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What do Vets say about probiotics for dogs and cats?

What do Vets say about probiotics for dogs and cats?

In recent years, you may have noticed people referring to their pets as “companion animals,” a term that reflects how our attitudes are changing. While pets may have once been a practical asset (e.g. a farm cat for catching mice) or a status symbol, today, we are much more likely to treat our pets as family members.

And it is this shift in attitude that has created a surge in animal wellness products. Nowadays, we treat pets similarly to how we treat our children. We care about their health and wellbeing and think more about the quality of the diet and lifestyle we provide for them.

Still, with so much (mis)information about health supplements for dogs and cats, it can be tricky to establish what is actually beneficial for them. In this article, we’ll examine the opinions of qualified veterinarians and scientific papers to provide you with the facts about probiotics.

The basics of probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that benefit your pet’s body, particularly the digestive system. Healthy animals generally possess healthy gut flora; still, many factors can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system, such as gastrointestinal issues, stress, or a carbohydrate-rich diet.

Additionally, the gut’s role in overall wellbeing is significant. Firstly, around 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract, directly linking healthy gut flora and increased immunity. 

Secondly, the gut directly communicates with the brain, meaning an imbalanced digestive system can affect your pet’s mental state. This can also work in reverse, so a stressed animal can send negative signals to the gut, causing them to experience symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea.

Taking probiotic supplements is a great way to maintain balance for your companion animal, and we can use them to treat all manner of issues, including:

  • Gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhoea
  • Constipation, bloating, and flatulence
  • IBS or intestinal inflammation
  • Allergies or immune disorders
  • Skin disorders or coat quality
  • Teeth and gum health
  • Restore healthy gut flora after antibiotic treatment
  • Stress, car journeys, or changes to the environment
  • Liver issues
  • General health and wellbeing

What do Vets say about probiotics for dogs and cats?

Many vets advocate using probiotics, particularly following a course of antibiotics or during times of stress. They understand the importance of healthy gut flora for your pet’s overall wellbeing, and your family vet can help you decide which is the best product for you.

Still, if you ask a vet for an opinion on probiotics, they will explain that each product is different and its general effectiveness depends on the quality of the ingredients.

Let’s explore the products vets recommend to provide insight into selecting the best probiotics for dogs and cats.

Which probiotics do Vets recommend?

Dr Richard Allport, a qualified vet, outlines some key factors to identify quality probiotics.

Firstly, select a product that also contains a prebiotic; the function of this is to nourish the probiotics, helping them multiply faster, thus impacting their speed and efficiency.

Secondly, choose a product that contains more than one type of probiotic. This is because each probiotic will colonise a different part of the digestive tract, so a greater range of probiotics allows for more extensive coverage.

Thirdly, while discussion remains rife on the most effective probiotics, a general consensus among the professional community is that Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium and some Lactobacillus species are the ‘go-to’ probiotics for pets.

The probiotic concentration is also worth noting. This is measured in CFUs (colony-forming units). Several scientific papers suggest that 1-10 billion CFUs are optimal for dogs. 

If the product you’re looking at is high-quality, this information should be readily available to you. For example, we can see that Nature’s Paw probiotics contain five active probiotics with CFUs ranging from 1.25 – 2.5 billion per gram. 

Are probiotics science-backed?

A growing body of scientific research supports the administration of probiotics for cats and dogs. A 2023 research paper submitted by a team at the Department of Companion Animal Science, China Agricultural University, demonstrated that the overall health of dogs and cats can be enhanced with probiotics.

While this study replicates the findings of several predecessors, there is still one limiting factor. The testing methods show the benefits in vitro (i.e. a test tube), but scientists are keen to conduct in vivo testing (i.e. live animals) to demonstrate these benefits in action.

Probiotics are a safe product except for animals who are severely immunocompromised. In these cases, their body may not be able to handle the bacterial load, so it’s essential to consult with a vet.

Vet-designed probiotics: Nature’s Paw

If you’re looking for probiotics for dogs in Australia, Nature’s Paw is specially formulated by veterinarians and pet nutritionists. This expert design is shown in the product’s stats. Let’s go back to the criteria outlined by a registered vet:

  • Nature’s Paw contains an active prebiotic
  • It is a multi-strain product with five active probiotics
  • Four strains are part of the “go-to probiotics”, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
  • The CFUs of the probiotics range from 1.25-2.5 billion.

Additionally, the product contains dietary fibre and added vegetable powder to cover nutrition gaps in your pet’s diet; it’s suitable for dogs and cats of all ages and won’t break the bank. Learn more about Nature’s Paw Probiotic & Prebiotic Digestive Supplement for dogs and cats and how you can use it to improve the health of your beloved pets.

Nature's Paw Probiotic for dogs and cats

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