Probiotics: A Super Supplement
When we hear the word bacteria, we often think of unhealthy germs that cause illness. Bacteria, after all, can be the stuff that makes us sick. However, all of us, including our animal companions, have bacterial flora lining our intestinal tracts. These bacteria are actually beneficial to health, and sickness can occur when the balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract is reduced.
A number of conditions or situations can result in an imbalance of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract, including age, trauma or injury, chronic disease, environmental toxins, ingesting artificial pet food ingredients, stress, and use of antibiotics. Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients are aided by the beneficial bacteria found in the intestinal tract, so an imbalance can lead to illness. Probiotics are made up of healthy bacteria, such as Lactobacillus thermophilus or acidophilus, Enterococcusfaecium, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, and can help to restore balance to the gut. These helpful bacteria restrict the growth of unhealthy bacteria, preventing them from taking over and causing disease. As an added bonus, healthy bacteria also produce B vitamins, which are important for many health functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates (akc.org).
The amount of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract will decrease as your animal ages normally, but it can also be lost as a result of poor diet, stress, or use of medications. Supplementing with probiotics for older animals and animals who are injured, stressed, ill, or may not be eating as well as they should can help to strengthen your animal’s intestinal health and ward off disease.
Probiotics are available at any health food store and acidophilus comes in capsules, liquid, or live-culture yogurt. However, since cats are generally lactose intolerant, keep yogurt doses small, and make sure to only serve plain yogurt, free of all sweeteners, especially xylitol, which is toxic to animals. Consider adding Earth Animal’s Healthy Digestion Nutritional Supplement to your dog or cat’s daily diet for an extra nutritional bump. An active blend of herbs, vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics, Healthy Digestion supports proper digestion and bowel health, and works to maintain healthy gut flora and pH to support normal digestive function.
A healthy gut makes for a healthy animal. Feed your companion a nutrient-rich diet and add a daily dose of probiotics to counteract the effects of aging, stress, injury, or antibiotic use as another way to bring your best friend health and longevity.