By: Ellie Hansen
Over the years I have come to view probiotics as my own personal army against illness. If I keep my army healthy and happy, then they will help defend my body against hostile marauders such as bad bacteria, harmful viruses, and injurious parasites. The same goes for my dogs and yours, too.
In fact, probiotics are the first line of defense against most major illness and disease. Probiotics are no longer reserved just for stomach aches and loose stool. You can consider probiotics to be your dog’s new best friends!
What exactly are probiotics? Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your dog’s gut. Having the right balance of good gut bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits including improved digestion, enhanced immune function, healthier skin and a reduced risk of many diseases.
Even modern-day ailments like depression, autism, obesity, multiple sclerosis, dementia, and anxiety are being linked to a “microbiome” (your personal house of beneficial bacteria) that is out of balance.
If you come to love probiotics as much as I do, you will want to read the book Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain—for Life by David Perlmutter, MD. It’s an eye-opener for sure and you will never think about bacteria the same way again.
Hands down, the most significant factor related to the health of the microbiome is the food your dog eats. Gluten is one of the biggest threats to a healthy microbiome, and this includes wheat, barley, and rye. Unfortunately, many mainstream commercial dog foods and even prescription diets contain gluten.
Other threats to a healthy microbiome are antibiotics, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications), and environmental chemicals like pesticides (mmmmm…I’m thinking about dog chemical flea and tick preventatives here…yikes!).
So now that you know that all dogs from puppies to seniors can benefit from probiotics, where do you start?
Step one: Healthy food–stay away from gluten!
Step two: Ditch the household chemicals and pesticides used for flea and tick prevention.
Step three: If your dog has had to take antibiotics, be sure to replenish the good bacteria by adding a probiotic supplement to your dog’s daily routine. Make sure to administer probiotics 2-3 hours after giving antibiotics; don’t feed them together.
Step four: Consider giving probiotics to your dog on a regular basis like a daily vitamin. We carry several brands and they are our favorites.
- FIDO’S FLORA, by Adored Beast (powder form)
- PLANT ENZYMES & PROBIOTICS, by Animal Essentials (powder form)
- ANSWERS RAW FERMENTED GOAT’S MILK
- ANSWERS RAW FERMETED COW KEFIR
- OPEN FARM GRASS-FED KEFIR
- PRIMAL GOAT MILK
- RAW GREEN TRIPE (raw food)
Let’s raise a toast to the good bacteria. Cheers!
Source: Brain Maker, David Perlmutter, MD, 2015