Probiotics aren’t just for humans—they can help out your furry friend, too! Pet owners and their canine companions share similar ailments, most of all tummy issues. It’s not uncommon for owners to witness their poor pups suffering from the occasional bout of diarrhea, bloating and gas. Luckily, probiotics can help.
Probiotics are healthy strains of bacteria that restore balance to the gut microbiome. Dogs with gastrointestinal issues have a disproportionately high number of bad bacteria, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms and a greater chance of getting sick. Probiotic supplements offer a diverse range of healthy strains, so your pup’s microbiome can reach equilibrium once again.
These helpful germs solve more than tummy troubles, though. Take a quick look at all the health benefits your dog will enjoy with a daily probiotic supplement.
- Treat chronic gut problems: One incident of diarrhea is normal, but recurring gastrointestinal symptoms are something to be worried about. Diarrhea, bloating, gas, vomiting and abdominal pain are all symptoms of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. A daily probiotic is essential for dogs with gut problems because the additional healthy bacteria will fortify your dog’s microbiome and lessen the severity of their symptoms.
- Reduce environmental allergies: An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive. Most immune cells live in the gastrointestinal tract, which means your dog’s immune and gut health are directly related to each other. Probiotics not only treat gut problems but reduce allergies, as well. By feeding dogs a daily probiotic supplement, skin irritation and other allergy symptoms will slowly diminish over time.
- Prevent colds and infection: A gut microbiome that’s off balance contains too many pathogens that can make your pup sick. In addition to an upset stomach, dogs with poor gut health may also contract viral and bacterial infections more often. Probiotics keep pathogens and bad bacteria under control so your dog can spend less time feeling under the weather and more time playing outside.
- Support the transition to new food: Dogs often eat the same food every day. When it’s time to make a switch, some dogs react to new food with abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea. If this happens to your dog, you should first make sure you’re following the vet’s guidance on how to gradually mix new kibble with the old stuff. Follow up with a daily probiotic until your pup has fully adjusted to the new food. Pet parents should consider putting their dogs on a probiotic before they start the new feeding regimen to completely avoid gastrointestinal symptoms in the first place.
- Minimize the damage of antibiotics: Antibiotics are a double-edged sword. They’re great for fighting off infections, but they also attack healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome. As a result, the most common side effect of antibiotics is an upset stomach. The ratio of good and bad bacteria should even out once your pup finishes the round of antibiotics, but that doesn’t mean they have to suffer in the meantime! Ask your vet about administering a daily probiotic alongside the prescribed antibiotic as a way of preventing uncomfortable side effects.
- Keep your pup healthy during stressful times: Antibiotics aren’t the only factor that can throw your pup’s gut microbiome out of whack. Stress allows bad bacteria to thrive, which makes dogs more prone to illness during tough transitions like moving to a new home or temporarily living at a kennel. Newly adopted pets should receive a daily probiotic supplement so tummy troubles are one less thing both you and the pup have to worry about. If you plan to go on vacation, fortify your dog’s gut with a probiotic to smooth the transition into a boarding kennel.
- Boost their overall health: The gut is intimately connected to the mind and body. A close inspection of your dog’s gut microbiome will indicate the health status of various other bodily systems. Daily probiotic supplements have been shown to improve abnormal changes in behavior and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases later in life. Support a healthy gut, and other systems in the body will follow suit.
As with any dietary supplement, consult your vet before treating tummy troubles or other health problems with a daily probiotic. Dogs experience vastly different digestive problems, many of which are solved with different healthy bacterial strains. By coordinating with a vet, dog owners have the best chance of choosing the right probiotics for their furry companions.