Yes! Probiotic supplementation is a great way to keep your pet’s gut healthy and functioning normally.
The quote “A road to health is paved with good intestines” is so true! The gastrointestinal tract plays a huge role in every pet’s overall health. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. The good bacteria that inhabit your gut help defend your body from infections and support the immune system. If your pet has frequent GI upset, such as diarrhea, flatulence or constipation, their immune system may be compromised. Low amounts of beneficial bacteria can lead to more infections, inflammation and even autoimmune disorders.
Let's dive a little deeper to find out how to keep the GI tract healthy, what probiotics are, how they can benefit GI health, and most importantly; benefits they can provide for your fur babies.
What Is A Probiotic?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that support a healthy digestive system. They cause changes within the GI tract that lead to improved gut health and immune system function.
Probiotics may be found naturally in foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut or (in the case of your pets) may also be taken as a supplement.
Probiotics are unique microorganisms that survive food processing as well as the acid in the stomach. They are non-pathogenic organisms - in simpler terms, they don’t cause disease. Probiotics establish themselves as part of the community of beneficial microorganisms within the gut. This community of beneficial microorganisms is commonly called the gut flora or microbiota.
You probably have also heard the term prebiotic talked about in regards to digestive system health. Both probiotics and prebiotics play an important role in gut health but in very different ways.
How do Probiotics differ from Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are sources of fiber and other nutrients that the beneficial gut flora use as a food source. These food sources are generally carbohydrates that can not be broken down by an animal's digestive system.
Prebiotic sources come from eating fibrous fruits and vegetables or may be taken as a supplement.
Prebiotics are unique fiber sources that resist breakdown by stomach acid and other digestive system enzymes. They are also selectively fermented by and stimulate the growth or activity of the gut flora.
What are the Benefits of Probiotics?
The gut flora in your pet is responsible for many functions including food fermentation, digestion, nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, and immune system regulation.
Digestive issues, obesity, allergies, and a depressed mood can all occur when the gut flora are out of balance. Probiotics act to initiate, enhance, or restore the gut flora and their functions. Probiotics can be beneficial for animals of all life stages and provide health benefits for ill and healthy animals. The benefits of probiotics include:
Maintain the Balance of GI Microbiota: Probiotics restore the natural balance of the digestive tract. Probiotics replace or displace the “bad” microorganisms within the GI tract and help establish a “good” community of GI flora. “Bad” bacteria, yeast, or fungi may flourish due to illness, poor diet, or use of antibiotics. This imbalance can cause gas, indigestion, and/or diarrhea until the natural balance is restored.
Improve Digestive Health: Probiotics help the gut maintain the appropriate pH. This allows for optimal digestion and function of digestive enzymes, which prevents gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. It also ensures appropriate fecal consistency and production frequency.
Improve Mood and Behavior: Probiotics can reduce anxiety and depression and may also help to improve memory. The gut produces many of the same mood regulating neurotransmitters as the brain. In fact, more of the “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin, is produced by the gut than the brain. The gut and the brain are connected via an extensive network of neurons called the gut-brain axis. It is through this axis that gut health can impact brain function and modulate mood and behavior.
Improve Heart Health: Probiotics reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels by maintaining a balanced gut microbiota. The microbiota prevent reabsorption of cholesterol by breaking down bile which functions to absorb fat from the digestive tract. A reduction of LDL cholesterol and increase in HDL cholesterol is associated with a healthy, well functioning heart and low blood pressure.
Immune System Support: Probiotics help to reduce inflammation, lessen the severity of allergies and protect against infections. Probiotics help to establish and enhance GI microbiota and their interactions with immune cells. Over 70% of the body’s immune system is located in the walls of the GI tract in groups of cells called Peyer’s Patches. Probiotics help to maintain the health of Peyer’s Patches by inhibiting the growth of harmful GI microorganisms, promoting antibody production, and boosting T-cell and natural killer cells which are important in fighting disease.
Weight loss: Bile is an enzyme within the digestive tract that functions to absorb fat from the diet. Probiotics support the healthy microbiota that are responsible for breaking down bile and preventing fat absorption. Probiotics also increase the hormone that makes you feel fuller for longer, burn more calories and store less fat. That sounds like a win-win for your pet’s waist-line.
What Changes Can Be Seen in Pets After Starting A Probiotic Supplement?
Healthier skin, coat, and nails. A healthy gut digests food more easily and absorbs more nutrients that can help to nourish the skin, hair coat, and nails.
Reduction in indigestion, gas, and loose stools that can be caused by illness, stress, diet changes and antibiotics.
Better formed stools that are produced on a regular and consistent basis. No more picking up a watery mess at the dog park or constantly letting your dog in and out of the house.
Reduction in itching, scratching, and hot spots caused by allergies.
A more playful and comfortable companion due to weight loss and mood modifications caused by a healthy gut microbiota.
A decrease in the incidence and severity of illness and disease in your pet due to the immune boosting effects of probiotics.
Your pet may see these benefits and more when using Fera Pet Organics USDA Organic Probiotic with Prebiotics supplement. Our formula has 12 different beneficial microorganisms specific for canine and feline digestive tract health along with 3 sources of organic prebiotics. Each scoop contains a guaranteed 5 billion CFUs per scoop!
Our USDA Organic Probiotic + Prebiotic is 100% vegan, contains no soy, corn, grain, or dairy and is free from artificial colors, dyes, and preservatives. We only use the highest quality ingredients in our veterinarian formulated supplements. Each supplement is manufactured in the USA in a FDA-registered and GMP compliant facility. They are also backed by the National Animal Supplement Council’s quality seal. All batches are tested for purity and potency by third party laboratories to guarantee a quality product. We strive to provide your pet with the best product possible so they can live long, happy, and healthy lives!
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