Does Your Cat Need Probiotic Supplements?
By Guest Blogger, Clara Lou, a co-founder and the marketing head at Petlovesbest.com
The rising popularity of probiotics in the past decade has made us think about whether they are helpful to our beloved pets as well or not. A significant amount of research is available on the effects of human probiotics. However, there is more to be done to know how exactly they benefit. Well, the short answer is ‘yes’, there are studies that state that there are health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics in animals including cats. Yes, you can give your cat probiotics.
Cat probiotics in general boost immunity, improve overall health including mental health and well-being, and ease up diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. But do all cats need probiotic supplements on a daily basis? Let’s see the nitty-gritty of probiotics supplements for cats.
What Are Cat Probiotics?
There is a whole environment of bacteria, yeast, virus, and parasites thriving in the gastrointestinal tract of your feline buddy. They are collectively known as the microbiome. However, the most part is bacteria and is responsible for digestion, immunity, and other crucial biological functions. Some scientists also consider microbiome as the “forgotten organ” of animals.
Probiotic supplements or simply probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that benefit the host when consumed. Many of these good microbes live in the colon too and when they simply exit it or outnumbered by harmful (bad) bacteria, there will be an imbalance in the microbiome. This imbalance will adversely affect the immunity of the animal and can cause different gastrointestinal conditions.
Probiotic supplements on a daily basis replenish the imbalance caused if any and ensure there are enough good bacteria present always.
Benefits of Probiotics
Veterinarians prescribe probiotics when cats have some medical conditions. Nevertheless, probiotics should be taken as more of a preventive measure than a medicine. Some of these medical conditions include diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), constipation, food allergies, skin allergies, hairballs, flatulence, etc.
Probiotics do not only restore gut health but also improves immunity. According to a study done by Purina, pets who were given probiotics regularly had more antibodies present in their fecal matter. Also, when there are more good bacteria present in intestines and colons, digestion and absorption of nutrients improve, thereby aiding in better overall health and well-being.
How To Give Your Cat Probiotics
As stated, probiotics for cats should be as a preventive measure and should/can be given on a daily basis. However, kittens do not need probiotics unless they have any preexisting gastrointestinal conditions, but probiotic supplements can do wonders for an adult or a senior cat.
Probiotics can be given in different forms to your cat.
- One of the easiest ways is probiotics supplements in powder form. You just have to sprinkle the powder on your kitty’s daily meals. Also, vitamin and other nutrient supplements nowadays come with probiotic and prebiotic blends. That being said, you won’t have to appease your cat to consume more different supplements (And it’s good for your wallet too.)
- Alternatively, if your cat doesn’t approve of the powder supplements, you can try probiotic treats. Simply, replace them with your cat’s regular treats. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t feed too many treats so that you don’t overfeed them with probiotics and extra calories. Please consult your vet before you try out other methods.
- Whereas, probiotic pills are a good way, you might have a hard time persuading your cat to swallow one. These pills are of the same size as human pills and can be hidden in a piece of food. In fact, it can also fit into a treat. So, while you feed your cat, add a piece of chicken with the pill or use a treat to mask the flavor of the pill. This way your cat is likely to eat the entire thing.
The problem with the pills is your cat might spit it out later. Some cats are smart. When they are given medicinal pills, they hide it somewhere in the mouth and spit it when they get a chance. So when you put a pill in your cat’s mouth, wait for some moments and check to make sure that the pill has really gone down. You can also try cat probiotic pastes or gels if pills don’t work too.
How To Choose Good Probiotics
Well, this is another article for another time. But, here are some basic things you need to look for when choosing probiotic for your pet.
- You shouldn’t give human probiotics to your cat. The simple reason behind this is, the strains of bacteria present in humans are different than a cat’s intestines.
- When you think of starting to give your cat probiotics, go to your vet and ask for their recommendations and keep in mind the instructions they give.
- Read online reviews and read the label of the product. Check the number of CFU (generally 30 billion per gram is a good number) and strain of bacteria. Generally, the strains of good bacteria found in a cat’s GI tract should be included in the supplements.
Definitely probiotics help a cat for their overall health and well-being. Your cat (if not in a kitten stage without any pre-existing GI conditions) should get probiotics on a daily basis as it is beneficial. Moreover, please remember that not all probiotics may work for your feline and you might try more than one before you finally find the right one. And in case of any confusion, don’t hesitate to seek help from your veterinarian.
We at Pet Treater love giving you information for the betterment of your fur baby’s health. We always recommend that you consult with your pet’s vet before starting any diet changes or any medicinal/holistic changes for your pet.
Many purrs and barks,