5 Ways Probiotics Can Improve Your Cat’s Health & Well-Being
As a committed pet parent, you know that taking care of your cat’s health is just as important as your own. You’re always ready to be there for them, whether that means taking care of their hygiene or keeping up with their deworming schedule. Giving them your time and love comes easy to you, but did you know that giving them a proper nutritional diet is just as important?
One simple way to ensure that you give your cat the nutrition they need is by supplementing their diet with probiotics.
You might have had probiotics recommended to you for your own health, but what many people don’t realize is that with the right ingredients they can help your feline friend too.
So, let’s cover the basic know-hows of probiotics and help you figure out if they’re what’s best for your cat.
Probiotics For Cats?
In case you didn’t know, probiotics are friendly bacteria that help regulate digestive health by creating a good balance of bacteria in the gut. Once ingested, probiotics reside in the digestive tract and help it function smoothly.
For your cat, they work as a great supplement to their diet to prevent gut issues from happening. Having good gut health also leads to a wide range of benefits that can result in fewer health issues, allergies and infections.
So let’s dive in and find out why probiotics could be just what the vet ordered!
Why Should I Give Probiotics To My Cat?
There are many health issues your cat can experience during their life, including gastrointestinal and behavioral issues. Probiotics could be the solution to many symptoms that you might not expect.
Here are some of the things a probiotic can prevent:
Diarrhea and Loose Stool
Everything starts with the gut. Just like humans, when there is an imbalance in the intestinal microflora residing in your cat’s gut they can experience diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and gastric bloating. You may also notice that your cat’s stool is more smelly than usual.
Probiotics can combat that. When you give your cat a probiotic, they receive a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria to their gut. This good bacteria will have a positive effect on their overall gut wellness. It restores balance, promotes good digestion, and reduces the risk of future gastrointestinal trouble.
Dull Coat, Dry Skin and Excessive Shedding
Have you ever noticed a change in your cat’s fur and skin that you couldn’t explain? Well, there is a good chance poor gut health may have been the culprit.
When your cat has gastrointestinal issues, their skin and fur don’t get the nutrients they need. This leads to dry, flaky skin and dull fur that seems to be shedding endlessly.
After giving your cat probiotics, you’ll be able to see your cat’s healthy skin and shining fur return. The change happens thanks to a blend of microbiomes which are able to protect their sensitive skin and control excessive shedding.
Age, environment, and antibody count are just a few of the factors that can cause your cat to have decreased immunity levels. When your cat’s gut health is off, their immune system can be affected further, putting them at an increased risk of getting other, possibly worse infections.
By taking probiotics, your cat will have a good population of healthy gut bacteria which can significantly boost their immune system, fight infection and reduce certain allergies.
Allergy and Infections
Allergies in cats can be caused by inhalants like grass, mold, pollen, and dust mites, as well as certain foods, including most meat proteins, dairy, wheat, and soy. Other allergens are environmental and can be triggered through your cat’s skin when they come into contact with them.
Allergies typically manifest as a condition known as feline atopic dermatitis which displays through symptoms in their skin. Some allergies result in infections that produce discharge in the ear or in the eye, which is otherwise known as tear staining.
If your cat is suffering from allergies, you should consider using probiotics to help alleviate some of the symptoms. As it helps boost the immune system, probiotics can help your cat combat allergic reactions such as breakouts, hotspots, and tear staining.
Lethargy and Anxiety
While it may be normal for your cat to become less playful as they age, lethargy is a bit different and can be caused by poor gut health. Some signs of lethargy to look out for are low energy levels, abnormally sleepy behavior, or when your cat has a distinct lack of response to their surroundings.
On the flip side, poor gut health can also cause your cat to experience anxiety. Your cat’s anxiety could be the result of pain or illness, or environmental and psychological factors. This stress can result in your cat having the desire to consume fecal matter, which is known as coprophagia.
Probiotics can have a positive influence on both lethargic and anxious behavior in your cat. By altering their gut flora, probiotics can increase energy levels and mobility in lethargic cats, or give anxious cats the calming effects they need.
How Do I Get My Cat To Take Probiotics?
While probiotics come in many forms including pills and infused in treats, probiotic powder is the ideal choice to get the most out of the supplement.
Probiotic powder can be mixed into your cat’s favorite food before serving, or sprinkled in their water without them knowing.
With dry food, another option is to create a “gravy” by mixing protein power with a bit of water before serving with your cat’s food.
Here’s a tip: To get the best out of the probiotic supplement, combine your cat’s probiotics with Omega-3 fatty acids. This will further help your cat have improvements in their skin, coat, playfulness, and activity levels.
Whichever option you choose, for best results, we strongly suggest that you only administer the recommended servings for your cat as directed by your veterinarian.
Which Probiotic Should I Choose
With many probiotic options on the market to choose from, finding the right one for your cat can be challenging.
Here are three things to keep in mind when making your decision:
Side Effects and Additional Information
Probiotics are widely considered to be safe supplements, and side effects are extremely rare. However, there are 5 things to remember:
- The most common side effects are flatulence and abdominal discomfort because of increased gas in the intestines.
- After taking probiotics, some cats may experience loose stools or constipation. This may resolve itself after adjusting the dose.
- If your cat has a negative reaction to the probiotic, they may have an allergy or intolerance to some ingredients in it.
- Some cats will have a more efficient reaction to probiotics than others. You may notice improvements in your feline’s health after a couple of days of use. Alternatively, some cats will not see results for several weeks. Much like humans, it takes time for the bacteria to build up and balance itself within the gut.
- Serious side effects have been rarely reported. Although adverse effects of probiotics are rare in cats, owners should choose their probiotic supplements wisely. So consult your veterinarian to find the best fit for your cat.
Some Take-Home Points
- Probiotics are a good choice of supplement to maintain gastrointestinal health, and for preventing gastrointestinal issues in your cat.
- When selecting a probiotic product for your cat, make sure you know it's CFU and the strains it contains.
- Probiotics in powder form are versatile and easy to use. Store them in a cool, dry space or it will clump together.
Before You Go
While we know probiotic supplements can be a beneficial addition to your cat’s health routine, we highly suggest that you talk to your vet to decide what’s best for your cat. If probiotics are the answer, please only administer the recommended servings of probiotics as directed by your veterinarian.
With an array of health benefits that can easily be incorporated into your cat’s diet, probiotics could be the perfect add-on supplement that both you and your cat have been looking for.