Health-conscious people have fueled a vast market for nutritional supplements, and this market includes everything from pills to drinks. As a pet lover who considers your furry friends part of your family, you want them to get all of the same benefits you look for yourself. Of course, you naturally want to have some assurance that you are helping, not hurting, them.
What Are Probiotics?
As explained by Probiotics Help, probiotics “are live beneficial microorganisms or ‘friendly bacteria’ that are thought to provide health benefits.” Pet probiotics are not only available in supplements, but they are also in an increasing variety of food and treats. There is some scientific research to attest to their efficacy.
How Do Probiotics Help?
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As summarized by Probiotics Help, studies to date have shown that probiotics help with recovery from canine gastroenteritis and acute diarrhea. They also strengthen the immune symptoms of puppies and ease food intolerance or food-responsive diarrhea. Along these lines, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be useful treatments for canine chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Specific probiotics that were used in this research are listed below.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Pediococcus acidilactici
- Bacillus subtilis
- Bacillus licheniformis
- Lactobacillus farciminis
- Lactobacillus casei
- Bifidobacterium animalis strain AHC7
Dr. Maureen McMichael of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign advises that hundreds of different kinds of beneficial bacteria are found in the digestive systems of mammals. These bacteria are vital to their health and proper functioning. Dysfunction in the gut impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to illness.
How Should Probiotics Be Used?
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While stressing that it cannot always be assumed that something that is good for people will also be useful for pets, Dr. McMichael attests that probiotics are safe for pets. She warns, though, that each pet species has different bacteria that are native to their guts. It is essential to buy formulations that are designed specifically for your type of pet. Fortunately, there are probiotic products on the market that are specially made for horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, and others. She counsels pet parents to consult with their veterinarian.
Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a veterinarian, speaking about cats, advises making a probiotic supplement part of a daily routine. While a probiotic may be given in response to a particular problem, a daily regimen may have a preventive benefit. Dr. Dierdre Frey, another veterinarian, explains that probiotics may be especially beneficial when your pets are on antibiotics, as these medications may harm the gut bacteria.
As a pet owner or prospective pet owner there’s a lot of information out there, which is why it’s good to have a good resource for information on a lot of different subjects. We have several years of experience discussing pets and pet related questions and concerns. Please check out our extensive catalog of blog posts and other services that we know will help you and your furry family members.