As we explored in last month’s edition of Paw for Sense about Probiotics, a significant aspect of our pets’ health often starts with a balanced and thriving gut. In recent years, the spotlight has been on prebiotics as a key ingredient in promoting digestive health for our four-legged friends. But our probiotic “Happy Gut Bacteria” can work better and live longer if we feed them! What do we feed PRObiotics? PREbiotics!

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers and compounds that nourish beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. For pets, prebiotics play a vital role in fostering the growth of these microbes, contributing to a balanced and diverse gut microbiome.

Common Prebiotics for Pets:

Inulin and Fructooligosaccharides (FOS): Derived from sources like chicory root, bananas, and certain grains, inulin and FOS are commonly found in pet foods that support digestive health.

Beta-Glucans: Present in oats and barley.

Mannan Oligosaccharides (MOS): Extracted from yeast cell walls, MOS is found in pet foods in the form of Brewer’s yeast

Pectin: Pectin is another prebiotic source in raw carrots, apples (especially the skin!) and sweet potatoes.

Incorporating Prebiotics into Your Pet’s Diet:

Giving a source of probiotics with probiotic therapy will improve the effectiveness of probiotic therapy. In fact, there are some “Synbiotic” products that include both prebiotics and probiotics! Alternatively, here are some suggestions for incorporating Prebiotics into your pet’s treatment plan:

Choose High-Quality Pet Foods: Opt for pet foods that explicitly mention the inclusion of prebiotics. Many reputable pet food brands recognize the importance of gut health and formulate their products accordingly.

Consider Prebiotic Supplements: Consult with your veterinarian to explore prebiotic supplements suitable for your pet’s needs, especially if they have specific digestive sensitivities or health conditions.

Homemade Treats with Prebiotic Ingredients: Get creative in the kitchen and whip up homemade treats using pet-friendly prebiotic sources. For instance, adding a small amount of mashed banana or oats, carrots, apples, and sweet potatoes can be a tasty and beneficial addition to your pet’s diet.

Your pet’s digestive health is a cornerstone of their overall well-being, and prebiotics play a crucial role in ensuring a happy and thriving gut, which promotes a happy, thriving pet! By understanding the significance of prebiotics and incorporating them into your pet’s diet, you’re taking proactive steps toward promoting optimal digestive function and enhancing their quality of life.