Probiotic supplements are a boon for dogs suffering from problems associated with intestine such as diarrhea, dehydration, smelly stools, foul gas, gum diseases and foul breath. These health problems are usually the result of stress, illness or certain antibiotic or antifungal medications. You are assured of many benefits if you try to include acidophilus in your pet dog's diet. However, is acidophilus the best solution for your dog or is there anything better? Let's find out.
Types of Acidophilus for Dogs
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
This is a powdered form of the Lactobacillus bacteria. It helps in digestion process. Apart from this, Lactobacillus can also be used in combination with bifidobacteria, i.e., the bacteria found in human intestines grown outside the body and taken as a medicine. L. acidophilus is good for puppies, as it is observed that it increases the dog's weight and makes it immune to allergies in older years. Most of the acidophilus probiotic supplements also contain yucca, papaya and antioxidants such as vitamin C.
- Bifidobacterium animalis
This reduces diarrhea and improves the intestinal problems in dogs. This is the most effective probiotic according to many studies. Many probiotics lack this strain, but it is believed that soon B. animalis will be included in the ingredients of all the probiotics.
- L. rhamnosus
This bacterium along with L. fermentum and L. salivarius is found in the intestines of normal dogs in quite a high concentration. While getting probiotics for your dog, you should check whether the ingredient contains L. rhamnosus or not. This being an effective bacteria shall be present in the ingredient of probiotics in a good quantity.
- L. fermentum
This bacterium is naturally found in dogs. It helps in improving the intestinal state of the dogs and has effective characteristics that are strong for survival.
- L. reuteri
It has proved to be helpful in controlling the intestinal infections in dogs to a great extent. It is discovered that L. reuteri is one of the most resistant bacteria and has a wide range of health benefits.
- L. salivarius
This is an inherited bacteria in dogs, and is also an important ingredient of probiotics formulated for dogs.
These supplements not only restore the natural activity of the intestine, but also help the dog overcome a range of dog illnesses. The key benefits of acidophilus supplements for dogs are as follows:
- The supplement ensures a healthy digestive system.
- It is helpful in diarrhea treatment and its prevention.
- Yeast infections and urinary tract infections are completely cured by using probiotic supplements.
- The supplement eliminates problems of foul gas and smelly stools.
- Intestinal putrefaction may result in constant bad breath which can be effectively reduced by acidophilus.
- It relieves muscular and arthritis pains.
- These supplements prevent shedding and indiscriminate scratching caused by the stress related to the improper functioning of the digestive system.
- Antibiotics, antifungals and wormers can have some negative side effects which can be counteracted with these supplements.
- Last but not the least, these supplements improve the immune system of the dogs.
The Right Dosage
Well, the commercial variants of acidophilus supplements contain different number of live organisms per dosage. While the dosage is specified on the product's label itself, veterinarians recommend a daily dosage of 20 million to 500 million organisms per dose. For administering the dosage, mix the supplement into the food or feed it to the dog by an oral syringe. For puppies, a daily dosage of two teaspoons of the powdered acidophilus is ideal, while for adult dogs four teaspoons per meal is considered appropriate. This may vary based on the supplement brands and whether you purchase them in powdered form or as capsules and pills.
The dosage also depends on the weight of the canines. A dog that weighs less than 24 pounds is advised to take one tablet each day, whereas a dog that weighs between 25 and 49 pounds is required to take one tablet in the morning and one in the evening. The dog that weighs above 100 pounds needs to take two tablets in the morning and two in the evening.
Is It Safe for Dogs?
It is completely free of the harsh side effects as it contains all natural ingredients. It is also a great solution for those dogs which are lactose-intolerant and cannot be fed yogurt for curing the troubled intestines. A word of warning though, it has been seen that in the first few days, the dog may suffer from mild abdominal cramping and diarrhea. This would, however, be resolved after few weeks of use of the supplements.
Yogurt - A Healthy Alternative?
If your dog is not suffering from problems related to lactose intolerance, then one of the best alternative for acidophilus is yogurt. The healthy bacteria that aid in digestion are present in these active yogurt cultures. Mix one tablespoon of yogurt with your dog's food to resolve digestion problems.
Remember that although acidophilus is a natural supplement, it is not recommended for everyday use and cannot really be used indiscriminately. Make sure that you administer the dosage based on the recommendations of the veterinarian. You can obtain the pills or the powder form, from the local pet supply store or from the veterinarian.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Please consult your veterinarian before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested in this write-up.