As a cardiologist, nutritionist, and anti-aging specialist, I know firsthand how important gastrointestinal health is for our overall well being. Our guts are filled with bacteria – both good and bad strains – that can profoundly influence our health and how we feel. Experts refer to all this bacteria as the “forgotten organ” in our bodies, or our “microbiome.”
Just like it’s important for us to have a healthy bacterial balance in our GI tracts, or guts, our loyal doggie friends benefit from a healthy gut environment, too. One of the best ways you can help keep your dog healthy is by giving her high-quality dog probiotics every day. What probiotics do for our dogs (and us) is provide healthy bacteria and yeasts to support digestive and immune system health.
Here are a few reasons why I’m all for supplementing dogs’ diets with probiotics:
1. Dog probiotics can help alleviate digestive issues due to stress or illness.
When your pet is sick or feeling stressed (for example, when she’s boarded at a kennel, or is moved to a new home), the balance between healthy and illness-causing microbes in her gut can become disrupted. This can lead to issues like diarrhea, gas, cramping and bad breath. Probiotics have been shown to reduce the duration of diarrhea in dogs from seven to four days.
2. Dog probiotics decrease the side effects of antibiotics.
Antibiotics do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria. And while antibiotics are effective at fighting infection, they may also cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal side effects in your dog. If you know ahead of time that your loyal companion will be taking antibiotics, you may be able to ward off unpleasant side effects by starting your dog on probiotics a few days in advance, and continuing them beyond the duration of antibiotic treatment.
3. Pets with chronic gastrointestinal distress will thank you.
If you have a pet that suffers from chronic intestinal distress, try giving her a high-quality dog probiotic with prebiotics daily to help replenish her gut with healthy bacteria. This practice can support a healthy inflammatory response in her GI tract and ultimately help her feel better.
4. Healthy gut bacteria may positively impact behavior.
One of the first signs your pet isn’t feeling well is a behavioral change. As humans do, dogs with unhealthy gut bacteria and digestion problems may also experience emotional issues. These might include behaviors like excessive licking or other obsessive-compulsive actions. So, in the process of supporting digestive health, probiotics might also improve your dog’s behavior.
5. Senior dogs need extra TLC to keep them healthy and feeling good.
Older dogs are much more susceptible to weakened immune systems. And since almost 70 percent of immune cells are in the gut, promoting the growth of healthy, or ‘good,’ bacteria in the GI tract is a sound way to help boost immunity. Your dog’s gut flora is very important to her overall health and well-being and may be the key to living a long, happy life.
6. Dog probiotics can help prevent issues related to unhealthy bacterial balance.
Constipation is no fun, for humans and dogs alike. Painful gas, bloating and cramping can, if left untreated, also lead to vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite. Together, exercise, fresh water, and dog probiotics support a healthy gut environment, so that your pet doesn’t have to suffer from painful issues related to unhealthy gut bacteria.
7. Dog probiotics can help minimize tummy upset due to a change in food.
If your dog has been eating the same food for a long time and you make a switch, I can almost guarantee your furry friend will experience gastrointestinal distress as a result. Prep your dog’s gut with probiotics to level the playing field against the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria before changing to a different food.
8. Dog probiotics might help reduce skin allergy symptoms.
Allergies (which are essentially misguided immune system responses) are on the rise in humans and dogs alike. Researchers have attributed this, in part, to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Because gut and immune health are so intertwined, giving your dog probiotics may lessen skin allergy symptoms. Several studies support this theory, having demonstrated that dog probiotics may be effective for allergy management.
9. Who doesn’t want healthier teeth?
Preliminary research suggests that giving your dog probiotics could also support her dental health. That’s reason for both of you to smile!
10. A healthier gut can mean better skin, coat and breath.
Promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria can have all sorts of beneficial effects on the body, making you look and feel better. When you give your pup a daily dog probiotic you’ll likely see the benefits on the outside of her body, as she begins to feel better on the inside.
I love dogs, and I’ve always wanted the best for mine, so I’ve made it my business to provide dog owners with access to premium-quality treats and supplements–just like I do for humans (through Vervana.com and Drsinatra.com).
I want to help give your dog a new reason to jump for joy, so I have developed a new line of food toppers called Topper+. Each is made with just two ingredients: a single-source freeze-dried animal protein (salmon, chicken breast or turkey heart) and GanedenBC30® probiotics for digestive and immune health support – you can find them here.
From my heart to yours,
This blog has been reviewed and approved by veterinarian, Emily Wilkinson, DVM.
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