Episode 17: Prebiotics and the oral microbiome in dogs and cats

September 29, 2020
dvm360 Staff

On this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, microbiologist and entrepreneur Emily Stein, PhD, shares her knowledge about the oral microbiome and offers advice for fighting harmful oral bacteria in pets.

The microbiome is a hot topic in veterinary medicine, but one that is not yet fully understood by many in the profession. In this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Emily Stein, PhD, CEO of Primal Health Inc. and creator of the canine dental prebiotic Teef!, shares her extensive knowledge about the microbiome, breaks down key terms, and offers useful strategies for eliminating harmful oral bacteria in pets.

The microbiome is home to fungus, bacteria, viruses, and small eukaryotic microbes, Stein says, and the probiotic is the microbe that is being consumed, applied, or administered for treatment purposes. “Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the nutrients that you feed the bacteria, as opposed to the host, for the benefit of the host,” she says.

When it comes to whipping oral bacteria into shape, Dr. Steins recommends using a prebiotic approach instead of a probiotic one. “The mouth is already occupied by the microbiome, so a probiotic approach is less effective,” she explains.

Steins also shares 3 key ways that both veterinarians and pet owners can help improve a pet’s oral health. It starts with the diet, she says.

The diet determines what lives in the mouth and below the gumline. “It’s imperative dogs and cats eat a fairly diverse diet as a way to help diversify the microbiome of the mouth and below the gumline,” Stein says.

Secondly, Stein recommends adequate hydration. “Water does a great job at flushing out the harmful waste products that the bacteria secrete,” she says.

Lastly, annual teeth cleaning is key to achieving improved dental pet health. “It’s a big deal to remove the burden,” Stein explains.

To learn more about the oral microbiome and other dental care tips for dogs and cats, listen below.