NutriSource Blogs

Probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics for dogs: Why you need all three

February 02, 2022

As a pet parent, you want to do everything possible to provide your dog with the healthy lifestyle they deserve. You buy high-quality food for overall health and wellness. You lookout for great new enrichment activities for mental stimulation. You may even have a doggy playdate lined up to keep their social skills sharp.

If you’re looking to level up on your four-legged friend’s healthy lifestyle, here’s another easy habit you can work into your routine: focus on good gut health.

Don’t make a rookie error with probiotics

There’s a lot of buzz around probiotics, and they do wonders for digestive health and immune system support. But if you simply toss your dog a few probiotic chews or top off their dinner with plain kefir, your furry friend may not realize the many benefits.

A more effective strategy is one that focuses on providing your pet with probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics. Together, these promote “good bacteria” in the gut, eliminate pathogens, and provide digestion and immune system support.

Confused? Don’t worry. In the following, we’ll show how these bioactive compounds work together in the body to better your dog’s well-being.

What are probiotics for dogs?

There’s a lot of buzz about probiotics. They’re pretty amazing because they’re living organisms that rebalance the gut. That rebalance is linked to many health benefits in dogs and other mammals.

Where do you find probiotics?

Probiotics are the living organisms that you can find in fermented foods like yogurt, but live cultures can also be included in many pet products, including food and treats.

What do probiotics do?

When probiotics get established in the gut, they multiply and take the place of harmful pathogens that can cause disease and ailments in your pet — including runny stools and tummy troubles.

Introducing prebiotics, what probiotics need to thrive

Probiotics are live bacteria, and like other living microorganisms, they need a source of food. That’s where prebiotics come in.

Prebiotics are resistant starches found in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. When offered as a food source, prebiotics provide the conditions for probiotics to thrive and multiply.

When probiotics feed on prebiotics, there’s an important end product that provides even more benefits: postbiotics.

What are postbiotics and how do they help dogs?

As the probiotics consume the prebiotics, there’s a fermentation process that releases metabolites called postbiotics. Some refer to postbiotics as the waste product of probiotics but don’t let that disgust you. Scientific research has actually uncovered many physiological benefits of postbiotics in the body.

Postbiotics reduce pathogens and cultivate “good” bacteria in the gut, improving the digestive process and helping your dog absorb more nutrients.

Postbiotics also support other systems in the body:

  • Anti-inflammation
  • Gut hormone regulation
  • Nutrition absorption
  • Immune response

Postbiotics and anti-inflammation support

One particularly important benefit of postbiotics is they promote anti-inflammatory responses throughout the body.

Why is anti-inflammation important?

Inflammation happens when the body’s immune response kicks in, activating the white blood cells and other defenses.

Your inflammation response is what you’d expect when you have a minor infection from, say, a small cut: heat, pain, swelling, redness, stiffness.

When is inflammation a concern?

Inflammation is concerning when it causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue and organs. That’s when inflammation presents itself in ailments like arthritis, allergies, and itchy skin.

Research shows that postbiotics interact with other gut bacteria, which triggers an anti-inflammatory response through the whole body. The result is a healthier, happier beastie.

How to make gut health a part of your dog’s routine

Now that you know why prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics benefit your dog’s GI tract, you’ll want to look for opportunities to offer foods and snacks that get more good bacteria established in your dog’s gut.

  • Everyday health: focus on enriching your pet’s diet with probiotics and prebiotics to cultivate a healthy gut.
  • Tummy troubles: when your pet is going through a stressful time, the extra focus on gut health can help support their immune response and help curb inflammation.

Probiotics for dogs with diarrhea

For times when your dog is faced with a stressful situation or he eats something he shouldn’t have, it’s not enough to dose your dog with an extra serving of yogurt.

You’ll also want to supplement with probiotics to initiate the fermentation process, so you can achieve the benefits of gut-health building postbiotics.

Another solution is to provide your dog with a source of postbiotics. (This can be especially helpful if your dog is going through tummy upset.) Keep them on hand for certain situations:

  • Moving to a new home and other big transitions
  • Traveling
  • As a supplement or topper during illness or infection
  • Rotational feeding (e.g., introducing a new protein to dogs with sensitive stomachs)

What’s the best source of postbiotics for dogs?

Now there’s an easy way to offer your dog digestion and immune system support. Come-pooch-a is a savory, meaty bone broth topper that has activated postbiotics, a first-of-its-kind product from NutriSource. Inspired by kombucha, the popular health beverage, Come-pooch-a is the perfect topper to support your dog’s health while making mealtime more exciting with the meaty aroma he craves. Use Come-pooch-a as part of your strategy to support your dog’s digestive health.

Shop local and pick up a carton of Come-pooch-a at your favorite independent pet supplier.