Truth About Probiotics for Dogs
This is an outstanding article written by a good friend if mine who has done some great research regarding probiotics for dogs. Hope you learn and enjoy. Her website is maxxnaturals.com.
Avoid Deceptive Marketing And Read This Before You Buy Probiotics. The Truth About Probiotics for Dogs!
Discover how to support your dog’s health now!
All pet parents know that people aren’t the only ones who experience gastrointestinal upsets. Just like humans, our dogs suffer from both acute (short term) and chronic (long term) digestive troubles. After skin issues, gastrointestinal upsets are the second most common health problem dogs experience. You probably already know about the benefits of probiotics for humans, but did you know that your dog can benefit just as much (and maybe even more) by having a healthy gut? Let’s uncover what you need to know about your dog’s gut health and the truth about probiotics for dogs.
Trillions of microbes inhabit both the inside and outside of our bodies (human and animal), but particularly reside in the mouth, nose, gut and intestinal tract. Both humans and animals have a complex internal ecosystem of bacteria located throughout our bodies that we call the microbiome. Whether your dogs microbiome is in good or bad shape comes down to the balance of “good” vs “bad” bacteria.
The term probiotic refers to beneficial or “friendly” gut-dwelling microbes (bacteria). There are trillions of them in the gastrointestinal system of all animals, and they aid in the digestion of food, fight off pathogens, help make nutrients and vitamins, and support the immune system. Sometimes beneficial microbes become damaged or destroyed, and that can lead to stomach upset, skin issues, and a general decline in health. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea or allergies, or seems less healthy than other dogs for no apparent reason, your veterinarian may suggest using a probiotic supplement.
What is the microbiome and why is it important?
First, it is very important to establish a healthy gut early in your dog’s life, but it’s never too late to start. In fact, the word probiotic is derived from the Latin word “for” (pro) and the Greek “life” (bio). With trillions of microbes helping to govern nearly every bodily function, the importance of our gut microbiome cannot be overstated. An increasing number of researchers believe that up to 90 percent of diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome.
Poor gut health can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and a host of more serious conditions if left un-managed. Seeding of the microbiome begins at birth, passing from the mother to her babies during the birthing process. Once seeded, the microbes populate the body inside and out including the skin and mucous lining of the digestive tract. Throughout our lives, both humans and animals contribute to shaping the state of our individual microbiomes. The foods we eat, how much quality sleep we get, the amounts of bacteria and levels of stress we’re exposed to all help to establish the state of our microbiomes.
Why is the microbiome under attack?
For dogs, modern commercially produced kibble contributes greatly to dietary stress. Nutritionally, dogs have no requirement for carbohydrates, yet most commercial dog foods are formulated with high levels of carbohydrates and/or use plant (vs animal) proteins, which are incomplete sources of nutrition for dogs. Commercial diets today undergo extreme processing, which chemically alters many of the nutritional components. Take a close look at the label on your dog’s food and notice the very long list of additives and preservatives, dyes and fillers. High heat required to make dry kibble destroys much of the original nutrients, which are then re-introduced in what’s referred to as a “pre-mix” in an effort to add back nutrition that was lost in production. A significant percentage of commercial “pre-mix” is manufactured in China where quality control measures are much less stringent than in the US.
Antibiotics, Vaccines and Pesticides
Another common enemy of the microbiome is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t discriminate, they kill both good and bad bacteria. While antibiotic use can be life-saving when used properly, western medicine tends to over-prescribe for even minor ailments. Even if your vet doesn’t over-prescribe antibiotics, commercially prepared foods will contain residuals from the feed that was provided to the animals used to make the food. In addition to antibiotics, corticosteroids and NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), also tend to be over-used and have the same negative effects in the gut. Holistic veterinarians also believe ingestion of toxic pesticides (which many believe includes flea & tick remedies as well as parasite controls) and excessive vaccination protocols also contributes to leaky gut.
The role of probiotics in your dog’s body
The importance of maintaining a favorable mix of gut bacteria cannot be overstated. When the mix of gut bacteria is in balance, systems function optimally, vitamins, minerals and enzymes are produced, and the body’s immune systems are supported. Today’s reliance on commercially produced dog food, overly aggressive vaccination protocols and too much reliance on antibiotics and pesticide products has lead too many dogs to experience the unpleasant symptoms related to an imbalance of gut bacteria.
Fortunately, supplementation with a quality probiotic for dogs can help dogs recover from unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, gas, itching skin and bad breath.
How do Probiotics Work?
Scientists now largely agree between 70-80% of all immune function is believed to be directly correlated to gut health. And as we just discussed, gut health is directly related to proper balance of beneficial bacteria in the microbiome. Leaky gut, (AKA Dysbiosis) is the term used to describe what happens when the lining of the gut becomes damaged. The lining of the gut consists of a semi-permeable membrane that acts like a filter, keeping undigested food particles and toxins from entering the bloodstream. So leaky gut is exactly what it sounds like. Damage to the lining of the intestines creates spaces between the cells large enough for undigested pieces of food, toxins and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream. Once these particles enter the bloodstream, the immune system spots them as foreign invaders and goes to work to eliminate them by creating inflammation. Although vastly over simplified, probiotics help the cells of the mucosal lining of the intestines to maintain tight bonds which prevents undigested food particles, toxins, and pathogens from passing through and entering the bloodstream. Once there, the immune system spots them as invaders and goes to work by creating inflammation. Creating inflammation is an important function of the immune system; however chronic inflammation over a prolonged period results in a vicious cycle, ultimately ending in symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, itchy skin, ear infections, bad breath and much more.
Leaky gut, (AKA Dysbiosis) is the term used to describe what happens when the lining of the gut becomes damaged. The lining of the gut consists of a semi-permeable membrane that acts like a filter, keeping undigested food particles and toxins from entering the bloodstream. So leaky gut is exactly what it sounds like. Damage to the lining of the intestines creates spaces between the cells large enough for undigested pieces of food, toxins and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream. Once these particles enter the bloodstream, the immune system spots them as foreign invaders and goes to work to eliminate them by creating inflammation.
While creating inflammation is an important function of the immune system, chronic inflammation over a prolonged period results in a vicious cycle, ultimately ending in symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, itchy skin, ear infections, bad breath and even much more serious conditions.