“ Brand: Viyo / Food Type: Dog Food „
Do you ever get the feeling that your library of knowledge is missing a few pages? That was my experience a few weeks ago on discovering Viyo, a prebiotic nutritional supplement for dogs and cats.
Having finished my weekly shop at Tesco, I popped into the nearby pet shop to get some food for my two wards, Mollie and Moses.
Fresh on my mind was the pack of Yakult I had purchased for myself, thinking wouldn't it be nice if there were similar products suitable for animals - dogs, in particular.
There must have been a mind-reading genie perched on my shoulder, when a few moments later, at the pet shop checkout, I saw a box with a picture of a healthy looking Labrador, or was it a Retriever? smiling out at me.
I gazed in amazement - as you do do when your thoughts suddenly materialize in front of your eyes - The label claimed the contents to be sachets of prebiotic active, nutritional drinks for dogs, called Viyo. I blinked twice, but it didn't disappear.
Prebiotic? - I thought it must be a spelling mistake, for Yakult is probiotic. Then I saw it was from Belgium and assumed - wrongly - that their 'pre' is our 'pro' - if you get my drift. Anyway, back to my story.
As some of you may already know, Moses, my young Collie cross, had recently been poorly. I am still travelling the learning curve with regards to his nutritional needs, since he is a bit of a Heinz variety and therefore an unknown entity.
Some of his intolerances have come to light, but finding him a suitable, well balanced meal was a bit of a hit-and-miss affair, although I like to think I have got it pretty well sussed by now.
~~~~Why then give supplements to animals on healthy diets?~~~~
Because of his picky intestines and recent treatments with antibiotics, I wondered if he might need supplements to his diet and a boost for his gut-friendly bacteria, which might have been severely depleted by the antibiotics.
It was for this reason I threw caution to the wind and bought a box of Viyo, knowing nothing about it other than it was a prebiotic drink especially formulated for dogs - almost the doggy equivalent to Yakult, except that Yakult is probiotic.
On arriving home, I read the label and literature more thoroughly and with a little more research discovered the essential differences between pre-biotics and pro-biotics.
There follows a brief explanation of those differences.
~~~~What are pre-biotic formulations and how do they differ from pro-biotics such as Yakult? ~~~
Prebiotic liquids contain active nutritional substances which, when introduced into the intestine will STIMULATE the DEVELOPMENT and ACTIVITY of those essential, friendly intestinal bacteria.
A probiotic liquid already CONTAINS the live microorganisms that prebiotics help the intestine to develop.
Interestingly, the latter has a shorter shelf-life than the former, but the eventual beneficial health gains are the same for both preparations.
~~~~How does the prebiotic (Viyo) work? What does it do? ~~~~
According to the literature, '70% of animals' natural resistance system is located in the intestines.' Therefore a healthy stock of friendly intestinal microorganisms will enhance an animal's natural resistance to disease by inhibiting the proliferation of hostile bacteria and boosting the immune responses.
The two active, nutritional fibres in Viyo are Inulin and fructo oligosaccharides. Both these ingredients will promote the stimulation and development of those healthy, beneficial bacteria, bifidus and lactobacillus, both crucial in the fight against disease and prevention of intestinal infections.
Viyo is also a nutritional drink and contains other ingredients such as minerals, vitamins and fatty acids, listed below, all of which help improve digestion; stimulate fluid intake to keep the kidney and bladder function in good working order, and also promote healthy skin and shiny coats - just what the doggy doctor would order, perhaps.
Viyo claim that because animal proteins are more easily digested, only proteins derived from animals are included in the formula.
The drink is a mixture of water, meat and animal by-products, vegetable by-products, oils and fats, milk and dairy products, minerals and vitamins B6, B1 and biotin, plus three added vitamins A,D and E, all sealed in a foil pouch.
Although it has a long shelf life (approx 2 years) there are no artificial preservatives or colorants added.
There are six formulations of Viyo. Three for dogs - Puppy, Adult and Senior, and three for cats. The cat formulae include the added ingredient, Taurine.
~~~~Ingredients: The actual amounts vary with each formulation~~~~
Inulin: (0.3%) minimum
Fructo oligosaccharides: (0.1%) minimum
-----------Extra essential Vitamins added:
------------Essential fatty acids:
Omega 6 (12.6%)
Omega 3 ( 1.6%)
The calorific value is negligible (4.9 kcal/kg) so Viyo is not a replacement food - but is a suplement.
One box contains seven, 30ml sachets of a caramel coloured liquid, each having a faint, pleasant chocolatey aroma and the consistency of single cream.
PamPurred pets had it on offer for £2.99 per box, but has since gone up to £3.49
The recommended daily intake is one sachet per day preferably in the morning. I gave my dogs their Viyo straight after their first meal of the day.
~~~~What did the dogs think of the drink?~~~~
Delicious! I would say - judging by the speed at which it was consumed; the vigorous wagging of tails and that certain look in their eyes that says 'I want some more.'
~~~~What do I think of the effects?~~~~
Although my dogs were only on it for two weeks, I could certainly see a marked difference in both, but surprisingly, more so in Mollie; she is getting on a bit now and on the portly side, but has become noticeably more alert and active. I have also seen an improvement in Moses, in that he drinks more fluids (not excessively) and now eats his meals without me constantly having to encourage him.
I am not sure whether or not it would be necessary to continue giving this supplement on a regular, daily basis once maximum benefit has been achieved, but it would certainly be useful to keep a weeks supply on hand and give occasionally. Time will tell.
Judging by the positive responses my dogs have shown, I think that the prebiotic, nutritional drink would be an ideal tonic for dogs and perhaps cats, especially after they have undergone veterinary treatments. The liquid seems to help restore natural balances which may have been disturbed by age, poor diet, antibiotics or surgery.
~~~~~A WORD OF CAUTION~~~~
I must stress that Viyo is NOT a treatment or cure for any disease and veterinary advice should always be sought first when an animal is ailing. The supplement will be more beneficial when used during or after their recovery from any illness.
This really does work and helps keep your pet in tip top condition.