What are the best probiotics and prebiotics for dogs?
It’s no secret these days that gut health is of optimum importance to overall health. An unhealthy gut leads to poor nutrient absorption and an imbalanced immune response, in turn leading to systemic inflammation in the body and a whole host of health conditions.
The microbiome plays a crucial role in this.
For those of you thinking, “what is the microbiome?” here’s a super-brief definition:
“The microbiome is the term used to refer to the trillions of microbes living within all living animals and mainly located within the intestines and the skin. Some are considered harmful and some are beneficial depending on the situation. The aim for a ‘healthy microbiome’ is to achieve a balance between the good guys and the bad guys.”
Taking care of the intestinal environment is a foundational aspect of better health and vitality for dogs (and their hoomans). There are a number of ways to look after the gut: one of which is to incorporate probiotics and prebiotics into the diet.
But what are prebiotics and probiotics?
We asked Dr Nick Thompson, Holistic Vet, to provide you with specialist guidance on precisely this. Within 4 mins you will easily be able to tell your probiotics from your prebiotics.
Check out the video above or, for the readers among you; we’ve included a summary below of the main points. We’ve added the time stamp too, so if you want to watch a snippet of the video covering the topic you’re particularly interested in, we’ve got you covered!
A prebiotic is food for bugs. It is what feeds the “good bugs’ in the gut.
Most vegetables are prebiotics – things such as asparagus and chicory, fibrous type veggies.
You can buy prebiotics but feeding a good quality vegetable material will do just as well.
Veggies should always be chopped very finely. We are emulating the chomping, chewing effect herbivores do to their fibrous vegetable diet. The carnivore then comes along, eats the herbivore along with the contents of their stomach.
That is a prebiotic, it feeds the bugs to promote a healthy microbiome.
A probiotic is different. In the human sphere things like Yakult or XML are probiotics.
You are putting good bugs into the digestive system to reseed the gut with beneficial bacteria.
ProDog do an excellent probiotic paste which we use in our practice called Animotics.
You would use a probiotic during and after antibiotic treatment, after surgery and if there were any stomach/digestive upset. A probiotic is also useful if you are trying to build up the dog, perhaps if they are not holding weight or to build up a bitch after she has weaned puppies.
If in doubt, chat to your raw food producer or talk to a holistic or raw feeding vet and they will help guide you in terms of pre and probiotics.
A final note from the ProDog team:
As mentioned in the video, we offer an excellent probiotic designed for dogs and cats called Animotics Probiotic Paste .
Probiotics are also very beneficial for dogs transitioning to a raw diet, delivering powerful support to the gut whilst adjusting to a new type of food.
A natural probiotic suitable for dogs is goats milk Kefir (use goats milk, cow’s milk is not species- appropriate)
Recommended Dog-Friendly Prebiotic Foods
- Dandelion greens
- Chicory root
- Jerusalem artichoke
For creative and wagtastic ways to encourage your canine pal to lap up more prebiotics, check out our Pink Paws recipe idea.
If you would like more guidance and support on the topic of probiotics/prebiotics, or have any other nutrition related questions check out our knowledge centre here , or drop us a message via our contact form.
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