Probiotics For Pets: Dogs And Cats How They Can Help Alleviate Common Pet Health Problems

May 25, 2017 // By:admin // No Comment

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, the “good” or “friendly” bacteria that populate the entire digestive tract and play an important role in digestion, nutrient assimilation and immune system function. Unfortunately, many people have been lead to believe that all bacteria are harmful, but the reality is that we live in symbiosis with beneficial bacteria throughout our environment, and some of the most important are our friendly intestinal bacteria.

The average animal, depending on size, can have up to four pounds of bacteria in his body with the majority residing in the digestive tract. Your pet would become very ill or die without the right intestinal bacteria, and unfortunately this actually happens more often than most people realize. Many holistic veterinarians believe that imbalances in intestinal bacteria are a major factor in many of the chronic disorders that we see in our animals today. My experience with animals leads me to believe this is very true!

Probiotics play some vital roles in your animal’s body such as:

*Help the digestive tract function properly by producing enzymes that aid digestion and the assimilation of nutrients.
*Manufacture B vitamins.
*Help lower cholesterol.
*Keep levels of pathogenic bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella and Helicobacter pylori) and pathogenic fungi (Candida albicans) in check by competing for available space and nutrients. In addition, beneficial bacteria produce antibiotic like substances and acidify the intestinal tract by producing lactic acid, both of which inhibit harmful bacteria growth and the toxins they produce.
*Protect against tooth decay and gum inflammation.
*Help to maintain a healthy mucous lining (mucosa) in the intestinal tract. This assists in the prevention of bacteria, food particles and toxins from entering the blood stream. The results of a damaged mucosa are often referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome which contributes to allergy like symptoms, skin conditions, systemic infections, arthritis and other disease processes.
*Maintain or increase immune system health. Since 70% of the immune system in animals is found in the gastrointestinal tract, a healthy mucosal lining populated by beneficial bacteria is very important to preventing and fighting infection. In addition, beneficial bacteria are also found in the respiratory system where they help guard the body against invasion by harmful germs.
*Aid in the absorption of magnesium that is used for hundreds of different functions throughout the body. A magnesium deficiency can result in asthma and migraines and have other dramatic impacts on your pet’s health.
*Synthesize vitamin K that is needed to clot the blood and keep bones strong.

Anything that places stress on the body can reduce levels of probiotics. Common culprits include poor diet, antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs, surgery, medications, acute and chronic diarrhea, chlorinated water, artificial ingredients and preservatives in foods, toxins in food and the environment, and stress. Since many of these issues are hard to avoid, I feel that you should provide your pet with a quality probiotic supplement on a continuous basis to ensure that a healthy, viable population of beneficial bacteria are always present in the intestinal tract.

Probiotics would be specifically recommended in situations where there are symptoms of imbalance or in which healthy bacterial populations may be adversely affected making your animal susceptible to disease, such as with antibiotic or steroid use. An imbalance between friendly and unfriendly bacteria in the body plays a role in many of the chronic disorders we see today. Symptoms can include:

*Allergies and food sensitivities.
*Fatigue, constipation or diarrhea.
*Poor digestion that displays as gas or stomach pain.
*Poor nutrient assimilation that displays as weight loss or lack of weight gain.
*Painful joint inflammation or stiffness.
*Bad breath, gum disease and dental problems.
*Frequent infections.
*Chronic yeast problems, which display as itchy/infected ears/skin.

Supplementing with probiotics is easy and safe and a great insurance policy because not only do friendly bacteria decrease naturally in the body as your companion ages, but our animals come into contact with so many things in everyday life that reduce healthy intestinal flora.

This article was written by Philip Reich, co-founder of The Pet Health and Nutrition Center.

Phil is an herbalist and is nearing successful completion of his Master Herbalist studies. He has over twenty years of experience in the field of animal health and wellness.

The Pet Health and Nutrition Center is a Natural Pet Store that was founded on the premise of providing only the healthiest and safest pet products available.

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