Probiotics for dogs are just as important to help your dog maintain a healthy body and mind just like you would take probiotics yourself. With all of the harmful bacteria in today’s world, it seems that our dogs are more prone to disease than before.
While you cannot protect them from all the germs in the environment, you can help boost their immune system with probiotics.
Bacteria are everywhere – on our skin, in our mouths, noses, intestines. Most bacteria are perfectly harmless, even helpful to the body. Probiotics are live microorganisms that you give to your dog in the hope of helping their digestive and immune systems become stronger.
How Does a Probiotic Work?
Probiotics contain microorganisms that are either the same as or very similar to those naturally found in your dog’s body. When you give your dog a probiotic, the good bacteria work together to keep the harmful bacteria and yeast in check.
The digestive tract is one of the most common places where probiotics are used. When the balance of good to bad bacteria is thrown off in the intestines, your dog can end up suffering from diarrhea or other digestive issues. By giving your dog probiotics, you help them to maintain a strong, healthy digestive tract that is better able to combat off-balance bacteria and can even help to improve your dog’s nutrient absorption.
Additionally, probiotics encourage a strong immune system. By keeping the immune system strong, you help your dog to fight off infection and bacteria that could cause them pain or even harm.
When to Give Your Dog Probiotics?
If your dog is on an antibiotic, they are likely lacking all of the good bacteria that they need to keep their body healthy. In addition to antibiotics, poor diet, stress, age, and illness can all contribute to a weak immune system.
When you notice any of these issues, it is important to begin giving your dog a probiotic supplement immediately.
It is best to consult with a veterinarian before you begin giving your dog a probiotic to discuss how much to give, how often to give it, and which one is best for your dog.
How Do I Choose Probiotics?
Picking the best dog probiotics can be confusing when you are not sure which one to buy. When picking a supplement, make sure that the package states that it is designed for dogs. Then, make sure to check the ingredients. Probiotics are usually made up of one or more types of bacteria, sometimes yeasts, and other ingredients that support the bacteria.
You should also check to see if your dog’s probiotic needs to be refrigerated. You do not want to end up with a product that has been sitting unsealed on the shelf in the store for months, losing its effectiveness.
How Do I Give My Dog Probiotics?
If you are starting your dog on a probiotic for the first time, you should give a smaller dose and work your way up. It is also a good idea to let your veterinarian know that you are starting them on a probiotic so that they can monitor them for side effects.
Most probiotics are in pill form but there are also some that come in powder form. Some are soft chews or even liquids that you can add to their food.
When Should My Dog Not Take Probiotics?
Your dog should not take a probiotic if you have noticed that they have any type of allergies or sensitivities to yeast, for instance. Additionally, if your dog has recently had chemotherapy, radiation, or any type of endocrine therapy, you should talk to your veterinarian before giving them a probiotic. Since probiotics can alter the pH of the intestines, it is important to make sure that your dog’s treatments will not interfere with them.
It is also important not to give your dog a probiotic if they are about to have or recently had surgery, as it can increase their risk of infection. If your dog is taking any medications or has health issues, you should always speak to your veterinarian before giving them a probiotic.