How to Help Improve Your Dog’s or Cat’s Digestive Health
Your pet’s digestive health isn’t just about a good diet or the amount of calories they consume — it’s also about promoting the health of their digestive system. Your dog or cat’s digestive tract is made up of gut cells, immune cells and a huge population of friendly microbes (called the microbiota) that all work together to absorb nutrients, maintain a balanced immune system and promote your pet’s good health.
But sometimes your pet’s normal microbiota can change, leading to poor digestive health. Learn what causes these changes, and how you can help maintain good digestive health in your dog or cat.
What Causes Poor Digestive Health in Dogs and Cats?
Digestive health means having a robust, normal gut microbiota. In dogs and cats, aging and stress may alter normal gut microbiota. Stressors can include:
- Dietary changes or indiscretion
If you think your pet’s digestive health may be suffering, consider supplementing their diet with a prebiotic, probiotic or synbiotic.
How to Help Improve Digestive Health in Your Dog or Cat
As you might expect, diet can affect the gut’s microbial populations. For example, if you shift from a high-sugar diet to a healthier high-fiber diet, other gut cells release hormones that alert the rest of the body within 24 hours that you’re eating a better diet!
The principle is the same for your pet. A high-quality, healthy diet can help your pet’s gut microbiota population support digestive health.
Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that can be used by gut microbes for fuel. Prebiotics also produce healthy compounds that support normal gut functions.
Probiotics are live microorganisms or “good” bacteria that promote the growth of helpful intestinal bacteria. Probiotics for dogs and cats, used daily or during times of stress, support normal digestive function and a healthy gut.
A digestive supplement that contains both prebiotics and probiotics is called a synbiotic. These supplements provide the benefits of both probiotics and prebiotics for gut health.
Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics can promote a healthy gut microbiota, which is essential for a normal GI tract and immune system. Ask your veterinarian about the use of prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics for dogs and cats to help support proper digestion and immune health in your pet.