Probiotics and Pets: Questions and Answers

dog and cat resting together

If your dog or cat is suffering from regular episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation, it may be suffering from an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria. If this is the case, you might want to consider introducing some probiotics into your pet’s diet.

Inside your dog or cat’s intestinal tract there is a delicate balance between normal and pathogenic microorganisms. Basically, there are helpful (or friendly) and harmful (or unfriendly) bacteria living inside your pet’s intestines. When this balance is offset, it could result in your dog or cat experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.

What causes the imbalance in my pet’s digestive system?
In dogs, gastrointestinal problems are usually caused by a dog eating something it should not be eating. In cats, parasites from their prey can cause the problem. Also, if your pet has been prescribed antibiotics, in can offset the delicate balance between good and bad bacteria.

How can I ensure my pet has a healthy digestive system?

  1. Take your pet to the vet on a regular basis to rule out any diseases. If your dog or cat is exhibiting frequent bouts with nausea, diarrhea or constipation, it may be due to an infection or a gastrointestinal disease. It is why regular check-ups from your vet can help rule out any life-threatening causes.
  2. Maintain your dog or cat on a healthy, consistent diet. Frequently changing what you feed your pet can create havoc to its digestive system.
  3. Add a probiotic supplement to your pet’s diet. Safe and easy to administer, probiotic supplements for dogs or probiotics for cats can provide your pet with the gastrointestinal and neurological support it needs to stay healthy. Probiotics can also help dogs with allergies, and help reduce their cholesterol levels. Probiotics are known to promote regularity, help with digestive issues, and boost your pet’s immune system.

How does a probitoic work?
While most researchers are not exactly sure how probiotics work, most agree that once the friendly or probiotic bacteria settles into your pet’s digestive system, its presence can help discourage the spread of unfriendly or pathogenic bacteria.

At what stage in my pet’s life-cycle should I start a probiotic regimen?
While not necessary, it is typically advisable to start giving your dog or cat a probiotic supplement when it is still a puppy or kitten. Since your pet’s digestive tract is still developing, providing it with a supplement will help ensure it has the friendly bacteria it needs to stay healthy.

Are probitoics difficult to administer?
Probiotics come in different forms, but the most common are powders, capsules, and chewables.  The powders and capsules can be mixed with your pet’s food. The chewables can be hand-fed just like you would a treat.

Will I need a prescription to give my pet(s) a probiotic?
Fortunately, probiotics do not require a prescription. They are available over-the-counter at your veterinarian or can be purchased conveniently at Allivet, your trusted pet pharmacy. However, we strongly recommend that you consult with your veterinarian first to see if probiotics are right for your pet.

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