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All Natural Probiotic Formulations
To Help Establish, Support and
Maintain Optimal Intestinal Health

An old breeder’s trick to help maintain digestive health in show dogs is to put a spoonful of yogurt on top of the kibble every day.  
Show dogs travel often, drink water from different sources and may spend time in cars or on airplanes.  That can sometimes
translate into diarrhea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal distress.

Does the yogurt really help?

Most of us have heard that the friendly bacteria, or probiotics, in yogurt can be good for our gastrointestinal systems, especially
when taken with antibiotics.  Even mainstream doctors sometimes recommend a daily cup of yogurt for people undergoing
antibiotic therapy.

Many studies have demonstrated that probiotics have beneficial effects on human health.  They can decrease illness in young
children frequently exposed to viruses (as in those attending daycare).  They have been proven to prevent and treat traveler’s
diarrhea, antibiotic-associated stomach upset, inflammatory bowel disease and colitis.  When women take probiotics during
pregnancy, their children have a lower rate of skin allergies.

But not much has been done to prove that probiotics also help dogs.  People tend to extrapolate the results of human studies
onto dogs, and sometimes studies back up this intuitive transfer of benefits from one species to another.  The use of probiotics
seems to be one of those cases.  One study conducted by Nestlé Purina Pet Care Research in 2003 observed healthy beagle,
Labrador retriever, fox terrier and Manchester terrier puppies to see how probiotic supplements might impact their immune
function.  For one year, the puppies were fed either a regular diet or a diet supplemented with the probiotic Enterococcus

The puppies getting probiotics did indeed show “significantly higher” secretory Iga levels after one year, a measure of immune
function.  At one year, the control group’s vaccine levels for distemper had started to decline, but in the puppies fed the probiotic
supplements, vaccine levels remained at post-vaccination levels after one year, suggesting that probiotics boost immune

Positive Effects of Probiotics

Shawn Messonier, D.V.M., a veterinarian in Plano, Texas, sees the positive effects of probiotic supplements all the time.

“Probiotics aren’t the only way I treat chronic or acute bowel disease, but they are an important part of that treatment,” he says.  
“Studies show that probiotics repopulate the bowel with healthy bacteria.  Giving normal bacteria back to the bowels that is
disrupted by the disease helps the body heal itself.”

Dr. Messonier also prescribes probiotic supplements for dogs on such medication as antibiotics or anti-fungals.

“Even anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl commonly prescribed for arthritis can be disruptive to the digestive system in some
dogs, and probiotics can minimize those side effects,” Messonier says.

Probiotics come in many delivery mechanisms: tablets, capsules, treats, powders to sprinkle on food, and dog food itself, which
may be advertised as “containing yogurt” or “for digestive health.”

Messonier prefers probiotics supplements to yogurt or probiotics in pet foods to treat bowel problems, because
supplementation allows vets and pet owners to give known dosages.

For general maintenance, however, probiotics in pet food, treats or even that added spoonful of yogurt might help and certainly
won’t hurt.

“With probiotics, you can’t overdo it,” Messonier says.

More Uses for Probiotics

For dogs on antibiotics or other medications, Messonier recommends giving a probiotic supplement one hour or more after an
antibiotic dose.

“Otherwise, the antibiotic can render the probiotic ineffective,” he says, adding that the reverse is not true: probiotics will not
render antibiotics ineffective.

For travelers – both dogs and humans – a probiotic supplement ingested just before hitting the road might prevent stomach
upset and traveler’s diarrhea.

Messonier's favorite everyday canine supplement also contains a probiotic for general bowel maintenance.

“Daily probiotic dosages don’t need to be as high potency as those dosages meant for treating a disease, but a daily
supplement is just fine and might have a preventive effect,” he says.

Among clients looking for holistic remedies, demand for probiotics is high.  Yet all probiotic supplements aren’t created equal.  
Messonier urges retailers to know the company they buy from and keep an eye on expiration dates.

“Some have shorter shelf lives, and some even need refrigeration,” he says.  “I prefer the kinds that have multiple species of
probiotic bacteria.  These may give better coverage.”

If customers complain that probiotics aren’t working, Messonier says you may have a bad or expired batch.  But most customers
are happy with probiotic therapy and find it really does give dogs relief from stomach upset and diarrhea, naturally.

This article appears in the January 2006 issue of Pet Product News – pages 106-107.
Do Probiotics Make a Difference?
Beneficial bacteria may improve dogs’ digestion and general health
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Eve Adamson
This article is reprinted by permission of  Eve Adamson

Eve Adamson is an award-winning freelance writer specializing in pets and holistic health.  A contributing
editor for
Dog Fancy magazine and the Holistic Marketplace columnist for Pet Product News magazine,
Eve has also written over 40 books, including the
Simple Guide to a Healthy Dog, winner of the Eukanuba
Canine Health Award in 2005.  Find out more about Eve at