Prebiotics, Probiotics and Your Dog's Digestive Health

by Jamie Pyatt

When it comes to our dog's digestive health we hear the words “Probiotics” and “Prebiotics” often. What are Probiotics and Prebiotics? The simplest answer is that Probiotics are live cultures of “good” bacteria that help the digestive system work efficiently. These friendly floras include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Probiotics do much more than just aid digestion. They also are beneficial in inhibiting the growth of yeast (Candida), increasing energy levels, absorbing nutrients, detoxifying, reducing food intolerance and inflammation.

Stress, antibiotics, environmental changes and pollutants are just a few of the things that can deplete or diminish the healthy bacteria in your dog’s intestinal tract. Supplementing with Probiotics and Prebiotics will assist in increasing the friendly bacteria and inhibiting the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Dogs with large amounts of “good” bacteria are better able to remain healthy in times of stress or environmental changes or when exposed to the toxins we all face in every day life.

Phrases such as “you are what you eat” and “go with your gut” are based on the truth that a healthy digestive system enables the body to defend against illness and improve general health and well being.

Prebiotics nourish the existing probiotics in the gut. Simply put – Prebiotics feed Probiotics. Prebiotics are functional foods that pass through the digestive system such as artichokes, whole grains, or herbs such as chicory root or dandelion root. While there are many foods and herbs that function as Prebiotics; Chicory root and Inulin are the most commonly added to dog food and treats.

Now that you know the benefits of Probiotics and Prebiotics for your dog’s health; how do you make sure to get them into his diet?

The two fold approach of adding Probiotics to increase the levels of beneficial bacteria and Prebiotics to feed the existing healthy bacteria is becoming more common in premium dry dog foods. Merrick, Wellness Super5 Mix, and Go Natural are just a few dog foods that contain both.

If you are looking for Probiotics to add to pet food, Wholistic Pet Digest-All Plus is a supplement that contains Probiotics, as well as a host of digestive enzymes to contribute to a healthy intestinal tract. Or if you just want to increase the amount of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, Wholistic Pet Acidophilus contains pure Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures.

NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics contain a concentrated enzyme blend derived from vegetable sources and live Lactobacillus Acidophilus to help support a healthy digestive tract.

Now Grain Free Dog Treats and Eagle Pack Holistix Holistic Biscuits for Dogs are two treats with both Prebiotics and Probiotics.

The addition of Probiotics and Prebiotics to your dog’s food will assist him in remaining healthy and active throughout his life.