As a dog owner, keeping your furry friend healthy is essential. Hence you strive to feed him well, provide clean water, show him love and ensure he gets adequate exercise.
You might not know that your pup's gut health could be deteriorating. Fortunately, you can quickly fix this using prebiotics.
In this post, we define prebiotics, list why they are suitable for your dog, and offer tips on incorporating prebiotics into your dog's diet.
What are Prebiotics
Prebiotics are indigestible, soluble fibers found in certain foods. When consumed, these fibers promote the growth of certain bacteria in your dog's gastrointestinal tract, which improves its functioning.
In other words, prebiotics are indigestible fibers that pass by the gastrointestinal tract undigested. On arrival at the colon, they become fermented to produce (SCFAS) short-chain fatty acids that nurture a healthy gut.
Various types of fibers fall into two categories namely.
- Insoluble fiber
- Soluble fiber
A dog's stomach can only ferment soluble fibers. Hence some of the standard soluble fibers that do well as prebiotics are;
Its found in numerous fruits and vegetables, namely apples, asparagus, dandelion, bananas, apples, artichokes, and chicory.
They are obtained from root vegetables, legumes, beans, and dairy products.
FOS is extracted from fructose molecules in whole grains, fruits, and roots like oats, flaxseed, beet pulp, yacon root, and blue gave.
Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS)
MOS is made from Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast.
What prebiotics do for dogs
- Act as an energy source for colon cells
- Maintain regular intestinal fluid and electrolyte balance
- Hinder growth of harmful bacteria
- Lowering inflammatory processes
- Reduces chances of digestive tract diseases
Differences between prebiotics and probiotics
Now that you understand what prebiotics are, we need to look at the differences between prebiotics and probiotics, as most people confuse the two.
Probiotics are hundreds of billions of microorganisms that inhabit a dog's gut.
They have numerous roles, such as aiding in food digestion, stimulating systemic immune function, and maintaining the mucosal integrity of the intestines.
In essence, probiotics are live cultures that introduce good microorganisms to the gut, whereas prebiotics are the food sources for these beneficial microbiomes.
Are probiotics better than prebiotics?
There is no way to compare probiotics to prebiotics as both substances play distinct but essential roles. Vets recommend using probiotics and prebiotics for a healthier and more robust dog.
How long do prebiotics take to work?
Prebiotics pass through most of the gastrointestinal tract while intact, but they start working immediately after reaching the colon, where fermentation occurs.
How long it takes to see noticeable changes depends entirely on the supplement's use.
If it's to clear mild diarrhea, it can take a few days. However, it may take up to five weeks of regular use to boost immunity.
Health Benefits of prebiotics to Dogs
Prebiotics not only feed beneficial bacteria in a dog's gut; they also offer plenty of health benefits, including
Increasing nutrient absorption
Prebiotics can alter PH in your dogs' intestines and harmonize microorganism composition in the gut. Consequently, making the intestines highly conducive for nutrient absorption.
For instance, when nutrients pass through the intestines, some get absorbed, and others don't—prebiotics help by increasing the number of nutrients absorbed and utilized by the intestines.
Control blood sugar levels
As fibers, prebiotics decelerates digestion while harmonizing absorption processes, enhancing a thorough breakdown of nutrients and constant sugar levels.
This is advantageous, especially for dogs with diabetes, for sudden blood sugar increases or reductions can cause serious health problems.
Strengthening the immune system
According to experts, prebiotics enhance your dog's immunity by facilitating increased nutrient absorption.
Moreover, when you regularly feed prebiotics to lactating and pregnant females, puppies grow faster and respond well to vaccines.
Increase bone robustness and density
Gut health and its microbiome composition affect bone density and strength since they influence nutrient absorption.
For example, the more calcium a dog's intestine absorbs, the lower the risk of osteoporosis and other bone quality-related issues.
Prevent intestinal disorders
Maintaining a good and bad bacteria balance in the gut support digestion and absorption processes. Thereby regulating and preventing diseases that affect parts of a dog's gut.
Facilitate fermentation and digestion
Supporting fermentation in the colon prebiotics impacts the quality of stool a dog produces.
Hence when you regularly use prebiotics and probiotics, you can prevent and manage diarrhea.
Natural Prebiotics for Dogs
Earlier, we learned that plenty of fruits and vegetables could act as natural sources of prebiotics.
However, not all of them are ideal for regular dog use. Thus below are dog-friendly prebiotic foods you can offer your pet.
They are rich in numerous carbohydrates with prebiotic properties such as xylans, mannans, hemicellulose, chitins, and beta-glucans.
The best mushrooms with these properties are
- Reishi mushrooms
- Chaga mushrooms
- Turkey tail mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
It contains high inulin levels, is readily available, and easily incorporates into your canine's food
Chicory is semisweet; thus, many dogs like it. In addition, the roots act as antioxidant support, enhance digestion, alleviate constipation and manage inflammation.
Also known as the "good sugar," larch is a soluble fiber immensely available in corn, astragalus, peas, carrots, and coconuts.
What to look for when buying a prebiotic
Since prebiotics and probiotics aren't tightly regulated like medications, you need to take extra caution to pick an effective and safe source.
Here are factors you should consider when buying a prebiotic for your dog
- Does the product have natural ingredients?
- Is the product specifically designed for dogs?
- Has a certified veterinarian recommended or developed the product?
- Will it be easy or challenging to give to your dog?
- Has a third party tested or reviewed the product?
Caution: your chosen prebiotic should never have artificial sweeteners or sugars like xylitol.
In addition, avoid products that have maltodextrin, a substance obtained from genetically modified corn, as it negatively impacts blood sugar levels.
On some products, maltodextrin is usually listed as resistant starch or soluble corn fiber.
How you can incorporate prebiotics into your dog's diet
You can include prebiotics using two methods.
- Naturally using food that has high amounts of soluble fiber
- Using prebiotic supplements specifically for dogs
Points to note: When using the natural method, you need to be cautious since some foods, when consumed in large amounts, may cause health issues.
For instance, excessive beet pulp and raw garlic may irritate your dog's stomach and lead to diarrhea.
If you choose to buy supplements, first consult with your vet doctor on the dosages you need to provide to your furry friend.
We recommend utilizing Safe Guard dog pre + probiotic. The product features natural, high-quality ingredients has a good flavor and is easy to administer.
Moreover, Safe Guard pre+ probiotics have been clinically tested and are highly recommended by certified veterinarians.
Making prebiotics a regular part of your dog's diet greatly benefits his general well-being and health. Mainly since prebiotics directly affects the functioning of a dog's gut.
Luckily there are numerous ways of adding prebiotics to your pup's diet, either using natural foods or buying formulated supplements.
Whichever way you use, ensure you first consult with your doctor to avoid cases of overdosing or other adverse effects.
We hope you found the article helpful. Feel free to contact us for more information, till next time.