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Does Your Dog’s Food Contain Probiotics, Even If It Claims To?

Your kibble might be lying to you.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the number of choices there are in the pet food aisle at the supermarket? With different brands claiming that their food helps “promote alertness and mental sharpness” or that it’s been “clinically proven to maintain digestive health,” it can be difficult to know which one is the best for your pup’s specific needs.

We’ve always wondered here at DIG Labs just how accurate these claims are. We want the absolute best for our dogs and decided to look into some of these assertions, specifically surrounding the addition of probiotics in different types of kibble. Our own pups were struggling with digestive issues even though their kibble claimed to contain probiotics! We found a study done by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association that tested nineteen different commercial pet foods that all claimed to incorporate probiotics into their formulas. The results were shocking but very informative.

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that live in our dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, as well as in ours! These are so important for your pup because they can help boost immunity, aid digestion, and even fight off viruses. A lot of the time, probiotics are prescribed for pups that have an intestinal imbalance or other digestive disorders caused by infection, parasites, old age, and even stress! Shelter dogs often experience diarrhea because of the emotional stress of moving or losing a home. Probiotics are very advantageous for your dog, and many veterinarians swear by them. However, because they are considered supplements, and not drugs, there are no federal regulations concerning their distribution. This means that quality control is oftentimes insufficient, for human or animal use.

So — is your dog genuinely getting probiotics from its kibble that claims to have them?

Out of the nineteen commercial pet foods that were tested in this study, thirteen were for dogs and all of them claimed to contain specific probiotics. Unfortunately, none of these contained all of the microorganisms that were included on the list of ingredients. Out of the nineteen products, ten of them (53%) included at least one of the probiotics that their packaging claimed to have. Eleven of these contained related microorganisms that were not listed in the ingredients, while five of these didn’t contain anything related. Many of these products only claimed to contain bacterial fermentation products, which are often added as a source of enzymes. However, these aren’t considered probiotics in the first place because they don’t necessarily imply that there any live organisms included. Five of these diets even misspelled some of the listed ingredients, which is concerning.

Additionally, the products that were tested did not contain a satisfactory amount of the ingredients in question if they did include them. The most frequently found probiotic in this study were Enterococcus faecium, which unfortunately has been found to transfer a gene that is responsible for antibiotic resistance. Yikes!

It’s disheartening to know that many of these pet food products don’t contain what they claim. This article was transformative to us as Pet Parents, because it motivated us to include live probiotics into our pups’ daily meals. Of course, in an ideal world, we would all be able to give our pets fresh, nutritionally balanced and full of wholesome vitamins and nutrients, every day! DIG Labs was created as a way to bridge the gap between traditional kibble and gourmet food. It’s an all-in-one supplement topper that’s custom made for your pup and her unique needs! We wanted to create a product that was honest and would genuinely help improve your pup’s health with the best ingredients. As paw-rents ourselves, we know how important your four-legged family members are, and your family is our top priority.

Please join us in spreading the news to educate pet parents about what is really in their best friend’s food! Learn more about us here.

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