FAQ in general
Q1 What exactly is Probiotic LIVE?
ProBiotic LIVE is a patented (EP patent 2124607 – Pet Food) functional Super Premium food for pets, containing a live and highly concentrated probiotic bacteria. Probiotic bacteria occur naturally in the intestines of all healthy animals, and these microorganisms colonize the immature gut, reestablish the disrupted intestines, and/or support the digestive system thus promoting the mechanism of competitive exclusion against potential pathogenic bacteria. The probiotic microorganism, Enterococcus faecium, contained within ProBiotic LIVE is recovered from the internationally recognized culture collection NCIMB (National Collections of Industrial and Marine Bacteria) and chosen for its beneficial effects within the digestive tract of the host – in this case, the dog and the cat.
ProBiotic LIVE only has natural ingredients, all in high quality to meet the premium standards, and comes in a variety of flavours to meet the specific needs of every pet. Exclusive mixes of different oils make the product particularly tasty and easy to digest. None of the products contains artificial flavouring, colourants or preservatives. ProBiotic LIVE is everything pets need to have a nutritious and wholesome diet.
Q2 Is there a difference between cheap pet food and Probiotic LIVE?
When it comes to the quality of pet food the same rules as for everything else applies, which is that quality and price correlates. In other words, you get what you pay for.
ProBiotic LIVE is high-quality pet food and we have high standards for both ingredients and the production to make sure we live up to the high quality of the feed. The ingredients are chosen carefully and are not selected because they are the cheapest. We only use ingredients of human quality to make sure we can vouch for the product. We emphasize only to use high-quality natural ingredients and avoid artificial additives. ProBiotic LIVE is a unique pet food on the market, especially because of the high quality and the functional and health-promoting ingredients.
Q3 What does “high-quality protein” mean? and What are the recommendations for protein-content?
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and are important for both dogs and cats. The reason for this is that protein is broken down into amino acids and out of the 22 amino acids there is about half of them are essential to both dogs and cats. This means they have to be provided through the diet, thus both dogs and cats require a certain amount of protein in their diet. When it comes to protein in pet food the quality of the protein is crucial not the amount. The concentration of essential amino acids and digestibility is what determines the quality of a protein. Proteins of good quality ensure the animal ideal proportions of essential amino acids, whereas the animal does not properly digest poor quality proteins. This can lead to a deficiency of essential amino acids, which can have serious consequences.
Another issue is that protein is a nutrient very high in calories, so when feeding high protein diets there is a greater risk of the animal becoming overweight. Finally, high protein diets also make it difficult to maintain the right calcium-phosphorus ratio and this is especially a problem for puppies and kittens because it can lead to abnormal joint and bone development predisposing the animals for arthritis in the future. The minimum recommendations for dog food is a protein content of 22 % for growth and 18 % for maintenance. For commercial cat foods, the recommendations are a protein content of at least 30 % for kittens and 26 % for adult cats. There is no nutritional nor scientific evidence that increasing protein intake is better than increasing the quality of the protein. There is a risk of affecting the kidneys if the protein content is too high because excess protein is excreted via the urine, which is why it is not recommended that the protein content in food for dogs does not exceed 30 % and 45 % for cats. Overall, there is no reason giving an excessive amount of dietary protein moreover the high protein content will often increase the price of the food, and at the same time, the excess protein will be used for energy, being a much more expensive source of energy as opposed to e.g. carbohydrates.
Q4 Is ProBiotic LIVE a super-premium food?
As ProBiotic LIVE contains only super-premium ingredients, which have proven their effectiveness over the years, ProBiotic LIVE is formulated as super-premium pet food.
Only natural ingredients are used in ProBiotic LIVE to meet the high-quality standards. Usage of chicken, lamb, fish, duck, rice, maize, animal fat, fish oil, vitamins, minerals and other raw materials meet the demands of complete pet food of the highest standard. Exclusive mixes of oils and fats provide an important advantage in palatability. All the ingredients are specially prepared to obtain the highest level of digestibility.
Q5 What is the importance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids?
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are “parents” of a whole family of fatty acids that are important for the health of our pets. Both the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important because they have various functions in the immune system of dogs and cats.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Are required for brain and retinal function
- Contribute to cell membrane fluidity and skin health
- Help fight joint irritation
- Aid reproduction
- Improve the cardiovascular system
- Help fight sensitivities and skin problems
Omega-6 fatty acids:
- Are required for growth and reproduction
- Keep hormone levels in balance
- Contribute to cell membrane structure and fluidity
- Keep skin and coat healthy
- Promote proper development of the nervous system
- Increase food efficiency during growth,
- Keep skin in good condition
- Are essential for the normal development of the retina and nervous system
Q6 What is lecithin?
Lecithin contains a substrate called phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine is a major part of the membranes surrounding cells. It is also used to make acetylcholine - a nerve chemical essential for proper brain function. Lecithin helps the body safely utilize fat and cholesterol. It also “emulsifies“ fats by breaking them into smaller droplets. Lecithin and its derivatives are very useful for animals that are overweight because it helps the body safely utilize fat. For this reason, it is also useful in pets with liver disease. Additionally, lecithin is an excellent addition to the diet of an elderly pet, since it helps to protect against cardiovascular disease. These are the many reasons lecithin are found in almost all variants of ProBiotic LIVE.
Q7 What is a functional feed?
A functional feed is a feed, who is enriched with extra beneficial effects. Often it refers to health-promoting aspects. ProBiotic LIVE can be called a functional food, because of the content of both probiotics and hydrolyzed protein.
Q8 How much meat is in the product?
Meat is an important source of proteins for dogs and especially for cats. Cats require protein (meat) via their food to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Animal proteins also add taste and energy to the food and are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. The sources of protein in ProBiotic LIVE are for instance high-quality chicken, lamb, turkey and duck. These are used to ensure the best bioavailability and utilization of nutrients. We aim to have a high amount of animal protein in all of our products, and so we can always guarantee that the requirement of essential amino acids is met.
Q9 What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial living protective bacteria present in the intestinal system. These microorganisms are necessary for the digestion of nutrients and the balance of the intestinal microflora.
Prebiotics (e.g. FOS) are ingredients promoting the propagation of probiotics. In other words, they are considered food for probiotic bacteria. Prebiotics are often non-digestible complex carbohydrates, found in different types of plants, vegetables and grains. These carbohydrates resist digestion by salivary and intestinal enzymes in the stomach and enter the intestines where they are fermented by probiotic bacteria. The most beneficial effect of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) is the selective stimulation of the growth of probiotic bacteria, thus significantly enhancing the composition of the intestinal microflora and reducing the number of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Inulin is a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides (several simple sugars linked together) produced by many types of plants. Inulin is used increasingly in foods because it has unusual nutritional characteristics. Inulin contains a third to a quarter of the energy found in sugar or other carbohydrates and a sixth to a ninth of the energy of fat. Another feature of inulin is that it increases calcium absorption. Both Inulin and FOS are found in all variants of ProBiotic LIVE.
Q10 Can scraps be used as food for pets?
It is misunderstood that you are being good to a pet by feeding it leftovers instead of kibbles and often it is far more cumbersome. Scraps often contain too much fat or salt and can often lead to overweight. Therefore, it is far safer to use dry food and it will often be a cheaper solution. If you want to give your pet something on the side use specialized treats instead of leftovers.
Q11 What are the guaranties on ProBiotic LIVE?
We can vouch for the feed and the fact that it meets the nutritional and statutory demands for pet foods. The probiotic microorganism contained in the food, Enterococcus Faecium NCIMB 10415 is approved within the EU to be used for dogs and cats. The many pet owners who use ProBiotic LIVE today are very satisfied with especially the palatability and the general wellbeing of their pet.
Q12 What makes a good probiotic?
Safety: the probiotic microorganism must be non-pathogenic and non-toxic.
Viability: probiotics can only work if the probiotic microorganisms remain viable during storage of the product and through the entire intestinal system. This is the only way to ensure colonization of these beneficial microorganisms.
Minimum dose: the concentration of a probiotic must be such that on average a minimum of 1 x 109 CFU/ kg of complete feed is provided.
Quality insurance: probiotics must not become contaminated with any other microorganism at any stage e.g. during fermentation, the manufacturing process or storage.
Q13 Why do all variants of probiotic LIVE contain corn?
When it comes to corn in pet food, there are many opinions. Some people seem to think that corn is only used as a ”filler” and that corn can be the cause of both digestive and behavioural problems. There is no reason for the resentment towards corn, seeing that it is actually a very nutritious and superior ingredient.
Corn is a good source of e.g. amino acids, which are important for healthy muscles, skin and coat. Besides corn is also a source of easily digestible carbohydrate, thus a source of quick energy for dogs and cats. Other than being an energy source, carbohydrates are a source of fibre, which helps to promote healthy and well-functioning digestion.
Other than amino acids and carbohydrate corn also contains linolenic acid, an essential omega 6 fatty acid important for a healthy and shiny coat and a good immune system. Essential fatty acids are fatty acids that the animal cannot produce on their own; hence, they have to be provided via plant sources in the diet, and for that, corn is an exceptional source. Another thing is, that corn contains many antioxidants e.g. vitamin E, lutein and ß-carotene all of which aid in strengthening the immune system. Compared to apples corn contains twice as many antioxidants pr. gram and is, therefore, a superior source of natural antioxidants.
Lately, there has also been an increased focus on grain-free pet food, and this concerns corn as well as seeing that corn is actually also a grain. Can a pet food containing corn be termed grain-free? The idea of grain-free pet food arises from the fact that especially many dog owners are worried that grains can cause digestive problems if the dog is allergic to grains. Fact is, that grain-allergy is rarely seen in dogs and cats, and almost in every case, gliadin is the cause of the digestive upsets. Gliadin is a peptide found in e.g. wheat, oat, barley and rye. Gliadin is the cause of gluten-intolerance seen in humans. Corn does not contain gliadin, and will therefore not be the cause of an allergic reaction or digestive upset as wheat could potentially be. Thus, pet food containing corn can be termed “grain-free” even though a more correct term would be “gliadin-free”.
Bottom-line is, there are no reasons to avoid pet food containing corn. On the contrary, there are many nutritional advantages associated with corn as an ingredient. Hence, it is not correct to perceive corn as just a “filler”, unhealthy or harmful for neither dogs nor cats.
Q14 What is special about ProBiotic LIVE?
A unique feature of ProBiotic LIVE is the fact that it contains both pre- and probiotics. These ingredients support the health of the pet as well as help to maintain healthy digestion by ensuring a well-balanced intestinal microflora. The composition of ProBiotic LIVE is patented (EP patent 2124607 – Pet Food), and this means there are no other products on the market with the same functional quality.
Q15 What is the microbiome (microflora) and where is it located in the digestive system?
The intestinal system of all animals is home to a complex ecosystem of millions of microorganisms, known as the microbiome, previously termed the microflora. The intestinal microbiome contains a variety of different bacteria and fungi of which there are typical ~ 400 different types of microorganisms with a total population of ~ 1014 throughout the length of the intestinal tract. This means there are more organisms in the gut than there are cells in the rest of the body, and that makes the intestinal system the largest immune organ in the body. The number of microorganisms increases numerically from the stomach through to the large intestine, where the microbial diversity is higher due to the slower flow of food and the increased time and availability of nutrients for the microbiome to utilize.
Q16 What is the role of the microbiome in feed digestion?
The microbiome forms a symbiotic relationship with the animal and benefits the animal – aiding digestion by producing various enzymes that are involved in the breakdown of nutrients. The bacteria in the intestines also stimulate the immune response. Therefore, a balanced microbiome is crucial for optimal digestion.
Q17 Which Benefits are achieved by using probiotics?
Some of the ways in which probiotics can benefit the host animal are:
- Reduction of the effects of stress
- Reduction of diarrhoea and other digestive upsets
- Improvement of immunity and resistance to disease
- Improvement of digestion
- Improvement of skin and coat condition
- Reduction of the risk of allergies
- Maintenance of a balanced microbiome (microflora)
Q18 Does giving probiotics on a daily basis affects the pets own production?
No, animals cannot develop resistance towards probiotic bacteria. Only pathogenic bacteria can become overpopulated within the intestines. A daily supply of probiotics limits the risk of developing diarrhoea because of the pathogenic bacteria becoming too many. In addition to this, probiotics help to keep the microbiome balanced and keeps the pet healthy.
Q19 Why is a well-functioning digestive system important?
The intestine is one of the most important components of the immune system since about 70 % of the immune response happens here (Vighny G., et al., 2008). If the resistance towards pathogens from the outside is weakened, there is a greater risk of an infection manifesting within the body. By supplying your pet with probiotics every day, optimal conditions in the intestinal system are secured, and a healthy and well- functioning immune system is maintained.
Q20 Does the bacteria in ProBiotic LIVE survive the very acidic conditions of the stomach?
The very acidic, low pH of the stomach in most animals is nature's way of attempting to remove some of a load of infection present in food. It is however not a completely effective process, as made apparent by the fact that the oral/intestinal route is the commonest way for infectious agents to enter the body.
The microorganism contained within ProBiotic LIVE is a Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB). By definition, these bacteria produce lactic acid. This ensures the growth of the beneficial bacteria in an optimum acidic environment. By creating this acidic environment, LABs can prevent the growth of coliforms such as E. coli as they prefer a more alkaline pH for growth.
ProBiotic LIVE is also able to overcome the problem of stomach sterilization by containing billions of microorganisms so that some will always pass the pylorus and be able to colonize the intestines. Also, the freeze-drying process, which is used to preserve the microorganisms present in ProBiotic LIVE, causes an encapsulation, which protects the probiotics against stomach acid.
Q21 What is the basic concept of probiotics and how do they work?
Dr. Roy Fuller defined probiotic as “a live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance”. This definition emphasizes the importance of probiotics as being live cells. The awareness of probiotics has grown throughout the world during the last couple of years. Many pet owners already know the advantages of using probiotic products and are aware that a daily supply of probiotics has many health benefits for their pet.
The probiotic microorganisms support the beneficial bacteria already present in the intestines of the animal thereby occupying the space for potentially pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, the microflora is balanced so that a healthy and well-functioning digestive system is maintained.
Probiotics have been shown to work by the following mechanisms:
Competition for nutrients
Within the gut, beneficial as well as pathogenic microorganisms will be utilizing the same type of nutrients. Therefore there is a general competition for these nutrients which the bacteria needs to grow and reproduce. Hence, the more the intestines are flooded with beneficial microorganisms, the more competition is created between beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms.
Competition for adhesion sites
Adhering to adhesion sites along the wall of the intestines is an important colonization factor and many intestinal pathogens rely on adhesion to the gut wall to prevent them from being removed by peristaltic movements along the intestinal tract. As there are only a limited number of “sites” the bacteria can adhere to, an increased number of beneficial bacteria will result in decreased adhesion of pathogenic bacteria.
Stimulation of immunity
- Probiotics stimulate antibody production (both local and systemic)
- Increase macrophage activity
- Increase gamma interferon levels
- Increase the production of cytokines
Direct antimicrobial effect
Probiotic bacteria can either exert their antimicrobial effect via the production of bacteriocins, known to be produced by many species of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), but also by the production of organic acids (lactic acid etc.), which create a hostile environment for pathogens by reducing the intestinal pH.
Improvement of digestion
Probiotic microorganisms support and act as the healthy microbiome by producing enzymes, which aid in the breakdown of polysaccharide molecules. As a result, a larger amount of nutrients from the diet is utilized. The microbiome also produces vitamins, which then acts as a secondary source of vitamins to the host.
Q22 Can probiotics be used at the same time as antibiotics?
Whenever antibiotics are used, especially orally, the normal population of the intestinal flora is disturbed and when antibiotic therapy is prolonged, the effect on the intestines can be profound. Probiotics will of course help to restore the normal population of intestinal bacteria and this is one of the primary indications for their use.
Whilst the restoration of the intestinal microbiome will be the most beneficiary when antibiotic therapy has finished, it is logical to give probiotics at the same time as antibiotics. This is because the intestinal system is a dynamic place with waves of bacterial activity occurring depending on the presence of food and the antibiotic concentration at any specific time. Therefore, repeated boosts to normal microbial activity by using probiotics will be beneficial to the animal.
Q23 When is the right time to use ProBiotic LIVE?
ProBiotic LIVE can be used at any time in the animal’s life, but will bring extra support for animals in the following situations:
- Immediately after birth to establish a correct microbiome
- After weaning
- Pre and post-anaesthesia
- During and after antibiotic therapy
- After vaccination
- In preparation for/during/after periods of stress
Since the aim of using probiotics is to restore and maintain normal intestinal function, probiotics should be used whenever the balance of the microbiome is disturbed. Situations likely to cause intestinal imbalance are:
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Antibiotic therapy
- Stress (travel, change of housing etc.)
- Athletic competition
- Following surgery and anaesthesia
- Poor appetite
Strategic use of ProBiotic LIVE during times of stress (vaccination, rehoming), nutritional changes (weaning), or after antibiotic use is very beneficial and an excellent way of introducing the concept of probiotic usage
Q24 Why are young animals more susceptible to pathogens (bad bacteria) than adult animals?
All animals are born with a relatively sterile intestinal system, but soon after birth, the newborn animal acquires a complex collection of microorganisms within the intestinal tract. However, since the microbiome is not yet very “experienced”, the newborn animal will be more susceptible to pathogenic microorganisms, as there, at this life stage, are no protective microbiome to reduce the colonization of pathogens. For instance, the newly born animal shows greater susceptibility to oral infection by food-poisoning pathogens such as salmonellas than the adult does. By feeding kittens and puppies a food containing probiotics one makes sure the intestinal system is supplied with beneficial bacteria to help create a resilient microflora thereby making the young animal less susceptible to infections.
Q25 Can ProBiotic LIVE be used to prevent disease?
Millions of microorganisms colonize the digestive tract of any animal. When the animal is healthy, the majority of these microorganisms will be beneficial. However, even when the animal is healthy, there is still the potential of disease-causing pathogens colonizing the intestines. These pathogens are normally so low in concentration that disease will not develop until the animal’s general health and immune status are affected.
By stimulating the immune system of the animal, ProBiotic LIVE helps to enhance the animal’s defence mechanism. Furthermore, the beneficial probiotic microorganisms contained within ProBiotic LIVE will act to exclude potentially pathogenic microorganisms within the intestinal system competitively. ProBiotic LIVE contains Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), which produces lactic acid that has a low pH and effectively produces the optimum conditions required for the growth of beneficial microorganisms. This action helps to prevent the colonization of coliforms such as E. coli, which prefer a more alkaline pH.
Q26 What is hydrolyzed protein?
Hydrolyzed proteins mean that the protein molecules are broken down into smaller pieces, often into amino acids, which are the “building blocks” for proteins. When the proteins are broken into smaller pieces, they are not recognizable to the immune system, and thereby cannot cause an allergic reaction. ProBiotic LIVE is a complete balanced diet based on healthy and high-quality ingredients and is suitable for animals with allergies or food intolerances because of the hydrolyzed protein sources.
Q27 What else can I do if my pet has a skin condition?
- Check the skin regularly and contact the vet if signs of irritation occur. These symptoms can be alopecia (hair loss), erythema (redness of the skin), scales and crusts, and tiny inflamed eruptions that evolve into additional crusty patches.
- Avoid contact with pollen (e.g. grass or birch) as much as possible and limit the amounts of dust within the house. Vacuum the house often and avoid carpets and rugs.
- During periods with pruritus and dry coat, regular baths with a soothing shampoo can be very helpful.
- If the problem is food-related, it is very important only to feed the animal with the diet prescribed by the vet. The animal should not be given leftovers or threats of any kind. Other than that, the food should be stored in an airtight container.
- If the animal is very affected in the skin, it can be beneficial to choose a feed with a high content of fatty acids, since this help to increase the skins natural defence mechanisms. ProBiotic LIVE is high in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and would be an obvious choice in this situation.
Q28 Are there any disadvantages of using ProBiotic LIVE?
There are NO disadvantages of using ProBiotic LIVE at any time!
ProBiotic LIVE contains live microorganisms normally found in the intestines of all healthy pets. Probiotics have never been found to be toxic. Even more than 100 times, the recommended level does not cause any problems. None of the ingredients used in the manufacturing of ProBiotic LIVE will cause irritations or allergic reactions. Probiotics are inert organisms and do not persist in the environment. There are no known adverse effects of ProBiotic LIVE on aquatic life, soil fauna or terrestrial plants.
However, there are a great number of advantages using ProBiotic LIVE:
- Completely safe and free from dangers of probiotic overdose
- Enhances the animal's own natural defence mechanisms and enhance the animal's ability to cope with opportunistic infections
- Highly effective under a wide variety of conditions.
Q29 What is the minimum dose of probiotics required for dogs and cats?
To obtain the desirable probiotic effect, a minimum concentration of microorganisms must be able to survive and grow in the intestine. Many trials and researches have shown that probiotic effect is achieved with an average concentration of 1 x 109 CFU (Colony Forming Units) of viable probiotic bacteria per kilogram of complete feed for dogs, whereas cats need an average concentration of 7 x 109 CFU (Colony Forming Units) to obtain a beneficial effect. It has been suggested that particular microorganisms will not carry out any probiotic effect if the above mentioned average concentration is less, and it remains below this level at all times. Thus, ProBiotic LIVE products contain exactly the correct concentration of probiotics per kilogram of complete feed on average, to guarantee survival and growth of particular probiotic microorganisms
Q30 Are probiotics a solution against stress-induced diarrhea?
Stress affects the intestinal microbiome by reducing the concentration of probiotic bacteria. All stressful situations to which an animal is exposed cause an increased intestinal pH. When this happens the gastrointestinal tract is likely to favour the development of pathogenic species (bad bacteria), at the expense of beneficial species (good bacteria).
Vaccination, antibiotic therapy, weaning, travel, rehoming or illness are a few of the factors considered stressors that may result in a change of balance in the intestinal flora in favour of pathogenic species.
Stress can depress the immune response of animals, which results in alterations and breakdown of the regulatory mechanism in the gastrointestinal tract ecosystem allowing the easier establishment of pathogens within the tract, which can lead to the development of diarrhoea. By using ProBiotic LIVE the most optimal conditions for the intestinal microbiome is ensured. Thus, preventing the onset of intestinal upsets caused by various types of stressors.
Q31 Does ProBiotic LIVE require any special storage facilities?
We recommend that ProBiotic LIVE is stored under dry, cool and clean conditions, out of direct sunlight and kept sealed once the original sack has been opened to exclude moisture and thermal decomposition. ProBiotic LIVE is stable at room temperature for 18 months. This has been determined by long-term studies.
Q32 Why can live yoghurt not be used as probiotics for animals?
There is a growing tendency towards using live yoghurts as probiotic supplements for humans, and many people seem to think that human products are soothed for pets as well. However, there are some important disadvantages associated with using yoghurt for pets. The actual strains of microorganisms contained within live yoghurts are often chosen for taste and textural properties rather than actual probiotic benefits. Another problem with yoghurt is that most of it are pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process of heating designed to kill off harmful microorganisms, but it will often also kill the probiotic bacteria since many of them are heat-sensible. The concentration of live microorganisms present in yoghurt is therefore usually unknown, will tend to be relatively low and depend on the freshness of the yoghurt combined with the conditions under which it has been stored.
A very important point also to be aware off is the fact that most pets are lactose intolerant, although there might be differences in the sensitivity level between animals. Breakdown of lactose requires lactase. The activity of lactase declines as pets reaches adulthood, which means there are not sufficient amounts of lactase present in the intestinal system of adult dogs and cats to handle the large quantities of lactose found in dairy products. Incomplete digestion of lactase causes upsets and can lead to the development of diarrhoea (Case et al. 2011). Diarrhoea causes damage to the mucosa of the intestinal system and many of the enzymes required for the breakdown of e.g. lactose are lost. The intestinal system needs one to two weeks to restore to normal activity, which is why feeding pets dairy products during or after episodes of diarrhoea might even make matters worse (Hand et al. 2010).
Other than that, most dairy products contain deficiencies or excess of different nutrients and may contribute to dietary imbalances if large amounts are added to an otherwise adequate normal diet (Case et al. 2011).
Be aware of Xylitol
Pure yoghurt does not pose any threat to pets concerning toxicity. However, many of the yoghurts produced for human consumption contain xylitol which is an artificial sweetener and extremely toxic for dogs. Xylitol consumption can cause serious, even life-threatening symptoms in pets, especially dogs. Xylitol has long been known to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs. However, more recent studies have shown that it can potentially cause acute liver failure (Piscitelli et al. 2010).
After xylitol ingestion, vomiting is usually the initial sign. Hypoglycemia may develop within 30 to 60 minutes and clinical signs may progress rapidly from lethargy to ataxia, collapse and even seizures. Case reports show dogs developing elevated liver enzymes within 12 to 24 hours and in a specific case report regarding eight dogs five of the dogs where either euthanized or died following xylitol ingestion (Dunayer 2006). Cases of xylitol toxicity in dogs are likely to increase as human use of xylitol-containing products becomes more common, but one way to decrease the cases is to avoid using yoghurt as a probiotic supplement for pets, and instead use specific species-formulated supplements or even better high-quality pet-food containing probiotics.