Bacteria in your cat's gut can lead to a number of health conditions. In this article, our Oakwood vets share some information about your kitty's gut health, how it can be managed and what the best probiotics are for cats.
Do Cats Need Probiotics?
You are likely familiar with the clear connection between probiotics and promoting healthy digestion. This might lead you to ponder whether probiotics are beneficial for your feline companion.
If you observe that your cat frequently suffers from digestive disturbances or shows signs of anxiety, it is plausible that an excess of harmful gut bacteria is burdening their system. Within your cat's stomach, there exists an intricate network of bacteria. Maintaining a healthy balance of these bacteria is crucial for your cat's overall well-being and comfortable living. However, when the detrimental bacteria outnumber the beneficial ones, it can disrupt their digestive system and overall state of health.
How can probiotics help your cat's gut?
Probiotics encompass live microorganisms like bacteria and yeast, which have the ability to restore the equilibrium of beneficial bacteria. Various factors and circumstances can contribute to an imbalanced bacterial environment.
In addition to impacting your cat's digestion, these harmful bacteria can also disrupt their weight, hormones, mood, immunity, and raise the likelihood of infections. Probiotics have been found to offer assistance in several areas, including:
- Stress: Stress can be related to gastrointestinal issues, by giving your cat a probiotic, you can help them manage their gut health through stressful situations.
- Flatulence: When a cat (or any other creature) suffers from gastrointestinal issues, it can lead to an increase in flatulence.
- Constipation: Along with flatulence, gastrointestinal concerns can lead to constipation.
- Immune system booster: If you have a very young or very old kitty then they could use the immune-boosting benefits of probiotics.
- Overweight and obesity: Some vets believe that there is a direct link between the health of the cat's gut bacteria and obesity.
- Chronic diseases: Bad gut bacteria can contribute to inflammatory bowel disease or feline intestinal lymphoma.
- Other diseases: Hormonal diseases and allergies can both cause issues affecting the bacteria in your cat's stomach.
- Infections: As mentioned above, probiotics may be recommended if your cat is having treatment for infections using antibiotics.
- Diarrhea: This can commonly be caused by viruses such as feline panleukopenia or parasitic diseases such as giardiasis.
- Antibiotics: The use of probiotics is common in humans taking antibiotics as the medication helps to rid the body of illness-causing bacteria, but also the good bacteria. Taking probiotics may be able to help restore the balance in cats as well.
The Best Types of Probiotics for Cats
The most common types of probiotics are lactic acid based such as:
- Lactobacillus spp
When it comes to cats, the most beneficial probiotics are typically Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium.
Each of these probiotics has its own designated area of residence within the cat's digestive system. Enterococcus is commonly found in the colon, while Bifidobacterium primarily inhabits the small intestine. Enterococcus primarily focuses on maintaining colonic health and promoting the formation of healthy feces. On the other hand, Bifidobacterium is dedicated to supporting overall digestive health.
The various types of probiotics serve distinct purposes and offer different forms of assistance. Hence, it is crucial to select a probiotic that contains multiple strains, ideally a minimum of two, to ensure comprehensive benefits.
What probiotics do vets recommend?
When selecting a probiotic for your cat, it is crucial to prioritize the delivery method. Probiotics are available in various forms, such as powders, capsules, chews, or incorporated into specially formulated food. The key consideration when choosing probiotics for cats is to opt for a product that contains the appropriate combination of strains tailored to your cat's specific requirements.
It is important to note that probiotics should not be created at home. Leave the intricacies of gut bacteria science to the experts.
Are there any side effects with probiotics for cats?
While the most notable side effect would be flatulence, our vets in Oakwood also would like to remind you again that these are live bacteria, so they should only be administered under the direction of a vet.
When should cats take probiotics?
Aside from taking on a daily basis to help promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, you may also want to consider giving your cat probiotics if you begin to notice any of the following concerns:
- Dietary changes
- Your Cat's Age
- Eating grass
If you notice any changes in your cat's digestive health during these situations you should speak with your vet about treatment with probiotics.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.