The Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs


The Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs

If your dog is suffering from gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea, flatulence, or constipation, then you may want to consider the use of probiotics for your dog. In this article, I will discuss what probiotics are, the benefits of using probiotics for dogs, some symptoms of probiotic imbalances in dogs, side effects of probiotics in dogs, as well as some important things that you should be aware of if your dog consumes probiotics. After reading this article, if you decide that probiotics for your dog may help, then please consult with your veterinarian before offering them to your dog. This article is for informational purposes only and is never intended to serve as a substitute for the care and advice that only a well-qualified veterinarian can provide.

What Are Probiotics?

Generally speaking, probiotics are microorganisms that provide a health-related benefit to the host that consumes them. Even though they are considered to be bacteria, they are often known as "good bacteria" because they have been found to reduce intestinal inflammatory diseases, prevent and treat diarrhea, urogenital infections, and other diseases in both dogs and humans. Probiotics are great for dogs in that they reduce bad bacteria and toxins that may be present in the dog's body. Due to the fact that dogs eat just about everything, including anything on the ground whether it's toxic or not, they generally need probiotics more than humans do. While there are many dietary supplements that contain probiotics, probiotics can also be found in foods such as yogurt and cheese, and in food ingredients like yeast.

Benefits of Using Probiotics for Dogs

Perhaps the biggest benefit that comes from using probiotics for dogs is correcting inflammatory digestive issues. They do this by providing important bacteria to the digestive tract, creating balance and homeostasis. Homeostasis is the ability of the body to manage several different interactions to keep all systems functioning within a normal range. In the body of a human or a dog, homeostasis is maintained by the brain, liver, and kidneys. The liver metabolizes any toxic substances that might be present in the body, while the kidneys regulate blood and water levels, salt levels, iron levels, and the excretion of waste. The brain provides signals to these organs to carry out these important functions. Without a homeostatic condition, the body cannot function correctly.

In promoting homeostasis, probiotics for dogs provide benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved liver function, a healthier immune system, a cleaner digestive system, improved skin and coat appearance, more energy for your dog, fewer allergy symptoms, less gas, and no more diarrhea or constipation. If your dog is suffering from a probiotic imbalance, then you should strongly consider giving your dog a probiotic supplement.

Symptoms of Probiotic Imbalances in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from a probiotic imbalance, that means that there aren't enough "good" bacteria in its system to counter the toxic substances that might be present. Indications of a probiotic imbalance in dogs include many of the symptoms that probiotics can correct. Symptoms of probiotic imbalances in dogs include diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, a weakened immune system, lack of energy, poor nutrient absorption, and skin problems. Contributing factors to probiotic imbalances in dogs include stress, a poor diet, environmental changes (like a new home), chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides that might be used where your dog hangs out outdoors, and any antibiotics that your dog might be taking. Antibiotics can strip your dog of any good bacteria that would otherwise help to maintain a healthy digestive tract. If your dog is exhibiting any symptoms of a probiotic imbalance, please see your veterinarian and discuss changing your dog's diet to include dietary supplements or food items with probiotics. Your dog will feel a lot better and thank you for it!

Probiotic Supplements for Dogs

There are many different dietary supplements on the market that contain probiotics. They can be found at any pet store, online, or even at big-box retailers like Wal-Mart. They come in several different forms, including paste, capsules, liquid, and granules, making them very easy to administer to your dog. Some dog foods even contain probiotics, particularly dry dog foods. Avoid canned dog food in this regard, because they normally don't contain any probiotics due to the high temperatures that are involved in the production of the food. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any radical changes to your dog's diet. He may help you customize the diet with the best probiotics for your dog.

What about Human Probiotics for Dogs?

As mentioned earlier in this article, there are a few human foods that contain probiotics, and yes, you can share them with your dog in most cases. Yogurt contains natural probiotics for dogs that can help you and your dog with improved regularity in bowel movements. To help your dog here, just add 2 or 3 spoons of yogurt to your dog's regular food. When doing this, use a yogurt that contains live, active cultures, and only plain yogurt. Do NOT use any flavored yogurt here, because flavored yogurts generally have too much sugar and artificial sweeteners that may be really bad for your dog's health. Also, and this is really important, make sure that your dog is not lactose-intolerant. If your dog is lactose-intolerant, then any dairy product that you give to your dog may make its problems even worse.

Cottage cheese is another food item that contains helpful, natural probiotics for your dog. Some of the probiotics are naturally-occurring, and others are added in. If you give cottage cheese to your dog, then make sure that it contains either L.Acidophilus or B.Bifidus. These two are great if you or your dog have queasy stomachs. Mix the cottage cheese into your dog's regular food by the spoon. Again, this is a dairy product, so make sure that your dog is not lactose-intolerant before trying this.

There are dietary supplements that contain human probiotics for dogs. You can share these with your dog. When shopping for a supplement, make sure that it contains either L.Acidophilus, L.Bulgaricius, or B.Bifidum. Just open the capsules and pour the granules into your dog's food. Keep these supplements refrigerated. Just remember that while you can share these human probiotics with your dog, there may be some instances where you and your dog might be better off if you give your dog probiotics that are specifically designed for it. This is because there are some differences that exist between human digestive systems and their canine counterparts. Once again, consult with your veterinarian before administering probiotics to your dog.

Side Effects of Probiotics for Dogs

While probiotics for dogs offer many benefits, they may also contain some side effects. As mentioned before, if your dog is lactose-intolerant, then please avoid dairy foods like yogurt and cheese that contain probiotics, because they might make your dog's flatulence or diarrhea even worse.

If your dog has any autoimmune diseases, then the use of probiotics may over-stimulate the immune system, making these diseases even worse. In these cases, please talk to your veterinarian before giving probiotics to your dog.

You may initially see a spike in some of the symptoms that you are trying to treat with probiotics, but they usually go away after a couple of weeks as the body adjusts.

Other Things of Note Regarding Probiotics for Dogs

Make sure that any probiotics that you give to your dog are stabilized. Probiotics that aren't stabilized might be destroyed by your dog's stomach acid before they reach the intestines, where they are usually needed the most. If the probiotics in question need to be refrigerated, then that may be a clue that they are not stabilized.

Some dog owners may wonder about what is the correct dosage when using probiotics for dogs. It really varies according to the probiotics, and what foods contain the probiotics. If you are using human foods, like yogurt or cottage cheese, then follow the instructions discussed above. If you are using probiotic supplements for your dog, then always pay attention to the label, because the label will usually indicate the proper dosage of probiotics for your dog. Of course, if you consult with your veterinarian, then he should be able to prescribe the best dosage of probiotics for your dog.

I cannot stress this enough. You really need to consult with your veterinarian before beginning any new dietary regime that involves probiotics for your dog, because your dog may have some conditions that might affect how its body reacts to the new diet. Share any and all information with your veterinarian about your dog's symptoms, and past health problems. Using this information, your veterinarian should be able to recommend to you the best probiotics for your dog based on your dog's particular needs. For instance, if your dog is suffering from a skin rash, then one probiotic may work better than another. Another probiotic for dogs might work better when combating gastrointestinal issues. This is very important, because there are many online retailers that sell probiotics for dogs, and they all claim that they have the best probiotics for dogs available. Remember that you don't need a prescription in order to obtain probiotics for your dog, but you should still see your veterinarian.

Now, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether probiotics should have a place in the diet of your dog. They offer many health-related benefits that can vastly improve the life of your dog, but you should always see a veterinarian in order to determine the best probiotics for your dog.

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