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The probiotic food craze wants your pets hooked, too

The probiotic food craze wants your pets hooked, too



People bought more than 45 billion dollars worth of probiotics in 2017, according to Markets and Markets. Now, the pet food industry is getting in the game. And it's all starting in the organic food capital of the U.S.: Los Angeles, California.

Multiple stores in L.A. are stocking shelves with probiotic products for their pets and veterinarians are starting to prescribe them.

Probiotics are beneficial to the gut flora. They seem to balance the bacteria in the gut .
Dr. Jeff Werber, veterinarian
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"Probiotics are beneficial to the gut flora," says Dr. Jeff Werber, the chief veterinarian at Century Veterinary Group. "They seem to balance the bacteria in the gut and there are so many things that animals do and animals eat, medications that we as veterinarians give these patients that could upset that balance."

Studies show that probiotics, often called "good bacteria," help humans with intestinal disorders. They've also been shown to boost the immune system of people with no intestinal issues.

There are no studies that show probiotics have the same effect on healthy dogs as they do on humans.
Journal of Veterinary Medicine

But there are no studies that show they have the same effect on healthy dogs, according to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Still, that hasn't kept pet food stores from selling probiotic products like hot cakes. Janene Zakrajsek, the founder of Pussy and Pooch Pet Lifestyle Center in L.A., explains the appeal to customers.

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"By packaging it as something functional, where it's combined with a treat or a chewable tablet, these are ways of incorporating something that is healthy and beneficial in an easy way," said Zakrajsek.

Her stores sells a variety of probiotic baked goods. Across town, HealthySpot sells probiotic milk for cats and dogs, among other things.

"We carry different products such as raw goat's milk that have all 30 enzymes needed for digestive systems that you just defrost and pour into their daily routine with their food," says Jade Lorain, a spokesperson for HealthySpot.

But this food trend comes with a price. A search on Chewy.com shows that a 6-ounce can of probiotic goat milk will cost you about $20. A similarly sized can without probiotics will come in at less than half the price.

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