Many people that come to visit the dogs have often been here at mealtime and have watched me prepare so many different things for each dog’s diet and special nutritional needs. I am often asked questions and want to address one of those today. Why do you give your dogs yogurt?
If you have ever eaten a yogurt with live cultures, you ate a probiotic. The term refers to beneficial or “friendly” gut-dwelling microbes (bacteria and yeasts). Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in various parts of your dog’s body, including the gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity, vagina, nasal cavity, respiratory organs and even on their skin.
The term probiotic literally means “for life.” The word comes from the Latin preposition pro meaning “for” and the Greek word bios meaning “life”; probiotics are considered “good bacteria.”
Why Your Dog Needs Probiotics? Good bacteria are crucial for the health of your dog’s gut. They support your pup’s brain, digestion, assimilation of nutrients and immune system. Boosting your dog’s immune system is probably the most important role of probiotics.
Immune system: 80% of your dog’s immune system is based in their gut. Different probiotics pair with almost every different part of the immune system. Viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and probiotics are present starting in the mouth and throughout your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Maintaining good bacteria keeps pathogens in check and is your dog’s primal immune system.
A good balance of probiotics helps reduce inflammation throughout your dog’s body and it lowers their susceptibility to chronic disease.
Digestion: Probiotics support digestion as well as the assimilation of vitamins and minerals. They help your dog’s body process critical nutrients like vitamin B-12.
Brain: The intestinal microbiome is in charge of producing neurotransmitters and neuropeptides needed for brain health. The gut is filled with nerve cells so probiotics in the gut can also support brain function.
When should you give your dog probiotics? I say every day! Some experts think you should only give your dog probiotics when they have digestive issues, under stress, if they have been taking antibiotics, or have other conventional medication. I believe that probiotics are an essential part of your dog’s health and they should be given all the time. (I have also given my dogs Fortiflora in case of upset stomach from medication but I will discuss that another day)
So what is the benefit my dogs receive from eating yogurt? I use plain lowfat yogurt that contains probiotics. Greek yogurt is more concentrated than traditional yogurt, and it contains a slightly higher amount of the beneficial probiotics.
Recently I shared a story with you about Lazarus, my picky eater. Not only is he a picky eater but he’s a huge gas passer! Boston Terriers are known for passing very smelly gas. They are actually considered the #1 dog breed that passes the SMELLIEST gas the most often. The yogurt, has actually reduced the occurrence of such smelly outbursts (and the word smelly is an understatement!)
Lazarus is a small Boston Terrier, the runt, and he would stink up the entire house! Yogurt is a dairy food and is very beneficial in treating gas. Reduction in his smelly gas passing didn’t happen overnight; however, the yogurt really did work!
Yogurt is also a source of calcium and protein for promoting bone and muscle health. Yogurt contains potassium, a mineral that acts as an electrolyte to preserve an ideal balance of fluid in your dog’s body.
Potassium is responsible for regulating enzyme function and maintaining healthy nerves and muscles. Potassium plays a key role in your dog’s heart function.
The magnesium in yogurt is an essential mineral for aiding the body’s absorption of important vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins C and E.
A spoonful or two a day of plain lowfat yogurt will make your dog happy and provide him with some added nutrients and benefits. Spoon it on top of their food or offer it for dessert at the end of the day.
You can also make frozen yogurt for your pups or make some treats containing yogurt. Many recipes are available right here on Paws Give Me Purpose.
Just beware, if you decide to feed your dog yogurt, you want to make sure he/she is not lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is low in dogs but some do suffer from the condition.
ALWAYS consult with your own Veterinarian before adding something new to your dog’s diet.
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