What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a form of dietary fibre that supports the growth and development of good and healthy intestinal bacteria so that harmful bacteria doesn’t overrun your immune system and make you feel ill or sick. Dietary fibre can be broken down into two primary categories:
- Soluble Fibre – As suggested by the name, soluble fibre can be broken, fermented and turned into food for probiotics. These are considered prebiotic.
- Insoluble Fibre – Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, cannot be broken down or fermented and simply pass through your system as roughage. These are not considered prebiotic.
During the process of the prebiotic being fermented in the large intestine, it becomes the primary food source for the probiotic – the more the prebiotic is ingested and processed the stronger the probiotic become resulting in a healthier individual. Without prebiotics, your probiotics would not live to fight another day. Because both humans and dogs share a similar gut structure everything previously mentioned pertains to your furry family members too.
Why Are They Important?
You are probably aware by now that, just like you, your dog’s immune health is directly linked to their digestive health and diet. In fact, as much as 80% of your immune system, is influenced by the digestive system and its overall health. And this isn’t exclusively limited to the immune system, studies have connected emotional wellbeing, joint stability and energy levels to the healthiness of the gut and digestive system.
A Canines long-term health can be balanced by probiotics – live beneficial microorganisms that provide health benefits to their host, these beneficial microorganisms assist your body and immune system in keeping any detrimental microorganisms at bay, keep your dog nice and healthy.
For this reason, the gut and digestive system is considered to the main hub of the immune system for both humans and dogs alike. When probiotic microorganisms don’t have the support to keep harmful microorganisms in check, your dog could experience a wide range of symptoms and issues stemming from gut imbalance. Here are a few signs to keep a lookout for:
- Skin and Coat issues (from excessive shedding to dry, flaky skin to incessant licking)
- Frequent ear infections
- Sensitive Stomach resulting in Diarrhoea, loose stool and regularity issues
- Excessively bad breath or foul-smelling stools
- Sudden food sensitivities and allergies
- Parasitic Infections
- Frequent Vomiting
- Finicky about food
How Will They Help My Dog?
Much more than just acting as a food for probiotics, prebiotics are a key component of your dog’s overall health. Prebiotics are not alive like probiotics, they are much hardier and can survive the harshest conditions such as heat, cold and intense stomach acids.
Where some probiotics are fragile and sometimes die before they get to the intestines, prebiotics are able to reach the intestines unharmed and continue to work their powerful magic. Some of the many benefits of prebiotics for canines include:
- Rapid food fermentation process resulting in digestive tract regularity
- Assists the body in better absorbing nutrients
- Prevents spikes in blood sugar levels
- Managing Intestinal disorders
- Increased bone density and strength
- Enhanced immunity in puppies
How Can I Incorporate Them into My Dog’s Diet?
In the ideal world, you and your dog would eat so clean, balanced and nutritious that all dietary needs would be taken care of by your daily intake and you’d never have to bother with supplements. Sadly, this is a dietary dream for both humans and dogs alike, and therefore we supplement the resources and nutrition our bodies need to function. When it comes to your dog and prebiotics you should be aware that most natural forms of prebiotics are prebiotics your dogs should never ingest, such as:
- Onions (not advisable for dogs)
- Garlic (not advisable for dogs)
- Cocoa ( Lethal to dogs)
It is advisable to find a good prebiotic for your dog and make it a staple in their weekly diet because they are highly unlikely to find enough natural sources to offer the right amount of prebiotics for prime digestion. Some common healthy choices that will work well in tandem with your prebiotic supplements include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Steamed Asparagus (Raw asparagus may cause gas/diarrhoea)
- Apple Slices in moderation (a perfect healthy treat)
- Canned Pumpkin (mixing with food will mitigate any potential stomach upset)
- Barley (a healthy grain to mix with your dog’s food)
- Flaxseed meal or the seeds themselves (serve with food for maximum digestion)
What should I look for in a canine supplement?
Looking to help your dog and see them healthy and happy? Dig-in’s range of prebiotic products such as Dig in Fresh is perfect for blending with your home-cooked dog food and Dig-In’s Digestive Gravy Powder, which is an all-natural food-based health supplement can simply be added to your dog’s meal.
Dig-In is for dogs of all ages and breeds. We believe in the enjoyment of a healthy and active lifestyle for you and your companion. So naturally, our products allow you to maximise each and every moment you get with your best friend.
- UBiome. Prebiotics 101: What They Are, What They Do, and Where You Can Find Them. https://ubiome.com/blog/post/prebiotics-101-what-they-are-what-they-do-and-where-you-can-find-them/
- 6 Natural Prebiotics For Dogs: Why Probiotics Aren’t Enough https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/6-prebiotics-for-dogs-get-the-most-out-of-probiotics/
- WebMD. What Are Prebiotics? https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/prebiotics-overview
- American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Good Bugs – Good Health! https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=526
- Vetericyn. The Dog Digestive System. https://vetericyn.com/blog/the-dog-digestive-system/
- Vetericyn. Products. https://vetericyn.com/all-in/
- The Balance. What is Bioavailability? https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-bioavailability-4041140