Everything You Need to Know about Probiotics for Dogs
Introduction: The Importance of Effective Digestion for Dogs
There is no doubt that your pet pooch is the center of your universe. You probably spend more time caring for and thinking about your dog than you even do about yourself. It’s only natural that you feel protective about your dog, and at the same time, want to take the responsibility to ensure his or her good health. However, dogs are as vulnerable and susceptible to health problems as us humans. Often, the health issues originate from a digestive disorder. Hence, you need to focus on helping your dog maintain decent digestive health. You can opt for probiotics to improve your dog’s health.
In most cases, if your pet has a healthy gut and his or her digestive system is functioning optimally, there is little chance that they will develop any health problems. Probiotics offer you an easy way to enhance your dog’s digestive health. But, can dogs have human probiotics? More importantly, can dogs take probiotics? Over the course of this guide, we will uncover the importance of probiotics for dogs, and also highlight how probiotics work.
What Do Probiotics Do for Dogs?
The term ‘probiotics’ is a combination of the Latin word ‘pro’ and the Greek word ‘bios’. Roughly translated, probiotics means ‘For Life’. Keep in mind that probiotics are present in your dog’s body. The location might differ, but most dogs carry probiotics. The parts of the body where probiotics may congregate include the nasal cavity, the gastrointestinal tract, and even the outer part of the skin. Generally, probiotics are the ‘good bacteria’ that your body needs to improve digestive health and avoid gut problems.
The main reason why these bacteria are great for your dog’s health is that they are similar to the bacteria that your body products naturally. Human beings consume probiotics through a range of food items, including yogurt and cheese. Thus, you can assume that they will also benefit your dog’s health. The key to maintaining good health is achieving the ideal balance between the good and bad bacteria in your dog’s system. Of course, it is difficult to determine the current levels of the two types of bacteria. However, healthy eating and lifestyle habits can go a long way towards boosting your dog’s health.
How Probiotics Work
The main role of probiotics is ensuring that your gut stays healthy. Most people don’t realize that your digestive tract plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. The same holds true for your dog. If your dog’s gut health is not up to par, it could compromise the functioning of the other systems in his or her body. The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is actually true. If your gut health suffers due to your food choices, you might develop a host of other health problems. Your dog might even develop mood issues if you don’t feed him a decent diet.
This part is where probiotics come in. As mentioned, the probiotics play an active role in keeping your dog’s gut healthy. Your dog’s digestion will improve if there are sufficient probiotics in his or her body. Your dog’s body will not absorb the nutrients from the food you give him or her, if there is a dearth of probiotics in the system. Probiotics can boost digestion, ensuring that the food breaks down after your dog eats it and his/her body benefits from the nutrients on offer. In other words, it is a major step towards improving your dog’s overall health.
Let’s Get Scientific
As you can see from the information provided above, probiotics are good for your body. Simply put, these bacteria are healthy. The common misconception regarding bacteria is that all bacteria are bad. However, this is not the case with probiotics. Probiotics are live organisms residing within your dog’s gut. That said, the balance between good and bad bacteria can go out of whack due to a number of factors. For example, if your dog spends most of his time in a place with high pollution levels, or develops an illness, the bad bacteria will start outnumbering the good bacteria.
Moreover, if you give your dog antibiotics as a treatment for any condition, it can also reduce the presence and impact of probiotics. Keep in mind that probiotics are the antidote to antibiotics. Therefore, the probiotics for dogs benefits their health only if there is a balance between the good and bad bacteria within their system. This doesn’t mean that you should throw out probiotics just because your dog is not feeling better right after taking them. It can take some time for the probiotics to work their magic, so you have to be patient.
Are Human Probiotics Safe for Dogs?
The main concern for dog owners is whether or not the probiotics they take are safe for their dogs. Well, for one, you have to consider the fact that specific probiotics are available for dogs. Hence, you might be in two minds about can dogs use human probiotics. You don’t need to be confused. You can give human probiotics to your pet pooch. The only factor you have to keep in mind is the dosage. The dose you take will not be suitable for your dog. However, there is one more aspect that you have to consider when deciding can you give dogs’ human probiotics.
A majority of probiotics supplements and products available for humans today are in pill form. As a dog owner, you would realize that giving your dog a pill can be a huge challenge. This reason is why a significant number of dog owners opt for probiotics made especially for dogs. You can find supplements that your dog can chew easily. After all, you have to consider the fact that your dog might not like taking probiotics if they are difficult to consume, i.e. in pill form. More significantly, you should always consult your vet before you go ahead with giving your dog probiotics.
Do Probiotics Benefit Dogs?
Most health experts agree on the fact that probiotics are great for humans. But is that true for dogs as well? There are several benefits of probiotics for dogs.
Here are the many health benefits your pet pooch will enjoy by consuming probiotics supplements:
- Better digestion
- Better gut health
- Lower risk of digestive issues
- Stronger immunity
- Stable mood
- Effective weight management
The great thing about probiotics for dogs is that any and every dog can enjoy the health benefits they offer. Your dog doesn’t have to be in pristine health to enjoy the health benefits mentioned above. In fact, a number of researches and studies are showing that aging dogs can overcome the common ailments they face by taking probiotics supplements. The supplements can help them prevent diseases and illnesses as well.
Should You Give Your Dog Probiotics?
There is no harm in giving your dogs any probiotics supplements. However, you don’t necessarily have to force your dog to take the supplement either. The probiotics are great for bolstering your dog’s health, but he or she doesn’t necessary need it per se. You can vary the dosage based on your dog’s current condition. For instance, your vet will recommend that you increase the dose if your dog is suffering from a health problem. Again, it is important to reiterate that you should not make any decisions regarding your dog’s probiotics’ dosage without consulting your vet.
The main reason why dog owners give their dogs’ probiotics is to ensure that the balance between good and bad bacteria in their pet’s gut is ideal. However, simply giving your dog the supplements might not deliver the results you are seeking. This might not even address the imbalance complete. The reason is that there are several reasons why your dog’s gut might be overrun with bad bacteria. Consulting your vet can help you address the underlying cause and boost your dog’s health.
Do note that there are certain situations where your dog ‘needs’ probiotics. Generally, this happens when your dog is suffering from an illness, such as
- Infections caused by parasites
- Food allergies
- Stress caused by environmental factors
- Infections and viruses
- Dietary changes
- Consumption of antibiotics
What’s the Best Time to Start Giving Your Dogs Probiotics?
Often, dog owners are not sure about the best time to start giving their dogs supplements to boost the probiotics within their system. According to dog health experts, the ideal approach is giving your dog probiotics when you are planning any lifestyle changes that might upset your pet’s digestive health. There are several changes that can lead to digestive issues, include a change in diet, or even relocating to a new place. Also, dogs are susceptible to stress and the stress eventually affects their digestion. Giving your dog the supplements before initiating the change can prevent any major health problems.
Potential Side Effects
You can see from the information presented above that there are several benefits of probiotics for dogs. Side effect, if any, will be minor. The general assumption is that if you stick to the recommended dosage, you don’t have to worry about any side effects. However, if your dog ends up consuming too many probiotics, your dog’s health might suffer significantly. The symptoms you may notice include nausea and even diarrhea. You have to be particularly careful about giving your dog probiotics if he or she has weak immunity.
Moreover, you can never be sure how probiotics multiply within your dog’s system. An excess of probiotics in the system can lead to infection or inflammation, and you might have to give your dogs antibiotics to counter their impact. You can keep a majority of these side effects at bay by consulting your vet before you give your dog any supplements. Also, do note that you will have to talk to the vet about the ideal dose for your dog, so that you don’t end up giving him or her more of the supplement than your pet’s body can manage.
How to Select the Right Probiotics
You will find different types of probiotics on the market. As we clarified above, you can give your dog the probiotics you take. That said, there are also some supplements created specifically for dogs. Hence, the first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to give your dog human probiotics supplements. Vets usually recommend that you give your dog a supplement made especially for dogs. Generally, the supplements for dogs are in powder or chewable form. You should avoid giving your dogs probiotics in pill form.
In addition, not all probiotics are made equal. Each probiotic can have a different effect on your dog’s health. Hence, you need your vet’s expertise here. Discuss with your vet how you can choose the right supplement as per your dog’s specific requirements.
Your Top Options
Your dog’s current health situation is the main factor you need to consider when selecting probiotics for your pet. There are several options available to you, each having a different impact on your dog’s health. For example, the Lactobacillus group of probiotics is mainly for ensuring that your dog’s body absorbs the nutrients her or she comes. These probiotics are great for prevent digestive issues, include nausea and diarrhea. Therefore, your dog will benefit from the vitamins and other nutrients the food contains, while at the same time, the balance between good and bad bacteria is restored.
You can also opt for the Bifidobacterium probiotics. This group of probiotics is great for enhancing your dog’s immunity, thereby improving his/her health. You can consider giving your dog these probiotics if he/she is dealing with a health issue. These probiotics are great for older dogs whose immunity is weakening with each passing year. You can minimize the symptoms of the health problems your dog is suffering from by giving him or her probiotics. The bottom-line is that you have to consult your vet before you make a final decision.
Probiotics for Dogs: Natural Options
Keep in mind that supplements are not the only option for giving your dog probiotics. You can take the natural route, i.e. providing your dog the probiotics through his or her diet. Of course, there is no telling if your dog will warm up to the idea of eating the food you serve, and thus, supplements prove a better option.
However, if your dog has a decent appetite, you can try feeding him/her the following food items:
- Soft cheese
Be Careful When Giving Your Dog Probiotics
Your vet will provide the instructions you have to follow when administering probiotics to your dog. The main concern is the dosage. You cannot exceed the dose that your vet suggests. Also, you need to ask your vet about preparing the supplements, if you opt for the powdery option. You have to mix the powder with the food perfectly. At the same time, you have to be patient. Don’t overfeed your dog the probiotics. In some cases, it can take a couple of days for the probiotics to take effect. So, avoid the temptation to keep giving your dog the supplements several times a day.
More importantly, you should introduce probiotics slowly and gradually into your dog’s lifestyle. If you act in a hurry, your dog might develop several health problems. As mentioned, any sudden changes to your dog’s environment and lifestyle can cause digestive problems. Therefore, adding probiotics to every meal your dog consumes can lead to more harm than good.
CBD for Dogs: How It Affects Your Dog’s Digestive Health
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several years, you will know that CBD offers a range of health benefits for your dog. But did you know that CBD is great for your dog’s digestive health as well. You can conveniently select a CBD supplement to enhance your dog’s gut health, while at the same time preventing digestive ailments, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). You don’t have to restrict yourself from using CBD if your dog isn’t suffering from any digestive disorder. CBD supplements benefit any and all dogs, especially aging dogs and ones suffering from health issues.
Furthermore, CBD is completely safe for your dog. You don’t have to worry about any side effects. Not to mention, you can combine CBD with other supplements, including the probiotic supplements mentioned above. Giving your dog both types of supplements can provide a host of health benefits.
As a pet parent, you want nothing but the best for your pooch. Selecting the right probiotics can go a long way towards boosting your dog’s digestive and gut health. Keep in mind that optimal gut health is the key to overall good health. Sometimes, your dog shows symptoms that you don’t normally associate with digestive issues, but often the underlying cause lies in the digestive tract. Therefore, consult your vet about your dog’s digestive health and discover whether or not probiotics can prove the ideal remedy for achieving the right balance between good and bad bacteria within his/her gut.