How do probiotics work?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, the “good” or “friendly” bacteria that populate the entire digestive tract and play an important role in digestion, nutrient assimilation and immune system function. The term probiotics originates from the Greek word that means “for life.”
Many people still believe that all bacteria are harmful, but friendly intestinal bacteria are an important component to the health of our pets. Over 70 percent of the immune system is located in the gut and many veterinarians believe that imbalances in intestinal bacteria are a major factor in many of the chronic disorders that we see in animals today.
When you supplement the pet’s diet with probiotics, it floods their system with beneficial bacteria with in turn aids digestion and nutrient absorption and boosts their overall health.
Just like humans, your pet encounters emotional and physiological stresses everyday – and every one of these stresses can potentially affect their GI tract; everything from eating sticks and grass, to dietary changes experienced when being boarded, to diets of highly processed foods, or even just being left alone for the day can rock the delicate balance of good bacteria, which opens the door to less-than-optimal health.
As the largest immune barrier in their body, the gastrointestinal track bears the brunt of these stresses. It will boost the immune system, aid metabolism, support digestion, improve nutrient absorption—and even aid oral health.
Potency and purity is all-important so be sure to talk to your veterinarian so he or she can suggest the best one. Ask questions such as:
• How many strains of beneficial bacteria does my pet need? Generally, the more strains the better, but your vet can advise you.
• How many CFUs are in it? CFUs are the bacteria “bugs” and a probiotic can have as little as 1 million or even 20 or 30.