My name is Raquel Astacio and I run Doggy’s Digest along with my boyfriend, Alexis. We are a site dedicated to thoroughly covering the topic of probiotics for dogs. I originally reached out to Dog Food Advisor to see if we could contribute a post; unfortunately they do not accept any but did say we can post in the forums.
Many dog owners are not aware about canine probiotics and our mission at Doggy’s Digest is to help increase awareness. I am posting the original article that I was going to contribute to Dog Food Advisor. If this is an inconvenience or violates guidelines, please do let me know. If you find the content informative and have questions, please let me know and I will be more than happy to answer! Thank you.
The Benefits of Canine Probiotics
For years now, we as humans have been learning the many health benefits of probiotics. Just like humans, dogs need healthy food, plenty of exercise, vitamins, and probiotics in order to be in optimum health. Probiotics are bacteria and live yeasts that improve overall health, especially in regards to our digestive systems. We usually think of all bacteria as being harmful and causing diseases. When we hear the word “bacteria” we think of antibacterial products and antibiotics that we use to destroy unhealthy bacteria.
So why would we want to willingly ingest or feed something to our dogs that has live bacteria in it? The answer is that digestive systems naturally consist of a correct balance of both “good” and “bad” bacteria. Illnesses, diet, medications, and our environment can upset this balance that is needed to stay healthy. The bacteria from probiotics is healthy bacteria. The microorganisms in probiotics are actually alive. They produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which inhibit the growth and activity of harmful bacteria. They can greatly improve a host’s gut and overall health when ingested in the proper amounts.
Probiotics are a relatively new, healthy trend in the dog and pet industry. People are realizing how essential it is to provide their pets with healthy supplements to their diet. Probiotics promote a healthy gastrointestinal system and intestinal balance in your dog. The healthy bacteria can also build up the immune system.
Veterinarians prescribe probiotics for many different conditions. They are recommended for dogs who suffer from SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), chronic diarrhea, auto-immune disorders, skin problems, irritable bowel, and intestinal infections like Giardia and Clostridia. They may even reduce allergic reactions and prevent urinary tract infections.
Once you have decided to provide your dog with probiotics, how do you choose which kind to use? It is first important to make sure that you are getting a quality product. New canine probiotics are being advertised all the time and dog food brands are adding probiotics to their foods. The challenge is that dog probiotics, like all probiotics, are live cultures that are unstable in their active states (yogurts or liquid-containing products). When exposed to extreme conditions, much of the bacteria can die off and lose their beneficial properties before reaching the intestine. This is the case for a lot of canine probiotics. This means that you need to choose a quality brand that has taken these things into account and are not just cheap probiotics added to a brand for marketing purposes.
It is first important to check the kinds and amounts of probiotic strains and amount of CFU in the probiotic. Look for 2-4 billion CFU and 8 or less strains of bacteria. Significantly less CFU may not provide any added benefits to your dog’s diet, and much higher CFU and a high number of strains may be indicators of possible harmful combinations.
Probiotics come in various forms: maintenance, intermediate, and concentrated. Maintenance probiotics are usually in powder or granule form and are used to combat everyday stress such as changes in environment or being left alone. Intermediate probiotics are usually powders and fed to your dog daily to deal with chronic stress and digestive issues. Finally, concentrated probiotics come in pastes or liquids and are temporarily used for the duration of a pet’s illness.
For everyday uses, probiotics in dry form are good options to consider. These provide a healthy and convenient option for dog owners. They contain stabilized strains of bacteria that will come back to life once they have reached the dog’s stomach. They then move to the intestines and multiply hundreds of times. Since they are not in an unstable, liquid form, they do not require refrigeration. It is simple to sprinkle these probiotics on your dog’s food.
Freeze-dried probiotics are another viable option. These probiotic microorganisms do not lose any of their potency or viability until they are mixed with water. This will happen naturally during digestion.
Whichever probiotic product you choose, you must be sure to store and use them properly. If you are using powder or granules, keep them closed and dry until feeding time. You may freeze dried forms once, but they may not be repeatedly frozen and thawed. If you choose a paste or liquid form, it must be refrigerated but cannot be frozen. Lastly, follow label instructions for proper dosage. Canine probiotics can be a wonderfully healthy addition to your dog’s diet and improve their vitality for years to come.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I hope you enjoyed the post!
Many years ago, my dog used to get urinary tract infections (UTIs) constantly, but then, I put her on Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d and it has worked well for many years. Now, I am considering moving to a different product with higher ratings and better nutritional content. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Thank you so much in advance!
I couldn’t find a way to search through the archives of the forums, so I apologize if this has already been answered somewhere else. My 2.5 year old shepherd mix (Chewbacca) has had some pretty gnarly urinary tract infections in the last five months, and our vet thought it could be due to her food. We switched both her and my boxer (Diosa) to Fromm’s Gold from Natural Balance about six months ago, and the boxer hasn’t had any issues (in fact, she’s improved and some health issues she was having on the old food went away).
This may not be related to the food, but Chewie also recently developed a taste for the poo in the yard – she used to only have a snack in the winter when everything was frozen solid (we live in the upper Midwest), but now it’s nearly constant, even in the spring/early summer (i.e. she’ll go back outside after Diosa does her business and clean it up). Could that also be related to the food? Has anyone else had something like this happen after switching brands? I’m just looking for some guidance, I guess…we’re looking at switching them to Orijen instead, so I’m mostly curious if anyone else’s dog has UTI issues or poo-eating related to their food intake.
Hey guys, I was wondering if I could get some advice on what kind of dog food to feed my dog. She is almost two years old, she’s fixed, and she has had three urinary tract infections within the past six months. The first time I took her to the vet they discovered that she had a tilted vulva so she may be prone to UTI’s, but did not give me any further instruction (besides antibiotics for treatment). The second time I took her to the vet they prescribed her Hills Canine C/D. After doing some research, this food is extremely expensive! I have looked up Royal Canin as well, but it’s even more expensive. Right now my dog eats Diamond Naturals and after reading some reviews, I definitely want to get her off of this food.
I want the best for my dog so if Hills or Royal Canin is the best, then I will switch her over but before I make any decisions I wanted to get some feedback about what has worked best for others and what dog food is the best for UTI’s.
I was also wondering about the Royal Canin Calming food for dogs. My dog also has severe separation anxiety and I was reading that the calming food may also help create a healthy environment in their urinary tract area. The only problem is that this food is for dogs under 33 pounds and my dog is 55 pounds.
Any information about food and urinary tract infections is appreciated!
Topic: Chronic Uti
I have 2 mini-dachshunds ages 7 and 9. They are not overweight in fact one only weighs 5.5 lbs. Both of them have had recurring urinary tract infections with struvite crystals. My dogs eat a raw diet (Natures Instinct) with NO grains at all. They also get plenty of water. My vet wants me to put them on Royal Canin urinary support food. For obvious reasons I don’t want to do that. Any suggestions on what to do?
My pups were having diarrhea on and off, then diagnosed for Giardia, then Campylobacter. After a second round of antibiotics, I figured a probiotic in the morning & a some enzymes at night would be helpful (especially with all the hundreds of astounding reviews for correcting runny stools & digestive issues). After a few days, the diarrhea became WORSE. Then I read that the Enterococcus faecium ingredient in probiotics or dog food is bad for dogs and causes urinary tract infections with that bacteria strain detected. I was expecting good results to no results but certainly not turning the stools into a sliding oatmeal texture. Side note: my pups are happy, strong & play hard with no signs of pain or illness otherwise. Does anyone know why this might be happening?
My 2 year old, 14lb mix of shi Tzu, Llasa, and Maltese keeps getting recurring gastritis. I have started her on probiotics and enzymes, however, I keep getting conflicting opinions on the type of food to feed her. Right now she is on Wellness Core. I’m not sure if too much protein is an issue, or if she should have some kibble with brown rice. She also gets recurrent urinary tract infections, so again, I am wondering if high protein is good or bad. I just started her on a product called Urinary Gold which is suppose to correct the pH of the bladder. Thank you for any help you can give me to get my baby on the right diet to normalize her stomach and bladder.
HELP! I have a 14 yr old Jack Russell that cannot eat gluten(wheat), but is also having re-occuring UTI’s. My vet told me to find a high protein food without oxalates, much veggies or dairy. She was on Blue-Grain-free. Vet said it’s bad stuff, (and actually, I had a bad experience with consistency-My dog became ill after starting a new bag…Had to return it.) Then I tried Hill’s Grain Free Ideal Balance…Turkey flavor, and she’s also tried the salmon, but I’m not sure if it will be just as bad as the turkey reoccurring Urinary Tract Infections. Anyone tried Royal Canin Vet SO Dry food? It does have corn gluten in it. Any suggestions as my vet seems clueless. 🙁
Topic: Commercial raw? Pre-mix?
I am considering switching my dogs to a raw diet. We have two 1.5-year-old Australian Cattle Dog Mixes. They are both rescue dogs. We adopted LoJack last October, and Quincy came home with us in July. Both of them came to us eating Science Diet, which we pretty much immediately threw out. I worked in a high-end pet store for years, and I am kind of a food snob when it comes to my pets. My cat, Ralph, has been on Nature’s Variety frozen chicken for over a year now, and does amazingly on it (for him, it has helped with his urinary tract infections). The dogs have eaten a variety of Nutrisource Grain-Free Salmon, Pure-Vita or Merrick dry kibble. My boyfriend and I are big on “Eat Local” and both of these companies seemed pretty good for commercial dog food. Now that we have graduated from grad school, we can start entertaining the idea of paying a little more to feed raw. When we just had LoJack he would also get raw meaty bones once in a while for his teeth, we haven’t tried giving Quincy those due to some digestive issues we’ve been struggling with.
Anyways, I am thinking of originally starting with a pre-made raw, and possibly slowly adding in some other stuff. My boyfriend hunts, so hopefully we will have some venison this year for them, and we also live in the country so there is the possibility of contacting local butchers for organ meats and stuff. We already own a hand grinder for the meat (though we may invest in an electric one if we end up going with raw!).
Anyways, what are your recommendations for pre-made diets? At this point, we would like to stick with a grind because of Quincy’s issues with chunkier food (I want to make sure that raw works before trying chunks, then slowly add chunks in to make sure we don’t cause issues). I am considering doing Nature’s Variety since it is balanced for cats and dogs, which would be nice, but it is also a little expensive, so I figured I would see if anyone else has any suggestions. I would also consider a pre-mix with ground meat.
One last question – can they have venison bones? We saved a bunch from the deer we got last year and froze them, but I got worried about chronic wasting disease, so we have never tried them. They are thinner than the beef/bison bones we normally feed, so I worried about him swallowing chunks as well.
Molly, LoJack and Quincy (and Ralph the cat)
Topic: Urinary Tract Infections
My rescued poodle had chronic urinary tract infections for the first 9 months after we got him. These are not as common in male dogs, but he had been a stray, so who knows what bacteria he’d picked up. According to the vet, UTI’s are very painful. They also caused my poodle to have to pee very frequently and sometimes in the house. The vet will give you a round of antibiotics to treat the initial infection.
One way to keep UTI’s from coming back that worked for my poodle was increased moisture intake. I only feed him moist food (no kibble! I feed a rotation of commercial raw foods, pre-mixes with raw meat, canned food, and some homemade balanced recipes) and purchased a circulating pet water fountain for him (you can get them online). He hasn’t had another UTI in a whole year.
Things the vet recommended were adding salt to his food so he would drink more and buying some nasty prescription dog food. But you don’t need to do that stuff. Just increase moisture. Even if your dog doesn’t suffer from UTI’s, it can’t hurt to put them on a diet that is fresher and with more water. Domestic animals (cats especially but dogs too) tend to dehydrate when on a kibble-only diet.
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