Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: Why Does My Dog Need Prebiotics Too?

Jul 6, 2021

You’ve probably heard of probiotics. They almost seem to be a buzz word these days, and that’s because they contribute tremendously to healthy guts. But what are prebiotics? Even more specific, what are dog prebiotics and does your dog need prebiotics if you’re giving them probiotics? The answer is, “YES!” and you’ll want to read on to find out why.

Is there a difference between prebiotics and probiotics?

The words have different prefixes for a reason, even though lots of people use the words prebiotics and probiotics interchangeably.

There’s a big difference, though.

Your dog’s gut is pretty incredible. And its number one job is to ensure that food is broken down as efficiently and optimally as it can be for maximum nutrition. It’s number two job, if you will, is producing the number two (the waste and byproduct of food) that you get the privilege of picking up every day.

When your dog absorbs nutrients efficiently, he’s able to convert that into energy and that vitality carries over to his overall health and immunity. A happy and healthy digestive system will mean that your dog’s gut is balanced with the right amount of bacteria. Good bacteria, or probiotics, are obviously good, while bad bacteria (that can come from yeasts, poor quality food, the environment or just overgrowth) is something you don’t want. Every bite of food your dog takes is full of bacteria–some good and some bad. His gut has hundreds of thousands of bacteria colonies. You always want your dog to have thriving colonies of good bacteria (the probiotics) with as little bad bacteria as we can get. When this is the case, good dog gut health is achieved, and your dog is able to live his best health life.

Supplementing probiotics to encourage good gut health is already a huge thing in the human world, and in the pet world, research continues to support the benefits of supplemental probiotics.

The thing is, though, if the probiotics in your dog’s gut are not getting fed well, they lose their benefit too. Yes, probiotics need to be fed, and that’s where prebiotics shine. Learn more about at what time you should give probiotics to your dog.

Prebiotic fiber feeds and nourish the probiotics and help encourage the growth of good bacteria colonies while suppressing the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Not all fiber is prebiotic though. Insoluble fiber can’t be broken down or fermented, so it’s not prebiotic. Soluble fiber is broken down and fermented in your dog’s large intestine. That’s how it turns into food for the probiotics in your dog’s gut, and helps the probiotic colonies grow and thrive.

And just like your dog wouldn’t survive if you didn’t feed him, probiotics won’t survive if they’re not fed. That’s a very, very bad thing for your dog’s gut and his overall health.

What do dog prebiotics do?

And as if ensuring the good bacteria in your dog’s gut aren’t properly fed isn’t enough, prebiotics are incredible health enhancers for your dog just as they are.

Prebiotics differ from probiotics in that they’re hardy. They can survive cold, heat and stomach acids way better than probiotics (which are pretty fragile and don’t always make it to your dog’s gut) can. In fact, all too often, you’re paying for pricey probiotics but they just die off before they ever get to your dog’s gut.  Prebioitics are different though, in that they go through your dog’s intestines unscathed and able to bring support along with them.

When it comes to fermenting food faster in your dog’s digestive tract so that more food is able to be broken down and absorbed, prebiotics aid that process. They alter your dog’s pH and gut microbiome composition so that it’s a more conducive environment for your dog to better absorb vitamins minerals as part of the digestive process.

Prebiotics also help regulate your dog’s blood sugar levels because they slow the digestion process down long enough for optimal digestion and absorption. This prevents spikes in their blood sugar and are especially beneficial for diabetic dogs.

Prebiotics can also help correct digestive problems in your dog’s gut. If they suffer from leaky gut or other nutrient absorption issues, prebiotics can help the lining of your dog’s gut, which aids overall health.

And believe it or not, more research continues on how prebiotics are beneficial to bone density and strength. It makes sense as again, prebiotics aid absorption and more calcium from your dog’s diet mean better density and strength.

Maybe one of the coolest things about prebiotics is that the breastmilk of a human and many animals has lactoferrin in it. Lactoferrin is specifically in that beneficial ‘first milk’ called colostrum and is a form of prebiotic that helps boost natural immunity in humans and in dogs.

Why are the prebiotics in Bernie’s Perfect Poop the best?

The prebiotics in Bernie’s Perfect Poop are Inulin and XOS. Inulin is commonly extracted from chicory root and belongs to a family of dietary fibers called fructans. It’s a starch substance that’s found in vegetables, fruits and herbs

Inulin is a natural prebiotic. It is a starch substance found in fruits, vegetables and herbs. It is commonly extracted from chicory root and belongs to ca class of dietary fibers called fructans. Inulin helps aid your dog’s digestive process because it promotes the growth of good bacteria and flora in his gut. It promotes mineral absorption and balanced blood sugar levels, which can help with overall weight health as well as immunity.

XOS, or  xylooligosaccharides, are a unique type of prebiotic.  Don’t get them confused as having anything to do with Xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs. They’re not. In fact, XOS are incredible prebiotics, even compared to other prebiotics like oligosaccharides (say that twice fast) found in many other dog supplements. XOS prebiotics are tremendously beneficial in that low doses have high efficacy in your dog’s gut, and they promote the growth of Bifidobacterium while maximizing the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio. In plain English, they help the beneficial to bad bacteria ratio be just what it needs for your dog’s best health.

And the best news of all is that Bernie’s Perfect Poop makes it easy to supplement these important prebiotics with every meal your dog eats!

Yes, you’ve likely heard about how important probiotics are for your dog’s (and your) gut health, but now you know how important it is that your dog gets prebiotics as well to feed those probiotics! Perfect Poop combines premium pre- and probiotics with digestive enzymes and Miscanthus grass to create a delicious, easy-to-give treat to your furry best friend. They’re important to have with every meal, so each bite your dog takes really does work to not only give him the perfect poop, but the best dog gut health he can have!

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