Prebiotics & Probiotics

The Amazing Holistic Dog – Using Prebiotics & Probiotics

When we treat our pets holistically, we need to remember that each one is an individual. No two animals will respond exactly the same way. Their inner workings and lifestyles can be vastly different and so will any dog health problems that they may have.

We can be feeding our companion the best diet of raw meats, raw vegetables and raw fruits, including the odd supplement and probiotic and enzyme in the mixture, and still, there can be digestive upsets. Including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus to their food is a very beneficial for them. These enhance the digestion and absorption of nutrients, support the detoxification and elimination processes, as well as boost the immune system.

Many studies have been done and it has shown that each dog holds their own combination of these and several other digestive bacteria in their gut. A dog’s state  of health, what they eat, if they are on any prescription drugs and what they may have picked up and ate while out on a walk, all are determining factors to their bacteria count. All this affects the way these microbes behave, duplicate and even stay in the gut.

Prebiotics are food for the dwelling microflora and will support and stimulate the growth of these beneficial species in the colon. These are carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, which are found in many foods. They are in:

  • whole grains
  • bananas
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • artichokes
  • chicory root
  • dandelion root
  • burdock root

These oligosaccharides are not broken down in the stomach or small intestine. They remain intact until they reach the large intestine and then are broken down and fermented by the existing microflora. The probiotics for dogs will digest these prebiotics, turning them into energy. The final outcome is the stimulation of beneficial bacteria which the dog needs to correctly digest their food and metabolize the waste.

Some pet food manufacturers are adding fructooligosaccharides (FOS) to their recipes to improve the digestibility of their foods. This will also aid in the absorption of calcium and other minerals. Prebiotics also discourage the growth of certain pathogens in the gut such as E-coli.

Herbal prebiotics have an edge over isolated sources of  FOS in that they provide much more than just prebiotic support. Chicory, dandelion and burdock are all highly beneficial in their antioxidant properties. They also help to strengthen the liver and gallbladder which in turn assists in the digestion and in the removal of waste. Download the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

Sometimes overfeeding of FOS can lead to flatulence and bloating. Very little of this is needed to gain results. This may be what is needed for your dog. Definitely worth a thought on checking out, since we are what we assimilate and absorb and need the proper means to do it.


About the Author

Helga Schmitt has been passionately studying and researching dog health, physiotherapy and rehabilitation hands on for the past 20 years. Her keen interest in health and healing motivated her to become a Chartered Herbalist and also obtain a degree in Nutrition and advanced Holistic Nutrition. She furthered with a certificate in homeopathy and continues to study various healing modalities to this day. She is a Certified and Registered Canine Hydrotherapist. Her research, past and current studies and experience, have her striving to educate dog owners that there are numerous ways to achieving and maintaining optimum health for your pet. You can check out her latest book “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs” here.

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