Understanding Probiotics For Dogs

Understanding Probiotics For Dogs

Probiotics are helpful for dogs for several reasons, whether it’s stomach issues, boosting the immune system, or other health conditions. For most pet parents, the problem lies in understanding the benefits and drawbacks and finding the right ones.

Let’s discuss.

What are probiotics?

Dog probiotics are actually a type of bacteria that is necessary for good gut health. The supplements consist of live microorganisms similar to the ones already living in the stomach and prevent bad bacteria from taking over the gut which would otherwise cause diarrhea and other health issues.

Prebiotics vs. probiotics

While they both are important, noting their difference is crucial as they should not be confused. Probiotics are microorganisms in the gut while prebiotics is nondigestible carbohydrates that probiotics feed on for nourishment. They help probiotics to establish colonies and be more effective at their job.


We’ve already established that probiotics promote good bacteria in your dog’s gut, but what does this really mean? Well, probiotics are key to ensuring there is a correct microbe balance in the gut which prevents and corrects conditions like diarrhea and vomiting.

Dogs with chronic conditions such as chronic infections, allergies, or are on long-term antibiotics will need help to restore a healthy microbiome in their gut. The regulating gastrointestinal function also plays a huge part in boosting the immune system as a large portion of the immune system is associated with the gastrointestinal tract.

Probiotics may also be a useful tool for dogs in distress whether it is from moving, losing a family member, or entering or exiting a shelter. It can also be useful when making changes to a diet.

Side effects

Probiotics are generally considered safe for dogs and besides the rare mild stomach issues, there aren’t any side effects for you to worry about. If they do happen, they don’t usually last for more than a week.

Types of probiotics

Probiotics can come in different forms and strains. The most popular forms include:

  • Powders
  • Capsules
  • Treats and chews
  • Gels
  • Food

As it related to strains, the most popular bacteria found in probiotics include:

  • Lactobacillus sp.
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Bacillus sp.

Using human probiotics for dogs isn’t necessarily harmful, but it won’t be as effective since the strains may differ. You are better off using a dog-specific brand.

Finding the best probiotics for your dog

There are tons of them on the market, but not all of them are made equally. When purchasing, ensure the probiotic strain/s is listed and the quantity present. The company should also be reputable so do your research. When in doubt, just as your vet.

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