Probiotics are one of the essential components that we humans include in our diet almost on a daily basis through food items such as curd, yoghurt, Kombucha, and Kimchi among others, to give a boost to our gut health. But how beneficial, if it is at all, for our pet dogs and how do you introduce it to them? What are the different types of probiotics you can give to your dogs?
Let us break down all these concerns so that you are better equipped to make a well-informed educated decision regarding including probiotics in your beloved dog's diet. But first, let us begin with understanding the concept of probiotics for dogs at its core.
What are Probiotics for Dogs?
Just like any other living beings, dogs also have several microorganisms residing within their bodies. But fear not! Not all bacteria are harmful. In fact, some of the bacteria present inside the gut of dogs are essential for their sustenance. Billions and billions of these bacteria can be found in the gastrointestinal tract of your pet dogs.
They play a key role in strengthening their immune system, digesting their food smoothly, extracting vitamins and other nutrients, dictating mood by interacting with the gut-brain axis and fighting dreadful infections. They are known as microbiome and any changes or deficiency in this microbiome can often lead to illness. For instance, it can cause allergies, obesity, bloating, gas, cramping, and diarrhoea, among others.
Do Dogs Need Probiotics?
You might be thinking that if microbiomes already exist in the gut of dogs, why do we need to supply it externally by feeding them probiotics, right? Well, first of all, the consumption of probiotics helps in ensuring that an optimal balance is maintained in your canine friend's microbial intestinal system.
These bacteria can often get destroyed or damaged leading to a severe decline in the health of your dogs. Very often, diarrhoea and other allied stomach-related issues are impactful results due to the lack of these beneficial bacteria in your gut. A regular supply of probiotics in adequate quantity will keep the stomach, intestines, and colon of your pet dogs healthy and will aid them in their daily functioning.
When your dog is getting a healthy dosage of probiotics, you will notice a soft and shiny coat over their fur along with sparkling eyes and healthy skin. Their energy level and alertness will be optimal and they will have an improved central nervous system. You will also find them having smoother and regular bowel movements and they will have a pleasant-smelling breath. Probiotics also play a vital role in reducing stress and keeping dogs calm.
The connection between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain is evident through a healthier gut since it plays a direct influence on the behaviour and moods of all living organisms. As probiotics keep the gut healthy, you will significantly reduce the level of anxiety in dogs and help in instilling a sense of well-being in them.
Types of Probiotics Found in Dogs
Billions of types of probiotics reside within the gut system of canines. This includes Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium breve, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus casei, among others.
Many dog owners feed the dogs the same yoghurt that they consume. However, even though yoghurt can be a great probiotic supply for humans, the yoghurt available in the market that we consume has artificial sweeteners in it, which is not ideal for your dogs. So, stop feeding those to your dogs
Furthermore, bacteria are extremely sensitive to air, moisture, and temperature. As such, the way probiotics are included in food also plays a role in how much real value they retain by the time you feed them to your dogs.
Natural foods such as bananas, broccoli, cottage cheese, and unsweetened homemade yoghurt can be fed daily to your pet dogs. However, they are not always suffiecient to supply the probiotic needs of your dogs.
The best dog foods with probiotic content are those that are custom-made for your pet dogs keeping their specifications in mind. They can be available in various forms including soft treats which are considered to be the easiest and most convenient way of feeding your pet dogs probiotics. Apart from that, there are probiotics pills and powders that you can give your canine buddies as part of their meals.
At the same time, don't overfeed probiotics to your dogs. Anything in abundance is not great for anyone. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the right amount of probiotics that should be given to your dogs.
Probiotics are as important as any other essential nutrients and canines need them as much as we humans do. So, make sure to include probiotics in your pet dog's diet and help them develop thriving gastrointestinal health. Keep a close watch on the behaviour of your dogs alongside their bowel movements, and if you notice any changes that are not initiated by external forces, chances are pretty high that there is a lack of probiotics in them.
In addition, make sure to check the quality of probiotics that you are buying for your dogs and ensure that they are packaged well with the appropriate ingredients list and manufacturing and expiration date.
It is often seen that dogs with a heavy supply of carbs in their diet suffer from stomach issues due to how severely it affects probiotics. Consult with your veterinarian and provide your dogs with the right supply of probiotics and help them live their healthiest self.