Probiotics and prebiotics work toward the same purpose: restoring the natural and healthy flora in the digestive system. While probiotics are healthy bacteria and yeast that are taken in order to reintroduce them to the stomach and intestinal tract, prebiotics are fibers that serve as food for this bacteria. Both work together to restore the body’s natural ecosystem. While the goal is the same, prebiotics can sometimes be more effective, especially for pets like cats and dogs.
The Essential Difference
Probiotics introduce healthy live bacteria into your dog or cat’s gastrointestinal system, for the purpose of aiding digestion, promoting gastrointestinal health and supporting immune function. Alternatively, prebiotics do not introduce new living bacteria but are a non-digestible, fiber compound that supports and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria which are already in your pet’s digestive system.
The Challenge of Probiotics with Pets
The stomach of a cat or dog purposely stays very acidic for a long period of time, to kill off potential bacterial contamination, which would include the “healthy” bacteria in a supplement. Not all probiotics manufactured for pets will survive this harsh environment.
“The natural ‘wild’ diet of dogs and cats has evolved a gastric environment that favors the breakdown of raw meats, raw bones, and a PH that kills potentially harmful bacteria – consistent with the requirements of carnivores”
Dr. Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons)
There are only some strains of probiotics that can survive, but they do not seed the intestinal tract as most people think. These are typically transient and adjust the pH of the intestinal tract creating a better environment for the existing bacteria to thrive and grow.
Why We Recommend Prebiotics for Pets
We know that intestinal health is important for our pets. Therefore, probiotics sound like a logical aid to that objective. But because of the fact that your pet’s stomach is so acidic, we think that a better solution is to nurture the good bacteria that is already there. This is what we have chosen to do with BiologicVET pet supplements.
A high-quality prebiotic will promote intestinal health by removing toxins and producing a friendly environment for healthy bacteria. Secondly, for immune health, prebiotics are a food source to nourish the bacteria so they can grow in numbers.
Although not a veterinary doctor, Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, explains the benefit of prebiotics which are applicable to humans as well as dogs and cats.
“As prebiotics make their way through the stomach without being broken down by either gastric acids or digestive enzymes, they bring about positive changes in the digestive tract and organs. Essentially, prebiotic compounds become nutrient sources, or “fuel,” for the beneficial bacteria that live within your gut.”
A More Effective Solution
We agree that intestinal health is important for our pet’s overall health and therefore we want to nurture and feed the bacteria necessary for intestinal and immune system health. While probiotics can be helpful, we feel that pet nutritional supplements that include prebiotics are much more efficacious and better suited for the harsh landscape of your pet’s gastrointestinal system.