Keeping the gut healthy and functioning properly is just as important for dogs as it is for humans.
Every dog has a unique set of hundreds of different kinds of microbes in his or her gastrointestinal tract, including bacteria. This is referred to as the gut microbiome.
Maintaining a healthy microbiome is crucial to a dog's overall health. When it becomes unbalanced, a variety of issues can result, such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Digestive issues such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea
- Immune system problems
One of the most effective ways pet parents can stay on top of gut health and prevent these issues is by giving their dogs probiotics regularly. Pups may not be able to gobble down probiotic-packed foods and beverages like yogurt, kombucha, or sauerkraut in the ways humans can, but adding supplements into their diet will do the trick.
What Are Probiotics?
First things first: What exactly are probiotics?
Although bacteria may conjure up negative connotations, probiotics are types of live bacteria and yeasts that are actually good for dogs and humans alike. There are various species of probiotics, including:
Although researchers are still discovering the myriad ways probiotics work, they've been proven to replace good bacteria that may get lost due to factors like taking antibiotics after infections. Probiotics also help keep a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria.
In short, probiotics inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria while providing many other benefits to the digestive system.
The Benefits of Probiotic Dog Supplements
The best way to maintain dogs’ digestive health is to give them probiotic supplements. They provide a variety of benefits, including:
- Maintaining immune system health
- Aiding digestion
- Treating diarrhea, intestinal inflammation, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Helping relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections
- Reducing allergic reactions
- Maintaining joint health
Dog probiotics are not needed with every meal, or even daily. However, incorporating them into a dog's diet on a regular basis is recommended by vets across the board, especially if they've been experiencing illness or if their breed is prone to joint issues and disorders (common among Labs and German Shepherds). Probiotics make an excellent joint health supplement for dogs.
Here are a few vet-approved products for dog digestive health:
These Proviable-DC probiotics were created for dogs as well as cats. They act as a natural supplement to support digestion and intestinal health. This product can also work as dog nausea medicine when the nausea is due to an unbalanced microbiome.
This FortiFlora daily probiotic reduces gas and supports digestive health through a powder formula that comes in pre-measured packets. Best of all, it's safe for pups of all ages.
Although this product doesn't contain probiotics, it can still aid in the process of maintaining gut health. The easy-to-use product allows pet parents to test their dogs for roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and giardia.
Due to the many benefits that probiotics provide, it's smart to always keep them in the pet food cabinet. Be sure to follow the specific dosage and storage information on the product's label.
All in all, a semi-regular joint health and probiotic supplement can go a long way toward helping your pet age better and stay healthy and happy.