Gastrointestinal Track Health Supplement
Two extremely beneficial supplements to promote healthy digestion in pets are probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Probiotics are friendly strains of bacteria that maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in your pet’s GI tract, and also defend against opportunistic, pathogenic bacteria.
The digestive tract is the largest immune organ in your pet’s body. Your dog or cat has even more intestinal bacteria than you do, despite her much smaller size. The GI tracts of companion animals are designed to handle a tremendous bacterial load – bacteria that would quite likely develop into a life-threatening infection if found elsewhere in your dog’s or cat’s body.
A healthy population of friendly bacteria keeps your pet’s immune system in good working order. If the balance of bad-to-good intestinal bugs gets out of whack, your pet will eventually develop GI symptoms and an increased susceptibility to illness.
Studies demonstrate animals raised without friendly bacteria in the gut, or with a poor balance of good-to-bad gut bacteria, are at dramatically increased risk of developing disease.
When researching supplements for your pet, you’ll want to avoid human probiotics, and probiotics added to commercial pet food. Probiotic formulas used by humans were developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract. Pets have specific strains of bacteria unique to them, so they need a unique probiotic.
The bacteria in a probiotic must be live and able to reproduce in order for it to be beneficial. Tests on dog foods claiming to contain probiotic micro-organisms showed the manufacturing process kills too many of the live bacteria, rendering the probiotic effect useless by the time the food is packaged and shipped.
Look for a pet probiotic that can survive the acidic environment of your dog’s or cat’s stomach, contains enough live organisms to colonize the intestines, and the correct strains of bacteria beneficial for pets (not people). It should also remain stable under normal storage conditions and be easy to give to your pet.
High quality digestive enzymes for pets should be sourced from animals (not plants or fungi), and should ideally contain some or all of these ingredients: betaine HCI, ox bile extract, bromelain, papain, pancreatin, protease, amylase and lipase.