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When Do Dogs Need Probiotics?

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Even if you are taking good care of your dog’s diet, it still may need to take some supplements like probiotics and enzymes from time to time. When dogs take antibiotics, eat something spoiled, or have digestive problems of any kind, you should consider giving your pet probiotics.

Probiotics can promote balanced gut health and help strengthen the immune system. They bring beneficial bacteria that improve digestion and overall well-being in dogs.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms that are also known as “friendly bacteria” because they can benefit the host (whether it is a human or an animal) and maintain their health. Probiotics can help with digestive health and nutrient absorption, as well as the immune system and stopping the growth of bad bacteria.

Probiotics can be found in some foods (usually fermented) like yogurts or fermented vegetables, but also as supplements in the form of powders, tablets, or liquids.

When Could Your Dog Need Them?

If your dog experiences some digestive problems or health conditions, is under stress, or eats something that it shouldn’t, it may need probiotics.

Some of the conditions that require probiotics could be:

  • Digestive issues
  • Infections and diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Skin problems
  • Obesity
  • Bloating and gases
  • Cramping
  • Food allergies
  • Infection in the urinary tract
  • Taking antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Parasites
  • Eating spoiled food
  • Changes in a dog’s diet
  • Old age

Probiotics can help maintain dogs’ immune systems and digestion. Giving a dog probiotic to your pet in stressful situations can be very useful in preventing its upset stomach and diarrhea. Whether you are moving house, traveling, or exposing your dog to other major changes, make sure to have some probiotics at hand, and spare your pup the troubles of upset stomach these emotional changes could cause.

How to Recognize the Signs?

Besides knowing about the conditions that require dog probiotics, it’s important to know how to recognize them.

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  • Diarrhea

If bad bacteria are dominant in your dog’s guts, it is common that it will get diarrhea. For you, as an owner, that isn’t very good news, but it can be a good sign that your dog needs probiotics and balancing out the gut flora. If your dog takes probiotics immediately, its stomach will calm down and the problem will be solved in a couple of days.

  • Itching

If your dog is constantly scratching it may have an allergy. Even though itching is common in dogs, you will notice if it bothers them more than usual. Many food allergies are known to cause itching on dogs’ skin, so make sure to take your pup to the vet and get prescribed probiotics if the issue is confirmed.

  • Shedding

Some food allergies can also cause shedding in dogs. Besides those, poor digestion, old age, or stress can do the same. Dogs shed normally only twice a year. If you notice this happening more frequently, your dog may be suffering from some of these issues, where probiotics could help balance gut health.

  • Dry skin

If your dog’s skin gets dry with red spots on it, the problem could lie in malnutrition. Probiotics and enzymes for dogs are supplements that can help the absorption of nutrients from the dog’s food and control the bacteria in its gut.

  • Body odor

Dogs with some bacterial infection will have a bad odor and stinky breath. Some of these bacteria (like Candida) will make an imbalance in a dog’s body and lead to infections and odors. Probiotics can do wonders in balancing out a dog’s gut flora and stopping and preventing these infections.

Can Probiotics Be Found in Food?

Probiotics are often found as food supplements, but they can surely be also found in food. Natural probiotics for dogs are found in yogurts and kefirs with specific bacterial cultures. If you are giving your dog human food such as yogurt, make sure you don’t choose those with sugars and sweeteners because they could be dangerous to your dog.

Some other fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can be good sources of probiotics for dogs. Still, you need to be careful that this food doesn’t contain any spices or anything that will upset your dog’s stomach even more. Some dogs may also not react well to eating new food, so choosing supplements would be a safer option.

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Some dog food contains added probiotics and that is a good and more secure way of giving them to your dog. Dog treats with probiotics are even easier to use, but they are not all of the best quality. Before giving them to your pet, check the package carefully, or consult with your vet.

Before You Give Probiotics to Your Dog

Before you decide to give any probiotics to your dog, get the veterinarian’s advice. If your dog already suffers from a specific health condition, make sure it gets a proper diagnosis and prescribed medication.

There are many probiotics on the market, but they are not of the same quality and could bring different side effects to your dog. The vet will be able to give you professional advice and prescribe a quality probiotic that will be effective in helping your dog’s condition.

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