What exactly are probiotics for dogs?
A probiotic is a living microorganism capable of colonizing the host and offering health benefits, especially for digestion. Probiotics not only help humans, but they also help dogs.
Probiotics are a bacteria found in a dog's bodies which occurs naturally. The gastrointestinal tract, anus, oral cavity, digestive organs, nasal cavity, and the surface of the skin of your canine companion all contain natural bacteria. Dog’s can also be given probiotic supplements to help with the formation of probiotics in their body.
Bear in mind that not all the bacteria are dangerous in your dog's body. The right ones aim to keep a dog safe and will help prevent infections. A diet high in probiotics would be your best bet especially if you notice that your dog has loose stools. If you don’t think that you dog is getting enough probiotics naturally, it may be worthwhile to try an additional supplement.
Pros And Cons Of Probiotics For Dogs
Probiotics interact with and displace pathogenic bacteria. In addition, probiotics can generate wholesome short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are important for a dog’s gastrointestinal health.
One of the downsides of probiotics is that they can not survive the gut's pH and eventually die before they enter into the intestines. The benefits of probiotics need to come before they enter the gut in which some scientists argue that doesn’t happen.
However, some scientists believe that only the DNA of probiotics needs to survive for health benefits in a dog. They claim that even dead probiotics can cause interesting immune changes in the host which can benefit a dog.
Probiotics to fed dogs would have a significantly higher number of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. This helps to provide antibodies that help prevent both bacterial and viral infections.
There are thousands of studies that show that probiotics can improve health and the immune system even if the probiotics live only for a few days.
The Outcome Of Using Probiotics for Dogs
The ancient physician Hippocrates explained that essentially "all illness begins in the stomach." Regular feeding of foods that are rich in probiotics, is one way to keep the gut of your dog working optimally.
Dogs must take advantage of probiotics as it helps in digestion and modulates the immune system. Probiotics release SCFAs expanded as short-chain fatty acids which aid in inhibiting harmful bacteria's growth and development, like Clostridium perfringens, and E. Coli, Salmonella.
Human studies have recorded the effectiveness of some strains in the treatment of diarrhoea, irritable intestines, and intestinal inflammation (fewer tests have been performed in dogs). Probiotics can help avoid infections of the urinary tract, and can also reduce allergic reactions by reducing the permeability of the gut and regulating inflammation.
The probiotics are assessed by units forming the colony (CFU). Although there have been few studies to evaluate effective doses, these figures usually fall in the hundreds of millions or more. When probiotics are used to aid digestion, they should be taken with meals. Probiotics can be administered in the short or long term.
The balance between healthy microbes and pathogens may get disturbed when an animal is stressed or sick. It can lead to diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and breathlessness. Make sure you monitor your dog closely when feeding them probiotics.
Are Probiotics Good For Dogs?
Anecdotal evidence (individual success stories) is available to support the effectiveness of probiotics and some vets trust them. Scientific research on the health benefits of probiotics in humans or animals and strengthening immune responses in developing dogs are also available.
The fact is, probiotics can sometimes support your dog and sometimes they can't. Probiotics may even cause side effects in your dog so you should always closely watch them when you feed them probiotic supplements.
5 Possible Side Effects of Probiotics for Dogs
- They can cause irritating digestive symptoms
- Probiotic amines can cause headache
- Some strains can increase the histamine content
- Some ingredients can cause undesirable consequences
- Can increase infection risk
Conclusion: The Pros And Cons Of Probiotics For Dogs
Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested in large amounts, offer health benefits for fighting infections and gastrointestinal issues. They can be used as supplements but are naturally often present in the foods they eat.
In most dogs, probiotics are safe but side effects can occur. Temporary loose stools, bloating, constipation, and thirst are the most common side effects.
Many dogs may also have a bad reaction to the ingredients used in probiotic supplements or to the amines present naturally in probiotic food. Avoid using probiotics if this does happen with your dog.
In rare cases, dogs with compromised immune systems, stress, or recent surgeries can develop a probiotic bacterial infection. If your dog is immunocompromised, make sure you consult a veterinarian before feeding your dog additional probiotics.
Probiotics are, in general, safe addition to diets or supplements for most dogs, with relatively few and unpredictable side effects. For more information about dogs, visit Care Of My Dog.