By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM
Most people know about probiotics. They are the opposite of antibiotics. ANTIbiotics kill bacteria. PRObiotics replenish bacteria. The good ones, that is. It is well known that we humans need probiotics. The same is true for our companion pets. They need probiotics, too!
Good bacteria are crucial for the health of your cat or dog’s gut. But they also support the brain, digestion, assimilation of nutrients and – best of all – the immune system. Boosting your pet’s immune system is probably the most important role of probiotics.
Our favorite product for getting NATURAL probiotics combined with digestive enzymes is The Honest Kitchen's Pro Bloom Goat's Milk. It is convenient, cost effective, and a treat your dog will love. There are endless ways to use it: as a stand alone drink, poured over dog food, frozen in ice cube trays, and dogs and cats absolutely love it. Pro Bloom is immune and digestive support with a whopping 5 billion active probiotics and digestive enzymes, so it’s good for your pet and their gut.
As much as 80% of your pet's immune system is based in the gut. Different probiotics pair with almost every different part of the immune system that we know of. Viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and probiotics are present starting in the mouth and throughout your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Maintaining the good bacteria keeps pathogens in check and is your pet’s primal immune system. A good balance of probiotics helps reduce inflammation throughout your dog or cat's body – and that lowers susceptibility to illness and chronic disease.
The most common use for probiotics in people is to help with gastrointestinal issues. The same is true for our pets! It can help with diarrhea or constipation, nausea, frequent bowel movements, or just about anything that is out of whack with the gut. Replenishing the good bacteria makes things work better.
The flora that lives in the gut is in charge of producing neurotransmitters and neuropeptides needed for brain health. The gut is filled with nerve cells so probiotics in the gut can also support brain function. Probiotics also make some important hormones that are needed in the body.