Have you noticed probiotics seem to be showing up everywhere lately?
Increased studies, mostly in humans, have shown the positive effects of probiotics in various functions in the body, from digestion to immune function. The same has been studied in dogs, with promising results!
Recently the studies have ventured into the first step of the digestive system: the mouth. Initial studies suggest that the right probiotics improve oral microbiomes, and in turn have a positive effect on the overall health of the mouth, from reducing plaque to improved breath and decrease in gum disease.
One way this seems to work is that probiotics or “good bacteria” take up the space and resources from “bad bacteria”, so that there are less harmful bacteria.
If you notice your dog has bad breath even though you’re brushing or your dog gets dental chews 5 x a week, probiotics are a great next step.
Which probiotics to use?
Human and dog ideal microbiomes vary greatly, most likely based on our difference in diets. Using a probiotic designed for your dog will have the best effect on their health. You'll want something with a variety of strains, and at least 1 Billion CFUs (the amount of live microorganisms in a given serving).
Fido’s Flora from Adored Beast is the only species-oriented probiotic derived from a fecal sample of a healthy dog, as well as the 14-strain blend in their Love Bugs probiotic, and a prebiotic.
For best results in the mouth, mix a pinch of this powdered probiotic with some coconut oil and brush your dog's teeth with the mixture, or spread it on a chew toy to give a boost of probiotics in the mouth.
New Beginnings by Olie Naturals is a unique fermented liquid probiotic with 3 strains of bacteria as well as prebiotics in the form of herbs, and post-biotics (byproducts of the fermentation process). The liquid should move more easily around your dog's mouth and allow the good bacteria to stick around. You can give this in their food or in plain yoghurt.
Make sure to get the pet formula! They do also make a human formula, which you can pick up for yourself too.
Don’t forget the prebiotics!
Probiotics have mostly been shown to improve health in sick individuals. To maintain the positive microbiome, you’ll need to feed those good bacteria! Prebiotics are non-soluble fibre. They are available in dietary supplements including some probiotics, in fresh diets, or dental health products formulated with prebiotics.
Edit: Bristly toothpaste has been discontinued. You can feed prebiotics in the form of Inulin – an indigestible starch found in many fruits and vegetables (bananas, apples, chicory, dandelion greens).