Probiotics and Puppies
Newborn animals including puppies are born with a sterile gut and an undeveloped immune system. It is believed that beneficial intestinal flora is established at birth by acquisition from the mother and the surrounding environment. These beneficial microflora produce natural antibiotics, which can fight harmful bacteria, regulate and increase hormone levels, manufacture B group vitamins, particularly cyanocobalamine (B12), biotin (B7) and folic acid (B9), stimulate the immune system, reduce food intolerance, increase energy levels, inhibit the growth of some yeasts, absorb nutrients, antioxidants and iron from food that is eaten, reduce inflammation, and increase digestibility of food. However, puppies that do not acquire beneficial microflora from the mother for various reasons, such as being orphans, or placed on milk replacers are then quite susceptible to picking up pathogenic organisms from their environment. This means that these puppies are particularly susceptible to diseases at birth and for the next couple of months.
It makes sense that probiotic supplements are especially beneficial for newborn puppies to increase the number of desirable organisms in their digestive tract, especially in puppies that did not receive beneficial microflora at birth or may be at risk of picking up pathogenic organisms from their environment or food. Recent research indicates that the addition of probiotics in puppies’ food, such as Fortiflora, helps maintain good digestion, stimulate immunity, improve utilization of feed, reduce intestinal upsets, improve health and prevent the proliferation of some potential disease-causing pathogens.
Dr. Dan DuBourdieu
Director of Research and Development, BOMAC Vets Plus, Inc.
Dr. Dan holds a Ph.D. and M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from Macalester College. He has been involved in basic cell biology, biochemistry and immunology research at Hoffmann La Roche Inc., ImmuCell Inc. and other research companies. He has worked with Bomac Vet-Plus Inc for a number of years doing animal nutrition product research and development.