At times, the good bacteria in your cat's gut get thrown off balance, causing uncomfortable stomach problems. Probiotics can often help restore this balance. Our vets Franklin talk about how to keep your cat's stomach healthy and suggest the top probiotics for cats.
Cat Health & Probiotics
If your cat often has tummy roubles or shows signs of anxiety, it might be due to an imbalance of bacteria in their gut. Your cat's stomach has a community of bacteria, and when the bad ones outnumber the good, it can cause digestive problems and overall discomfort.
When Probiotics May Be Beneficial for Your Cat
Probiotics are tiny live organisms like bacteria and yeast. They can restore the balance of good bacteria in your cat's gut. Many things can upset this balance, affecting not only your cat's digestion but also their weight, hormones, mood, anxiety, and infection risk. Probiotics can help in these areas.
- Diarrhea: This can commonly be caused by viruses such as feline panleukopenia or parasitic diseases such as giardiasis.
- Antibiotics: Probiotics are 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 be able to help restore the balance in cats as well.
- Stress: Stress can be related to gastrointestinal issues, by giving your cat a probiotic, you 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 having treatment for infections using antibiotics.
The Most Common Probiotics for Cats
For cats, the most common types of probiotics are lactic acid-based, such as:
- Lactobacillus spp
Most vets agree that the best types of probiotics for our feline friends are Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium.
Each of these probiotics resides in its own area. Enterococcus generally lives in the colon of your cat, whereas Bifidobacterium can be found in the small intestine. Enterococcus has a focus on colonic health while aiding in the formation of healthy feces, whereas Bifidobacterium aims to keep up with digestive health.
The different types of probiotics have different purposes and can provide different types of aid. This makes choosing a probiotic with a number of different strains (at least two) very important.
Best Probiotics for Your Cat
When thinking about finding your cat probiotic, it's a good idea to talk to your vet first. Your vet can check if your cat has any problems and suggest the right problem for them.
You might want to focus mainly on the delivery method. Probiotics are able to be found in a variety of options – from powders, capsules, chews, or formulated into food. The important thing about choosing probiotics for cats is that you choose one that contains the right combination for your cat's needs.
Leaving making probiotics to the experts. Don't try to create them at home.
Possible Cat Probiotic Side Effects
The main side effect is gas, but remember, probiotics are live bacteria. Our team of veterinarians in Franklin 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 Your Cat Might Benefit From Probiotics
Aside from taking on a daily basis 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.