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Probiotic chews for dogs and cats
By: Dr. Sarah Witteveen and Heather O'Connor
If you have a dog, then chances are you are familiar with the expression "dogs
bark when they are mad, and they bite when they are hungry." Dogs and cats
have many of the same behaviors and needs. There are many foods and supplements
on the market that can help increase a pet's health and performance.
Dogs and cats can benefit from the consumption of probiotics, which are
beneficial bacterial cultures that are often considered "forgotten food" for
both pets and their owners. They can be found in products like foods,
drinks, and supplements.
Probiotics are live bacterial cultures, beneficial to the health of your pet,
including cats and dogs. Probiotic bacteria are found in many different
ingredients, such as yogurt, milk, and kibble. When ingested, the probiotics
are believed to assist with the digestion of a pet's food, help with immune system
function, and promote the overall health of a pet.
The benefits of these bacterial cultures may include the following:
Helping with digestion
Improving digestion of lactose-based food
Digestion of starch-based food
Reducing gas in cats
Improving the pet's stool
Helping to d the growth and development of a pet
Improving intestinal health
Decreasing allergic responses to environmental allergens
The benefits of probiotics are not entirely understood. There has not been
much scientific study done on the effects of probiotic bacteria on the health
of pets, including dogs and cats.
The most common form of probiotics found in pet food is Lactobacillus
bulgaricus (Bulk) and Streptococcus bovis (Bifidus). These strns of probiotics
belong to the genus Lactobacillus.
The bacteria are found in the intestines, and are believed to help to digest
protein and fat in a pet's food. They are also believed to help to absorb other
nutrients found in the pet's food. They are also believed to help in keeping
pet stools softer and less smelly.
The most common form of probiotic found in probiotics
is Lactobacillus bulgaricus (Bulk). There are several different strns of
this strn. The major difference in strns is the degree of acidity in the
liquor produced by the bacteria. The majority of probiotics are produced to
have a pH between 2.5 to 4.5. This is because most proteins require an acidic
environment for them to be properly digested. Some research has shown that
the more acidic the environment, the more effective the bacteria is at digesting
Other forms of probiotics include Bifidobacterium infantis (Bifido), Bifidobacterium longum (Long), Bifidobacterium animalis (Baci), Lactobacillus acidophilus (LA), Lactobacillus reuteri (LA Re), and Lactobacillus casei (LA
Se). Most of these strns of probiotics are generally the same bacteria found
in yogurt and some sauerkraut.
Another issue with probiotics is their ability to cause diarrhea. Some
dogs and cats do not like the smell and taste of the probiotics found in
probiotics. Others may simply see the process of taking the probiotics as
something that would make their tummy upset.
The ability of the probiotics to cause diarrhea can be dependent upon the
amount of probiotics used, as well as the method of preparation. Some companies
sell these pre-made mixes, others make their own formula, and many companies
only sell the capsules.
When looking at the amount of probiotics you are going to be using, it
is important to note that the maximum amount that a human can tolerate is about
a dose of 10 billion, and an adult dog can safely take up to a dose of about
10 million. The average dog will only tolerate a dose of 1 to 2 million, so
you need to be careful to use the correct amount of the product. You can test
to see if the probiotics are working correctly, but when starting out, it is
best to use the highest dose that the dogs will tolerate.
This means that you may need to buy several different probiotics and
different brands. While this may seem like a lot, it is a very cost-effective
method. When you get into probiotics, the prices per jar can vary quite a bit,
but you should find some that can make use of the benefits for a very reasonable
The amount of probiotics you give should be enough to provide
beneficial bacteria in the gut. This means that if you give a dog a 1,000
milligrams of probiotics, they should see a positive effect in a few weeks.
As long as you are using the correct amount, the probiotics should
work their way through your dog's system, and you should notice a difference.
You may need to repeat the process of adding the probiotics several times to
make sure you are getting the right amount. If your dog is older and may not
be as responsive to a sudden change in food, you may want to take the probiotics
for a few days or weeks prior to the changes, to make sure you are getting
the right amount in the right parts of the gut.
The majority of the time, though, you will only need to change the
probiotics when you are making a big change in your dog's diet, like going from
a diet that is high in carbohydrates to one that is low in carbohydrates.
You can use different brands and types of probiotics when
changing your dog's diet, but you may have more luck if you are using a
multi-species probiotic. They tend to work in a more effective manner than the
If you do want to try the single-species probiotics first,
choose a probiotic that is made specifically for dogs. There are usually
companies that make specific probiotics for pets.
You may also find probiotics on the Internet or in pet stores,
though the chances are you will get the wrong kind of probiotics for your dog
if you buy them in these places. They may even try to tell you that your dog
can't take some specific probiotic because he has a history of "allergies"
or some similar excuse.
When you are buying the probiotics, remember that the probiotics
are not food, and that they don't need to be refrigerated. You will also
notice that they are all dried or capsules, which will reduce the amount of
"bulking" that occurs in the intestines if they are eaten whole.
It is important to remember, though, that probiotics do
have a shelf life, and that if you get them too close to the expiration date,
they will lose some of their effectiveness. You can still use them, but they
may not be as effective as when they were first added to the food.
There are a few things you need to be aware of when you
are choosing probiotics for your dog.
One of the most important things to remember is that all
probiotics work best if they are taken with the food. It is really a