Probiotics are microorganisms that thrive in the digestive system and have a positive benefit on the health of the host organism. They are also known as good bacteria. There are more probiotic bacteria living in the digestive system than there are cells in the body and these microorganisms have a remarkable influence over how the body functions and overall health.
The health of a pet’s digestive system has a remarkable influence over the health of the rest of the body. The digestive system is responsible for taking in food, digesting it and turning it into absorbable nutrition.
The digestive system is also an integral part of the immune system, forming a physical barrier to invading pathogens as well as acting as a source of information for immune cells to respond to as needed.
Given these and many other important roles the digestive system plays, it stands to reason that to optimise general health, our pet’s digestive system needs to be in tip top shape.
Probiotics serve many health benefits including:
In the wild, dogs would have ingested probiotics as they consumed their prey, some people source and feed their pets green tripe for this reason. A convenient, readily available option is a healthy raw food diet with added probiotics. Another convenient option is probiotic supplementation.
The key with those is to ensure ingestion quickly after serving. Probiotics are live organisms and whilst they are freeze-dried and dormant when purchased, they are quickly activated by heat and moisture. For this reason, when serving probiotics sprinkled over / mixed into your pets’ meal, make sure they eat their meal in one sitting and don’t leave it lying around for hours. This may reduce the potency of the probiotic by the time it is ingested.
Certainly consider probiotics if your pet requires a course of antibiotics to help keep the balance of the digestive microclimate optimal. Any digestive issues like gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea can benefit greatly from probiotics. They can also improve immune system function, which makes them helpful when a pet is suffering from any immune-related issues, including some skin issues. To maintain general health and wellbeing, there is no reason probiotics cannot be a part of your pets daily routine.
Probiotics have a wide safety window and are generally accepted as safe. There would be a few instances where probiotics may not be suitable and it’s important to discuss the suitability of all pet supplements with your trusted pet health practitioner of choice before supplementing. Be cautious of probiotics in severely immunocompromised pets or those taking immunosuppressant drugs.