Ensuring your dog’s good health also means looking out for anything you can add to your dog’s diet to make sure they live longer and happier. One thing you may want to consider for their maximum nutrition is probiotic foods.
There are all sorts of probiotic products marketed, but not everything is suitable for your dog. We will look at what probiotics are, their benefits, and some of the best non-dairy probiotics for dogs.
The word probiotics is derived from the Latin word pro which means “for” and bio which is the Greek word for “life”. In general, these are beneficial or “friendly” gut-dwelling bacteria and yeasts.
The idea that there are “good” bacteria may be confusing because we let our dogs take antibiotics to kill infections caused by bacteria, but these are simply the harmful ones. Probiotics can even help prevent and treat some of these illnesses.
What they Do
Probiotics are beneficial in a way that they help keep your gut healthy. We know that the digestive tract plays a huge role in keeping your body function healthy as it affects almost all the processes that occur in the body.
Just like us, your dog’s moods are affected by the condition of their digestive system. When they’re hungry, they may tend to be more aggressive and needy.
The immune system of your dog is also dependent on their gut health. Viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and probiotics are present, starting in the mouth and moving throughout your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics focus on the health of your dog’s gut to improve digestion so that the food you eat is broken down properly and effectively.
How they Improve Gut Health
Probiotics, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, are live organisms that balance the good and bad bacteria that live in your gut. Bad bacteria can outweigh good bacteria due to infections and other diseases, as well as an unbalanced diet.
This is why probiotics are important. They keep your gut, the part of the body that affects almost all body processes and function, healthy by keeping the good and bad bacteria balanced.
Here are some ways by which probiotics can benefit your furry fellow:
- Calms irritable bowel syndrome
- Improves overall digestion
- Prevents allergies and their symptoms
- Regulates mood and behavior
- Supports the immune system
- Prevents urinary tract infections.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Like humans, dogs can suffer from lactose intolerance too. The symptoms may make you feel uncomfortable and worried about your dog, but they are generally not life-threatening. They start within just thirty minutes to two hours from the consumption of a product with lactose.
Here are some signs:
- toilet accidents in the house
- excessive thirst
Why are talking about this? It is because some probiotic food for dogs can cause them to suffer from these symptoms if they’re lactose intolerant. These food sources with probiotics include milk kefir and yogurt.
Lactose-free probiotic foods are always suitable for your dog, and we will take a look at them now.
Non-Dairy Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics help compete with the bad bacteria for nutrient in the gut, but some dairy whole foods can just upset your dog’s stomach. It’s a good thing non-dairy probiotics such as formulas and fermented vegetables can help!
Whole foods can provide your dog with more live and thriving cultures. These probiotics are more likely to survive the stomach and arrive at the intestines intact.
However, the downside to whole foods, or fermented veggies, in particular, is that your furry friend may simply not touch them because the taste isn’t good. They’re usually tangy and smell offensive.
If this is the case, you can just add some fermented vegetables to their regular food, and mix it in. In fact, you should only offer them a small amount every day, as in about 2 to 3 teaspoons a day for every 20 pounds of body weight. Remember to start small until your dog is used to them.
If you happen to have a dog who eats just about anything, you can just feed them fermented vegetables directly.
Good whole-food probiotic sources for dogs include:
- Kimchi is a great way to ensure that your pup is receiving the right amount of probiotics. They may like the taste provided that the kimchi is not too spicy. Make one yourself at home by following this video!
- Apple cider vinegar is made just from apples and water, making it completely safe for your dog. Not only does it help with bacteria in the gut, but it also aids in bad breath, repelling fleas, and balancing the pH levels in their body. A teaspoon to a tablespoon added in their water bowl is enough to receive the various benefits that ACV offers. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is the most well-known available, and is guaranteed to be raw and organic.
- Pickled vegetables. Look for pickled baby cucumbers or beets with low sodium content and not containing onions. Remember to offer only a bite or two for them every day as too much can upset their stomach. Sauerkraut. These are finely cut, fresh cabbages that have been fermented with several types of bacteria. Chop some tiny pieces of sauerkraut and mix about a tablespoon in a can of wet dog food to make their meal palatable.
Tempeh. This is a traditional Indonesian soy product made from fermented soybeans. This probiotic source is safe for dogs as long as they are not flavored with unsafe ingredients like onion and garlic. You can learn to make your own tempeh with a tempeh starter in this video!
An alternative to fermented whole foods is a probiotic formula that contains no dairy. These medicinal foods also help maintain a healthy digestive tract for your dogs.
Each has its own instructions and you should follow the dosage recommended by your vet. Usually, these are mixed with non-carbonated drinks or soft foods to be more delicious for your pooch.
One of our favorite powders is NUSENTIA’s Probiotic Miracle Dog Probiotics. It are effective in supporting regular digestion, providing healthy skin for your dog, and renewing their overall vitality.
A Healthier Gut Means a Healthier Pup
We all want the best for our furry companion’s health. Part of this entails ensuring a healthier gut for them as this affects all other bodily functions. Probiotics are one way to help with your dog’s overall health.
As always, consult your vet first before adding anything to your dog’s diet. Then, you may give them these fermented foods or formulas.
Remember that consistency is key, so provide a small amount on a regular basis and be ready to see the benefits!