Probiotics are tiny bacteria that live in the intestines and help keep them healthy. They also positively impact other body parts, including the brain, the immune system, and the skin.
When you give your dog probiotics, you’re giving them good bacteria that make their digestion process more manageable and their immune system robust.
Keep reading to learn more about why dogs need probiotics and how to choose the best probiotics for dogs to improve your furry friend’s health and quality of life.
Benefits Of Probiotics In Dog’s Health
Here’s how the probiotics will impact your dog’s health positively :
1. Make Digestion Work Better
Probiotics help your dogs to digest food properly by supplementing the right bacteria in their stomach. They can help with constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Probiotics also help reduce the risk of indigestion and other stomach issues.
2. Help With Allergies
The good bacteria in probiotics can help balance out some harmful bacteria, improving overall health and reducing the severity of allergies. For example, probiotics are known to positively affect gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, which are common symptoms associated with canine allergies.
3. Boost Immune System During Pregnancy
Probiotics are vital for pregnant dogs because fluctuating hormones and increased blood volume weaken their immune systems. If you’re in the process of getting your dog pregnant, now is an ideal time to start supplementing with probiotics. It will help boost its digestive health and immune system function, ensuring it delivers healthy puppies.
4. Help Them Heal From Surgery Or Illness Quickly
Probiotics are great for helping your dog recover from illness, surgery, or other procedures. They can help with the healing process by boosting the immune system, digestive system, and skin health. They can also improve hair quality by promoting healthy skin cells that help prevent shedding.
5. Build Their Immunity
Dogs are just as susceptible to illness from bacteria as humans. They can suffer even more severe effects if there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in their gut due to their generally less varied diet and negative response to many standard vaccinations.
That’s why it’s crucial to give your dog a probiotic. It boosts the immune system by providing a line of defense against harmful bacteria and viruses.
When To Give Probiotics To Dogs
Probiotics are necessary for dogs that often experience bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, or a decreased appetite. It’s also essential to give them probiotics during stressful periods. Chat with your vet before feeding probiotics to your dog. The vet will look at your pet’s medical history, then suggest the best probiotic.
All probiotic supplements aim to promote the development of beneficial bacteria in your dog’s body. However, they’re not all similar. Giving your dog the probiotic that your vet recommends would be best.
Usually, the recommended product contains bacteria primarily found in the canine intestine, such as:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: They keep good bacteria in balance and ward off disease-causing germs.
- Enterococcus faecium: They benefit dogs that have digestive problems.
- Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium lactis: Help reduce diarrhea
- Lactobacillus casei: This bacteria influences your dog’s emotions and moods.
Should You Accompany Probiotics With Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are soluble, indigestible fiber that probiotics require to develop. They feed and help the probiotics to stay alive. That means probiotics can be less productive and may eventually go extinct without prebiotics. On the contrary, if the probiotics are well-fed, they will grow and support the production of new colonies of beneficial bacteria for your dog.
Types Of Dog Probiotics
There are different formulations of canine probiotics, including:
- Dog food
- Food spray
- Kefir or yogurt with live cultures
- Powder like Purina PRO PLAN FORTIFLORA
For each type of formulation, follow the instructions on the container and your veterinarian’s advice on the amount and how often to feed your dog.
Are Probiotics Drugs And How Safe Are They?
Probiotics don’t fit into either the food or medicine categories. They are regarded as natural supplements. In short, they are not subject to FDA regulation and are not necessarily required to adhere to stringent safety standards.
Nonetheless, remember that a product’s “natural” status does not guarantee its safety. Therefore, you must exercise vigilance when purchasing supplements for your dog.
If uncertain, discuss any potential probiotic use with your veterinarian. You could consult a veterinarian about probiotics through a telehealth service as well.
What To Consider When Buying Probiotics For Your Dog
Ensure that you check on these factors:
- Live Cultures – Many probiotic products contain dead cultures that don’t help digestion or boost immunity. Always pick a probiotic with live cultures.
- High-Quality Strains– If a product doesn’t list the strains used, it probably contains none. Probiotic packages may use an acronym to label the microorganisms they have.
- Consider the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, as most vets prescribe them for dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts. You can identify these species on the package as L or B for L.acidophilus and B.longum, respectively.
- Wet or Dry Probiotic – Liquid (wet) probiotics are often more palatable for dogs and can be a suitable alternative for dogs with individual medical requirements. On the other hand, dry probiotics may be cheaper and last longer. Whichever your choice is, ensure your dog will be okay with it.
- Colony Forming Units (CFUs) – The quantity of CFUs will determine the probiotic’s efficacy. Usually, more CFUs are preferable.
- Expiration Date – You’re purchasing a probiotic because it contains living microorganisms. Their shelf life is just a few months. So, check the expiry date, as the probiotic will lose its effectiveness after this date.
10 Best Probiotics For Dogs
Here is a list of some of the best probiotics in the market:
Best Overall: Purina FortiFlora Powder Digestive Supplement
Unlike other probiotic supplements for dogs, this one is specifically geared toward digestive health. FortiFlora contains a blend of live microorganisms that help promote healthy intestinal flora. This supplement also helps to reduce gas, diarrhea, and soft stools.
The probiotic is easy to feed to your dog. Just sprinkle it on your pup’s meals once every day. It is an exceptional solution for dogs with occasional diarrhea or gas.
The supplement contains Lactobacillus casei and Enterococcus faecium, both known to boost digestion. It’s also critical to mention that this supplement has live microorganisms and antioxidants.
- No refrigeration is necessary.
- It doesn’t need to be mixed with other digestive enzyme products
- Pre-measured satches
- Reduces gas
- Its liver flavor could alter the dog’s food taste.
Best For Digestion: Digestive Care with Turkey Wet Dog Food
This product contains two prebiotics: fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which helps feed beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and oligofructose-enriched whey protein concentrate (OFWPC), which offers nutritional support while also promoting intestinal health by maintaining regular bowel movements.
The product is a highly digestible, balanced diet specifically formulated to help manage gastrointestinal disorders in dogs. It is made with high-quality ingredients, including turkey, a highly digestible protein source, and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help support a healthy digestive system.
- Easily absorbed
- Suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Replaces lost nutrients
- Promotes immunity
- Quite expensive
Best For All Ages: Nusentia Probiotic Miracle
It is a premium blend of probiotics, enzymes, and prebiotics that help support your dog or cat’s immune and digestive health.
This unique formula contains seven strains of probiotics and three different enzymes, all of which work together to keep your pet’s digestive system functioning correctly. In addition, the prebiotic in this formula helps to promote the development of beneficial bacteria in the stomach.
Nusentia Probiotic Miracle is made in the USA and is soy-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free. It is also ideal for canines of all ages and can be given daily.
- It helps with diarrhea and loose stool
- Easy to use
- Good for skin problems and allergies
- Reasonable pricing
- It may take time before seeing significant results
Best Chews: NaturVet Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes Plus
It is an advanced, broad-spectrum probiotic containing four bacterial strains and three enzymes, including proteases and amylases. These beneficial microorganisms help with digestive health, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) support, immune system support, and environmental stress response. Each pill includes not less than 5 billion CFU.
NaturVet Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes Plus is formulated to support the health of your dog’s GIT by providing beneficial microorganisms that help reduce gas, bloating, and diarrhea. This formula promotes healthy digestion for pets with sensitive stomachs or food sensitivities like cow’s milk protein allergy.
- Perfects for dogs with severe imbalances
- Assists with flatulence
- Small chews to feed your dog in the form of a treat
- Breeds such as basset hounds may not like them
Best Bites: Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites for Dogs
They are made with natural ingredients, and you can use them as a treat or supplement to boost digestive health. You only need to pop them into your dog’s mouth. The Bites contain probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes that help promote healthy gut flora.
They’re also grain-free and made with all-natural ingredients, so you can feel good about giving them to your furry friend. Plus, they’re deliciously made of pumpkin, so your dog will love them!
- One of its main ingredients is pumpkin, which is widely recommended for digestive problems.
- Contains 500 million CFU from 6 different types of bacteria
- Easy to use
- It doesn’t necessarily require refrigeration
- Not all dogs enjoy pumpkin
- Pretty expensive
Best For A Sensitive Stomach: Vet’s Best Probiotic Chicken Flavored soft chews
These soft chews are an ideal solution for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Each chew contains 1.5 billion CFUs with active cultures of six strains of bacteria. The probiotics help maintain an ideal gastrointestinal (GI) balance and proper digestion. Consequently, the product helps reduce gas, stop diarrhea, improve feces consistency, and boost appetite.
If your dog often rejects medication or anything that looks like it, this product might be your answer. It tastes great; hence you don’t need to hide it in food when giving it to your dog. Thanks to its chicken flavor, your dog will love it.
- Amazing taste
- The National Animal Supplement Council ( NASC) approves it
- Each chew has 1.5 billion CFUs
- Also contains prebiotics and antioxidants
- Not ideal for dogs allergic to poultry
Best For Gas Problems: Vetriscience Probiotic Everyday Soft Chews
The product primarily contains Ganeden BC30, a highly stable probiotic strain that helps boost your pet’s immune and digestive health. It also contains prebiotic fibers to help restore a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the stomach. Moreover, the chews are fortified with vitamin B12 to support healthy energy levels and prevent gas problems.
This product has a duck flavor that will entice your dog. You can, therefore, give it to your dog as a treat. It is safe for everyday use for a lengthy period.
- Soft and easy to chew
- You can use it with antibiotics
- Duck-flavored thus, most dogs will enjoy it
- It has 11 calories per capsule
- Good value for the 120 chews per bottle
- The product’s scent may not be pleasing.
Best Value: Fera Pet Organic Probiotics with Prebiotics
This natural, non-toxic dietary supplement contains beneficial bacteria to support your pet’s immune system. In every scoop, there are 5 billion CFUs with 12 efficient strains. They help reduce skin infections, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, flatulence, and constipation in dogs. Moreover, it helps reduce bad breath in pets by eliminating harmful bacteria from their digestive tract and mouth cavity.
Just as its name suggests, this product is organic; it has no additives, fillers, or preservatives. The unique formulation is derived from fermented grains and vegetables rich in minerals and vitamins. It is tasteless and odorless; thus, your dog is less likely to detect or reject it when you mix it with their food.
- Amazing value
- USDA organic substances
- No odor and taste
- Both vegan and gluten-free
- Cats can also take it
- Needs calibrated scoops
Best Probiotic-Prebiotic Combination: Nutri-Vet Pre & Probiotics Soft Chews
The chews contain one billion CFUs that help improve the efficiency of the digestive and immune systems. They also reduce gas and diarrhea caused by dietary sensitivity or intolerance. Inulin, a prebiotic in the product, helps promote the growth of helpful bacteria in the gut.
Thanks to their liver and cheese flavor, your dog will love them. You can give them to your dog as treats or mix them with its food.
Most vets recommend this Nutri-vet supplement since it combines prebiotic and probiotic strains. Therefore, you won’t have to buy a prebiotic separately.
- They taste good
- They make stool firmer and easier to pass
- Support good intestinal health
- Contains both prebiotics and probiotics.
- Poor packaging
Best Organic Probiotic: Plano Paws Tummy Treats
These supplements taste great and are healthy for dogs with sensitive stomachs. They contain prebiotics and probiotics. The former encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, while the latter ensures robust digestive health. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to help keep your pet healthy.
These chews are made from non-GMO products with no colors or unnatural flavors added. Veterinarians have tested the chews to ensure they meet all FDA requirements before their release into the market for your dog’s consumption.
- No wheat, corn, sugar, or soy ingredients
- Beneficial for dogs of all ages
- You can administer it alongside other prescriptions without it causing any side effects.
- It is chicken-flavored.
- Relatively expensive
Our best overall probiotic is the Purina Pro FortiFlora Powder. The supplement contains a high level of live, active cultures that can help promote a healthy digestive system in dogs.
Additionally, the powder form of this supplement makes it easy to administer to dogs, and the flavor is palatable for most dogs. Finally, this supplement is backed by Purina, a trusted company in the pet food industry.
We hope we’ve given you enough information about probiotics to help you make an informed decision when buying one for your furry friend. Please remember that whatever works for one dog may not work for the other. So always consult your vet before making any supplement or dietary changes.