Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics for Dogs and Cats

All disease begins in the gut  - Hippocrates

Much has changed since ancient Greece, but time and modern science have taught us that Hippocrates was right; gut health is one of the most critical aspects of overall health. With over 70% of your pet's immune system residing in their digestive tract, one of the most impactful things we can do is support their gut.


Gut health relies on the community of microorganisms, called the microbiome, residing in your pet's digestive tract. High quantities of friendly bacteria are necessary to keep harmful bacteria in check. Enter Probiotics!


Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria and yeasts) that help to fight off harmful bacteria to keep your pet's gut microbiome balanced. They contribute to many aspects of your pet's health that you may not even realize are gut-related. Probiotics may help reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, better absorb nutrients, prevent diarrhea or constipation, and boost your pet's immune system

Gut health = overall health! 

Here are a few easy probiotic-rich options you can add to your pet’s bowl:

  • Fresh raw food: raw dog food like Steve’s Real Food that has not been sterilized or processed with heat is naturally rich in probiotics.
  • Raw goat milk: raw dairy products are a great natural source of probiotics and digestive enzymes; for an even bigger boost of probiotics, you can culture them!
  • Fermented foods: fermentation is an effective method to increase the probiotic content in foods; for more info, check out our blog on fermentation


Now that we know probiotics support our pets' health, we must ask how we support probiotics—the answer: Prebiotics. If probiotics are the worker bees of the digestive tract, prebiotics is the nectar on which they feed. Prebiotics are the plant fibers that probiotics use as a food source.

Excellent sources of prebiotics found in Steve’s Real Food products:

  • Inulin
  • Apples
  • Collard greens
  • Flaxseed
  • Kelp

Feeding a fresh diet incorporating high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and natural supplements is the best way to ensure your pet gets the prebiotics their microbiome needs to thrive!


Postbiotics is a term that few people are familiar with; even in the conversation of pre and probiotics, it seldom makes a debut. Probiotics feeding on prebiotics create postbiotics. When we talk about the benefits of adding probiotics and prebiotics to your pet's diet, we’re often actually talking about the benefits of creating postbiotics! Many of the health benefits associated with the consumption of probiotics are also due to specific postbiotics. For example, the boost to your pet's immune system when taking probiotics can stem from creating short-chain fatty acids like butyric acid, a postbiotic that can help regulate immune responses. Postbiotics also include vitamins B, K, and amino acids, essential nutrients for overall health.


Let food be thy medicine - Hippocrates

Another quote from the “father of medicine” resonated strongly with us here at Steve’s Real Food and influenced our newest product! We’ve partnered with the fantastic people at Gussy’s Gut, a supplement company based in Colorado that specializes in wild fermentation, and chief advisor Dr.Ian Billinghurst, the “Father of Raw Food.” This freeze-dried treat uses meat as the ultimate delivery system for prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. Our shelf-stable Protein Bites utilize 20% wild-fermented superfoods, making them a gut health powerhouse! The fruits, vegetables, herbs, and botanicals we have chosen are naturally high in prebiotic fiber, and the fermentation process increases their natural probiotic content and creates postbiotics! 

Check out our new fermented treats for dogs and cats - Protein Bites!

Fermented foods and why they’re so beneficial for dogs and cats!

Can our pets eat fermented foods? YES, fermented foods may actually be one of the most beneficial things you can add to your pet's diet!

What is fermentation?

Fermentation is a process as old as life itself. It's happening all around us, even inside our bodies! When it comes to food, fermentation is the process of bacteria and yeasts breaking down sugar and starch. You may already be familiar with some fermented foods and not even realize it! Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are popular fermented foods you can probably find at your local grocery store.

Why are fermented foods so beneficial to our and our pet's health? 

Fermentation transforms food's nutrients; here are some of the amazing things that happen when food is fermented:

  • During fermentation, bacteria and yeast break down sugars and starch, greatly reducing the overall carb content of a food. They leave the insoluble fibers intact, making fermented foods naturally low in sugar and high in prebiotics, the food source of probiotics
  • As the good bacteria consume the sugars, they rapidly multiply, making fermented foods a great natural source of probiotics! What are probiotics? Well, they’re the healthy bacteria in your pet's digestive tract! Probiotics are responsible for helping your pet break down their food, absorbing vitamins and minerals, and supporting the immune system.
  • Fermentation also helps to break down antinutrients, compounds naturally found in plant matter that make it harder to digest and utilize nutrients. Carnivores have an especially hard time with antinutrients because of their short digestive tract, and fermentation is a great way to combat this issue!
  • If that's not enough, not only is it proven to greatly increase the levels of certain vitamins and minerals already present in foods (calcium, manganese, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K), but it can create B vitamins not previously present! 

How do I add fermented foods to my pet’s diet?

After learning all the exciting benefits of fermented foods, you may ask yourself: How do I get these into my pet's diet?? Well, at Steve’s Real Food, we were asking ourselves that very same question! Have you ever tried to get your cat to drink Kombucha? Not gonna happen.

So we came up with a simple solution, a highly palatable treat that incorporates 20% fermented foods!

Protein Bites: freeze-dried treats with a purpose

Introducing our newest product at Steve’s Real Food, Protein Bites! This new line of shelf-stable freeze-dried treats will be the perfect solution for getting fermented foods into your pet's diet easily. 80% pasture-raised meat keeps these treats palatable and biologically appropriate for our carnivorous companions while 20% fermented fruits, vegetables, herbs, and botanicals pack a nutrient-dense punch!

To bring these treats to life, we’ve partnered with Gussy’s Gut, an amazing supplement company based in Colorado that specializes in wild fermentation. Created under the advisement of veterinary surgeon Dr.Ian Billinghurst, the “Father of Raw” food movement, Gussy’s Gut’s fermentation process uses the good bacteria and yeasts naturally found in raw fruits and vegetables to ferment the plant matter naturally. By not relying on added bacteria to begin our fermentation process, our one-of-a-kind treats have a different and more diverse profile of probiotics.

With their digestive system making up over 70% of our pets' immune systems, one of the absolute best things we can do for their health and longevity is to prioritize gut health! What better way than adding Protein Bites to their diet?

Look for Protein Bites at your favorite Steve's Real Food store. Click here to find a location near you.