You may recall that we briefly discussed the topic of probiotics a couple months ago during our blog series on antibiotics. The essential function of probiotics is to replenish the microflora in your pet’s intestinal tract.  During antibiotic treatment, bacteria is destroyed to rid the body of illness.  However, antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, leaving the body susceptible to a multitude of health and wellness dysfunction.  But during antibiotic treatment is not the only time you want to administer probiotics to your dog or cat.  This week, Wisconsin Pet Care uncovers why it is so important to maintain a bacteria balance in your companion animal’s intestinal tract.


What causes the intestinal tract to go out of balance?


*The use of antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill off all bacteria and are not able to distinguish the good from the bad.


*Chemicals found in soil and in the water supply.


*Stress.  Everything from changes in routine to just having their owner gone for a day can cause stress in your dog or cat.


What are the PROS of probiotics?


*Improves digestion and nutrient absorption.  You can feed your pet high-quality food, but their body needs to fully process the vitamins and minerals to receive all of the benefits.


*Enhanced immune support.  Improved digestion leads to improved nutrient absorption, and improved nutrient absorption leads to improved health and wellness.  Of course, improved health and wellness leads to an improved immune response.


*Aids in metabolic function.


*Removes toxins from the body.


*Helps to control yeast and yeast-related skin issues.


*Improves bowel function.  Flatulence, diarrhea and constipation are some of the most common issues that dogs and cats experience when their digestive systems are not optimized by probiotics.


As with any nutritional enhancement, you will want to discuss all aspects of your pet’s health and wellness with his veterinarian.  However, there are some guidelines you will want to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement for your pet.


1)How much.  There are many different strains of probiotics, including well-known names such as bifidobacterium lactis, bifidobacterium animalis and lactobacillus acidophilus.  Much like vitamins and minerals, these strains of probiotics work with one another to create a symbiotic relationship that improves and maintains intestinal balance.


2)Strength.  High-potency strains of probiotics can deliver 30-50 billion active beneficial bacteria per serving.


3)Purity.  You want to be sure that chemicals and other bacteria (like mold) aren’t found inside your animal’s probiotics.


Research shows that the key to choosing the best supplement for your pet is to find one that features at least 10 different strains of pure, high-potency probiotics.


A probiotic regimen is just one more way to enhance the health and wellness of your pet.  Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet and healthy, happy pets live long and fulfilling lives!  Next week, Wisconsin Pet Care is focusing on our kitty friends with the topic of Inappropriate Elimination.