Vets are constantly prescribing antibiotics to dogs. The problem is antibiotics can harm your dog’s microbiome and increase the risk of chronic disease.
The good news is you can resolve many problems like diarrhea or ear infections without antibiotics. But sometimes there’s no other option and your dog needs antibiotics.
If you have to give your dog antibiotics there are things you can do to prevent damage and further problems …
3 Things You Shouldn’t Do
If you must give your dog antibiotics you don’t want to do these three things …
1. Give Lactobacillus Probiotics
Your dog’s microbiome is made up of communities of bacteria. These communities contain harmful bacteria but they’re kept in check by a healthy population of beneficial ones.
Probiotics help promote the growth and survival of beneficial bacteria. So it makes sense that giving probiotics during and after a round of antibiotics would help balance your dog’s microbiome.
Probiotics with Lactobacillus bacteria can be very beneficial for your dog. They:
- Inhibit growth of harmful bacteria
- Benefit immune cells
- Increase population of good bacteria in the gut
- Help regulate mood and emotions
- Improve colon health and reduce IBS
But when they’re given during or after antibiotic use, Lactobacillus probiotics can delay the microbiome’s recovery. This can leave your dog susceptible to even worse health problems.
You’ll learn later on which probiotics you should give. But first … here’s two more important things you shouldn’t do.
2. Give Antibiotics Indiscriminately
The more that you use antibiotics for dogs, the more resistant your dog can become to them. Studies on farm animals show that continued use can lead to antibiotics resistance. And not just for the animals taking them … the people who worked on the farms also grew a resistance.
And it isn’t just animals and people. Overuse of antibiotics has led to resistant organisms that survive even the strongest medicines. This can lead to serious infections medicine isn’t able to handle.
That’s why it’s important to use antibiotics sparingly and save them for life-threatening illnesses. If your dog has diarrhea, ear infections, minor wounds or other manageable problems … look for alternative remedies. That way you can save antibiotics for life-threatening illnesses that have no other solutions.
Antibiotics stop infections by killing bacteria but antibiotics kill indiscriminately. They don’t differentiate between bad bacteria and beneficial bacteria that help keep your dog healthy. This exposes your dog to even more health problems.
If you have to give your dog antibiotics, the worst thing you can do is nothing. If you do nothing, you’ll leave your dog with poor gut health, which can lead to other chronic issues.
Instead, here’s three things you can do to reduce the risk …
3 Things You Should Do
If your dog is on antibiotics, be sure to do these three things …
1. Choose The Right Probiotics
Now you know you shouldn’t use Lactobacillus probiotics to repair the microbiome after antibiotic use. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give probiotics.
Instead, choose Saccharomyces boulardii. Or choose soil based probiotics like Bacillus subtiliis and Bacillus coagulans. These probiotics can help restore your dog’s microbiome and gut health.
Saccharomyces boulardii isn’t your typical probiotic … it’s a healthy yeast that isn’t killed by antibiotics. You can give it to your dog while he’s on antibiotics to protect beneficial bacteria in the gut. It can also help prevent antibiotic-related diarrhea. It’s also helpful for yeast infections and reduces chronic inflammation.
Soil based probiotics are spore-forming bacteria found in soil and water. They can form a hard shell that protects them from most antibiotics. Bacillus subtiliis and Bacillus coagulans are two common Bacillus strains you can try.
Bacillus coagulans crowds out unfriendly bacteria, reduces inflammation and helps with digestive issues. Bacillus subtiliis helps boost the immune system and strengthens the gut. It’s also helpful for urinary tract infections (UTI).
At Four Leaf Rover, we have three probiotic products. If your dog is on antibiotics we recommend using Gut Guard or Protect. Both products contain Bacillus subtiliis and Bacillus coagulans. Protect also has Saccharomyces boulardii.
While BFF can support the gut and help with digestive upset, constipation and bowel disease … it contains Lactobacillus probiotics that you shouldn’t give with antibiotics.
2. Give Prebiotics
Whenever you give your dog probiotics, you want to give prebiotics as well. Prebiotics are soluble fibers that travel to your dog’s colon and feed the bacteria living there. They help make beneficial bacteria more effective and can help increase the populations of good bacteria living in your dogs gut.
Prebiotics also help create postbiotics, like short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These help improve your dogs …
- Reduce harmful bacteria
- Reduce inflammation
- Strengthen the immune system
- Prevent leaky gut
- Reduce food allergies
- Help your dog absorb nutrients
Common prebiotics you can add to your dog’s diet are mushrooms, dandelion root and burdock root. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are also prebiotic.
You can also look for a probiotic supplement that contains prebiotics. This is a convenient way to make sure your dog gets what he needs. But don’t forget to check the bacteria strains to be sure you’re giving your dog Saccharomyces boulardii or soil based probiotics.
3. Avoid starch
Starch feeds harmful bacteria species that can increase your dog’s risk of getting sick. That means you want to steer clear of kibbles … they’re full of starchy carbohydrates your dog doesn’t need (even when he isn’t on antibiotics).
Insead you want to feed a high protein low carb (HPLC) diet. This will improve the diversity of your dog’s gut microbiome and support the beneficial bacteria. Feeding a raw diet is an excellent choice for a more balanced gut.
Finding natural alternatives to harmful antibiotics is important. But sometimes you don’t have a choice. If your dog needs antibiotics … follow these 6 pieces of advice. That way you can help your dog get better, while preventing further issues down the road.