Probiotics for dogs: Have we been wrong all along???
For the past decade, Americans have become more and more familiar with their own “microbiomes” and how it affects our immune system, digestion, and overall health. (The microbiome is the collection of all microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live on our bodies and inside us. Although microbes are so small that they require a microscope to see them, they contribute in big ways to human health and wellness. They protect us against pathogens, help our immune system develop, and enable us to digest food to produce energy.)
But how about our dogs? We talk about “species-appropriate” food for canines—but did you know that there are species-appropriate probiotics for dogs? (Totally different from the ones that do well in our human bodies) If you feed the wrong “strain” it will do nothing. So lets talk about how species-appropriate probiotics benefit our cuddly canines. Probiotics:
*stimulate growth of good bacteria in the gut
*support a healthy immune system
*block colonization of pathogens in digestive track
*inhibit the growth of bad bacteria
*produce beneficial metabolites
*Aid in proper digestion (no GAS!)
REMEMBER: A good balance of both probiotics, prebiotics and fiber is ESSENTIAL for proper digestion
-Proper balance of prebiotics (feeds the probiotics) and probiotics, and fiber is CRITICAL for optimal digestive health.
-Poorly digested proteins can result in gas and bloating.
-A proper mixture of soluble, insoluble, fermentable, and non-fermentable fiber sources can prevent upset stomach
-Stool is greatly impacted by unbalanced fiber sources as well as the digestibility of food.
Since 2008, we’ve seen the largest changes in dog food recipes due to supply chain issues. Many dog food companies are either selling out to larger companies (losing their control on quality control), or are cheapening or changing ingredients without notifying the consumer. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to each day (out of the blue on social media) that tell me, “I’ve been feeding XXX food for so many years and now my dog is itchy, smelly, and does not like the food or is vomiting or struggling with formed stool (a big deal to those of us that pick up each piece that comes out—so the less and the firmer the better!)
For those struggling to find a dog food company that is still privately owned, is not cheapening their ingredients, and is, in reality, improving their food while the rest of the pack is declining, I recommend checking out this line of foods I’ve trusted for over 24 years. Best news: the food is affordable and you feed LESS than other brands—almost 1/2—so you actually SAVE in the end! (I actually met a person feeding 6 cups a day of a ‘cheap’ food when she could feed 2 cups of a quality/premium food!) As a breeder, I get asked all the time what food I recommend and why. Well, this is just one part of why my trust factor has increased with this food over the years. Each time the economy changes, they get better. And now we have a LAMB formula too!!!
Here’s how to be a savvy shopper when it comes to researching kibble with probiotics:
- Most probiotics on the market were sourced from cows because they were intended for use in cows, pigs and chickens.
- The probiotic strains selected for Life’s Abundance foods are ideal to support the canine or feline GI tract because they originated from healthy dogs and cats.
- One strain doesn’t do enough in the gut to provide the full benefit. With both the upper and lower GI to consider, plus all the different functions of various probiotics, from nutrient absorption to moderating stress response, there is no silver bullet probiotic organism that can do all the jobs.
Look For The Guarantee
Here’s a secret – seeing probiotics listed on a label can provide a false sense of security because many times they are not guaranteed. Without that guarantee shown in the Guaranteed Analysis, there’s no way of knowing if the probiotics will still be viable when your dog or cat consumes them. The guarantee covers the entire shelf life of the product.
THIS KIND OF INGREDIENT IS GREAT FOR SENSITIVE STOMACHS, LEAKY GUT SYMDROME, AND ALLERGIES! (add to this the great enzymes needed to property digest the food eaten)
So, why wouldn’t a brand just go ahead and make the guarantee, you ask? We cannot speak to anyone’s motives, but there are a few things to consider:
- It’s not easy to get live probiotics onto dog food and cat food. To ensure survival, they must be dusted on after cooking. This equipment is incredibly specialized and not all manufacturers have it. In the vast majority of cases, probiotics blended in before cooking will not survive. Yet, they can still appear on the label, which looks appealing to consumers.
- Making a guarantee puts the brand’s reputation on the line with both customers and regulators. For Life’s Abundance, when an ingredient is as vital to health as probiotics are, we think it’s important that we offer you that guarantee.
- Because a guarantee amounts to an endorsement, brands would not want to stand behind lesser-quality ingredients.
Don’t (Ever) Forget The Fiber
What you may not know is that to be at their best, probiotics need a partner to fuel their health-imbuing adventures. That’s where fiber comes in.“Needing more fiber” is a familiar pop culture joke anytime someone finds themselves irregular.
Yet, how often have you considered this truism for your dog or cat? Even beyond stool quality, prebiotic fiber plays an important role:
- So much more than just stool quality, when proper dietary fiber fermentation is achieved, the fibers provide nourishment for the probiotics.
- When it comes to fiber blends in pet foods, it’s easy to get it wrong and much, much harder to get it right. The consequences can include gas, digestive upset, poorer nutrient absorption, and loose or inconsistent stools.
- Because dietary fiber is so critical to gut health and plays a lead role in overall nutrition, Life’s Abundance has put years of work into creating custom blends.
- There is an overwhelming amount of nuance that makes up the difference between a passable or decent nutritional result, and an exceptional nutritional result. One of these factors is fiber fermentation. Even poorly fermented fiber can produce what looks like a good stool. Life’s Abundance understands these nuances and engage world-leading experts to turn up the dial on fiber-blend quality.
- ***BEWARE as many dog food formulas are adding “empty” fiber that is not beneficial in any way, except to fill up their food that was more full of species-appropriate nutrients and ingredients before they CHANGED their formula. PET PARENT TIP: Keep your label off your dog food and check it yearly!
Click here for ingredients in the ALL LIFE STAGES formula
To learn more about probiotics, click here.