Balancing Gut Flora: How Probiotics Benefit Dogs and Cats

Furlicks . @ 2023-08-26 17:38:48 +0530

Cats and dogs are supposed to have a high-protein diet. But now that these animals are residing with humans, their diet has become more or less like humans: high in carbs. Besides their high protein requirement, we’ve also been overlooking the requirements of their gastrointestinal system. Just like humans, animals also have a well-established digestive system, which houses a huge colony of good gut bacteria (probiotic bacteria) that are highly essential. These microbes not only affect their digestion but also their immunity and are hence gravely important. We’re talking all things probiotics here, so keep reading to learn how you can take care of your fur babies efficiently.

What are probiotics? 

There are many trillions of microorganisms in the digestive tract, including both good and bad bacteria. The good gut bacteria are what we usually refer to as probiotics. 

By establishing colonies of good gut bacteria and driving away dangerous ones, probiotics (good gut bacteria) restore equilibrium and foster a healthy gut environment. 

Probiotics are live bacteria that provide a number of health advantages, particularly for the digestive system. For optimal digestion and general health, your gut's microbes must be in a healthy balance, which is something that these friendly bacteria help to maintain. 

These probiotics digest any undigested food that is passed down the GI tract. They also eliminate bad bacteria, thus aiding your pet’s immune function. 

In a nutshell, probiotics are important for cat and dog gut health and overall well-being. 

Human food sources of probiotics: can they be used for pets? 

Some common food sources that humans use to satisfy their probiotic requirements are yogurt, pickles, miso, kimchi, and kefir. So can these foods be given to your furbaby? 

There isn’t adequate research to say either yes or no. But it is often recommended that you try to avoid using human food sources for animals. Even though our systems are similar, they are not the same. Some things that our bodies are able to digest well may actually be toxic to animals. Hence, the best way to fulfill their probiotic requirements is by using dietary supplements.  

Probiotic Supplements 

A probiotic supplement or pet digestive medicine ensures that your pet gets their daily requirement of probiotics and has a happy and healthy gut. The most important thing about probiotics in the gut is that their composition needs to be maintained by ensuring enough diversity and providing an ideal environment for survival. 

To increase the diversity of bacteria in their gut, you need to feed them supplements containing different probiotic strains, like Bacillus coagulans. 

While buying your supplements, you also need to look for CFUs or colony-forming units. This number indicates the number of live probiotic bacteria your pet will get in one dose. The higher the number, the better. 

How to identify if your pet needs probiotic supplements? 

As pet parents, it is your job to notice little things about your pet, even their poop. Since they cannot communicate, these are some indications that you can use to determine if they are suffering from some digestive problem. If you see that their poop’s thickness or/and frequency have changed, then it is a clear sign of an unhealthy gut. 

You could also give cats & dogs gut health supplements containing probiotics during or after they complete the dose of antibiotics. Antibiotics are often recommended in cases of infection, but the problem with antibiotics is that they cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria like our immune system can. Therefore, they end up killing some good ones as well, disrupting the equilibrium maintained by good bacteria.

Benefits of probiotics for your furbaby 

  • Increases the diversity of bacteria in the gut 

It's crucial for the gut to have a variety of microorganisms. This helps preserve harmony in the microbiome community by preventing one strain from overwhelming the other and ensuring that your pet benefits from multiple probiotic strains. 

  • Helps you digest food 

Unlike carbohydrates, which are digested with ease, some nutrients are passed down the GI tract undigested, like fiber. The probiotic fiber can digest fiber for you. It does so for its own survival, but it turns out to be beneficial for the host as well. 

  • Improves immunity 

The probiotic bacteria are also capable of eliminating the bad bacteria, thus helping your body enhance its immune system. 

Wrapping Up 

Probiotics are as important to your pet as they are to you. It keeps their gut happy, thus filling their days with joy instead of unwanted stomach aches. It also becomes easier for you, as parents, to regulate their toileting habits when things are the same every day.