Probiotics might be a new word to you and so is the case with everyone who knows the same thing as live bacteria or yeasts. Yes, probiotics is a shrink term for bacteria; while people think that bacteria only causes diseases, only a few of them actually know that they also have the capacity to cure diseases. Bacteria are not always bad, but there are those bacteria which are good for immune system and overall health.
This article encapsulates some very difficult questions about probiotics and their role in a dog’s health. Some people use probiotics to cure the digestive and gastrointestinal problems of their dogs. This gives birth to many questions. Dog lovers want to know as to what the probiotics are, how they are used and how they improve the dog health. Let us have a look at all of these questions and see how probiotics for dogs can help increase a dog’s physical and psychological health.
What are the probiotics?
As it has been explained earlier, probiotics are yeasts and live bacteria which are used to boost the function of digestive system and overall health. Dog probiotics, might be a confusing term over the internet, but it refers to bacteria-rich food for dog.
Can you give your dog probiotics?
The digestive system of a dog makes roughly 70% of a dog’s immune system and probiotics work within the digestive and gastrointestinal system. Yes, you can give probiotics to your dog, but do know that they should be dog probiotics.
The problem starts when some human beings start thinking that they can feed human probiotics to dogs, because they are probiotics after all and they should work. However, human grade probiotics are not always very beneficial for dogs. Suppose, that you go to the nearest store to buy some probiotics and get some probiotics with a label “Human Grade”; now these can be good probiotics for dogs as well because perhaps when the manufacturer put that label, they meant the “human quality probiotic supplements”, which can be also good for dogs.
However, if the word “human grade” denotes that these probiotics are supposed to be used by humans and you still give these probiotics to your dog, then there might be issues. You cannot feed your dog, some human-specific substance, just like you cannot feed dog probiotics to human beings. We might be very close to our furry friends, but we are definitely not same. There are some very certain differences.
What are the benefits of probiotics?
There are at least 4 benefits of probiotics for dogs. Holistic gastrointestinal maintenance and health, overall boost in gut-health, defense from psychological and emotional stresses and protection in health challenging environments such as pet stores or shelters etc.
Among all these benefits of dog probiotics, a health gastrointestinal system is the biggest benefit. If you make sure that your dog gets a healthy GI system, it will achieve three main goals. First of all, a dog with healthy GI system will achieve the maximum level of bodily power and fitness, secondly, such a dog would enjoy maximum possible healthy life at whatever stage of life it would be in, and thirdly and lastly such a dog will be able to entertain you with a longer, richer and happier companionship.
Another reason why your dog needs actually good probiotics for dogs, is stress. Yes, the Churchill’s black dog casts its shadow over its homogenous as well. Dogs also feel stress and apart from bad food, it is also stress that disturbs a dog’s gastrointestinal system. In this situation, you always need some dog probiotics, which will enter the intestinal tract and triggers some digestive and other health-improvement functions which eventually help your dog get rid of stress and anxiety.
What are the best probiotics for dogs?
Many types of dog probiotics are available in the market. However, the best probiotics are natural probiotics for dogs which are consisted of natural food elements such as raw goat milk.
When it boils down to the types of dog probiotics, it is all about personal choice. Many people would prefer the dog probiotics available at stores and made of certain supplements that one may approve or question, but we suggest that natural way is the best way. Yogurt with live bacteria, for example, is one of the best probiotics that can be given to dogs.
Here is the list of 6 best dog probiotics that Patricia Jordan approves of:
#1 – Supplements
Well, if you do not want to do much hard-work and you want your dog probiotics available all the time, the best way to do is to buy probiotic supplements available in the market. However, finding the best probiotic supplements is not easy. We have touched this topic above as well; there are many human grade probiotics that can be used for dogs, while there are those which are human-specific, and thus not suitable for dogs. However, Patricia suggests Garden of Life’s Primal Defense because it is not a dairy-based probiotic, and because it is whole-food probiotic which includes soil-based elements.
#2 – Fermented Veggies
Fermentation makes the eatables rich with probiotics and for this purpose, fermented veggies are best. They are one of the best dog probiotics, because of all the bacteria production that takes place in fermented veggies or fruits. Such vegetables are amazingly nutritious for your dog. Experts like Patricia believe that fermented foods are just like the prey’s gut contents and they are rich in yeast and bacteria. One of such vegetables, as mentioned by Patricia, is Kimchi.
#3 – Raw Goat Milk
If there is a serious match for having the biggest number of bacteria between two natural foods, those foods must be natural yogurt with a lot of bacteria and raw goat milk. Why it is much better than cow’s milk? Because as compared to cow’s milk, goat milk has very little amount of lactose and thus little to no digestive issues.
You can either feed raw goat milk to your dog, or go wild with your imagination and come up with your own and unique mix. You can always do some trial and error process to find out the best dog probiotics supplements and feed a mix of such supplements and raw goat milk.
#4 – Kefir
Patricia makes mention of a special probiotic delight which is widely available at stores. Kefir is packed and loaded with natural probiotics and taste that dogs simply cannot help but love. They love it as a topping on food or as a snack that they love with or without any food. Because it is unsweetened, it does not cause any health issues or obesity to your dog.
However, you do not necessarily have to rely on kefir available in the market. With a little effort, you can make your own kefir, much more hygienic and tailored to your dog’s needs. This includes water kefir, coconut or any liquid-based kefir.
#5 – Kvass
Fermented veggies, fermented foods, fermented delights and now a Baltic or Slavic beverage, amazingly rich in bacteria that will boost your dog’s digestive and health system.
#6 – Dirt
Dirt! Yes, dirt! You would never have thought that dirt could be good for your dogs, but there is something that dirt is simply rich in: soil-based microorganisms. Let your dog play in dirt, just as much as it wants to do. Dogs love playing with soil, eating mud and drinking soil-rich water. This is actually a blessing, because without spending a single dime, you get a chance to feed your dog the optimum amount of dog probiotics.
Bigger the amount of dirt that your dog eats, better the strength of its immune system. This way, dog enjoys its time, always has some fun and at the same time, consume a big amount of healthy probiotics for dogs hidden in soil.
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When are dog probiotics used?
Probiotics for dogs can be added to a dog’s everyday diet for “desirable intestinal microbial balance”, as per Merck Veterinary Manual. However, they can also recommended to use when such balance is disturbed due to any reason or to cure diarrhea, gas and other stomach issues.
However, there are certain situations in which dog probiotics are highly recommended to use. Those are as follows:
#1 – Bacterial Imbalance or Infection
As it has been mentioned above, the basic purpose of dog probiotics is to ensure that dogs stay far from bacterial imbalance or infection. In any such situation, where you see that your furry friend is suffering from such imbalance or infection as mentioned above, you should try some really good dog probiotics.
#2 – Stress
GI problems and stress are very closely linked. It is hard to say sometimes whether one is suffering stress because of problematic GI or one is suffering from GI problems because of the stress. Since dog is a very close friend of man, he also suffers from identical problems. This is why many dogs who come from shelters have the problem of diarrhea and they need some dog probiotics to get rid of it.
#3 – Diet
Diet can sometimes cause digestive disorders. If your dog does not like its food, its subconscious will ask it to create digestive problems or badly cooked food itself will result in digestive disorders. There is one more reason why dogs start hating their diet: an unwanted or sudden change in the menu. This leads to digestive issues and once it gets really ugly, you have no other way out, except to feed your dog some really high quality probiotics for dogs. As it has been mentioned above, there are many good human grade and dog-specific probiotics available in the market, or if you are so hell bent on customization and economy, prepare your own dog probiotics like fermented veggies or raw goat milk etc.
#4 – Old Age
Old age, as they would say, is in itself a big ailment. So it is for dogs. Dogs’ have a sensitive digestive system that starts getting problematic with old age. Their GI system starts showing problems like cramps, gas and diarrhea as they grow old and it is the time when they need dog probiotics the most.
How to buy dog probiotics?
Probiotics for dogs can be bought from any store where they are for sale. However, one must make sure to buy probiotics which are made of whole-food elements, which are organic and refrigerated. One also must buy from companies who provide summaries of dog potency or laboratory assay.
The point here is to be vigilant. As per our study, it is better to provide your dog some home-made dog probiotics. Why? For more than one reason. First of all, homemade probiotics for dogs are inexpensive as compared to those which are sold at stores. Secondly, homemade dog probiotics are healthy and hygienic. Thirdly and lastly, dog probiotics that you make at home are tailored to your ease and most importantly, your dog’s unique health needs and condition. Yet, if you choose the convenience of buying dog probiotics, please make sure to take care of above mentioned tips.
Can dog probiotics be harmful?
Dog probiotics are not always a good choice. Some of them are not suitable for dogs. For example, onions, garlic and kimchi are not very ideal probiotics for dogs. Onions and too much garlic are dangerous for dogs, while kimchi is at times very spicy for them.
This gives birth to an interesting debate; what kind of dog probiotics are best for dogs. The answer is based on the opinion of experts. Elizabeth Kennedy who writes for The Bark believes that good dog probiotics can be either whole-food or dairy-based, based on the choice of dog owners. She feeds yogurt to her dog and believes that yogurt with maximum amount of bacteria is one of the best dog probiotics.
We would conclude by saying that when it comes to the GI health of your dog or his stress-free life, dog probiotics become a necessity. However, there can be a difference of opinion on the type of probiotics. Some people believe that fermented veggies or food is a good probiotic, while other prefer dairy-based probiotics. It also depends on the budget of a dog owner and special needs of a certain dog. Yet, it is safe to say that whole-food and dairy-based probiotics are safe to use and free of any harm.