4 Ways Your Pet Can Benefit From ProbioticsLarry Kay
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This is part two of a five part series on the health benefits of probiotics for pets. In case you missed it, you can read part one, The Health Benefits Of Probiotics For Cats & Dogs, here.
Oscar: “Probiotics are good for LOTS of things!”
Felixx: “Yes, they are. Remember how itchy I was when I came to live with you and Mom?”
Oscar: “Ohhhh, yeah! You were all flaky.”
Felixx <rolling his eyes>: “I believe the word you’re looking for is scaly, and it was just my skin.”
Oscar: “But your skin flaked off when Mom scratched you, so you were-…”
Felixx: “…scaly. My skin was scaly. YOU are flaky.”
Oscar <furrowing his brow>: “Only that one time. And bacon was involved.”
Felixx: “Anyway…the point is that probiotics helped my skin heal.”
Oscar: “And they helped me with my…ummm…eruptions. Y’know, when I first came home from the shelter, before you came to live with us.”
Felixx: “Oh, believe me, I’ve heard the tales.”
4 Ways Your Pet Can Benefit From Probiotics
Hi! Mom here. Oscar and Felixx are right: probiotics helped them with a variety of issues. Here are four I found while I was doing my online research. We thought you might like to know about them, too.
Probiotics Help Your Pup Pass Firmer Poops
Seriously. Bringing your new puppy or rescue dog home is such a happy time! But even happy times can be stressful, and sometimes that results in worrisome diarrhea (or vomiting) for your dog. New smells, new people, new food, new everything…it can be overwhelming, and one of the places in our bodies where we (and our pets) experience stress is in our guts.
The most-cited reason for giving our furry companions probiotics is to support their digestive health. Probiotics can not only help stop diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting caused by stress but can also help control illness-related digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and gastrointestinal (GI) infections and parasites.
Oh, and gas. Probiotics can help control bloating and gas. (So next time Uncle Pete yells at the dog about a foul smell, you’ll know who’s really to blame.)
Probiotics Improve Your Pet’s Skin and Coat
That pesky itch you thought might be fleas? It could be eczema, dermatitis or any number of chronic skin disorders, some of which also result in dull, brittle, thinning coats. Before you rename your pup “Patch” because of her balding hot spots, try probiotics. They work on the underlying conditions causing her skin and coat problems, such as allergies and yeast infections, which often start in the gut.
One of the best things about probiotics is that they work with your dog’s body, boosting good bacteria that naturally occur in her body but might be out of balance with (also naturally-occurring) bad bacteria. In extreme cases, the medicines sometimes used to treat them, such as antibiotics, kill off both bad and good bacteria in the gut. So, if your pet requires stronger medication for his or her itchy skin, giving them probiotics replenishes the micro-organisms that could stop future outbreaks – and helps bring their coat back to soft and shiny.
Probiotics Promote Dental Health (and Reduce “Dog-Breath)
I don’t know about your dog, but my Oscar sometimes pants right in my face when we’re playing or snuggling on the couch. And, yeah: I’ve admittedly been known to give him the occasional kiss on the nose. I feel pretty sure that probiotics make both those experiences a whole lot less smelly than they would otherwise be.
As it turns out, probiotics also promote dental health by controlling the bacteria that causes “dog-breath.” That’s right: Dental plaque traps the bacteria that lead to gum disease, which is the same underlying cause of bad breath in humans. So, in addition to brushing your dog’s (or cat’s!) teeth, giving him a probiotic to help keep bad bacteria in check can help prevent bad breath. If you think about it, it makes sense. The mouth is where food starts digesting, so it’s part of the digestive tract where probiotics live – and where those bad bacteria get their start, too. Brighter teeth and better breath. What’s not to love?
Probiotics Support Dogs Who Are Already Healthy
Even if your pup has no specific health issues, probiotics are an important preventative supplement to a healthy diet. Probiotics are an effective safeguard against the issues I’ve talked about here, as well as a whole slew of other bugs that cause illness. By consistently keeping the proper ratio of good to bad bacteria (85% good to 15% bad), you help your dog maintain good gut health and keep him happy and strong, from snout to waggy tail.
Felixx: So, probiotics helped your digestive issues, and they helped me stop itching. They’re pretty versatile as a wellness choice.”
Oscar: “That’s because, like, 70% of our immune systems are in our guts, and probiotics make our guts healthy – so our whole bodies get healthy!”
Felixx <raising an eyebrow>: “Have you been stealing Mom’s laptop password again to look things up on Google?”
Oscar <wagging>: “Yep!”
Felixx: “Good boy! Can you order us a pizza for delivery? I like anchovies on mine.”
Those silly boys! Luckily, Oscar doesn’t know where I keep my credit ca-… Wait a second. That had better not be the doorbell I just heard.
Author Bios for Pet Probiotics
“Mom” ~ Hello there! I’m known as “Mom” – at least I am to my two rescue fur babies, Oscar and Felixx – and I’m a probiotics enthusiast. I’ll be sharing facts and perspectives with you about pet probiotics, while Oscar and Felixx provide their own, special brand of comic relief. Thanks for reading!
Oscar the Dog ~ Hi! I’m Oscar. My Mom rescued me from a shelter a few years ago and gave me a fur-ever home with her and Felixx. I like long walks, playing with my ball in the backyard, snuggling with Mom and joking with Felixx. At least, I think he’s joking. Most of the time. Oh, and: Probiotics RULE!
Felixx the Cat ~ Hi. I’m Felixx, and Mom’s making me do this to support Oscar. Which is OK. Because even though he’s a goofball, he’s still my brother, and I love him. But don’t tell him that. He’ll be impossible to live with if he knows. Thanks for reading these. They keep Oscar busy so I can nap.
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