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March 19, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Probiotics: A Pet's Best Health Defense

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This Author

Recently, I started giving my two dogs a daily probiotic from Vetionx called Canine Probiotic and I've noticed a huge change in their skin, bowel movements, breath, and much more. After some research, and digging into the probiotic world, I was astonished to learn how much of a dog's immune system revolves around the wall of their intestines and gut; 90% according to the article The scoop on Probiotics by Meg Smart, DVM. Let me repeat that number 9 - 0 - %!!! WHOA!

Probiotics are supplements that provide beneficial organisms (good bacteria) that work within the digestive system fighting against the harmful organisms (bad bacteria) which can grow out of control without enough of the good guys around. These good bacteria help both your pet and you better digest and utilize the nutrients in the food you are eating. As a result we both get an increase in vitamins, anti-inflammatory proteins, cell renewal stimulation, and nourishment to the cells.

Selecting a Probiotic

Colony Forming Units (CFU): One of the most important factors that should be considered when selecting the type of probiotic you want to give your pet. The CFU represent the amount of living healthy bacteria per serving. Having too low a CFU, or too high, can sway a pet's body in fighting those harmful bacteria.

Cat Vs. Dog: Although their systems are very similar, their intestinal bacteria are different. Just like it is not recommended to feed a cat dog food or vice-versa, the same thing goes with the probiotic. The dietary supplement is different, and each probiotic provides what the individual species need.

The Benefits of a Probiotic

The benefits of using a daily probiotic are enormous. Skin issues, diarrhea, stress, antibiotics (which kill good bacteria), diet, environment, all play a role in a pets overall health, but the gut is the driving force of the body's system functioning at its best.

Allergies: Many people are surprised to hear that if a pet has suffered from skin issues, we suspect allergies and typically we start changing their diet. Adding a probiotic however, increases the effectiveness of this move by improving the guts natural defenses against allergens which can be worn down when bad bacteria overtakes good.

Antibiotic Recovery: Although the antibiotics will do their job in helping a pet with their aliment, they also kill off the good bacteria in their gut. This makes healing more complicated, as well as sometimes prolonging the illness or reoccurrences. Adding a probiotic can help your pet replenish a healthy balance of gut bacteria and allow them to recover more quickly.

Diarrhea: A very common ailment amongst pets. Let's face it, our pets LOVE to eat things they shouldn't be eating. This can wreak havoc on their digestive system. A probiotic helps to balance their system out, combating many of these intrusions, as well as providing them with a nutritional supplement.

Diet + Probiotic = A Winning Combination

Feeding our pets a well-balanced diet on a regular feeding schedule is imperative to their overall health. Throw in a probiotic, and the combination will help pets achieve a strong immune system.

While dry kibble has come a long ways since the 70's and 80's, I still prefer feeding our pets a fresh or raw diet over dry kibble. Here's why - even with the improvements, dry kibble takes time to digest due to the processing it goes through to make it. It is also does not contain as much water as raw food, and so dehydration can be an issue. A fresh or raw diet tends to provide pets with nutritional values much higher than seen in dry kibble.

If you have the resources to provide a diet that doesn't contain dry kibble, I would encourage you to look into doing this. However, if dry kibble is your only choice, don't despair. Look into a dry kibble that is grain-free, a higher grade of ingredients that you understand, as well as a protein base that isn't compromising to a pet's immune system.

Include the probiotic with your pet's healthy diet, and your cat or dog will reap the benefits of having healthy skin and fur, normal bowels, establishing good bacteria, providing a stronger fight against a weakened immune system, and so much more. There is no doubt that a daily probiotic should be given to our pets to assist with their overall health!

Sources:

Dog Care Information

Nusentia - Probiotics Pets Strains

The scoop on Probiotics - by Meg Smart, DVM (Dogs Naturally Magazine)

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