Taking care of your dog can sometimes seem overwhelming. How do we offer our pets a holistic diet that will prevent disease and keep them at optimal health? We know you love your pet and so giving them the best chance at a healthy life is our top priority.

Lately, gut health has been a trending topic, as domestic folk are fermenting and brewing foods rich in probiotic cultures. There has been an increased awareness of the effect that gut health has on our overall wellness.

And it's the same for your four-legged friend. A significant part of canine health stems from the gastrointestinal tract, loosely called the "gut."

The gut includes the stomach, intestines and colon and all the complex microbial communities that live within them. Disturbances in the gut are said to lead to diseases and disorders, including diarrhea, obesity, food allergies, and stress.

So how do you make sure that the bacteria population in your dog's gut is there for health and not for harm? Probiotic supplements! Probiotics and prebiotics can be added to your pet's diet to boost your dog's immune system, aid in digestion, and produce nutrients and vitamins. 

Keep reading to find out how a pre-and probiotic supplement can help your pet.

Using Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics refer to friendly and beneficial gut microbiomes. Probiotics for dogs can help restore balance to gut bacteria and, as a result, reduce a variety of gastrointestinal problems. 

Can I Give My Dog Yogurt or Fermented Foods?

While yogurt and probiotic foods or drinks like kefir, kombucha, and kimchi are suitable for humans, they may disagree with your canine's digestive system and should be used with caution. Dairy products and yogurts can cause inflammation in dogs or contain harmful ingredients like sugar and xylitol. Some dogs can be lactose intolerant and show symptoms of gas, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

On the other hand, homemade or store-bought fermented foods contain unspecified prebiotics. The risk of harmful bacteria and yeast can be a problem for dogs and result in yeast infections and bacterial overgrowth. Resist giving your pet yogurt or fermented foods. Specially formulated probiotics for your dog offer a safer alternative. 

What Are the Best Probiotics for Dogs?

A good probiotic includes around 3-4 strains of probiotics. Single strains won't be as effective. Some probiotics survive in the body and multiply and work as they need to.

Others only live for the duration of their journey through the digestive tract. Based on that information, supplements that offer various probiotics are favorable for yourself and your pet. 

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are compounds in food that encourage the healthy growth of probiotics. Foods that provide healthy fiber are great prebiotics for the healthy gut bacteria to eat.

Soluble fibers are found in beta-glucans from mushrooms, some grains, pectin in fruit, chlorella, chicory root, and more. Other resistant starches will make it through to the colon intact, where the gut bacteria ferment (eat) them to create short-chain fatty acids.

Short-chain fatty acids will be in abundance if the gut is healthy. They benefit the body by:

  • Increasing use of energy and reducing the risk of obesity. 

  • Helping provide gut integrity and strength.

  • Regulating metabolic, neurological, and inflammatory response. 

  • Protecting the body against allergens.

  • Helping the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients. 

  • Nourishing cells.

  • And more!

Different Forms of Probiotics for Dogs

Several probiotics can serve different purposes in your dog's digestive system and body. We'd love to introduce you to some of the different probiotics for dogs.

Lactobacillus

Lactobacillus is a type of friendly bacteria. There are many species of it, including acidophilus, plantarum, casei, rhamnosus. These probiotics live in the digestive, urinary, and genital systems and work to convert milk (lactose) sugar to lactic acid, inhibiting harmful bacteria growth. 

Lactobacillus benefits the canine body by improving immune function, supporting the normal digestive process, building healthy colon walls, and more. A canine study found that Lactobacillus acidophilus "may have the potential to enhance intestinal health and improve immune function in dogs."

Bifidobacterium

Bifidobacterium is another lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can reduce anxiety in canines. Bifidobacterium has also shown anti-cancer activity in humans.

Bifidobacterium animalis can reduce stress in dogs, as well as help with diarrhea and food allergies. Bifidobacterium animalis has a good survival rate in the canine gastrointestinal tract and is safe for dog use. 

Saccharomyces Boulardii

Saccharomyces Boulardii is a probiotic yeast. Dogs or humans can use it for the treatment of GI tract disorders and diarrhea symptoms.

Saccharomyces Boulardii is a resilient probiotic and a favorable choice to use in conjunction with antibiotic medication. S. boulardii can stimulate inflammation and modulate short-chain fatty acids that work to feed friendly bacteria and discourage harmful bacteria growth. 

Bacilli

Bacilli types of probiotics include bacillus coagulans, indicus, and subtilis (DE111). These probiotics are spore-forming, meaning they form a coating that can protect them from heat, bile acids, and most antibiotics.

These dog probiotic supplements are soil-based and found in water and soils. As a probiotic, it aids the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates. The Bacilli strain has also shown anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects in humans. 

There are hundreds of types of probiotics, with benefits too vast to mention here. A healthy microbiome with good bacteria will improve dog health in several ways. 

When to Give Your Dog Probiotics

Probiotics don't require a prescription, and most probiotics for dogs are easily found online or in pet stores. Your vet may prescribe or recommend the addition of probiotics for the maintenance of healthy microbial balance. 

There are many instances where your dog's probiotic bacteria are disrupted and may need additional care. You will see the benefits of probiotics in the following areas of your pet's wellness:

Stressful Situations

Healthy probiotics can reduce stress. Human studies have found that "microbial composition or activity of the gut can be modified" by hormonal changes and stresses.

Because humans and dogs both share the same Endocannabinoid System, it is very possible that probiotics for dogs can mitigate depression and anxiety, similar to humans. Dogs can experience stress just like humans. Social anxiety, isolation, environmental changes, illness, or even loss can cause your dog to become depressed. 

Poor Diet and Gastrointestinal Sensitivity

Does your dog have diarrhea often? Probiotics can help to reduce the happening or duration of acute or non-specific diarrhea in dogs. 

Many years ago, canines hunted food and had a diet predominantly rich in protein. As dogs have become domestic companions, they have seen a change in their doggy bowl contents.

Dog food has a significant impact on your pet's wellness, and a modern doggy diet may not fill the metabolic needs of canines. Poor protein quality or diets high in carbohydrates can do damage. Not to mention the number of allergens or fillers that can irritate your pet's digestive system. 

Probiotics can heal the gut and offer a helpful additive to your dog's diet. However, you need to take a step back and have a look at their food brand as well.

For a Healthy Immune System

Probiotics provide immunomodulation which is when the body's immune system achieves homeostasis for optimal immune responses. A robust immune system can prevent allergies in dogs, aid in treating irritable bowel disorder, prevent the onset of urinary tract infections, and improve stool quality and leaky gut.

Health issues like parasite infestations, yeast infections, colitis and bowel disease, pancreatitis, obesity, and inflammation can be eased or avoided when prebiotics and probiotics are an active part of your dog's wellness routine. A probiotic supplement may also improve skin and fur conditions and even smelly breaths

Medication Side Effects

If you've ever been on antibiotics, then your doctor has probably suggested human probiotics. This is because antibiotics or steroids serve the body by killing harmful bacteria in the body. Unfortunately, they are so volatile they also kill good bacteria. Probiotics can restore microbiome balance in your dog's gut. 

How to Give a Dog Probiotics

Probiotic supplements come in many different forms. From tablets, powders, liquids, or chewy treats, you can find something that will suit your pup. If your dog is easy to medicate, then a pill may be suitable. Your dog needs probiotics, so finding a type that will be easy to administer.

Some pet food brands include probiotics in their ingredients. Other brands have flavored probiotic supplements for your dog's palate. These can be administered as you see fit, perhaps by mixing it into their food or stirring into peanut butter or another irresistible favorite for a tasty snack. 

Remember that probiotics are live bacteria, so you want to follow storage instructions on the supplement. Check the shelf life and store it in a cool, dark place.

Probiotic Dosage for Dogs 

Every dog has different dosage needs. If you're dosing your pet to help with their allergies or gastrointestinal upset, then a higher dose may be necessary. If you're dosing a healthy dog for general wellness maintenance, then a lower amount will be suitable. 

When choosing probiotic supplement products, you want large "colony forming units" (CFU). When it comes to dosing probiotics, check the product label to see what their CFU measurement is. A product with high colony forming units is more likely to be effective when compared to a product with low CFU levels. 

For health upkeep in dogs, 1-4 billion CFU daily is adequate. For hefty dogs, you can aim a little higher and give your pet up to 5 billion CFU daily. For example, our Honest Paws Probiotics contains 5 billion CFU per stick. A dog with a sensitive constitution may take a while to adjust to the sudden addition of probiotics in their diet, but wait a few days to see if they adapt and if their health improves.

Always call your veterinarian if you are unsure of anything or have concerns about your pet's health.

Can You Give Your Dog Too Many Probiotics?

Your dog cannot overdose on probiotics, and any unwelcome side effects will rarely occur due to the addition of the supplement. However, some pet owners find that while their pet adjusts to the homeostasis correction in the microbiome, adverse reactions are experienced, including loose stools, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Lower the dose to stop adverse reactions and increase it gradually. An excessive quantity, such as those in human supplements, may not provide any additional benefits for your pet but instead cause the probiotic strains to compete for absorption. 

What If The Probiotics Don't Work?

If you find that the addition of probiotics has not helped your dog, take your pup for a wellness checkup. High carbohydrates or high sugar diets can impact the gut negatively and cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Drugs that disrupt healthy bacteria formation, like antibiotics, can also limit the effects of probiotics. 

Once you've worked with your vet in all areas of your pet's health and adjusted their diet (if necessary), you may eventually see the positive results of probiotics for dogs. 

Probiotics for Dogs, Add it to Your Cart Today!

Daily use of probiotics for your pup means that their health and microbiome can be supported daily too. Probiotics for dogs can prevent disease by supporting your pet's immune system and digestion. Making a small change and adding probiotics to their daily health routine can make a huge difference in your dog's health and longevity. 

We know you want many more years of snuggling your doggo. Caring for your dog means caring for their gut bacteria too. Take care of those little critters, and they'll take care of their host - your furry friend and companion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I give my dog probiotics?

From tablets, powders, liquids, or chewy treats, you can find something that will suit your pup. These can be administered as you see fit, perhaps by mixing it into their food or stirring into a tasty snack. 

How do I know how much of a probiotic to give my dog?

For health upkeep in dogs, 1-4 billion CFU daily is adequate. For hefty dogs, you can aim a little higher and give your pet up to 5 billion CFU daily. 

Can I give my dog too much of a probiotic?

Your dog cannot overdose on probiotics, and any unwelcome side effects will rarely occur due to the addition of the supplement. An excessive quantity, such as those in human supplements, may not provide any additional benefits for your pet but instead cause the probiotic strains to compete for absorption.