The term “bacteria” has a very negative connotation for most people. As soon as you say it, people start thinking about diseases and other bodily conditions when in fact, bacteria can be good or bad both. The good ones are called probiotics. Just like humans, dogs have good and bad bacteria present in their bodies as an integral part of their bodily functions. When these bacteria are in proper balance, a dog feels healthy and happy. However, certain conditions can cause good bacteria to reduce in number and create various health conditions in a dog.
Your Dog and Probiotics
Your dog, just like any other dog, has microflora in its gut. You can say that microflora is yet another fancy name for good bacteria. These good bacteria convert large food particles into small ones, also known as digestion. In addition to that, they strengthen the immune system of your dog helping it fight against dangerous agents like e-Coli, salmonella and other pathogens. If you did not know, your dog’s gut makes up nearly 80% of its immune system. While your dog is busy showing love for you, there are trillions of good bacteria crowding up in their gut to battle and defeat the harmful bacteria.
Why Probiotics Are Crucial for Your Dog
As stated above, the larger portion of the immune system of your dog resides in their gut. There are trillions of good bacteria making up the immune system. However, reduction in their population results in a weak immune system and hence making your dog susceptible to various diseases and pathogen attacks. Not having enough bacteria in the digestive tract can negatively impact the performance of your dog’s digestive system. Studies have also proven the effect of gut health on brain functions. Your dog's gut has plenty of nerve cells, and thus a healthy gut is crucial for proper brain functioning.
A study on the effects of gut health on brain functions conducted on mice showed mice with reduced amounts of gut bacteria lived shorter lives as a result of disease and illness. VMD, MS, DACVIM, Marcella D. Ridgway, stated in a journal that stable gut health can even affect the coat and skin quality of a dog in addition to preventing and fighting behavioral issues and obesity.
Reasons for Low Population of Good Bacteria in Your Dog
There can be several reasons why your dog's gut does not have ample good bacteria. The first and most common factor is aging, i.e., these bacteria reduce with age. Exposure to radiation, digestion of chlorine in water, excessive use of non-organic foods, etc. are common reasons why your dog might not have enough good gut bacteria. Moreover, immoderate use of antibiotics can also lead to lowering the good bacteria in your dog’s gut, resulting in numerous physical conditions.
It is imperative for every dog owner to realize that probiotics are just as crucial for a dog as they are for any human. Good news is that there are now probiotics supplements that can help improve your dog’s immune system and treat various digestive conditions.