An increasing number of people are learning about the benefits of taking probiotics. A healthy gut is the catalyst for good overall health, and as we learn more and more about how probiotics can contribute to a healthy gut, it’s no wonder people are doing whatever they can to improve their digestive health.
Anytime we find out something that’s so beneficial for humans, it’s almost like a natural instinct to wonder if it can benefit our pets, as well. We all care about our dogs, so if we’re taking advantage of the latest in health for ourselves, we want the same for our pets. Obviously, humans and dogs have different bodies and different needs when it comes to health, but there are certain things that are universal.
Probiotics is a blanket-term that describe hundreds of different micro-organisms that support a healthy body, making them some of the most popular supplements out there. People often get their probiotics from supplements, but they’re also very easy to supplement through food. Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are great sources of probiotics, as are yogurt and kefir.
Probiotics, and having a lot of them in your gut, can help to combat undesirable pathogens. We won’t get too deep into the science since it’s been talked about elsewhere by much more qualified people, but to put it simply: Probiotics are great and you want a lot of them in you. They are bacteria, but they’re the good kind of bacteria that helps fight the bad kind.
When it comes to your dog, however, there are some things you should know before you rush to the store to buy probiotics for dogs. You don’t need to go and spend a fortune on fancy supplements for your dogs.
Probiotics that are meant for your dogs can help with their ability to digest food, to better absorb the nutrients from their food, and to help boost immune system to fight off all sorts of undesirable conditions that canines may come across.
Many pet owners are opting to take a DIY approach to supplementing probiotics for their dogs. Concerns have been raised about store-bought supplements, since they can be inconsistent. Also, if they aren’t refrigerated, it’s believed that they can quickly lose their potency.
It can be a bit challenging to add probiotics to your dog’s diet naturally without supplements, since a lot of the great sources that humans have for probiotics may not be ideal for dogs. For example, kimchi is too spicy, and onions and lots of garlic isn’t a good thing for your dog to be eating.
The jury is mixed when it comes to dairy products like kefir. Also, one of the downsides is that this can make your dog very gassy, especially while they’re still getting used to the increase in probiotics. Fennel seed is said to help prevent the gassiness.
You can talk to your vet to come up with a meal plan that will incorporate more probiotics into your dog’s diet. Green tripe is a common choice. Tripe is the stomach from cows, lamb, bison, or buffalo. It is filled with positive digestive enzymes and amino acids, so it helps to boost your dog’s immune system and their digestive system (Which, as we know, are very closely related.) Green tripe is the raw, unprocessed version.
So, between trying to ferment vegetables like making mild sauerkraut, or something like carrots with ginger, and green tripe, there are a handful of choices to get more probiotics inside your pup. Probably the most economical and easiest choice is unflavored and unsweetened Yogurt. As long as it has no sugar, it’s a great option for your dogs digestive track.
Note: Dogs, like us, can also be lactose intolerant. Be observant and start slow with the addition of probiotics.
Now that you’ve got a strategy in place, or at least a good idea of where to get started, there are some more considerations to make when it comes to your dog’s health.
The ideal diet will vary from species to species, and that also includes their requirements for probiotics and healthy stomach bacteria.
Whether you started a diet with increased probiotics to address a particular issue, or just to improve overall health, it’s important to monitor how your dog reacts. Perhaps you’ll see the initial issues clearing up shortly, but if not – there could be something else wrong so don’t ignore the warning signs.
Along with diet, there are other factors that can contribute to your dog’s overall health, and they aren’t all that different from a human’s.
Stress: If your dog lives a stressful life, that’s never a good thing. Just like stress can cause all sorts of issues for humans, the same is true for our four-legged friends. Your dog’s body language can tell you a lot about their mood.
Antibiotics: These are rarely able to distinguish between the good and the bad bacteria, instead opting for a scorched-earth policy that destroys all of it. Re-colonizing your dog’s gut with good bacteria is a priority after completing an antibiotic treatment.
Exercise: Obviously, it’s important for dogs to get a lot of exercise. This can also greatly help to reduce stress. Socializing, playing, and just generally doing things that make them happy can go a long way.
If you’re concerned with your dog’s health for specific reasons, the first thing to do is to take them to the vet. You probably aren’t qualified to diagnose them, and beyond their behavior, they can’t do a lot to tell you what’s wrong, so don’t rely on websites or lists of symptoms when you need a professional opinion.
However, you can take proactive steps to improve your dog’s health, even when it doesn’t seem like anything is wrong. Still, it’s never a bad idea to consult your vet before making any major changes to a dog’s diet or lifestyle.
Some of the science regarding probiotics is still up in the air, and they can be controversial at times, but every year there are new discoveries being made, and very exciting advancements in this field. It’s kind of a fad right now, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t believe everything you read, either.