We often get asked what the difference between prebiotics and probiotics is for our dogs and cats and what each does. Is there a difference between them?

Prebiotics and probiotics are actually quite different products; however, they have most of their effects in the large intestine. Both prebiotics and probiotics work together to maintain a healthy digestive system for our dogs & cats. Just like us humans, about 80% of their immune system is influenced by their digestive tract.  Many studies have found that a healthy gut is linked to your pet’s mood, joint health, and energy levels. Having a good understanding of how prebiotics and probiotics work in your pet’s diet is key to helping them maintain their best and happiest life!

So what exactly does a prebiotic do?

Well first off, prebiotics are a form of dietary fiber that supports the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. Just like humans, your dog/cat’s immune health is directly linked to their digestive health. Prebiotics have been known to improve mineral absorption, regulate bowel functions, support the immune system, and help reduce inflammation. They help prevent that harmful bacteria from taking over your immune health and getting you sick.  When prebiotics are ingested in the large intestine, they then become the main source of food for the probiotic. Without prebiotics, your probiotics would not be able to fight for your pet’s health in their system, so prebiotics are an important part of your pet’s overall health and wellness.

Here are some benefits to prebiotics in your pets:

  • Prebiotics help with fermenting the food in your pet’s tummy faster, aiding in their digestion. The more food that can break down in your pet’s body, the more nutrients are able to be absorbed.
  • Since prebiotics are essentially fiber, they help with slowing down digestion, making sure the food is completely broken down which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Like we stated above, just like us humans – our pet’s heath really starts with the gut. Maintaining a healthy gut with prebiotics will help heal the lining of the gut which will be important in your pet’s overall health.
  • There are studies showing that prebiotics can also help pave the way to bone density and strength. Aiding in the reduction in inflammation can help your pet’s joints feeling their best.

So how can you incorporate a prebiotic? Well, ideally your pet’s food should be providing this clean and balanced nutrition but most pet foods fall short of this. Some super healthy prebiotics you can incorporate into your pet’s diet is sweet potatoes, apple slices, and canned pumpkin.

Now that we understand a little bit about prebiotics, what do probiotics do?

  • Probiotics are a dietary supplement containing live bacteria that adds to the bacteria normally present in the gastrointestinal tract. The term “probiotics” covers a variety of friendly bacteria that are beneficial for the digestive tract. These are types of bacteria that help digest and absorb nutrients from food and defend against any bad bacteria from taking up residence and protect the body against illness and disease.
  • Providing a probiotic supplement to your dog or cat can help replace the damaged bacteria and keep a healthy balance. They can also improve the digestive process by breaking down nutrients in the diet so they can easily be absorbed and used by the body for energy while reducing inflammation.

Overall, prebiotics and probiotics help your pet maintain a happy and healthy gut which leads to a happy and healthy pet! Without a healthy gut, your pet is unable to absorb the proper nutrients from their food and if they cannot absorb those nutrients, your pet’s health will suffer. We have a variety of prebiotic and probiotic supplements available in store! Please stop in and let us answer any questions you have about maintaining a healthy gut for your pets!