Probiotics is the technical term for "good bacteria." These beneficial bacteria are critical for your pooch's health. They improve digestion, minimizing problems with irregularity and even boost his immune system. Some dog foods are made with probiotics. If not, you can add probiotic supplements to Chance's food. Ideally you should be giving him something with both probiotics and prebiotics, which are basically fuel for probiotics, so your rambunctious buddy can have the most benefit.
The Benefits of Probiotics in Dog Food
Improve Bowel Movements
If Chance has a tendency to have loose watery or irregular stools, adding probiotics to his diet could help. Diarrhea can occur if your friend has irritation in the lining of his small intestine. This could be hereditary, stem from his diet or come from an overgrowth of bacteria. Probiotics can restore beneficial bacterial levels in his gut, allowing food to ferment normally. This way nutrients can properly absorb and all that's left is solid waste. Because probiotics can keep things moving along, they can help your dog have regular bulky bowel movements. However, if diarrhea or irregularity is from a chronic condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, check with your vet before feeding your pooch anything with probiotics to ensure it's the right treatment.
Prebiotics and probiotics have been shown to reduce overall inflammation in human studies. While canine research is limited, preliminary research suggests that these good bacteria can reduce inflammatory conditions such as urinary tract infections, allergic reactions and inflammation in the intestines, as stated on The Whole Dog Journal website. So if your fuzzy companion is one who has inflammatory flare-ups or prances around while having sneezing fits, consider offering him a food with beneficial bacteria.
Boost Immune Function
A big chunk of your canine's immune system -- roughly 70 percent -- lies in his digestive tract, PetMD reports. His digestive system is responsible for which nutrients and bacteria get into the bloodstream. When you give your pal a food that contains prebiotics and probiotics, they help form short-chain fatty acids. These compounds block the growth of illness-causing bacteria in his environment, such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli and clostridium.
Lessen Stomach Upset
If you leave for the day, or if you board Chance for an extended period, he gets a little stressed. As a result, his digestive processes may slow down, causing him a bellyache. That uncomfortable feeling can make it even more difficult for him to cope while you're away. When he regularly consumes probiotics, the bacteria should help calm and soothe any stress-related upset. This should make it easier for him to go to the bathroom regularly and maintain his appetite, even during stressful times.
By Melodie Anne
Healthy Pets: Surprising: The Pet Probiotics That are a Total Waste of Your Money…
Iams: Prebiotics Support Your Dog's Inner Strength
Halo: Promoting Intestinal Health: Prebiotics and Probiotics
PetMD: Probiotic, Prebiotic Benefits for Dogs
The Whole Dog Journal: The Benefits of Probiotics for Your Dog
Canadian Veterinary Journal: Bacteriological Evaluation of Dog and Cat Diets that Claim to Contain Probiotics
About the Author
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.