There is plenty of scientific evidence that supports the benefits of probiotics in humans, but what about our pets? Can probiotics help your pet and when should you use them?
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria, and when ingested in adequate numbers, they can bring about a health benefit to the host.
There are species-specific bacteria in an animal’s gastrointestinal tract, so it’s essential to use a product specific to your pet. Probiotics are generally delivered as a powder and added to your pet’s food.
How can a probiotic help my pet?
When given at a high enough dose, these ‘good’ bacteria can help improve the function of a pet’s gastrointestinal tract. They may also help exclude harmful bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella and can aid in the recovery of gut dysfunction, as well as conditions such as diarrhoea.
Probiotics can help establish the microflora of immature gastrointestinal tracts of puppies and kittens. They may also assist in delivering nutrients, including amino acids, vitamins and minerals that are essential to an animal.
When should I consider a probiotic for my pet?
There is no harm using probiotics regularly, but one of the main indications for their use are to follow a course of antibiotics. The antibiotic may have killed off the ‘good’ bacteria in your pet’s gut, so it can be beneficial to use a probiotic to help reestablish the balance.
Diarrhoea and flatulence can also be an indication that something isn’t right in your pet’s gastrointestinal system. We would always recommend a check-up with us to rule out anything more concerning (such as Giardia) before you administer a probiotic.
It’s important to be aware that a premium quality diet, as recommended by us, is essential to help ‘good’ bacteria thrive. Premium quality diets that are balanced and complete contain ingredients such as high-quality fibre, which can help support and feed good bacteria.
Pet Doctors are always here to help and offer advice. If you have any questions, please phone our team on 5576 0400 for more information.