Like humans, your cat can experience disruptions in its gut bacteria, leading to various uncomfortable symptoms and conditions. To assist you in managing your kitty's gut health, our Ankeny vets have compiled information on the best cat probiotics.
Do Cats Need Probiotics?
Probiotics, which are live microorganisms like bacteria and yeast, play a crucial role in restoring the balance of healthy bacteria. Unhealthy bacterial imbalances can result from various factors and situations.
Harmful bacteria can potentially affect several aspects of your cat's health, including digestion, weight, hormones, mood, immunity, and susceptibility to infections. Addressing these concerns can be facilitated by the use of probiotics.
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. There are a number of factors and situations that can lead to an unhealthy balance of bacteria.
Harmful bacteria can impact various aspects of your cat's health, including digestion, weight, hormones, mood, immunity, and susceptibility to infections. Probiotics can aid in addressing these concerns.
- 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 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 very old kitty, they could use probiotics' immune-boosting benefits.
- 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 undergoing treatment for infections using antibiotics.
The Best Types of Probiotics for Cats
The most prevalent kinds of probiotics are those based on lactic acid, including:
- Lactobacillus spp
For cats, the most effective probiotics include Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium. Each of these probiotics has its designated residence. Enterococcus typically inhabits your cat's colon, while Bifidobacterium can be located in the small intestine.
Enterococcus focuses on promoting colonic health and contributing to the formation of healthy feces, while Bifidobacterium strives to maintain digestive health.
Various probiotic types serve distinct purposes and offer diverse forms of assistance. This underscores the significance of selecting a probiotic with multiple strains (at least two).
What probiotics do vets recommend?
If you're seeking a probiotic for your feline companion, make sure to consider the delivery method. Probiotics are available in different forms—powders, capsules, chews, or integrated into food.
Remember to choose a probiotic with the right combination of ingredients to meet your cat's needs. Avoid attempting to create probiotics at home; leave the science of gut bacteria to the experts.
Are there any side effects with probiotics for cats?
While the most notable side effect would be flatulence, our vets in Ankeny 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 daily 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:
- Your Cat's Age
- Dietary changes
- 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.