How Probiotics Can Help Prevent Dental Disease in Dogs
We knew that probiotics are excellent for maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the GI tract, in humans as well as hounds, which explains why so many dog lovers this reporter included are taking probiotic supplements and giving them to beloved pets.
No less a veterinary authority than the renowned Dr. Karen Becker of Chicago is a huge proponent. Read her important articles on the topic here and here to see why she gives probiotics to her own pets and recommends them for her patients.
Dr. Becker lists several ways they are used to benefit pet health, including to treat diarrhea; to reseed the gut with beneficial bacteria after a round of antibiotics; to calm digestive upsets caused by travel or dietary changes; to improve digestion and stool quality in large and giant breed dogs; and to boost immune system function, especially in pets that are very young, elderly, or have compromised health.
Incidentally, my lieber hund Desiree has been faithfully taking probiotics every morning. I believe these supplements are a big part of why despite her epic struggle with demodectic mange, GI issues, and the stress of her previous life as a seriously neglected animal her immune system has bounced back to the point where, today, she's almost the perfect picture of health: a smiling, happy, bushy-tailed, German Shepherd pup.
Although veterinary medicine is way ahead of human medicine in many respects, I like to get my health news from physicians as well, then compare notes. I naturally have higher regard for doctors who are Dogsters, because I know they know their stuff. And one Dogster doc contends that there's one more important use for probiotics: These beneficial bacteria are also excellent for oral health.
Lawrence J. Hoberman, MD, of San Antonio, Texas (pictured at right), is a respected physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. After a private practice for more than 25 years, he has joined the medical team at preventive-medicine health and wellness program Health by Design. He's also the proud owner of two Chocolate Labs(that's Jessie in the photo). He says that probiotics are almost as important as a toothbrush for good oral health.
Basically, a healthy gut promotesa healthy mouth. By inhibiting the growth of certain unwanted bacterial strains, he explains, probiotics have been clinically proven to slow the growth of bacteria that lead to common oral and dental diseases including periodontal disease and halitosis. So, in addition to twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and regular dentist visits, your canines can benefit big-time from probiotic supplements.
With a dog's mouth harboring too many bacteria to count, just as a human's does, it makes sense that probiotics would also benefit a canine's canines. In fact, probiotics do promote K9 oral health and improve "doggy breath" by regulating bacterial growth. So, in addition to regular brushing with toothpaste made just for K9s, dogs can benefit from probiotic supplements, too. It helps if the probiotic is species-specific, with the correct strains of bacteria for dogs versus people; it won't hurt your dog to share yours, but Spot doesn't need all the millions of beneficial bacteria strains found in a supplement designed for humans.
For humans, Dr.Hoberman has formulated a brilliant supplement called EndoMune; read about it here. Since taking EndoMune every day, I've noticed an improvement in my overall GI wellness, and I happen to have issues in that department. For people who suffer from halitosis caused by odor-producing bacteria that collect and linger at the back of the tongue, where they emit foul-smelling gas, he says, "I suggest you open the capsule and sprinkle the contents in a small glass of water and then swish and swallow."
Obviously, dogs can swallow but they can't swish. That's why HealthyMouth dental water was designed to support dogs' dental health through drinking (read more about that here). But Healthy Mouth contains no probiotics.
Enter Oragenics, which has developed EvoraPet, a probiotic specifically designed to promoteK9 oral health and prevent "doggy breath"; it's easy to administer, anda cinchto add to your dog's dental-care routine.
EvoraPet isdesigned to be sprinkled on a pet's food once daily. The formula contains Oragenics' patented blend of beneficial bacteria, ProBiora3: Streptococcus oralis, Streptococcus rattus, and Streptococcus uberis. These strains naturally balance the bacteria in dogs' (and cats') mouths so they'll have fresher breath and cleaner teeth.
Is your dog finicky? Like most probiotics, EvoraPet is odorless and tasteless, so Spot won't even notice it in his food bowl.
Have you had positive experiences with probiotics, for your own health as well as your dog's? Please share in the comments!