The answer is most definitely yes!
Probiotics are live enzymes, yeasts, and microorganisms, including the healthy, “good” bacteria, that is needed to promote the normal, healthy function of the GI tract and therefore, the immune system. Adding probiotics to your dog or cat’s diet may also help with skin issues, allergies, diarrhea, excessive gas, and excessive shedding and can be especially valuable if the normal intestinal balance is out of whack by antibiotics, poor diet, dietary change, or inflammation.
Unlike people, dogs and cats do not usually get probiotics from their food because most dry pet food is made through a high heat process which kills off the probiotics, natural enzymes and many nutrients. Dry pet food also has a high percentage of starch / carbohydrates, which literally feeds the “bad” bacteria, so the normal intestinal balance easily gets disrupted. While many dog foods claim to have probiotics, the manufacturing process causes any probiotic benefit to be useless. However, dogs and cats that are fed a raw diet – either commercial frozen raw or home-made - do not usually need additional probiotic supplementation because a raw diet already contains the probiotics and vital enzymes the digestive system needs.
There are many different ways to include probiotics in your pet’s diet. Here are some of our favorites.
Raw goat’s milk is a natural probiotic offering better digestibility of your pet’s food. It is perfect for “sensitive stomachs” and has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce the effects of certain allergies. At Nilla’s Tub, we have raw goat's milk direct from a local farm as well as raw goat milk products from other companies that have other ingredients added. For example, Chiafreeze includes chia seeds, which are an excellent source of protein, omega 3 healthy fats, and fiber, as well as micronutrients such as manganese, calcium, and phosphorous. CannaGurt is a raw goat milk yogurt base with added hemp oil. With 2.6 mg of CBDs per ounce, it is designed to help dogs and cats with seizures, anxiety, pain, and/or a suppressed appetite.
Probiotics also come in capsule or powder form. Many pet owners find these easier to administer as you just sprinkle it onto your pet’s food. They also do not need to be refrigerated, so it’s more convenient for travel. In addition to probiotics, the capsules and powders may also include gut-soothing herbs, digestive enzymes, and prebiotics. Each of these work in a different way to help support and maintain a healthy digestive system.
Answers is a company that makes fermented goat’s milk. The fermentation process increases the amount of probiotics and adds another layer of nutritional value. Their cheese bites also contain turmeric, Spirlulina and Ginger. These are a great way to add probiotics without giving a capsule or mixing a powder into food.
When your dog's gut microbiome is healthy, it means there's an optimal balance of good-to-bad bacteria present. When an imbalance occurs that allows an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, your dog will often develop problems in his GI tract first, followed eventually by other health conditions resulting from the inability of his immune system to function as it should.