Probiotics For Your Dog???
No, I’m not kidding. If you want a healthy producer and show dog in tip-top glossy condition, you need to know the importance of live probiotics which carnivores would naturally get from the intestines and stomach of their prey.
Modern day dogs, lacking real probiotics, often eat dirt, feces, stools, grass or certain plants. If your dog has developed yucky dietary cravings, check your current dog food ingredients and consider changing his diet.
What’s the difference between probiotics and prebiotics? I knew you’d ask.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that eat up bad bacteria and keep the gut healthy. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that serve as food for probiotics.
Premium pet food brands usually list probiotics. If in doubt, check their website to be sure the probiotics are live. Either way, it is perfectly safe for you to provide natural prebiotics. One practical, highly nutritious way is with yogurt and buttermilk which contain both probiotics and prebiotics. Most dogs will readily lap these up (real) yogurt and buttermilk because they “know” what’s good for them.
The fermenting process produces the same gut-healthy bacteria. Now you know why people eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi. Your dog will reject those sour-tasting foods but he will eat “cultured” yogurt and buttermilk.
So why are probiotics important? Once again, when you or your dog consume probiotics the intestines turn it into good bacteria that eats up the bad bacteria. Really! The beneficial bacteria helps with digestion but they also manufacture nutrients. In both people and pets (1) good bacteria help protect against food-borne pathogens and get this, they can help regulate body weight. Right. In you and your dog.
You probably know this but just in case, take note. Probiotics are killed by anti-biotics. Well duh! They can also be wiped out by other drug therapies, colonics (enemas), or even a bad case of diarrhea. It is important to quickly replace them in the diet.
Gail kresky cresci, Ph.D, a gastroenterology researcher at Cleveland Clinic Children's Division, stresses the importance of prebiotics (called long-chain carbohydrates) as food for good gut bacteria. In other words, lots of prebiotics equal happy probiotics.
Bananas are an excellent source of prebiotics that dogs seem to naturally like. (1) You may remember the top-winning Bulldog handled by Carroll James? He baited for bananas… Hard on the handler but like any good dog-man, Carroll kept his charge happy in the ring.
Dogs will also eat asparagus, and garlic will do them no harm. Onions are out of favor for dogs but my dog-stew always contained onions. Raw carrots, berries, and apples are a great source of prebiotics and I never met a naturally-reared dog that wouldn’t sample them. Bite-size apple pieces are one of my dog’s favorite treats. So are grapes but after the “poison grapes” scare, I do wash them because like most of today’s fruits and vegetables, grapes are over-sprayed with poison and unlike apples, potatoes, oranges, etc. we don’t peel away the protective “skin” on grapes.
Can you get probiotics from supplements? Well of course you can but be sure they are the real thing. For you or your dog, it’s best to skip the flavored yogurt which usually contains high amounts of sugar, which by the way, causes inflammation.
While there’s no set amount for a daily dose of probiotics for you or your dog, a happy target is at least 1 billion with a “b”. It has been suggested that since your dog has a comparatively shorter digestive tract, the good bacteria may not survive the trip from the stomach to the colon so if you’d rather give a pill than feed the real stuff, it is best to use a time-release capsule.
Lastly, I should mention gas, unpleasant in people and a significant risk in large breeds. I’ve covered why big breeds are more prone to bloat – type “TheDogPress bloat gastric torsion” in your search engine. Oh, and for more on bananas, query “TheDogPlace bananas mood food.
Your dog’s gonna thank you!