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Gut Health and Probiotics for Pets

Vet Talks 3 min read
Orange cat laying on a bed with its belly up. Gut health and probiotics for pets

You’ve probably heard of probiotics in yogurt commercials and other health products for humans. If you’ve ever wondered what they are or if they are benefits of probiotics for pets, keep reading!

Why Probiotics and Gut Health are Important

There are many different organs that play a role in the immune system. The gastrointestinal system plays an important role. The mucus lining in the intestines has microbiota that fight infection, maintain intestinal balance, and inhibit inflammation. Recent studies have shown that an imbalance in this intestinal immune system can be associated with the development of inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). That is the reason why probiotics can be very helpful for us and for our pets too.

Probiotics are dietary supplements that contain live microorganisms that can be beneficial for gut health. Our pets have a huge amount of microbial communities (also known as microbiomes) which include bacteria, viruses, and fungi living in their bodies. These have many different functions, including helping protect against other organisms that can cause diseases. The gut microbiota, specifically, supports the development of the intestinal immune system and a healthy microbiota contributes to maintaining intestinal balance, playing an important role in the immune process. 

3D graphic of probiotics and the intestinal mucosa layer. Gut health and probiotics for pets

Why Probiotics are Used For Pets

Changes in diet, medications, health conditions and stress can disrupt the gut microbiome. This can lead to a weakened immune system and probiotics can then be used to provide some support and also to restore this microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract, which will therefore help strengthen the immune system. With that said, it’s safe to say that balancing the gut microbiome will likely represent an effective treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases. 

Probiotics Aren’t For Every Pet

Check with your veterinarian before starting your little one on probiotics.

Your veterinarian will be the best person to advise you if your little one can benefit from the use of probiotics, depending on their condition. 

Many studies on probiotics are still under evaluation and so far, what we know is that not every pet can benefit from them. Pets who are debilitated and immunocompromised are not good candidates for using probiotics. Many pets can also be allergic to some elements in the composition of the probiotics. It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian before starting probiotics to make sure they are a good fit for your little one.

Generally speaking, probiotics are considered to be safe and have few reported side effects. Sometimes, they can cause symptoms such as excessive gas, or stomach upset, especially when first starting them, so that is another reason why you should always check with your veterinarian before starting your little one on probiotics. 

Beagle dog eating food out of a lime green dog bowl on hard wood floor.

Does NHV Sell Probiotics for Pets?

As of now, NHV doesn’t sell probiotics, but we do have supplements that can be very helpful for a healthy gut and that can be used alongside a regimen with probiotics. 

We also suggest is Multi Essentials, which can help fill nutritional voids, aid digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, and stimulate the metabolism. 

Another great supplement that can be helpful for the gastrointestinal tract is Yucca. Yucca contains two very beneficial compounds called sarsasapegenin and smilagenin. These compounds work on the mucous membranes of the small intestine helping with the absorption of minerals and vitamins. 

Depending on the case, we can also suggest our Inulin-PK. This supplement can help repair damage in the gastrointestinal tract and can also help strengthen the immune system. 

Please check with our Pet Experts what supplement could be more beneficial for your little one and feel free to let us know about your fur kiddo’s progress with our supplements! 

Dr. Aline Dias DVM

Dr. Aline Dias DVM

Dr. Aline Dias is a veterinary graduate from the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil. She worked for five years with research in Bacteriology and Virology fields, but she found her true passion in feline medicine. As soon as Dr. Aline immigrated to Canada, she adopted two kittens: Chilli and Keke. Dr. Aline is now a full-time crazy cat lady and when she’s not working at NHV she spends her time spoiling her furbabies or going for walks at the beach.

Published: January 11, 2022

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