What are probiotics and prebiotics and how they can help the microbiome?
‘Prebiotics’ and ‘Probiotics’ are buzzwords you have probably seen around, but what actually are they, what do they do and what is the difference between them?
Both are things that we can give to our pets to help their microbiome. The microbiome is the collective name for all the amazing bacteria and other organisms that live in the gut. These not only help our pets digest their food, they also have a huge role in the overall health and function of the body.
The microbiome is seriously awesome!
Prebiotics feed the bacteria themselves as opposed to our pets.
We know which ones the best bacteria prefer, so we can accurately target them to thrive! Prebiotics are generally a fibre source like beet pulp, this is one of the reasons why it is so important your dog’s food has plenty of fibre in it – it isn’t for them, it’s for the bugs in their guts!
(This is also why small, hard poo isn’t necessarily a good thing. A nice bulky poo is due to undigested fibre – undigested by our pets that is, but not the microbiome!)
Pro-biotics contain live bacteria. The aim is not always that these set up home in the gut (although some kinds can) but that they support the good bacteria that do naturally thrive in the intestines and prevent or inhibit the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria.
There are a LOT of gut support products for our dogs on the market and it can be difficult to know which ones are worth investing in!
Here are some things to look out to ensure you are using a good quality probiotic;
Has research been done on the product that shows it has a positive effect on the gut function and health?
Ideally the company will have conducted several different studies and have positive results from them all. Studies should be published in medical journals, not just as a blog on the website.
Can the company prove that the bacteria survive in the product for the length of time they say they do? It won’t be very effective if they all die off in the tub before you get the chance to give it to your pet!
Have the bacteria been proven to survive the stomach acid and actually get to the intestines where they are needed? Again, these results should be published in journals, not just on websites.
If you think your pet might benefit from some support for their guts, have a chat to your vet about what products they would recommend and you could also visit Procanicare UK