Animal Probiotics Feed Additives: Everything You Need to Know

Post by Pangoogroup on November 10, 2023
animal probiotics feed additives

Probiotics have become an increasingly popular supplement for both humans and animals in recent years. But what exactly are probiotics, and how can they benefit your livestock and pets when added to their feed? This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about animal probiotics feed additives.

What Are Animal Probiotics Feed Additives?

Animal probiotics are live, beneficial microorganisms that are added to animal feed. They work by promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which has many benefits for an animal's digestive health and overall wellbeing.

Some common types of bacteria used in animal probiotic products include:

  • Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) such as Lactobacillus and Enterococcus
  • Bifidobacteria
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast)

These probiotic microbes help to colonize the digestive tract, where they outcompete harmful pathogens, produce digestive enzymes, and regulate the immune system. This helps optimize digestion, boost immunity, and support overall health in livestock and pets.

How Do Probiotics Work?

When ingested, probiotics travel through the digestive system until they reach the intestines, where they work in several key ways:

Promote Beneficial Bacteria

Probiotics help propagate populations of healthy, beneficial bacteria in the gut. This crowd-out effect leaves less room and resources for potentially harmful, disease-causing microbes to thrive.

Improve Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Probiotics like lactobacilli produce enzymes that help break down indigestible fibers, proteins, and carbohydrates in an animal's diet. This improves digestion and increases the absorption of nutrients.

Strengthen Immune Function

Some strains of probiotics interact with and regulate the immune system in the gut. This fortifies immunity and reduces an animal's susceptibility to infection and disease.

Reduce Inflammation

Probiotics can help decrease inflammatory responses in the intestines and throughout the body. This in turn alleviates conditions like diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

By optimizing the gut microbiome and digestive function in these ways, probiotics create a foundation for improved health, growth, and performance.

The Benefits of Animal Probiotics Feed Additives

Adding probiotic supplements to livestock feed or pet food can provide a wide array of benefits:

Improved Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

As probiotics facilitate better digestion and absorption of nutrients from the diet, animals are able to more efficiently convert feed into energy, muscle, milk, eggs, or fiber.

Reduced Risk of Infection and Disease

By crowding out pathogens, regulating immunity, and reducing gut inflammation, probiotics help prevent infectious diseases like salmonella, E. coli, coccidiosis, metritis, mastitis, and scours.

Improved Weight Gain and Feed Conversion

With optimized digestion and immunity, animals convert feed to weight gain more efficiently. Average daily gains and feed conversion rates improve in animals supplemented with probiotics.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Probiotics help regulate hormonal and neurochemical activity related to the gut-brain axis. This can reduce stress, fear, and aggressive behaviors in livestock and pets.

Improved Overall Health and Well-Being

The collective benefits of improved digestion, absorption, immunity, and hormonal regulation promote greater overall wellness and vitality in animals.

Types of Animal Probiotics Feed Additives

There are several major categories of probiotic bacteria used in feed additives for livestock and pets:

Lactic Acid Bacteria

This includes lactobacilli and enterococci strains that produce lactic acid. They optimize digestion, nutrient absorption, and gut pH.


Bifidobacteria species like B. animalis crowd out pathogens, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity in the gut.

Bacillus subtilis

Spore-forming strains of Bacillus subtilis support digestion, balance gut microflora, and may enhance growth.

Enterococcus faecium

This bacterium helps digestion through enzyme and lactic acid production. It also displaces pathogens like salmonella.

Yeast Probiotics

Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast probiotics help digestion through enzyme production and improve hindgut fermentation.

TypeMajor Benefits
Lactic Acid BacteriaImproved digestion and nutrient absorption, immune regulation
BifidobacteriaPathogen displacement, reduced inflammation
Bacillus subtilisDigestion, gut balance, growth
Enterococcus faeciumDigestion, pathogen displacement
Yeast ProbioticsDigestive enzymes, hindgut fermentation

These major categories of probiotics have been extensively researched and proven effective across various livestock species and pets. However, effects can vary based on the specific probiotic strain, so it's important to choose an appropriate formula.

How to Choose the Right Animal Probiotics Feed Additive

When selecting a probiotic feed supplement, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Animal species and age - Choose probiotics known to be effective for the specific livestock or pet species you are feeding. Certain strains work better for different animals. Also consider if the product is formulated for adult animals versus juveniles.
  • Health status - Ill or stressed animals, or those on antibiotics, may benefit from probiotics focused on immune regulation and pathogen protection. Healthy animals can use probiotics for maintenance.
  • Delivery method - Probiotic viability varies between live cultures, sprays, pastes, capsules, and coated products. Choose a suitable delivery method.
  • CFU count - Look for probiotic products that guarantee a high colony forming units (CFU) count per dose to ensure adequate probiotic intake.
  • Combination probiotics - Products with multiple probiotic strains can provide synergistic benefits across various aspects of gut health.
  • Quality - Be sure any probiotic supplement comes from a reputable manufacturer who can verify the identity, purity, potency, and viability of the product.

Consulting with a veterinarian or animal nutritionist can help determine the appropriate probiotic supplement and dosage for your particular livestock or pets.

How to Use Animal Probiotics Feed Additives Effectively

To realize the full benefits of probiotics, follow these tips for effective use:

  • Follow label instructions - Adhere to the manufacturer's recommended dosage, usage, storage, and precautions.
  • Gradual introduction - When first administering probiotics, start with a low dosage and gradually increase to the full amount over 2-3 weeks. This allows the gut to adjust.
  • Consistency - Administer probiotics consistently, as directed, to maintain the benefits. Avoid sporadic use.
  • Proper storage - Store probiotic products according to package instructions to protect viability. Refrigeration is often recommended.
  • Alongside balanced nutrition - Use probiotics as a supplement to a balanced, age-appropriate diet for optimal synergy. Proper nutrition helps probiotic efficacy.
  • Good management practices - To support probiotic function, ensure proper housing, sanitation, hygiene, vaccination schedules, and low-stress handling.

With the right probiotic product used properly alongside good nutrition and management, livestock producers and pet owners can help their animals thrive.

Conclusion: Should You Use Animal Probiotics?

As evidenced by the myriad benefits explored in this article, supplementing feeds with targeted probiotic formulations can pay dividends for livestock and pet wellness and performance.

By optimizing digestion, immunity, metabolism, behavior, and more, high-quality animal probiotic feed additives are an impactful tool for supporting animal health. They provide a natural, drug-free way to reduce disease risk, improve feed conversion, support growth, and raise thriving animals.

However, not all probiotics are created equal. To fully realize the advantages, be sure to select an appropriate, high-CFU probiotic product from a reputable company. Follow label directions carefully, introduce probiotics gradually, use them consistently alongside sound nutrition and management practices.

If you raise livestock or care for pets, exploring how probiotic feed supplements may enhance the health and productivity of your animals is worth your time and consideration. Consult with your veterinarian or animal nutritionist to decide if adding probiotics to your animals' diet could be beneficial. With the right probiotic product used strategically alongside good nutrition and husbandry, you can unlock the full potential of your herd or pets.


For a free consultation on finding the right probiotic feed supplement for your livestock or pets, contact Get started with probiotics today and see the positive impacts on your animals!

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