Probiotics, Prebiotics & Enzymes
You may have heard these words tossed around, but do you really know what they are and how they can benefit your pet?
The word probiotic is Greek and literally means “for life.” From that, I think we can tell that they are essential and good. They are the “friendly” bacteria that maintain the delicate cycle of the gastrointestinal tract. Having sufficient numbers of them is extremely important to your pet’s overall health. Without the proper amount of good guys, the bad guys are allowed to take over. Adding probiotics will help to restore the balance.
Benefits of Probiotics
- Maintain healthy digestive system
- Helps to reduce bad breath
- Helps control yeast problems (ear infections, skin problems, hot spots, etc.)
- Helps prevent excessive shedding, poor skin/coat
- Reduces gas and smelly stools
- Helps treat and prevent diarrhea
- Reduces doggy odor
Why would probiotic levels be low
- Overuse of antibiotics (Antibiotics basically means “against life.” Antibiotics are designed to kill off bad bacteria, but in the process actually kill off the good guys too.)
- Poor diet
- Environmental issues (chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc.)
- Prescription drugs
We strongly recommend the addition of probiotics to your dog’s diet, especially if your dog is not on a raw diet, is/has been on antibiotics or other prescription drugs, or is overly stressed/highly anxious.
Prebiotics are basically food for probiotics. Without prebiotics, the good guys can’t survive and fight off the bad guys. They may also play a role in improving mineral absorption, and decreasing/controlling skin allergy issues.
Trying to leave the chemistry set out of this, Enzymes are simply the life force in all living things. They power the cells that power the body. They exist in every cell in every plant and every animal, and are they regulate the biochemical reactions needed to sustain life.
Enzymes come from two places: the food your dog eats (food enzymes) and within your dog (digestive enzymes). In your dog, enzymes are produced in the salivary glands and pancreas. As the dog ages, or if he is already fragile, his ability to produce these slows. If you’re feeding a raw diet, your dog is probably already getting a good amount of enzymes through his food. But when food is cooked (home cooked, or processed into kibble or canned foods), the enzymes are destroyed. This forces your dog to begin to produce his own enzymes to aid with the digestive process, making it difficult to produce enzymes to work in other areas of the body.
A lack of the proper amount of enzymes may lead to:
- Digestive disorders
- Skin/coat problems
- Lack of energy
- Hot spots
- Bad breath and doggy odor
If you are not feeding a raw diet, we highly recommend using a daily enzyme supplement for dogs of all ages and health, but these are even more strongly recommended for older and more fragile dogs.