A happy, healthy gut is essential for our canine friends just as much as it is for us. For humans, health professionals recommend adding beneficial probiotics to our diets. So often, we hear about yogurts that are packed full of these healthy gut-changing bacteria.
But is it that simple for our furry friends?
Currently, there are products on the shelves, but they might not work in the same way that we expect. So Flora Health has assembled this complete guide on probiotics and how they affect your dogs' digestive system.
What are probiotics?
In the world of bacteria, there are good and bad types. Probiotics are a good kind of bacteria. These live tiny organisms have some pretty good effects when it comes to the digestive system. Doctors and Veterinarians often will suggest them to help ease some digestive problems.
Researchers are still learning about how these bacteria work. Some studies have shown some incredible benefits that these good bacteria can offer people. If an antibiotic can remove some good bacteria, adding probiotics can help replace the lost bacteria.
Not all probiotics are the same. Many different types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. Yet, they all have various benefits and help the body in different ways.
What are Prebiotics, and are they the same?
Prebiotics are soluble dietary fiber and a food source for the friendly bacteria within a pet's intestinal tract. Prebiotics support the good bacteria's growth that already resides within the intestinal tract.
Related: Prebiotics vs. Probiotics for Pets
Soluble fiber is what the body breaks down during digestion, unlike insoluble fiber. Both are important, but only the soluble fiber contains prebiotics. Some examples of these fibers are flax, sunflower, and sesame seed fiber.
Insoluble fiber helps to "scrub" the walls of the intestinal tract. This cleaning of the intestinal tract is vital to the digestion process by allowing the absorption of nutrients and provides a house for the good bacteria to live and repopulate.
Having a healthy digestive system is essential to your pet's health. Studies have found that a dog's digestive system can influence its immune system, joint health, and overall wellness. So ensuring that your dog has the proper nutrition and supplements is vital.
Want to support your dogs' digestion for maximum nutrient absorption? BioVITES is a holistic nutritional supplement that provides a complete spectrum of well-being for your pet.
What is pH?
pH is a scale that explains the acidity level of a liquid. The more acidic something is, the lower the pH value. Solutions that have a pH rating of less than seven are considered to be acidic. Solutions with a pH rating higher than seven is basic.
During digestion, a dog’s stomach becomes as acidic as car battery acid near a pH level of one. Throughout the digestion process, the acid level can remain there for around five hours. The average gastric pH of dogs ranges from 1.5-2.1 a few hours after eating.
How does a dog's system handle probiotics?
Even while resting, most dogs' stomachs will have a similar pH level to humans. This adaptation helps them to consume their natural food sources, like bone and raw meat. There was a study that evaluated how food affected dogs' pH levels. It showed that even though their resting pH levels were similar to humans, they dropped significantly to digest any bacteria on their food during mealtime. As a human, ours goes up.
Most probiotic manufacturers use human science to produce their supplements. However, as the study above shows, a dog's system ranges differently on the pH scale than we do. The hydrochloric acid in a dog's stomach doesn't care if a bacteria is good, bad, helpful, or other. It just digests everything.
Despite being good for your dog, most probiotics don't work because of this acid level in your dogs' stomach. Yet, animals would become ill without some form of probiotics within their intestinal tract. This is why they are born with some strains that can survive naturally within your dogs' system.
This might be the reason that dogs eat grass. Flora Health noticed this and created a one-of-a-kind probiotic specially formulated to survive in your pet's stomach.
Pediococcus is a particular type of bacteria that survives traveling through the body. The Pediococcus helps create the perfect environment for the bacteria that is already within your dog's digestive tract. It does that by altering the intestinal pH levels.
Most probiotics on the market aim to replace the existing bacteria rather than promote the existing bacteria's perfect environment. Creating a support system within your dogs' system can help bring balance to your dog's system.
Even if your pet is not ill, adding a supplement that supports the existing system can promote a clean environment for the bacteria to live and repopulate on its own. It is also nearly impossible to replace the trillions of bacteria that are already living within your pet's body.
Not all probiotics are made the same.
Dogs and cats in the wild would have raw meat and bone, making up the majority of their diet. To digest that, the stomach's pH level will sit around two and drop lower as digestion occurs. That highly acidic environment is made to break down any bacteria, like salmonella, in raw meat.
In a system that is designed to break down bacteria, how is a probiotic going to survive? That's why it is best to encourage those that are already staying within the system. Your dogs' digestive system is highly efficient, so much so that their digestive tract is shorter than most other non-meat eating animals. Natural fresh meat can take around 5 hours to digest.
Are human probiotics safe?
The simple answer is yes, they are safe. That doesn't mean these probiotics will work the same. As we've talked about above, a dog's digestive tract is very different from our own.
Studies by the human drug industry have used beagles to understand a dog's digestion process. The studies showed the differences between a dog's stomach pH functions and a human's.
When it comes to food and supplements, the differences are where problems can arise. Leaky gut and high carb diets have become all too common of a problem with pets. Those pets that are eating these diets have higher pH levels. The higher pH levels cannot kill off all of the bacteria that passes through your dog’s stomach.
Human-grade probiotics are safe for your dog to ingest, but the dog’s stomach acid levels will kill them off. Most canine supplements don’t utilize different strains than the human probiotic. That is why we at Flora Health believe that Pediococcus is the key to promoting digestion health for your pet.
Effects of probiotics in dogs
Specifically, the Pediococcus strain of probiotic used in BioDIGEST has many benefits for your pet's digestion system. This strain of good bacteria can survive at room temperatures for upwards of two years. It can survive temperatures of 185℉ for a short period.
Adding probiotics to your pets' diet can help in a lot of different ways.
- Helps modulate immune and inflammatory response in the gut.
- Supports healthy appetite
- Aids in digestion and bowel regularity.
- Helps to reduce side effects from antibiotics.
- Promotes intestinal health and helps repair imbalances.
Probiotics also work towards cleaning the intestinal tract. By feeding your dog a friendly flora loaded with good bacteria, you can help give them the best gut health. Proper gut health can also lead to a balanced hormone function caused by spaying or neutering your pet. A better immune function and can help to support a healthy adrenal and thyroid function.
This could be why dogs eat grass.
There are several common beliefs on why dogs eat grass. One theory is that by eating the grass, they provide themselves gastrointestinal relief. The probiotics and prebiotics that are in the plant material can survive the acidic pH of a dog's stomach.
Most dogs don't vomit after they eat grass, and there can be many nutritional benefits from eating grass. It's not something to be concerned about if you notice your pet nibbling on some grass.
Related: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Natural sources of probiotics.
Like humans, there are some natural sources of probiotics that are excellent to add to your pet's diet. The strains in these foods can survive the pH levels of stomach acid.
Some natural sources of prebiotics and probiotics are:
- Other types of fermented vegetables
It is essential to provide your dog with a good source of gut health culture such as probiotics, but not all of them are made the same. BiologicVET has been addressing problems like this since 2007 by utilizing defatted flaxseed meal.
Linum Usitatissimum, or flax,is the first active ingredient for a reason. It provides insoluble fiber that promotes a healthy intestinal environment for good bacteria to live and thrive. Linum also offers soluble fiber to help feed a healthy functioning prebiotic system and boost your pet's immune system.
Are you looking for a probiotic that can survive the harsh conditions of your pet's gut? BioDIGEST, a Flora Health product for pets, utilizes grass's natural goodness to optimize your dogs' health.
BioDIGEST helps maintain a proper gut pH and intestinal health and promotes good bacteria in the digestive tract. This lignan-rich base hosts essential Pediococcus probiotics to get the benefits that pets need and the results that their caregivers want.
Get your dogs' digestion tract on track today with BioDIGEST. Finally, a pet probiotic specifically made for pets! This week only, use the code 'biodigest15' for 15% off BioDIGEST at www.florahealth.com.