Probiotics are a source of the beneficial microbes or bacteria that help replace and boost those existing in the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics can promote healthy intestinal function and manage diarrhea or irregularity. Both people and animals alike have natural microbes or “flora” that naturally live on the lining of their intestines. These are types of bacterias and yeasts that help digest and absorb nutrients from food and defend against “bad” bacteria from taking up residence. Keeping a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut is not only important for proper digestion but also for the immune system. They help protect the body against illness and disease. The natural flora is fragile and can easily be diminished by medications like antibiotics or painkillers, poor diet, disease or stress. This can make your dog or cat susceptible to digestive upsets like diarrhea, gas, and cramping.
Providing a probiotic supplement to your dog or cat can help replace the damaged bacteria and keep a healthy balance. They can also improve the digestive process by breaking down nutrients in the diet so they can easily be absorbed and used by the body.
FortiFlora Fortiflora contains a special strain of probiotics designed specifically for dogs and cats. With 100 million live active cultures, it helps replenish and balance the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. FortiFlora also has a high level of antioxidants which help support the immune system and protect against disease. FortiFlora is ideal for times when your dog or cat is under stress, has eaten something inappropriate, is on antibiotics, has soft stools, diarrhea, or gas. It may also be given daily to maintain normal digestion and regularity. Plus, the great tasting powder is easily sprinkled on your pet’s food. Like any supplement, always consult your veterinarian before using it and always follow their specific directions.
One of the most unpleasant words in the English language, diarrhea is from a Greek word that means “to flow through.” We might snicker and sing funny songs about it, but diarrhea is no laughing matter, as it may be symptom of a serious disorder. When it occurs in our pets, watery, runny stool usually indicates gastrointestinal distress. As execrable as it may be, it is important to deal with the matter as quickly as possible. With that in mind, we will discuss the signs, causes, and treatment options for loose stool.
But before we continue, it is important to note that this is only an introduction to a common problem that strikes most pets at one time or another. For a proper, medical diagnosis, you should always consult a licensed veterinarian. And never, ever attempt to treat your pet for any medical problem without speaking to his/her doctor first.
Symptoms of Diarrhea in Pets
The classic sign that your dog or cat has loose stool is they need to go to the bathroom every few hours. They might stand by the door waiting to be let out with an urgent, worried look on their faces. Older and younger animals are also more likely to have indoor accidents when they have a particularly nasty bout of diarrhea.
Another common symptom of diarrhea is straining, which happens because the pet feels like it has to go to the bathroom even after it has gone several times. It is for this reason that many pet owners mistake diarrhea for constipation. As far as what comes out, the stool may be runny or watery, leading to explosive bouts of elimination.
Other symptoms that may indicate diarrhea in pets include:
Loss of appetite
Lack of energy
Causes of Diarrhea in Dog and Cats
There are numerous reasons why your dog or cat may come down with a case of runny stool. Some of them are minor, others are quite serious.
More often than not, your pet gets diarrhea from a dietary indiscretion, which is a medical term that means he ate something that didn’t agree with him. This food, or substance, upsets his stomach or GI tract, impeding the normal formation of stool. In most cases, the problem is the result of a sudden change in diet. Perhaps you switched from one dog food to another without examining the listed ingredients first. If they are dissimilar, any new ingredient could result in diarrhea.
Another common cause of runny stool are food allergies. Yes, pets and their owners can suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the main side effect of which is diarrhea. Your dog or cat may also itch and scratch incessantly if they have food allergies.
The most serious causes of diarrhea are pancreatitis and infection. Pancreatitis is when the pancreas becomes inflamed, which precipitates a whole host of negative symptoms. An infection, on the other hand, can be either viral or bacterial and may range from mild to life threatening.
Treatment for Diarrhea in Pets
If your pet seems healthy after an episode of diarrhea and exhibits none of the other signs we have discussed, it is safe to monitor him on your own for a few days. During this time period, you will want to alter his diet, since food is the most likely culprit. What to feed him?
Remember that loose stool is often caused by irritation in the GI tract that is caused by either food allergies or something that didn’t agree with your pet. It is for this reason that we recommend feeding your dog or cat a bland diet low in fat. You may also wish to space the meals a little farther apart to ensure that the new diet is not exacerbating his condition.
Many veterinarians recommend a mild diet of ground beef and rice for pets with loose stool. Just make sure that the beef is very lean, preferably 93 percent lean, since fat can irritate a sensitive GI tract. Another suggestion some experts endorse is to mix ground turkey, which is very lean, with mashed pumpkin, which is very mild.
Fortiflora for Cats and Flortiflora for Dogs
If the problem clears up on its own, it is safe to assume that your animal has intestinal issues that make him sensitive to certain foods. One effective way to treat this problem is to give him a safe and natural probiotic formula that helps promote a strong immune system and healthy intestinal function.
Fortiflora is a popular nutritional supplement for dogs and cats that does just that. Sold in powdered form, it contains a special strain of probiotics, which are live active cultures that help balance out an imbalanced GI tract, leading to fewer episodes of irritation and diarrhea. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to administer and inexpensive. Like any supplement, always consult your pet’s veterinarian before using it and always follow the dosing directions to the letter.
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We’ve talked in the past about the importance of probiotics in your pet’s diet. Purina Veterinary Diets currently has a $10 off one box of FortiFlora mail-in rebate offer, making now the best time to try pet probiotics.
You can find a link to the rebate form by visiting VetRxDirect’s FortiFlora for Cats or FortiFlora for Dogs product pages. Click on “FortiFlora Rebate” in the blue text box next to the “Add to Cart +” button and print off the rebate form.