What probiotics should you give your dog when they are on antibiotics?
Did you know there are more bacteria and microorganisms in your dog’s body than the cells in their body? The same applies to the human body!
Most people think of bacteria as an opportunist or a pathogen in the body, but the reality is much more interesting.
Most of the information available on bacteria is either on the topic of disease-causing pathogens or probiotics, the helpful allies that keep our body and the immune system healthy. However, that is just a very small portion of what is really going on in the body.
In the last several decades, there have been huge advances in the research of so-called microbial profiles, which are the bacterial 'fingerprint' of humans, dogs and all living organisms.
Science has confirmed that each microbial profile varies dramatically and can be assigned to a particular person or animal with 90 percent accuracy.
Bacteria does much more than we originally thought.
Most people understand that probiotic bacteria helps digestion and the immune system, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists have confirmed bacteria influences most of the functions of the body, including longevity, the propensity for weight gain and behavior, including the tendency for depression. It's very clear the science of the past gave bacteria and other microorganisms much less credit than it deserves.
The part that I find the most intriguing is that individuals from the same species may have dramatically different microbes. Also, scientists can recognize what geographical area the individual is from by their microbial profile. In other words, the microbes of living things are different in New York, Paris or Bangkok.
Biggest mysteries yet to be revealed
The science of studying microbial profiles is very exciting because it has the potential to be used for studying health and disease, happiness and even longevity. It can also be used to study the health of newborns and children. One of the fascinating findings is that children that are born by cesarean section have a much different, and generally less healthy, microbial profile because they do not pass through the birth canal. It also seems that the female body's microbial profile changes dramatically before the birth as if the bacteria know what is going on.
Antibiotics may have a severe impact on our dog's microbial profile
Antibiotic prescriptions are the everyday reality of most veterinary practices. Sometimes they are needed, but in my experience, antibiotic use can be reduced by 90 percent or more.
Consider clearcutting in the Amazon rainforest. The loggers arrive at a thriving and diverse ecosystem that is healthy and supports life. When they leave, the ecosystem is thrown off balance and it takes decades to restore.
The body's microbial profile is the rainforest of the body and the antibiotics are the loggers. That's why it's crucial that we reduce the use of antibiotics in medicine to a minimum.
At the same time, there is no need to panic if an antibiotic prescription is needed.
Here are 5 steps to follow when your dog is prescribed antibiotics:
- Put your dog on a raw or cooked diet as a form of disease prevention.
- Start him or her on double the regular dose of a non-dairy probiotic that is specifically formulated for dogs. If your dog has been given probiotics during the antibiotic treatment, ensure that you continue the double dose for two weeks afterward. Giving human probiotics is not ideal because it will cause an unnatural shift in your dog's microbial profile.
- If your vet prescribes 'an antibiotic cocktail,' ask for a good explanation why such a measure is needed. I've seen internal medicine and dermatology specialists in particular overprescribing antibiotics.
- If you are curious about how to treat diarrhea or skin disease and hotspots click on the links to find natural remedies. It may be an eye-opening experience about how much we can solve without the use of drugs.
- The healthier the body, the healthier the microbial profile is, but the opposite is also true. That's why more people are starting to emphasize giving quality, non-dairy probiotics made with organic ingredients.
When it comes to bacteria, we must not underestimate the role of these minute guards in the health and longevity of your dog.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM