Probiotics for Dogs
Have you been hearing a lot about probiotics lately, but not exactly sure what they are, and if, or why your dog might need them?
In this article we give you the “50,000 foot view” on probiotic supplements. You’ll find out exactly what probiotics are, how they benefit your dog’s physical and mental health and how to choose a quality probiotic supplement. If you’ve been feeling like a newcomer to the canine probiotic world this article is for you.
WHAT IS A PROBIOTIC?
Your dog’s digestive tract contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria. There will always be some “bad” bacteria but you should aim to have a significantly higher ratio of good bacteria versus bad. A Probiotic supplement is full of good bacteria strains to replenish bacteria levels in your dog’s gut.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Probiotics help to correct dysbiosis, a term used when there is a microbial imbalance, by replenishing gut flora in your dog. Correcting dysbiosis can:
· Improve mood – reduce anxiety, depression, aggressiveness
· Improve digestive health – reduce gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut
· Improve immune health – reduce allergy symptoms, heal ear infections, improve auto-immune conditions and even cancer
· Improve joint health – reduce joint pain, arthritis inflammation, and hip dysplasia
· Prevent chronic conditions – used preventatively as maintenance will improve overall quality of health
As you are probably starting to see, everything related to your dog’s health is impacted by the health of their gut.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR DOG NEEDS A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT
Most dogs will benefit from taking a probiotic supplement preventatively off and on throughout the year and all dogs should have some fermented foods (which contain probiotics) incorporated into their diet regularly. If any of the following apply to your dog, a probiotic in supplement form should be taken for 1-3 months so that gut flora can be replenished and health improved:
· If you dog has been on antibiotics
· If your dog has been on any medication including flea medications
· If your dog has had surgery
· If your dog is experiencing regular gas, constipation, or diarrhea
· If your dog is experiencing seasonal, food, or flea allergy
· If your dog shows high levels of anxiety and/or depression
When choosing a probiotic supplement for your dog there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, you can give your dog a human grade probiotic BUT, they’ll get more benefit from a supplement containing specific bacteria strains found in their own canine digestive tract.
The more variety of strains your pet consumes the better. Aim to choose a supplement with 10 or more bacteria strains. Each strain will provide different benefits for your canine’s gut.
It is also important to choose a supplement that contains a high number of live organisms; we recommend a minimum of 20 million per serving to ensure efficient health improvements. This information should be easily found on the supplement bottle.
HERBS AND PROBIOTICS
Herbal medicine and probiotic supplementation work great together, and we highly recommend including both. Probiotics will replenish micro flora, which is the root of many chronic health conditions while herbal medicine will heal, nourish and modulate body systems. Together probiotic and herbal supplementation provide a complete holistic health protocol for a variety of health conditions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR / Rickilee Walls MH.
Rickilee Walls is the founder and herbal formulator of Companion Herbals and chief medical herbalist for TGIPT, a supplement based dog treat company in Vancouver BC. A passionate educator, Rickilee enjoys teaching pet parents about herbal medicine and how to make their own herbal remedies for their pet. She is an advocate for the environment discouraging the use of endangered plant species and encouraging sustainable practices.