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You’re always taking steps to prioritize the health and happiness of your dog, whether it’s through their food, exercise, beds, or anything in between. One powerful way to support their health that may not be top of mind is through probiotics for dogs. Probiotics are bacteria that can be very beneficial to your dog’s health. These live microorganisms may be beneficial for gut health for dogs and people alike.
But what are the benefits of probiotics? Which probiotics does your dog need? There are different kinds of bacteria, as well as prebiotics that go hand-in-hand with probiotics for optimal effect. The benefits of these bacteria don’t just stop at gut health either. A healthy population of gut bacteria has been shown to have positive effects on overall immunity, too. Learn more about why probiotics and what they can do for your dog.
Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
When we think of probiotics, people foods like yogurt and kombucha come to mind, both known to be full of live and active cultures. Dogs get these kinds of probiotics in different ways. Dogs with existing health issues may take probiotics, but probiotics can be helpful for maintaining balanced gut flora in healthy dogs and boosting their overall well-being.
Benefits of probiotics for dogs that go beyond good digestion are known to be wide-ranging, improving the whole-body health of your dog.
Strengthening Your Dog’s Immune System
Probiotics support your dog’s digestive health, helping regulate other bacteria in their gut and combating yeast overgrowth. By helping cultivate a balanced gut, probiotics are also helping to prevent harmful bacteria from growing and spreading in the intestines. Cornell University’s Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center writes that about 70% of a dog’s immune system is their gastrointestinal tract, so keeping it balanced allows it to be strong. Consistent use may lead to stronger defense against infections, disease, and harmful bacteria that could make your dog sick.
Improved Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
If your dog suffers from allergies, especially seasonal dog allergies, probiotics may help regulate the immune system to help reduce your dog’s allergy symptoms. By supporting your dog’s immune system, probiotic supplementation may help their reaction to allergy symptoms become less severe, which could mean a decrease in symptoms like itching, redness, and discomfort during allergy seasons.
Skin Health for Dogs
You may not realize how important skin health is for your dog if your dog’s skin is predominately covered by their coat. Unless you have a breed like a hairless Xoloitzcuintli, you may not see your dog’s skin up close every day, but healthy skin and a healthy skin barrier can make a big difference in your dog’s overall health. There is a link between gut health and skin health in dogs, meaning many skin issues and coat conditions can be linked to immune system challenges. Using probiotics for dogs often could help reduce skin inflammation, itching, and redness. Good skin also leads to healthier and shinier coats, so your dog won’t just be feeling their best, but looking their best, too.
Improved Memory as Dogs Age
A balanced gut microbiome has also been shown to help improve memory performance in dogs. Studies have found that a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind in dogs. Probiotics support intestinal and immune health in dogs, which has been linked to better memory in dogs as they age. This 2020 study has found that boosting your dog’s immune system positively influences brain function, writing that “the number of errors that dogs commit in a short-term memory rest and also their age is linked to the gut microbiome composition.” With more of what’s known as “Fusobacteria” in the gut, dogs were shown to have better memory performance. Healthy gut bacteria reduces the number of Actinobacteria, a bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Though this is a newer study, and was previously only tested on rodents, it identifies a link between balanced gut bacteria in dogs and better memory.
All dogs can get stressed out, and for some dogs, stress can lead to upsets in their digestive systems. When you are traveling with your dog or in a stressful situation (good stress or bad stress!), your dog can feel the effects physically, just like people do. Having balanced gut bacteria can help reduce disruptions to your dog’s digestion and stop them from getting more stressed, and supplementing with probiotics can help bring them back into balance after a stressful experience.
Probiotics for Senior Dogs and Puppies
Probiotics are great for dogs of all ages, but they are especially good for puppies and senior dogs. Probiotics can be highly beneficial for puppies during the early developmental stages of their lives, supporting proper digestion, a strong immune system, and overall health. Probiotics for your puppy give them a strong foundation for a healthy life that they can continue to carry with them as they become adult and senior dogs.
As dogs get older, their immune systems and digestion may weaken, but that doesn’t make these key body systems any less important for their health. Giving your senior dog probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut, improve nutrient absorption, and give their immune system a boost to help keep them feeling their best.
Probiotic Ingredients and Their Benefits for Dogs
Probiotics for dogs can include a range of ingredients, and it’s important to know what you’re purchasing. One brand that provides safe and effective probiotics for dogs is Pet Honesty. Pet Honesty follows the highest safety standards in the probiotic industry, is FDA-registered, and is a member of the National Animal Supplement Council. With over 75 years of experience in pet probiotics, Pet Honesty focuses on making supplements that are effective for your dog while still tasting like a treat. So what goes into these quality probiotic products, and what do these ingredients do for your dog?
Bacillus Coagulans: Pet Honesty’s probiotics proudly feature Bacillus Coagulans, a bacteria known for their strong support of your dog’s digestive health. These bacteria promote optimal nutrient absorption, getting a little extra of everything your pet eats, and help reduce digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea in dogs.
Prebiotics: Prebiotics are essentially “food” for probiotic bacteria. They are nutrients for probiotics that allow them to maintain a balanced bacteria culture in your dog’s immune system. While probiotics support your dog’s gut health, prebiotics help the probiotic bacteria themselves work to the best of their ability. By nourishing the probiotics, prebiotics ensure their survival so that they can continue to support the bigger picture: your dog’s overall health.
Natural Fiber: Fiber is an important part of any dog’s diet, so including natural fiber in your dog’s probiotics aids digestion and immune health. Getting fiber from their food along with probiotics helps give your dog digestive support, regulating bowel movements and decreasing the risk of constipation.
How to Choose the Right Probiotic for Your Dog
Your dog can take many different probiotics, whether in the form of a formulated product or whole foods. You can choose from a range of probiotics for your dog, so knowing which ones are formulated to match your dog’s individual needs is important. If you’re not sure what kind of probiotics to give your dog, consult your veterinarian. They’ll be able to give you guidance and help weigh what is important for your dog’s health and needs. When selecting probiotics for your dog, consider the following:
Added Digestive Enzymes: Look for probiotics with added digestive enzymes. These can further break down and help absorb nutrients, which promotes better overall digestion. This is especially helpful if your dog is constipated or has irregular bowel movements.
Prebiotics to Support Probiotics: Probiotics should include prebiotics, which help keep probiotic bacteria alive and working effectively in your dog’s gut. A thriving gut flora means that your dog’s digestion is more regulated and their immune system can work optimally.
Probiotics Containing Fiber: Fiber sources like pumpkins or sweet potatoes are natural ways to provide gentle digestive support. If your dog occasionally has constipation, diarrhea, or digestive discomfort, natural fibers in probiotics may help regulate their gut bacteria.
Probiotics are valuable for dogs of all ages, promoting their health and happiness from within. It’s important to identify your dog’s specific needs before choosing a probiotic to ensure that what you’re giving them is tailored to their needs, so consult with your vet to decide where your dog needs extra support. Adding probiotics to your dog’s daily routine is a great way to consistently boost their gut health and immune system, and it’s as easy as giving them a treat with Pet Honesty.
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