Pet parents now know to look for probiotic digestive aids on ingredient lists when searching out a petfood for a dog with a finicky stomach.
On February 8, 2013

Nutrition update: The latest probiotics for petfoods

Probiotics are making their way into the pet market in not just petfood, but pet treats, concentrated formulations and novel seeds and grains

Probiotics are crucial to our digestive health by providing “friendly bacteria” to our bodies—they help flush away toxins and other harmful waste left behind after digestion. Consumers of pet products now know to look for these digestive aids on ingredient lists when searching out a petfood for a dog with a finicky stomach. Studies have shown that these supplements help protect companion animals from intestinal infections, fungal growth and diarrhea, maintain overall digestive health, reduce the effects of stress, the risk of allergies and Salmonella levels, and can improve skin/coat conditions, immunity and resistance to disease.

According to Bacterfield Corp., makers of Formula ProBiotic, all good probiotics can be identified by four things:

1. Safety – The microorganism chosen as the component of a probiotic must be non-pathogenic and non-toxic.
2. Viability – A probiotic can only work if the microorganisms contained within the probiotic remain viable during storage of the product and through the gut to ensure colonization of these microorganisms.
3. Minimum Dose – The concentration of a probiotic must be such that inclusion rate 109 CFU per kg of complete feed on average is provided.
4. Quality Insurance – It is essential that a probiotic has not become contaminated with any other microorganism other than the particular probiotic microorganisms chosen at any stage of the manufacturing process or during storage.

Formula ProBiotic is a functional superpremium food for dogs that contains a live and highly concentrated probiotic bacteria, claims Bacterfield. The probiotic microorganism, Enterococcus faecium, contained within Formula ProBiotic is sourced from the culture collection NCIMB (National Collections of Industrial and Marine Bacteria). Strategic use of Formula ProBiotic during times of stress, nutritional changes (weaning) or after antibiotic use is recommended by the petfood makers.

One challenge with probiotic -enhanced pet products is that, before the microorganisms reach the large intestine, probiotics must withstand the extreme heat and pressure of typically extruded petfood production, and then endure the small intestine’s acidic environment. The best way to retain optimal levels is to start with a high concentration of live probiotics, says Mortec Scientific. The company attests to the benefit of pets eating germinated or “pre-digested” seeds and grains to get these effective doses of bioavailable probiotics.

Led by Dr. Scott Morton, Mortec tested the quality of probiotics derived from sprouting seeds (flaxseed, barley seed and lentils) and discovered their capability to retain demonstrably high levels of 11 live probiotics throughout the manufacturing process of a baked dog food called Carna4.

According to Mortec, their research found these naturally-grown probiotic strains:

  • Lived through the (baking) manufacturing process;
  • Were shelf-stable, dried and didn’t require refrigeration;
  • Withstood gastric acidity and elimination through recovery; and
  • Were safe from toxins and impurities.

Probiotics aren't only in  petfoods, but treats as well. Feelwell’s are a small family company based in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Their probiotic-enhanced treats do not contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, wheat or wheat-gluten, egg, pork, soya, added sugars or salts, meat or animal derivatives, according to the company. Feelwells also claims to aid with food intolerances, loose stools, gas, bad breath, dry skin/coat, joint stiffness, nervousness and excitability.

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