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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Probiotics are not only good for humans, but it appears pets can live a longer, happier and healthier life by taking them as well.

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Mike White and his wife Laura loved their first Shih Tzu, Kozmo, so much–they got a second one and named him Vinnie.

But a couple years ago, ten-year-old Kozmo started having problems eating. They told their vet, Dr. Mike Hutchinson at Animal General Hospital, and his immediate suggestion was the introduction of probiotics into the dog’s diet.

“Ninety-five-percent of the pathogens or disease causing organisms come through the gut — through the mouth. Not through the skin. Not through the respiratory tract but through the gut so it’s important, it’s vitally important that we have good balance.”

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The probiotics for dogs are bacteria in a dry powder that is sprinkled on the food. When they eat, that good bacteria is swallowed and ends up in the large intestine where it works to balance the harmful bacteria which causes problems. Hutchinson says it is very different than putting your dog on antibiotics.

Dr. Hutchinson recommends probiotics for all kinds of animals; dogs, cats, even exotic pets like chinchillas. He prescribes them to help with chronic bowel issues, bad breath, bad gas and loose stools.

Within a couple weeks of starting Kozmo on probiotics, Mike and Laura noted a huge difference.

Dr. Hutchinson says if your pet is relatively healthy and on a good diet, you only have to give them probiotics for a couple of weeks every three or four months to get their system back in balance.

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The cost averages out to about a dollar a day, which in the long run is approximately $15 a quarter or $60 a year.