What Are the Benefits Of Using Cat Probiotics?
Have you ever considered giving your cat a probiotic? Do they even need one? Are you familiar with the benefits associated with probiotics supplements? Your cat’s gut has trillions of live bacteria residing inside, making a microbiome, a system unique to each animal.
So, when they get sick or exposed to a lot of stress, the number of bad gut bacteria increases, knocking their system out of balance. This is when digestive issues start appearing, leading to stool changes, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Good bacteria are what keep a cat's digestive system healthy while minimizing the level of bad bacteria and restoring the microbiome to a healthy balance. Probiotics are a great way to add good bacteria to your cat’s gut. But, let’s investigate this topic further and go through some health benefits of probiotics.
Are cat probiotics really necessary?
These products come in various forms, such as supplement powders, pills, and even kibble. When looking for the right one, it’s crucial to go for an option that doesn’t only work for your pet but contains the highest CFU or colony-forming units.
Combining different types of probiotic bacteria like Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus optimize your cat’s digestive system better than one single strain. While this product isn’t necessary, well, in some cases, it might be, probiotics are a great way to maintain your cat’s overall health.
How are probiotics for cats helpful?
First of all, they can regulate the immune system while stimulating the release of various anti-inflammatory cytokines. If your cat has issues with leaky mucous membrane, probiotics can help. Also, this product can lower abnormal intestinal permeability, soothe diarrhea, increase the production of good bacteria, boost digestion, and improve the overall health of your cat.
Many vets suggest probiotics as a treatment for cats that struggle with persistent E. Coli, acute pancreatitis, IBS, colitis, and other GI disorders.
According to numerous studies, this supplement can minimize the effects of diarrhea in stressful situations and improve the immune system, especially with cats on antibiotics. Nearly 70% of pet parents said their four-legged friends experience improvement in their clinical condition after regularly consuming probiotics.
What are probiotics for cats?
This supplement protects your pet’s GI tract. Probiotics are usually lactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus spp, Streptococcus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococcus. The strains that work best for cats are Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium.
When subjecting your pet to probiotics, it’s crucial to know that now every strain has a beneficial effect on your cat’s gut. Bifidobacterium usually helps with digestion, while Enterococcus helps with the formation of excrement. Some of the species maintain optimal health of the colon.
By inserting good bacteria, you are stimulating the production of your cat’s native beneficial bacteria. Therefore, the intestinal flora is focused even more on maintaining and producing good bacteria.
How to give your cat a probiotic supplement?
A daily dose of probiotics is necessary for some animals to maintain their optimal health. However, you may face some difficulties when your pet needs to swallow a pill or eat food with sprinkled powder on top.
The best way to administer probiotic supplements is through high-quality dry food with all the goodies inside. It will ensure your cat receives the daily digestive support they need. To make sure the food you are feeding your cat actually contains probiotics, you need to check out the ingredient list.
If you can’t find supplements there, skip that brand and move to another one until you find your match.
Here are a couple of tips you may find useful:
- Consult your vet first: before administering any drugs or supplements, talk to your veterinarian first.
- Check the label: before giving your pet any probiotics, make sure to analyze the label and number of live bacteria, as well as expiration date, specific strain, species, and genus.
- Choose the right form: you can usually buy cat probiotics in the form of a pill or a powder. Again, it’s important to note that you should use a specially formulated product for cats.
- Use correct dosage: different products have different levels of CFU or colony-forming units. Administer the right dosage by following the instructions on the label. In some cases, you will need to establish a long-term probiotic regime, to improve your cat’s health.
- Choose trusted suppliers, like probiotics for cats Australia.
When to start with supplementation?
Start with supplementation whenever you notice a change in your cat’s feces. Environmental stress or prolonged use of antibiotics can cause an intestinal imbalance. That’s why many vets recommend the use of probiotics.
They have a remarkable ability to instantly soothe your pet’s stomach. Depending on your cat’s condition, it might take a couple of hours to several weeks to experience the results. It all depends on a supplement and what you are trying to manage.
For example, when you are curing digestive upset, you will notice improvement within a day or two. But, when it comes to the immune system, it will take at least four weeks for your pet to experience positive effects.
It’s important to note that not all probiotics are right for your cat or suitable for every occasion. In some cases, it might be harmful to use probiotic supplements, especially when your pet has a significantly compromised GI tract or recently went through chemo.
At this point, your vet needs to decide how to proceed further.
Can you give cats human probiotics?
So far, many people have experienced the positive effects of probiotic supplements, and they want the same thing for their pets. However, you can’t give human drugs to animals, even though some pet owners tend to use the same over-the-counter supplements for their furry companions.
Also, we often hear many owners give yogurt to their pets, hoping to improve digestion and increase the number of live bacteria. Unless you use a specific product that guarantees a certain number of live bacteria, you are wasting your time and money.
Keep in mind that cats might be sensitive to dairy in yogurt, which can further compromise the GI tract.
How to pick the best probiotic supplements?
The number and diversity
As we mentioned earlier, it’s really important to ensure that bacterial probiotics are alive, not dead. In that case, they will be more likely to help your cat. Choose a product containing a high number of CFUs.
Since you aren’t sure what type of bacteria your cat requires, get a product that contains multiple strains, meaning there is more than one type.
Since you need this product available all the time, proper storing and preservation is required. While some should be put into the refrigerator, others must stay below 77 degrees. On the other hand, some types don’t have any temperature requirements. Be sure to check the packaging for any storage recommendations.
If your pet is sensitive to a particular food or suffers from allergies, you should choose probiotics that your cat can tolerate. For example, some products feature grains, animal proteins, and other ingredients that could cause an issue in your pet, or they simply don’t like the flavor. Add flavors like chicken to your cat’s food if you deal with a picky eater.
Probiotics usually come in powder form. You just need to sprinkle them on top of food or mix them with water and insert them with a syringe into your cat’s mouth. If probiotics come in the form of a capsule, you could open the capsule and sprinkle its content onto the food.
Supplements like probiotics aren’t regulated in the same way as medication. It means that a label can say one thing, but in reality, you might not get what you paid for. According to some analyses, not all probiotics meet the label claims.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it, only hope these supplements will help your pet. You should monitor their condition and if your cat doesn’t show signs of improvement, choose another brand.
Age of pet
Younger animals and smaller cats might find it challenging to consume large amounts of probiotics supplements. So, the dosage of probiotics you administer may matter. On the other hand, senior animals don’t eat as much food as they used to, so you don’t have to go overboard with probiotics.
A particular type of probiotic has been known to support specific body functions. Depending on their health condition, your cat may benefit more or less from this type of supplement. But, if your pet has been diagnosed with some condition, it’s best to talk to your vet before introducing probiotics.
In the end, you decide what happens to your cat. While probiotics can be great for their gut, these supplements require special attention and proper dosage. They are not over-the-counter medications that should be taken for granted. Consult your veterinarian before making any drastic decisions.