Humans aren’t the only ones whose immunity resides in their gastrointestinal tract. Surprisingly enough, dogs, cats, birds, and many other animals have a majority of their immunity coming from their digestive tracts too. And like humans, your humble furry and feathery friends can benefit from having probiotics in their diet.
But the question does remain, can you give dogs, cats, and other pets human probiotics? Or do you have to use special probiotics for cats, dogs, birds, and so on? While our pets may have certain human foods they can’t eat, let’s learn more about the one they can have.
Can Your Dog Use Human Probiotics?
When it comes to dogs there are many human foods you can’t give them, ranging from chocolate to garlic. In the realm of probiotics, however, there are many human-grade probiotics you can give your dog. Many probiotic supplements, chews, foods, and powders that are readily available for dogs.
But if you’re looking for a cheaper or more natural alternative probiotic then check out the following natural human probiotics that you can give your dog according to TheProbioticsReview.com.
Natural human probiotics that are safe for dogs:
- Goat’s milk
- Soft and aged cheese
- Low sodium, low sugar, onion-free fermented vegetables
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
While you can also feed your dog garlic, it is best to get your veterinarian’s permission first. Garlic, in small amounts, is safe for dogs, but too much garlic can be toxic to dogs.
Probiotic strains that are safe for dogs are:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Bacillus coagulans
- Bifidobacterium animalis
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
Signs Your Dog May Need Probiotics
Figuring out if your dog needs probiotics can be a challenge. After all, our pets can’t verbally tell us how they feel. But don’t let this stop you from doing what is best for your pet. There are plenty of signs you can observe in your dog that can help you determine if probiotics are the right way to go. And if ever in doubt, always consult with your dog’s veterinarian for further advice. So, what signs do you look for?
Before you introduce probiotics into your dog’s diet, you’ll want to look for the following signs and symptoms:
- Raised ears
- Ears drop
- Bad odor
- Bad breath
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Ear infections
- Itchy and flaky skin
- Dull coat
- Reactions to antibiotics and medications
While some of these symptoms are normal dog behaviors, it is when they are done out of the norm or in excess that you may want to be concerned.
Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
Like with humans, dogs can also reap many benefits from having probiotics in their diet. Some of those benefits are:
- Helps alleviate digestive issues due to illness or stress
- Boosts weakened immune systems in elderly pets
- Decreases the negative side effects of antibiotics
- Prevents issues related to bacteria imbalances
- Minimizes upset stomachs when changing foods
- May help reduce skin allergies
- Improves dental health
- Improves absorption of nutrients
- Boosts metabolism and energy levels
- Helps your dog maintain a healthy weight
- Improves skin, coat, and overall breath
And while these benefits are great, you should also consider the risks of giving your dog probiotics too.
Risks and Side Effects for Dog Probiotics
With proper dosing, probiotics are harmless for your dog. But if you give your dog large doses, your pet may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Diarrhea may also occur when introducing probiotics to your dog for the first time.
Can Your Cat Use Human Probiotics?
Keeping your kitty healthy is a huge priority for many pet owners. After all, cats are better at hiding ailments than dogs, which can be nerve-wracking for cat lovers. But don’t worry, like dogs and humans, cats can also benefit from probiotics.
But before you whip out that saucer of milk, you need to be aware that not all probiotics are safe for cats. A cat’s gastrointestinal tract is smaller than a dog’s, which means not all probiotics are going to work for cats as they would dogs.
Unlike humans and dogs, cats can’t digest cheese and milk products. And while this may seem limiting to pet owners, there are a few types of probiotics that you can safely give your favorite feline.
Some human probiotics that are safe for cat consumption are:
- Enterococcus faecium (and related species)
- Bifidobacterium animalis (and related species)
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
But if you’re wanting your cat to get the most out of probiotics, veterinarians recommend giving them probiotics that are made specifically for cats. You can find these in the form of capsules, chews, pastes, cat foods, and powders.
Signs Your Cat May Need Probiotics
Figuring out if your cat is sick or uncomfortable is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either. If your cat shows the following symptoms or signs, then they may benefit from having probiotics in their diet.
Signs and symptoms to look for are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Skin allergies
- Dull coat
- Food allergies
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Poor appetite
- Reactions to antibiotic treatment and other medications
With all of this in mind, let’s check out the benefits and risks of giving cats probiotics.
Benefits and Side effects of Probiotics for Cats
While not all human probiotics are helpful for cats, cat probiotics do have many benefits. Some of those benefits are:
- Helps maintain a healthy gut
- Improves immune function
- Improves digestive conditions
- Reduces flatulence, diarrhea, and loose stools
- Helps reduce vomiting and nausea
- Helps your cat maintain a healthy weight
All these benefits are great for your cat, but nothing is ever perfect. While it is rare, some side effects can come from giving your cat a bad cat probiotic supplement. Always research your cat’s probiotics before you introduce them into their diet, and make sure the label has an NASC label or is produced by a trusted human supplement company.
Overall, probiotics for cats are an ideal addition for most kitty diets, and if ever in doubt, you can always consult your cat’s veterinarian for further instructions and advice.
Before placing your pet on any type of probiotic, you’ll want to consult with a veterinarian first. Not all probiotics will work for all pets, and some pets may have underlying health conditions that make certain probiotics unhelpful.
All in all, some types of human probiotics can be readily given to dogs, cats, birds and many other animals with little risk. And your pet’s health will surely thank you as well. With all of this in mind, we hope this guide helps you determine if probiotics are something you may want to include in your pet’s diet.