What are probiotics?
Probiotics are the good bacteria that help improve the digestibility of ingredients and are an essential part of the immune system. The two main beneficial bacteria for dogs are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium. These beneficial bacteria can outdo some of the bad bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and prevent them from colonizing in the GI tract. In addition, L. Acidophilus and E. Faecium produce lactic acid. Lactic acid, in turn, stimulates the development of L. Acidophilus and E. Faecium and increases acidity in the large intestine, which is unfavorable for some pathogenic bacteria and good for increased enzyme activity.
Probiotics are believed to be useful in improving digestion and are reputed to help improve immune function. Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet may be most useful if your dog:
· Had had antibiotic treatment
· Has changed to a new food
· Has a food allergy
· Has inflammatory bowel disease/irritable bowel disease
· Is a senior or a puppy
Which Probiotic Should you Choose?
When choosing a product that claims probiotic presence, consider the following criteria:
• The list of ingredients should identify the bacterial species, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and a good product will also
indicate the strain.
• The label should guarantee the number of CFU in millions or billions per gram.
• It should be a product that is designed specifically for dogs.
• The product should have a customer service number so you can contact the manufacturer if you have any questions.
• The probiotic should have a best before date, as storage time and conditions (i.e., excessive heat or cold) can reduce the
viability of some bacterial stains.
Our black and tan Western German Shepherd Klaus has irritable bowel disease. Probiotics have been a part of his daily regimen since being diagnosed. I would say that it is the probiotics that are the most important part of his treatment. Once he started taking the probiotics, the stomach gurgling, gas, discomfort and diarrhea stopped.
The second probiotic we tried is Healthy Essentials Vital 11 Probiotic Food Spray. The large bottle is 12 oz. and has approximately 500 sprays. The number of sprays depends on the size of the dog:
1 spray for small dogs
2 - 3 sprays for medium sized dogs
4 - 5 sprays for large dogs
Microorganisms (Min) 300,000 CFU/ml (Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium animalis, B. bifdum, B. longum, Enterococcus lactis, E. thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilllus, L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. fermentum, L. plantarum)