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I have found that replacing supplements with whole foods is better for my dogs and my wallet. Instead of adding a multi-vitamin, I add raw eggs. Instead of adding fish oil, I add raw sardines. And instead of adding a probiotic powder, I add fresh foods. I still believe in the value of a quality supplement and often will alternate one with the whole food alternative to provide variety and to save time without sacrificing quality and valuable nutrients.
Benefit of Probiotics for Dogs
I began adding probiotics to my dogs' raw diet because of Rodrigo's compromised digestive system brought about by several rounds of antibiotics when he was younger and before I understood the importance of a healthy gut. Adding a probiotic to my dogs' diet helps to:
- Improve absorption of nutrients.
- Strengthen the digestive system.
- Boosts the immune system (healthy gut, healthy dog).
- Increases the metabolism and energy.
- Improves breath (because the gut isn't teaming with bad bacteria).
- Helps the body maintain a healthy weight (also helps with weight loss).
Probiotic Supplements I Recommend for Dogs
There is a bucketload of probiotic and digestive supplements for dogs on the market. I recommend four for dogs::
- FullBucket Daily Canine Powder
- Mercola Complete Probiotics for Pets
- Mercola Digestive Enzymes for Pets
- Nzymes Bac-Pak Plus
If you'd prefer to stick with whole foods, check out the following products created by Answers Pet Food that I add to my dogs' meals as a whole food supplement:
- Answers Kefir and Raw Goat's Milk
- Answers Fermented Fish stock (which is also great for joint health)
- Answers Turkey Stock with Fermented Beets
Natural Sources of Probiotics
Adding natural, whole food sources of probiotics to our dogs' diet is healthy, safe, and budget-friendly. The following are whole foods that offer digestive support. Keep in mind that I'm not sure how much of each of these items will benefit a dog, so I add them to my veggie mix and continue to supplement, just on a less frequent basis.
Raw Dairy that Safe for Dogs
- Kefir (I add 2-3 tablespoons to 1 meal per day, or I feed 1/2 cup as a treat)
- Goat's Milk (I add 3-4 tablespoons to 1 meal per day, or feed 1 cup as a treat)
- Yogurt (I recommend homemade)
You can buy fermented vegetables at whole food stores or local co-ops, or you can make them yourself. If you buy, check to make sure there are no onions in the mix and choose the lowest sodium content you can find. Carrots have the lowest sodium, they are also high in sugar so go easy on them.
I add 1-2 tablespoons of fermented vegetables to one raw meal per day.
Probiotic Rich Vegetables and Fruit for Dogs
I change up my veggie mix each time I make it and try to add at least two of the following ingredients. I now only add fruit during the summer when it's naturally in season.
- Dandelion Greens
- Seaweed (I add ocean kelp)
More Natural Probiotic Options for Dogs
- Chia Seeds
- Chicory Root
Natural Probiotics or Supplement for Dogs
For dogs that need more gut support, I recommend a powerful probiotic and digestive supplement. FullBucket stopped Rodrigo's downward slide a few years ago. He was losing weight rapidly, had impacted anal glands, and he wasn't absorbing nutrients. It was a holistic veterinarian who suggested finding a quality digestive supplement and thank heavens I came across this one soon after.
If this resonates with you; I recommend the following supplements, all of which I've had great success with when adding to my dogs' diet.