Probiotics are good bacteria living in the digestive tract and help improve the process of digestion. Your dog needs to be provided probiotic supplements for the proper development of these bacteria in its gut. So how can you choose the best probiotic for your pet?
Why your Pet Needs Probiotics?
Before you find out how to select the right probiotics, it will be best to learn about their benefits. Probiotics help with improving digestion while also strengthening the immune system. These bacteria create SCFAs, a kind of fatty acids, which help prevent the development of ‘bad’ bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. They also provide other benefits for the intestines.
Some types of probiotics also help in the treatment of:
- Inflammation of the intestines
- Bowel problems
- Preventing infections in the urinary tract
- Reducing allergies
Choosing the Right Probiotics
Studies show that it is not yet possible to determine the right amount of dosage or combination of probiotic to give to dogs or any other pets. It is recommended to give high dosage of the organisms so that there is a higher chance that many will be able to survive long enough to live in the gut. The amount of probiotic depends on several factors:
- The kind of disease your pet is suffering from.
- The age of the pet. If your dog is younger, he likely needs a higher dosage of colony forming units (CFU).
A typical supplement can have CFU’s ranging between 100 million and 100 billion. Check the feces of your dog to find any signs of any probiotics. If there are organisms, it is a sign that some of the good bacteria survived the digestive tract.
Include Multiple Probiotics
It is recommended to have multiple species of organisms. This will help increase the chances that some may be able to survive and colonize your dog’s gut. But care should be taken not to combine the non-matching types of species together. This may increase the chances that they could work against each other.
Use in Combination with Prebiotics
Studies show that prebiotics also help in improving the efficiency of probiotics. These are indigestible ingredients that help in promoting the growth of good organisms in the intestines. While prebiotics may not be digestible for your dog, they act as foods for probiotics. Many probiotic supplements will have oligosaccharides and poly-oligosaccharides, which are prebiotics. So look for these ingredients in the supplements labels before choosing.
Refrigerated & Shelf-stable Probiotics
Some probiotic supplements are stored in refrigerators while others are kept at room temperature. The refrigerated organisms may be alive but they are in ‘suspended animation’. They remain so until they enter the pet’s body. Refrigerated organisms are considered to be more fragile. There is a good chance that they may breakdown even before entering the body.
It is however recommended that shelf-stable probiotics are also handled carefully. Care should be taken to avoid exposure to extended storage or higher temperatures.
So when you want to choose the right probiotic for your dog, make sure to follow the above-mentioned tips and also to look online for reviews of specific brands of probiotics.