Complete Guide: Probiotics for Dogs
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You probably heard of probiotics and their health benefits before, and if you have ever taken a yogurt with live cultures, you have taken probiotics. They offer plenty of benefits to us, but probiotics are great for dogs, as well.
The term comes from the Greek language and can be translated as “for life.” The term also refers to the good microbes that all living mammals have in their digestive system. Those microbes are bacteria and yeast, which help us with our digestion, fighting pathogens, help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and boost our immune system.
If the perfect balance of those microbes gets off-balance, it can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Your dog can suffer from vomiting and diarrhea, and your vet might recommend giving one of these two things to restore that balance.
Both of these come in several forms, and you might have heard about some of them. Some are even available in these forms for human consumption. The most popular forms are:
- Dog food with probiotics included
Some of these contain good bacteria, and they are:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Lactobacillus casei
What to look for when getting probiotics?
Just like in deciding on any products, there are some important things to look for. You need to remember that probiotics are living things. These bacteria and yeast are used to live in the gastrointestinal tract, so when you are purchasing probiotics, you need to finish that task pretty quickly.
You don’t want to buy yogurt and leave it in a hot car while doing other tasks. You have to be mindful of moisture, air, and temperature because all these things can damage the probiotic and damage viability.
When it comes to the most important things to look out for when buying probiotics, these are the things you should look out for:
- Expiration date
- Analysis - Look for how many live bacteria live in the specific product before the expiration date. Some companies state how many there are at the point of production, but analysis shows that most bacteria died before the expiration date.
- Probiotic list - Not all probiotics or bacteria are the same. Look for the specific strain within a product, and see what they do. Some bacteria strains have an anti-inflammatory effect, while others boost the immune system.
When should you give your dog probiotics?
Whenever you suspect that your dog might have some bacterial imbalance, probiotics might be a good idea. Stress or illness can influence the delicate microbial balance, and if that balance isn’t restored, it can lead to cramps, gas, diarrhea, and bad breath. Here are some of the situations when probiotics might be necessary;
- Old age
- Medication - Some antibiotics and other meds can disrupt the balance-
- Infection or imbalance
- Stress - Just like in humans, stress can affect the bacterial balance, and that is precisely why many shelter dogs have diarrhea. Things like travel, moving, or losing their home can be very stressful for dogs.
- Change in diet - Any change or disruption in the dog’s diet can influence the delicate balance, and probiotics can help with the transition.
- Parasites - Parasites can disrupt the gastrointestinal microbial balance, and probiotics might work.
There are plenty of parasites capable of infecting our dogs, and one of them is called giardia. You can read more about it here - Giardia in dogs.
What probiotics to get for your dog?
If you are thinking about putting your dog on probiotics, you’ll want to talk to your vet first. They can easily tell you which products might be safe or best for your dog. In the meantime, here are some of the best available choices from renowned manufacturers.
Purina is one of the best-known pet food manufacturers. They are trusted, and they make fantastic pet food and supplements. The Purina FortFlora is our best overall pick, and we wholeheartedly stand behind this product.
- Vet recommended
- large package
- for all ages
If you are looking for an affordable option of probiotics, check out the NUSENTIA Probiotic Miracle. Not only is this product the best value for money, but it is also safe for dogs and cats to use. It has 6 strains and can be stored on the shelf. You don’t need to clear the fridge or pantry space to keep it.
- 6 bacterial strains
- Low CFU count per dose
The best chew probiotic option is the PetVitalityPRO Probiotics, which your dog will think are treats. This product is duck-flavored, and most dogs will love them. However, if that does happen, you can easily grate them into their daily meals. Some owners said this works extremely fast, in fact, a lot faster than other probiotics.
- Fast effect
- Dogs might not like the taste
Amazing Nutritionals makes an excellent probiotic for older dogs. It has a unique formula that helps older dog’s joints and even has some anti-inflammatory effects. As dogs get older, new problems might start bugging them, and giving them probiotics that have a wide range of effects can help them.
- Great for seniors
- contains glucosamine
- May cause allergies
Puppyhood is a crucial developing phase in your dog’s life and providing them all the possible help they need. This probiotic is easily digestible and supports your puppy’s digestive health. Puppies love to get their noses and paws into things that can upset their stomach, and some owners need to look for the best possible food choice, which might take some time, and a few stomach problems. Honest Kitchen’s probiotics can play a vital role during that time.
- Special for puppies
- 5 bln CFU per serving
- puppies love the taste
- Low rating
- one package instead of two
Probiotics are usually for boosting and restoring the balance of the gastrointestinal tract, but Zesty Paws probiotics can help your dog with allergies, as well. This probiotic contains 5 strains of good bacteria, but they also have a bunch of other ingredients that can do wonders for your dog’s immune system. This contains prebiotics and probiotics, which is a nice blend of everything your pup might need,
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- helps with allergy
- Low CFU count
The Florazil is our pick for the best spray option for probiotics. You can easily spray your dog’s meal, and the good bacteria will do their thing in their gut. This spray can be stored anywhere, not necessarily in the fridge, which means it won’t take space. Most dogs love the taste and need only three sprays.
- Easy to use
- easy to store
- Low CFU count
World Dog Finder team