Probiotics are live. They are microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and even treat some illnesses.
Currently their most studied benefits are the promotion of a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system.
Probiotics are also known as friendly, good, or healthy bacteria. They can be supplied through foods, beverages, and dietary supplements.
~ From Medicinenet
Prebiotics are substances inducing growth or activity of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria and fungi). These microogorganisms contribute to the well-being of their host.
The most common example is in the gastrointestinal tract, where prebiotics can alter the composition of organisms in the gut microbiome.
~ From Wikipedia
The Essential Difference
Probiotics introduce healthy live bacteria into your dog or cat’s gastrointestinal system. It’s purpose: aiding digestion, promoting gastrointestinal health and supporting immune function.
Prebiotics do not introduce new living bacteria but are a non-digestible, fibre compound. Prebiotics supports and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria which are already in your pet’s digestive system.
The Challenge Of Probiotics With Pets
The stomach of a cat or dog stays very acidic for a long period of time. The purpose: to kill off potential bacterial contamination. Unfortunately, this includes the “healthy” bacteria in a supplement. Not all probiotics manufactured for pets will survive this harsh environment.
“The natural ‘wild’ diet of dogs and cats has evolved a gastric environment that favours the breakdown of raw meats, raw bones, and a PH that kills potentially harmful bacteria – consistent with the requirements of carnivores”
– Dr. Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons)
There are only some strains of probiotics that can survive, but they do not seed the intestinal tract as most people think.
These are typically transient and adjust the pH of the intestinal tract creating a better environment for the existing bacteria to thrive and grow.
Why We Use Prebiotics
We know that intestinal health is important for our pets. As such, probiotics sound like a logical aid to that goal. However, due to the fact that your pet’s stomach is so acidic, we think that a better solution is to nurture the good bacteria that is already there.
A high quality prebiotic will promote intestinal health by removing toxins and assist in producing a friendly environment for healthy bacteria. This will assist in the growth of healthy bacteria that is already used by our pet’s body.
Secondly, for immune health, prebiotics are a food source to nourish the bacteria so they can grow in numbers.
Although not a veterinary doctor, Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, explains the benefit of prebiotics which are applicable to humans as well as dogs and cats.
“As prebiotics make their way through the stomach without being broken down by either gastric acids or digestive enzymes, they bring about positive changes in the digestive tract and organs. Essentially, prebiotic compounds become nutrient sources, or “fuel,” for the beneficial bacteria that live within your gut.”
A More Effective Solution
We agree that intestinal health is important for our pet’s overall health. We also want to nurture and feed the bacteria necessary for intestinal and immune system health.
While probiotics can be helpful, we feel that pet nutritional supplements that include prebiotics, such as Stomax, are much more efficacious and better suited for the harsh landscape of your pet’s gastrointestinal system.