There is a lot of noise around dog probiotics and their reported benefits. At Dig-In we know that they can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, but don’t reach for them just yet. There is a lot more to probiotics for dogs than you might realise and equipping yourself with the right knowledge is always beneficial. Especially with your pet involved.
First things first, let’s take a journey through your dog’s digestive system (not literally of course). Your dog is currently hosting millions of live bacteria in their digestive tract (from the mouth through to the large intestine). Depending on your dog’s condition, the majority of these bacteria are beneficial but it’s not as much about “good vs bad” as it is about balance.
Your dog’s stomach and intestines are filled with micro-organisms that perform a number of different functions and which in turn can make your dog healthy or ill. Collectively these colonies of bacteria or micro-organisms are called a microbiome. Your dog’s microbiome is a fantastic community all with different roles to play. As an example ‘Bacteroides’ help to break down fats and meats. Other micro-organisms help skin health and so on. The best thing about your dog’s microbiome however is its strong connection to the immune system. Having an active and healthy immune system, for obvious reasons, is the best thing for dogs. It helps fight infection, maintains skin and coat, can even help with anxiety (with more than half of your dog’s serotonin the result of the microbiome).
The take-home is this – A healthy digestive tract with a well-balanced microbiome is essential for a happy and healthy dog.
So, how do we promote and maintain healthy microbiomes for our best buds? It’s interesting to know that your pup’s microbiome is unique, almost like a fingerprint. They get some from their mum, some from you and every other animal they’ve been in contact with, and some from everything they’ve ever eaten. There is a lot going on in there. But sometimes, the balance gets upset, things go awry with their health, age, and diet has an effect. At some point, you may stumble on ‘probiotics’ as a solution to some of your dog’s digestion and other underlying issues. Here is the low-down from Dig-In.
What are dog probiotics and why use them?
Probiotics are small colonies of live bacteria that are deemed to be beneficial when introduced to your dog’s diet. They’re live cultures and can be found in foods like yoghurt, Kombucha, Kefir, and other fermented foods. They work by rapidly increasing the ‘good bacteria’ inside your dog’s digestive tract in order to promote overall health. You might consider using probiotics after using antibiotics, as an ongoing addition or simply to boost energy and immune function. Dog probiotics can be a useful addition but won’t necessarily help and sometimes can even be harmful. If you’re thinking about using Dog Probiotics, use high-quality products, test for allergic reactions, and always follow instructions.
What are prebiotics and why we recommend these instead?
Probiotics are live cultures and depending on the existing conditions inside your Dog Digestive tract will have an impact on how useful Dog Probiotics are. What we at Dig-In advocate is prebiotics. These are foodstuffs, soluble, resistant starches, and insoluble fibres that encourage and feed bacteria. Because they’re not live cultures they survive the harsh conditions of your dog’s guts and feed the bacteria already alive in your dog’s digestive tract. Prebiotic supplements work to quickly shift the balance of beneficial bacteria to a healthy, natural state.
Prebiotics help your dog in many ways; by fermenting food faster in the digestive tract to maintain regularity, helping the body better absorb nutrients, managing intestinal disorders, improvement of skin and fur condition, promote healthy stools and digestion, help bad breath and improve immune response and recovery.
So, Dog Probiotics or Dog Prebiotics?
There’s some debate around whether or not dog probiotics are a necessary introduction to your dog’s diet. The long and short of it is that there is no real evidence that they will do anything but it’s rare that they would make things worse. However, prebiotics is a proven way to improve your dog’s overall health.
A dog’s gut is vital to a normal immune function (same with us people). Healthy guts help corral, eliminate and dispel mycotoxins, facilitate recovery and stave off any number of ‘baddies’ that will undoubtedly occur in your dog’s life – no matter what type of a parent you are and how micromanaged your dog’s diet is.
With a daily dose of prebiotics, your dog’s gut is in the best position to naturally grow ‘good’ bacteria and fight off the nasties as well as aiding the recovery process.
Dig In is a powerful prebiotic that has been proven to aid your dog’s health. Get your hands on some Dig-In today and improve the health and happiness of your pup >> HERE