Why Probiotics for Dogs?
Probiotics are most frequently defined as live microorganisms, which when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host FAO/WHO, 1 & 2.
Probiotics are viable microorganisms that populate the GI tract in an active state and benefit dogs. A properly functioning digestive system is essential for optimal digestion. Probiotics play an important role in the function of the GI system and help support overall health.
Probiotics are widely used by humans. The use of dog probiotics has followed suit as evidenced by the number of products that contain probiotics to help support canine digestive health. Natural probiotics, canine digestive probiotics, and many others are available. Specific strains of probiotics have been found to help support a healthy gastrointestinal system. Providing the right probiotics can help create and support a healthy intestinal microbiome in dogs. “A balanced microbial population, however, is very important for overall host health 3.” Researchers have noted that “simultaneous feeding of several probiotic strains may afford greater potential health benefit than does a single strain because of that the combined diversity of probiotic capacities of several strains is likely to be larger than that of one strain 4.”
Finding a method to deliver viable probiotics to the dog has long been a challenge. “One of the parameters that was used in the selection of a probiotic strain for use in companion animals was the ability of a strain to survive technological processes, such as freeze-drying, and to survive storage at room temperature. This is an essential characteristic for the future development of a companion animal product containing a probiotic. The poor quality control of existing pet food products which are labelled as containing probiotics was highlighted by Weese and Arroyo 2003. Out of the 19 commercial diets that were examined, none contained all the organisms listed and 5 contained no detectable viable bacteria 3.
Providing live, viable probiotics to the gut of dog is key because, “intestinal bacteria protect against infection and actively exchange developmental and regulatory signals with the host that prime and instruct mucosal immunity 5.” Probiotics that are able to survive the acidic conditions in the stomach and reach the small intestine and the large intestine remain viable and can readily help populate the intestines with healthy bacteria. “In order for a probiotic to exert a health benefit it should be delivered as a live micro-organism at a high enough dose to impact the host enteric community 3.” Learn more about Liquid Longevity™
1. Lefebvre, S. (2011) Literature Review – Probiotics. Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge Team (1-12).
2. Schmitz, S. & Suchodolski. J. (2016) Understanding the canine intestinal microbiota and its modification by pro-, pre-, and synbiotics – what is the evidence? Vet. Med. (2) 71-94.
3. Hooda, S., Minamoto, Y., Suchodolski, J. S. & Swanson, K.S. (2012) Current state of knowledge: the canine gastrointestinal microbiome. Anim. Health Res. Rev. 13(1); 78–88.
4. Beasley, S.S., Manninen, T.J.K. & Saris, P.E.J. (2006) Lactic acid bacteria isolated from canine feces. J. of App. Microbiology 101:131-138.
5. O’Mahony, D. et. al.(2009) Portrait of a canine Probiotic Bifidobacterium – From gut to gut. Vet. Micro 139: 106-112.