How do Probiotics Improve Pet Health?

If your pet has digestion problems, diarrhea, skin problems, food intolerances, or other chronic health problems, giving a high quality pet probiotic supplement can greatly improve your pet’s health.

A probiotic is a microorganism necessary for a balanced and healthy intestinal tract.  Within the intestinal tracts of animals, there are two types of bacteria, good and harmful bacteria. The good bacteria, or probiotics, ensure good health as they are absolutely vital.

All pets can benefit from probiotics because they aid digestion and regulate the immune system. They help your pet’s intestinal tract to accept and digest food and to absorb the nutrients into the body.

Probiotics produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).  These inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, as well as providing other benefits to the intestines. Studies have found probiotics to be effective in treating diarrhea, irritable bowel, and intestinal inflammation.  They also assist in helping to prevent urinary tract infections and even reducing allergic reactions by reducing inflammation and decreasing intestinal permeability.

Summary of Probiotic Benefits:

1.   Improve digestion of food.

2.   Stimulate the immune system.

3.   Reduce food intolerance and allergic response, irritable bowel, and

3.   Increase energy levels.

4.   Reduce inflammation and intestinal permeability.

5.   Help to inhibit growth of yeast and yeast related rashes and skin problems.

6.   Help prevent scratching and shedding due to digestive problems.

7.   Reduce diarrhea and helps to prevent loose stools, diarrhea and constipation.

8.   Reduce gas and bad smelling stools.

9.   Reduce bad breath.

10. Help to counteract the harmful effects of antibiotic therapy.

11. Produce natural antibiotics which can fight harmful bacteria.

12. Regulate and increase hormone levels.

13. Help body to manufacture B group vitamins, biotin and folic acid.

14. Enhance absorption of nutrients, antioxidants and iron from digested food.

Several things can destroy the intestinal bacterial balance in a pet’s gut.  Overuse of antibiotics destroys good bacteria as well as bad.  In addition, prescription drugs, stress, poor diet, vaccinations, pollutants, and environmental changes can also deplete beneficial bacteria.

Other culprits of good bacteria include chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and soil sterilizers in agriculture which damage the soil ecosystem and the natural flow of bacteria found in the food chain. These chemicals, as well as chemicals in the water supply, reduce the good bacteria in the gut. This allows harmful bacteria to multiply and produce large amounts of toxins and carcinogenic agents. These toxins inhibit the normal function of the digestive system and increase the demands placed on the liver and kidneys. Consequently, this speeds up the aging process and leads to various diseases and digestion problems.

Another likely culprit is genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).  Research indicates that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® may be contributing to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, both in genetically modified foods and within the bodies of those animals eating these foods.   Moreover, it may be contributing to the alarming worldwide increase in antibiotic resistant infectious diseases.  When beneficial bacteria is suppressed, harmful and pathogenic bacteria can flourish, leading to chronic illness and even deadly botulism-associated Clostridum botulinum.  Since many probiotics contain GM (genetically modified) bacteria to populate their products and since GM bacteria has been in use for supplement manufacturing since the 1980’s, it is likely that many patented probiotic strains found in today’s supplements contain GM bacteria.  So when choosing a probiotic, it is important to make sure that it is free of genetic modification.

Pets with large amounts of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of unhealthy organisms. So, if pets are to maintain a healthy body or to overcome health issues,supplementing with large quantities of friendly bacteria should help substantially.

Signs that your pet may benefit from probiotics:

1.  Loose stool and diarrhea

2.  Constant itching and scratching

3.  Dry and flaky skin:  The skin is an organ and reflects the state of the internal body.   Yeast overgrowth can cause blotchy, red skin, and dry, flaky skin can be a sign of malnutrition.

4.  Have taken antibiotics and/or prescription drugs, especially on a long-term basis.

5.  Excessive shedding

6.  Foul odor (usually caused by overgrowth of yeast – Candida)

7.  Ear infections

8.  Digestive issues (gas, bloat, bad breath, inflammatory bowel disease and syndrome, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, stool eating)

9.  Other health issues caused from a compromised immune system.  Keep in mind that 70% of the entire immune system is located in the gut, so the imbalance of gut bacteria has a      major impact on the degree to which the immune system can function.   (Health issues stemming from an impaired immune system include urinary tract infections, struvite crystals,
bladder and kidney stones, chronic renal disease, pancreatitis, and many more.)

Supplementing with both probiotics and digestive enzymes will help to eliminate toxins in the body which will then result in a more healthy skin and coat.


References:

65 Health Risks of GMO Foods.  Institute for Responsible Technology, http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/65-health-risks/5notes

Strauss, Mary (March 2012).  The Benefits of Probiotics for Your Dog.  The Whole Dog Journal, http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_3/features/Probiotics-For-Dogs_20473-1.html

Sayer Ji, Founder (3-28-13).  How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY.  Green Med Info, http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/how-gmo-farming-and-food-making-our-gut-flora-unfriendly

Pask, Elizabeth and Laura Scott.  Food Allergies 101.   Modern Dog Magazine, http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/food-allergies-101/15131

Dr. Julie (June 18, 2013).  Could the Bacteria in your Product be GMO?  Seven Directions, http://www.sevendirectionsmedicine.com/gmo-probiotic/

Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott

Healthy Food for Pets offers the highest quality probiotic and digestive enzyme supplements.   Click here for more information.


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