Everything that goes into your pet’s body can affect their health and feeding your dog or cat a nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for their wellbeing.
Additionally, certain supplements—such as prebiotics and probiotics—may be beneficial to your pet.
Prebiotics and Probiotics: What’s the Difference, and How Can They Help Your Pet?
Maybe you’ve heard of probiotics—and, maybe you’ve taken them yourself.
Did you know that probiotics can be helpful for pets, too?
But, it’s important to know the whole story, especially how prebiotics allow probiotics to be more effective.
Here’s how it all fits together for your pet’s health.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are specific types of microorganisms (live, microscopic organisms) that naturally occur in the digestive tract.
For pets, this is mostly bacteria, so for simplicity we’ll refer to “bacteria” when talking about probiotics. But, it also includes certain kinds of yeast.
Within the gut, there are “good” and “bad” bacteria. The balance between these species of bacteria is complex, but the important thing to know is this:
Having the right amount of “good” bacteria is beneficial to digestive health and overall health.
For pets, ingesting a probiotic supplement can lead to a better balance of “good” bacteria in the gut.
But, it must be a high-quality probiotic, meaning…
- It contains the right kind of bacteria. Probiotic products for humans are often not beneficial to dogs or cats, because pets have different gut conditions and bacteria than we do.
- It contains high numbers of these bacteria.
- The product is designed in a way that bacteria survive the transit to the intestines, rather than being digested in the stomach.
What Are Prebiotics?
A probiotic product is a great addition for your pet’s overall health but, it’s not the end of the story.
Because once beneficial bacteria get to the gut, they need nourishment to deliver all their health benefits.
Certain foods—specifically, certain carbohydrates and fibers—nurture “good” bacterial growth, allowing them to establish dominance over “bad” bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella.
In other words, prebiotics allow beneficial gut bacteria to grow and thrive.
So, you want to be sure your dog or cat receives the right energy source—i.e., a prebiotic—for the beneficial bacteria living in their intestines.
When giving prebiotics, it’s best to use a supplement prepared specifically for dogs or cats.
The sources are natural, but trying to feed the original food source directly to pets can result in the wrong amount being fed, or an unpleasant taste experience for your pet.
So, a premade supplement or pet food containing prebiotics, like all Fromm Family Foods recipes, are easier and more reliable.
How Are Pre- and Probiotics Beneficial to Pets?
About 70% the body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract—more specifically, inside the intestines. That’s true for pets as well as for people.
By taking care of your dog or cat’s digestive system, you can do a lot to keep them healthy. That’s where prebiotics and probiotics come in.
The benefits of these supplements are far-reaching, with positive effects on many parts of the body, including…
- A stronger immune system.
- Healthier skin and coat, since good digestion allows your pet’s body to utilize all the nutrients in their diet.
- Better digestive health, including less constipation, diarrhea, and gas—and, well formed stools that are easier to clean.
- Less anal gland issues, since formed stool helps these glands express normally.
- Better mental health, since certain bacteria in the gut release substances that affect mood.
- Potentially, better smelling breath, since the stomach is one of three components (in addition to the mouth and lungs) contributing to breath odor.
Pre- and probiotics may also be used to get your pet’s system back to normal after an illness or a course of antibiotics, or to prevent digestive upset during times of stress (while boarding, for example).
How to Give Your Pet Pre- and Probiotics
While side effects of probiotics and prebiotics are rare, some pets can have sensitivities or health conditions where these products are not recommended.
But, if you are ready to take the next step, there are two ways to give these pre- and probiotics to your pet…
- A daily supplement (pills, treats, or powders are common) designed for pets, given in addition to their food.
- As part of a balanced dog or cat food that is formulated with pre- and probiotics.
Feeding a diet that contains pre- and probiotics may be most convenient option. Just be sure to check the food’s shelf life and to store as recommended.
Remember, probiotics are living organisms. Therefore, proper storage (the right temperature, and avoiding air and humidity exposure as much as possible) is essential to keep them at their best so they can do their job and contribute to your pet’s health.
When it comes to pet health, prevention is the best medicine.
Feeding your pup or kitty to maximize their health can help them feel better, and give you peace of mind.
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food