Bacillus Subtilis and Lactobacillus acidophilus in dog food

Hi Barbara,
I have 2 Labs that are a year old, starting to become overweight, and the male has a sensitive stomach.

I have been researching different dry dog foods for both of them. Do you know why a dog food company would put Bacillus subtilis (bacteria) and Lactobacillus acidophilus (bacteria to help stop diarrhea in children) in their food?

I understand that bacteria lives and needs to be in the colon for proper human digestion, but after looking at many different dry dog foods this is the only food that I have found so far that contains bacteria. These bacteria is listed on the label.

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Probiotic bacteria in dog food
by: Barbara

Let me explain why a dog food company would put those bacterial strains in their dog food.

Two types of bacteria colonize the intestines: good ones and bad ones. This is as true for you as for your dog.

Bacillus Subtilis and Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria are examples of 'good bacteria' and these colonize the large intestines so 'bad bacteria' (the ones that make you sick) don't have enough room. Many more strains exist besides these two you mentioned.

Without good bacteria, a dog's body would be unable to fight off disease, absorb food properly, and his intestines become overrun with toxins and waste, which set the breeding ground for disease.

Some dog food manufacturers add these to their recipe. Another option is to add these using a probiotic (friendly intestinal bacteria) supplement, such as this one.

You can read more about the function of these bacterial strains in this article about probiotics for dogs (and again... we do not differ that much from them ;-)).

I don't supplement on a daily basis. When my dog has had an antibiotics treatment I do! Antibiotics kill bacteria (good and bad ones), so therefor I replenish the good guys when the treatment is finished. It's like a boost for his immune system.

Other reasons exist for probiotic supplementation, such as: control of yeast overgrowth, reduction of internal gas and flatulence etc.

It's safe however to supplement if you wish (so on a daily basis in the food is no problem at all), but it won't help against obesity if that's the reason why you were researching in the first place.

Labs do have a tendency to gain weight easily, so it's something to manage before it get's out of hand.

If the male Lab has a sensitive stomach then probiotics and digestive enzymes supplements could help (I'm not saying they will, but it won't hurt trying either). These improve digestion.

For further reading look here and go to the section 'science', 'what are probiotics' and 'what are enzymes'. This company is friendly and very knowledgeable about what they're doing. You can ask them further questions about the bacterial strains and enzymes used in their products - which you can apply to the dog food ingredient lists you've found.

Also, you mentioned you found only one dog food containing these bacteria, though more exist.

Hope you now understand why some dog food recipes have bacterial strains (or why you can buy these as supplements).

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