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7 Important Questions About Your Dog’s or Your Cat's Microbiome

  1. WHAT IS A DOG’S MICROBIOME?

Your dog’s microbiome are all the microorganisms (and their genetic material) living on or inside of a dog’s body and how they contribute to health. All microorganisms include bacteria, fungi (yeasts), protozoa and viruses. The dog’s microbiota refers ONLY to the microorganisms.

  1. WHAT IS THE DOG’S GUT MICROBIOTA?

When it comes to the canine GUT microbiota that means the microbes living in or on the digestive tract (from fangs to feces). More precisely, the last section of the digestive tract = large intestine (or, the colon) receives the most attention because it contains the highest concentration and greatest diversity of microbes in the dog’s entire body.  We call this the dog’s gut microbiota.

  1. WHY ARE YOUR DOG’S MICROBIOTA SO IMPORTANT?

A dog’s microbiota has trillions of microorganisms of hundreds of species, and many of these species are bacteria that work hard to aid in the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients (like vitamins), fight off harmful bacteria (like E. coli), fungi (like Candida), viruses (like Parvo.) and protozoa (like Giardia) as well as supporting the dog’s immune system.  

  1. WHAT CAN AFFECT A DOG’S MICROBIOTA?

Just like humans, with dogs there are several factors that can lead to compromised microbiota, such as age, diet, activity level, stress, use of antibiotics, and environmental conditions.  

When the canine digestive system is disrupted or compromised, this is referred to as “dysbiosis”.  When the microorganisms become imbalanced it typically causes digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, or a range of other wellness or immune issues. 

  1. DO ANTIBIOTICS or ANTIFUNGALS CHANGE MY DOG’S MICROBIOTA?

Antibiotics are antibacterial substances that are designed to kill bacteria or slow their growth, antifungals are designed to kill fungi (yeasts like Candida).  Both of these are indiscriminate killers as they can’t distinguish between good microbes or bad microbes and often kill-off “friendly” microbes causing the microbiota to become imbalanced; leaving the immune system depleted and vulnerable.  This imbalance can leave your dog susceptible to other side-effects and health issues, or contribute to serious digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, or allergic reactions like itching and hives.

  1. CAN PROBIOTICS SUPPORT A DOG’S MICROBIOTA?

Short answer – ABSOLUTELY! 

When using a canine probiotic to support a dog’s microbiota, especially in cases of digestive distress, it’s important to use a high-count, multi-strain army of “good” bacteria to help tilt the balance in favor of good bacteria.  Remember, there are millions of other microorganisms in a dog’s gut already, so a higher dose of beneficial bacteria (the good stuff) is essential to strengthen the gut-immune barrier by promoting a healthy gut lining, supporting healthy bowels, better digestion, and increasing the population of healthy bacteria following microbial imbalance.

  1. HOW DO PREBIOTICS SUPPORT THE MICROBIOTA?

Prebiotics are selectively fermentable dietary compounds that result in changes in the make-up and/or activity of the gut microbiota, giving benefits on the dog’s health. Prebiotics can really boost the effect of a probiotic by adding extra nutrients for the ‘microbiome’ to feed on, thereby ensuring the growth and colonization of the probiotic bacteria. Look for products with inulin a preferred choice by premium probiotic manufacturers.

In veterinary medicine, there are not many commercially available products containing prebiotics. We do know that prebiotics support the vitality of the gut microbiota making the addition of prebiotics important in certain groups of pets. For example, prebiotics (the latest addition to Profauna 100) may help older pets’ gastrointestinal tracts avoid inflammation – catering to the needs of older pets’ guts and their microbiota may help address some of the declines that come with advancing age.

So, in a dog’s gut already containing trillions of microbes, what can help support a healthy gut following dysbiosis?  A high-dose, multi-strain probiotic with prebiotics of course! 

While the research supporting high count probiotic success in humans, especially for GI disorders such as IBD, is far more robust than for animals, research has found that supplementation with large numbers of a combination of probiotic strains helps maximize intestinal colonization and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.  When your dog’s digestive system is compromised, you’d probably want to know that multiple billions of bacterial organisms are working hard to help restore balance and order.  High-dose probiotic therapy works to influence GI immune health in ways lower-dose probiotics may not. 

The word “pro-biotic” literally means “for-life,” and probiotics perform better when they are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) and are administered in adequate amounts (to a dog), conferring a health benefit to that animal.  Probiotics for dogs should state the CFU (colony forming units) count that represents the number of viable (living) bacteria in a serving, and can range from 1 million all the way to 100 billion CFUs per dose or serving.  

When choosing a canine probiotic to support a dog’s microbiota, especially in cases of digestive distress, it’s important to use a high-count, multi-strain army of “good” bacteria with prebiotics to ensure vitality to help tilt the balance in favor of good bacteria.  Remember, there are millions of other microorganisms in a dog’s gut already, so a higher count of “the good stuff” is essential to strengthening the gut-immune system by promoting a healthy gut mucosa, supporting healthy bowel function and digestion, as well as increasing the population of healthy microbiota following dysbiosis (microbial imbalance).

Here at ocnean.com we believe in leveraging the power of the animal microbiome to develop next-generation products in animal health supplements.  We’ve created Profauna 100 a high-count canine and feline probiotic with prebiotics for multiple digestive issues and microbiome support delivering 100 billion live bacteria and 250 mg of prebiotics per serving for cases of digestive distress in dogs and cats.