While prebiotics and probiotics are definitely close cousins, their roles in the family are completely different.
Learn how the two work together to support your dog or horse’s overall health and come away with an understanding of the major differences between the two.
What are Prebiotics?
You’ve likely heard of probiotics—live bacteria generally found in common dairy products like yogurt. These are good bacteria that get introduced to the system from an external source. Conversely, prebiotics help feed and strengthen the good bacteria the gut naturally produces. They are also effective at stifling bad bacteria, which can cause certain kinds of disease. Getting these good and bad bacteria balanced impacts a variety of health systems from your brain to your digestive tract.
What are some of the Main Differences Between Probiotics and Prebiotics?
If you think of the gut as a garden, then probiotics would be considered the seeds and prebiotics would be like the fertilizer. Unlike probiotics, which can be killed off by stomach acid, prebiotics aren’t destroyed by an animal’s natural body heat.
Probiotics and Prebiotics are each an essential building block of health tasks that regulate your digestive system. If you’re considering which to supplement in your dog food or horse feed this chart courtesy of Prebiotin has some excellent prebiotics vs probiotics facts:
What are the health benefits of Prebiotics and Probiotics?
These gut-friendly supplements offer a wide spectrum of health benefits. What starts in the stomach of your dog or horse touches every other major system in their body.
Prebiotics are great for:
- increasing bone density
- strengthening the immune system
- controlling weight and appetite
- creating bowel regularity
- promoting mineral absorption
- regulating hormone production
- improving mental health
They’ve also been proven to lower levels of cortisol that can lead to depression and anxiety.
Probiotics are great for:
- preventing and treating urinary tract infections
- boosting your animal’s immune system
- improving overall digestive function
- healing conditions like irritable bowel syndrome
- combating food-borne illnesses
- controlling skin irritations like eczema
Can Probiotics and Prebiotics be Taken Together?
Since each offers similar but varied health benefits, veterinarians have cleared both supplements to be taken together. One won’t negate or interfere with the other and both are typically safe to take with other medications, too.
Some vet professionals even recommend combining probiotics and prebiotics to get the full range of benefits. The two work in tandem creating a synergetic relationship in which prebiotics act as fertilizer for probiotics. As probiotics enter the system they use the prebiotics as fuel for energy.
Ready to improve the gut health of your dog or horse? Consider adding one or both of these supplements to your dog food or horse feed regimen!
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