured. One serving size of a probiotic supplement for an average dog should have a CFU count around 2-4 billion. Less will likely have no effect, and more, especially in huge doses; can actually be detrimental to your pet. Many trustworthy pet care brands now produce probiotic supplements with CFU counts in this range. Additionally, check to see if the supplement also contains prebiotics, which probiotics need to grow and thrive. Without it, the supplement will not be as effective.
How Do I Know If It’s Working?
If your dog’s energy levels, coat quality and bowel habits begin to change for the positive after you begin treatment with a probiotic supplement, you can safely conclude that the supplement is working. As dogs cannot experience the placebo effect, the only way for positive evidence to present itself is if the supplement is actually functioning. If nothing happens, talk to your vet about the correct dosage of the supplement and ask for a brand they recommend. Adverse side effects are very rare; however, if your pet has an adverse reaction to a supplement, stop treatment immediately and contact your vet for more information. In many cases, probiotics resolve skin and digestive issues for dogs within days or weeks.