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Best Probiotics For Cats

Probiotics for cats are increasingly becoming a popular supplement among pet owners. But what exactly are they, and how can they benefit your feline friend? In this blog post, we will discuss probiotics, how they help, what to look for when choosing a probiotic, and what veterinarians recommend.

What Are Probiotics for Cats?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, primarily bacteria, that provide health benefits when administered adequately. For cats, these beneficial bacteria aid in maintaining a balanced gut flora, which is essential for overall health. Probiotics for cats typically contain strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are known to support digestive health. These supplements can come in various forms, including powders, capsules, and chews, making them easy to incorporate into your cat's diet.

How can probiotics help your cat's gut?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, that can help restore the balance of healthy bacteria. Various factors and situations can cause an unhealthy balance of bacteria.

In addition to affecting your cat's digestion, these harmful bacteria can also impact your cat's weight, hormones, mood, and immunity and increase their risk of infections. Probiotics can help in various areas, including:

  • 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 help restore the balance in cats as well.
  • Stress: Stress can be related to gastrointestinal issues. Giving your cat a probiotic can help them manage their gut health through stressful situations.
  • Flatulence: When a cat (or any other creature) suffers from gastrointestinal issues, it can increase flatulence.
  • Constipation: Along with flatulence, gastrointestinal concerns can lead to constipation.
  • Immune system booster: If you have a very young or senior cat, probiotics could boost its immune system.
  • Overweight and obesity: Some vets believe 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 undergoing treatment for infections using antibiotics.

The Best Types of Probiotics for Cats

The most common types of probiotics are lactic acid-based, such as:

  • Bifidobacterium
  • Enterococcus
  • Lactobacillus spp
  • Streptococcus.

For cats, in particular, the best types of probiotics are Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium. 

Each of these probiotics resides in its own area. Enterococcus generally lives in your cat's colon, whereas Bifidobacterium can be found in the small intestine. Enterococcus focuses on colonic health while aiding in the formation of healthy feces, whereas Bifidobacterium aims to keep up with digestive health.

The different types of probiotics have different purposes and can provide different types of aid. This makes choosing a probiotic with a number of other strains (at least two) very important.

What probiotics do vets recommend?

Choosing the right probiotic for your cat is crucial, and the delivery method plays a key role. Probiotics come in various forms, such as powders, capsules, and chews, or can be formulated into food. The important factor in selecting probiotics for your cat is to ensure that it contains the right combination to meet your cat's specific needs.

It would be best not to create probiotics at home; leave the science behind gut bacteria to the experts.

Are there any side effects with probiotics for cats?

While probiotics are generally safe for cats, some may experience side effects. Common side effects include mild gastrointestinal upset, such as gas or bloating, particularly when the supplement is first introduced. If side effects persist or if your cat has an underlying health condition, consult your veterinarian.

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:

    • Stress
    • Your Cat's Age
    • Antibiotics
    • Dietary changes
    • Eating grass
    • Deworming

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.

Are you concerned about your cat's gut health? Contact our Fountain Valley vets to schedule a consultation about probiotics and other options for keeping your cat's tummy happy.

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