Understanding the ingredients in your dog's food can certainly be overwhelming. Reading an ingredient list on a bag of dog food can leave you thinking you may need a class in nutrition or possibly even Latin. Knowing what many of the additional supplements, additives, and preservatives are in your dog’s food can leave you questioning all of the decisions you have made for your dog. Enterococcus faecium is one of those ingredients that can easily be missed because it is near the bottom of the list and can also be intimidating to read. So, what is it? Why is it in your dog's food? And what do you need to know about Enterococcus faecium?
What is Enterococcus faecium in my dog's food?
Pet food manufacturers typically add Enterococcus faecium to animal food as an additive to aid in digestion. Enterococcus faecium is naturally found in the flora of animals and humans in our intestines. These are anaerobic microorganisms that can survive extreme temperatures and high salinity levels. Used as a probiotic to help with digestion, dog food manufacturers add Enterococcus faecium to dog foods because of its extreme properties. Probiotics naturally grow in your dog's gastrointestinal system, and the idea is that if probiotics are found in your dog's food, they will be easily digested and keep your pet from developing stomach issues.
What is the controversy with Enterococcus faecium?
Like many additives we find in manufactured pet foods, Enterococcus faecium also has a controversial side. Because of its probiotic properties and its ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions such as heat and raised salinity levels, Enterococcus faecium has also been shown to be antibiotic-resistant. For some canines, this antibiotic resistance creates issues with gastrointestinal systems. Building Enterococcus faecium levels within your dog’s system with multiple daily doses of food can create an environment within their body that is resistant to antibiotics. For your dog, this could mean if they get sick they may be resistant to the medications that could potentially heal them.
What is the best choice for my dog?
Offering your dog the best foods possible is always the best option when feeding. The longer the list of ingredients, the more things your dog food will provide that their body does not need. The shorter the list, the more natural the food. Some of these high-quality premium dog foods are pricier than canine owners would like to see, but there are dog foods that are still premium-quality without an extensive list of unnecessary ingredients. On the flip side, Enterococcus faecium is a natural addition to your dog's gastrointestinal system. Another alternative to manufactured pet food is to provide your furry buddy with a raw and whole food diet.
Talking to your veterinarian about the best food options available and asking for recommendations that are not only within your budget, but also healthy for your dog’s specific breed, age, weight, and dietary needs is a great place to start. The best foods are ones that keep them healthy, active, and happy. Remember that different ingredients will affect dogs in different ways. Just because a dog food brand is a premium brand does not always mean that it is the best for your furry companion. Even though there is controversy within pet owner communities over certain ingredients, ultimately, it is your choice to make the best decisions for your pooch based on their dietary needs.