Can probiotics help your pet?

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We’ve all heard the benefits of taking probiotics for humans, but did you know they can also offer health benefits to your pet?

There’s no shortage of scientific evidence suggesting using probiotics can benefit humans’ health in a wide range of ways – everything from boosting the immune system, preventing and treating urinary tract infections, improving digestive function, healing inflammatory conditions and preventing eczema. As modern science has a way of doing, these benefits are now being extended to our pets, with products specifically designed to work on their systems.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics are generally a powder that is orally ingested – so for the fussier pet, they can be added to food to avoid having to chase them around the house to wedge in a spoonful.

You will need to use a product designed specifically for pets – and the correct species. Probiotic formulas used by humans are developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract, however animals have specific strains of bacteria unique to their species.

What can pet probiotics do?

A quality pet probiotic has enough live organism (potency) per dose to help colonise the gut – around 50 million colony forming units (or CFU), per dose is recommended.

Probiotics are identified by their species or strain, and different strains can have different effects. PAW DigestiCare 60™ probiotic for pets contains seven different strains of beneficial bacteria.

A quality pet probiotic can:

  • Provide good bacteria to restore and improve intestinal balance.
  • Help during period of intestinal dysfunction, including treatment and control of diarrhoea.
  • Exclude and suppress bad bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella.
  • Help the establishment of gastrointestinal microflora of physiologically immature animals (puppies & kittens).
  • Deliver essential amino and fatty acids, key vitamins and minerals.

When should you use probiotics?

While probiotics help maintain good gut health year round, they can also be used at specific times when your pets system needs extra help.

If your dog is taking antibiotics, a probiotic helps restore and maintain a healthy balance in the digestive tract by providing 'good' bacteria back into the gut – antibiotics kill bacteria that is causing an infection, but doesn’t discriminate between 'bad' and 'good'. As a result, the delicate balance of the digestive system is disturbed and the absence of good bacteria can result in poor digestion, diarrhoea, bloat and flatulence.

Read more: Antibiotic and probiotic use in cats and dogs

Related product:

PAW DigestiCare 60™

A multi-strain, multi-species probiotic and wholefood powder for the maintenance of everyday digestive health of pets.