The Dog Care

Best Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics for Dogs: Everything you Need to Know

Dogs are members of the family, which is why we look after them, provide them with lots of exercises and a nutritious diet, and plan regular veterinary checkups. However, when it comes to canine health, your dog may be lacking in one important component: beneficial bacteria. 

How do we make sure that they have all the beneficial bacteria they need? Via Probiotics!

You may have taken a probiotic if you’ve ever eaten yogurt with living cultures. The word probiotic refers to gut-dwelling microbes that are beneficial or “friendly” (bacteria and yeasts).

All animals’ gastrointestinal systems contain billions of them, which aid in food digestion, combat pathogens, produce nutrients and vitamins, and strengthen the immune system. The word comes from the Latin word “for” (pro) and the Greek word “life” (bio).

But what about our little dog? Can Dogs have probiotics and are there any probiotics for dogs available in the market? Well, there are various kinds of Probiotics for dogs available in the market that are nutritional supplements to consider for your best friend’s health.

But before we begin understanding what probiotics are, and how they can benefit our little furry friend, let’s first understand how the digestive system of dogs work, so we can choose better probiotics for them!

We as dog parents can only fathom how the digestive system of our little furry friend works, if you have found yourself thinking of this same question then read on.

What Is the Digestive System of a Dog?

Gaining a basic understanding of how a dog’s digestive system functions is a good place to start. Inside the canine digestive system, much like in humans, there is a complex ecosystem at work. 

All mammals’ gastrointestinal systems contain billions of microorganisms. These microorganisms promote digestion, combat pathogens, produce minerals and vitamins, and strengthen the immune system.In the gut, around 70% of immunity-producing cells reside.

Maintaining your dog’s digestive system in good working order is critical to ensure that he or she remains healthy, active, and lives a long life. 

This is where Probiotics come into the picture!

If your dog has diarrhea or other digestive problems or tends to get sick more often than other dogs for no obvious reason, your veterinarian may recommend taking Prebiotics or Probiotics.

What are Prebiotics, and What do they do?

Prebiotics are nutrients that are meant to feed and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria already present in the colon. Prebiotics and probiotics work together to support the growth of beneficial bacteria and other organisms in your dog’s intestines.

Natural prebiotics can be found in fiber-rich meals such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They come in the form of fiber that your dog can’t digest, but that serves as a home for probiotic bacteria.

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are the most commonly prescribed prebiotic supplement for dogs, although there are other types of prebiotics as well. Probiotic supplements frequently incorporate prebiotics.

Prebiotics can be found in a variety of foods, including legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)

What are Probiotics, Exactly?

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) refers to probiotics as “direct-fed microbials”. Because they keep your dog’s intestines healthy, they are considered “good” or “friendly” bacteria.

 Probiotics are commonly taken as a supplement, but they can also be found in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and tempeh.

These products come in a variety of forms, including: 

  • Live cultures in yogurt or kefir.

It’s important to remember that not all yogurt cultures are the same. Some cultures were employed in the product’s manufacturing, but they are not probiotics. Only give your dog pure, unsweetened yogurt, and read labels carefully to be sure there are no artificial sweeteners.

  • Powders.

Probiotic powders are typically sold in packets. When sprinkled in their meal or combined with water, dogs devour them.

  • Capsules

Probiotics are available in pill form. These can be given to your dog in pill pockets or in any other way that works for you.

  • Chews

As a reward, most dogs will happily consume these soft chews. The dosage is determined by your dog’s weight.

  • Food for dogs

Some dog food compositions include live probiotic microorganisms. Before choosing a probiotic-infused dog food, visit your veterinarian to verify you’re feeding your dog the proper recipe for his or her needs.

Probiotics for Dogs: What Are They, and How Do They Work?

For dogs, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all probiotic. One or more species of bacteria and yeast are present in each probiotic supplement. Different varieties are used for different purposes.

Certain strains, such as Bifidobacterium, are known to aid in the reduction of the duration of diarrhea in dogs as well as having immune-boosting effects. Other strains, such as Lactobacillus, have been demonstrated to aid in nutrient absorption and digestive system optimization in dogs.

Do Dogs Require Probiotic Supplements?

Probiotics are used to maintain a healthy bacteria balance in the intestine. A dog in good health should be able to keep the balance of gut bacteria on its own. However, an imbalance can emerge at times of stress, disease, or hunger. Many dogs respond well to a dose of helpful microorganisms to help restore the balance of their gut microbiota.

Probiotics for Dogs: What Are They, and How Do They Work?

For dogs, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all probiotic. One or more species of bacteria and yeast are present in each probiotic supplement. Different varieties are used for different purposes.

Certain strains, such as Bifidobacterium, are known to aid in the reduction of the duration of diarrhea in dogs as well as having immune-boosting effects. 

Other strains, such as Lactobacillus, have been demonstrated to aid in nutrient absorption and digestive system optimization in dogs.

Do Dogs Require Probiotic Supplements?

Probiotics are used to maintain a healthy bacteria balance in the intestine. A dog in good health should be able to keep the balance of gut bacteria on its own. However, an imbalance can emerge at times of stress, disease, or hunger. 

Many dogs respond well to a dose of helpful microorganisms to help restore the balance of their gut microbiota.

Probiotics for Dogs: Why Do They Need Them?

Probiotics for dogs have a growing body of research to back them up. There are various problems that your little doggo may be experiencing, including Probiotics in their diet can often bring them comfort and help them fight these problems. Y

our dog can show various signs mentioned below that can help you understand if your Dog needs probiotics:

  • Chronic gastrointestinal difficulties are signs that your dog may need a probiotic supplement.

Obesity 

  • Liver disease 
  • Mood and behavior issues 
  • Skin issues
  • Bloating and gas 
  • Bad breath 
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Yeast-related disorders, such as ear infections 
  • Bladder infections 
  • Irregular bowel function 
  • Infection or bacterial imbalance 
  • Stress (may cause diarrhea) 
  • Dietary changes (or your dog eats something he shouldn’t) 
  • Aging 
  • Medications, such as antibiotics and long-term steroids, kill good bacteria and frequently set chronic diarrhea in motion 
  • Parasites

Including the right kind of Probiotics in a dog’s daily life can help them fight all the above problems and live a better and healthier life.

What Are the Probiotic Benefits for Dogs?

Stomach bacteria that break down food particles and aid digestion can be found in a healthy gut. Bad bacteria may overpower the healthy germs that should be present in your dog’s stomach and intestines if the gut becomes imbalanced. A probiotic can aid in the restoration and maintenance of this good-to-bad bacterial balance. It may also provide them with other advantages, such as higher energy and better skin.

Probiotics for dogs are available in a variety of forms, with some also addressing other canine health issues such as joint pain and allergies.

Beneficial bacteria I.e, probiotics have a number of important roles in your dog’s body and assist by:

  • Reduce gut pH
  • Crowd out harmful bacteria 
  • Produce enzymes 
  • Produce fatty acids that discourage the growth of harmful bacteria 
  • Support the immune system 
  • Digest food 
  • Produce key vitamins (including vitamin K and B vitamins) 
  • Produce serotonin and influence mood 
  • Reduce gut pH 
  • Crowd out harmful bacteria 
  • Produce enzymes 
  • Produce fatty acids that discourage the growth of harmful bacteria

 

Certain probiotic species have been proven in studies to have special benefits for dogs. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two such beneficial bacteria that can help with:

  • Maintain a healthy immune system by controlling yeast.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Mood and emotions are affected
  • Improve the symptoms of diarrhea and food allergies
  • Bacillus species can also help the immune system work better.

How Do Probiotics Help Your Immune System?

Short-chain fatty acids are “pooped out” by bacteria when they digest fiber (SCFAs). Acetate, Proprionate, Butyrate are three primary SCFAs. Short-chain fatty acids either stay in your dog’s colon or make their way into his body. In either case, they’re important for your dog’s health and immunity.

They can: 

  • Encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria while inhibiting the growth of dangerous bacteria.
  • Assist in the formation of the gut’s protective mucus layer
  • Reduce glucose levels, which protects against metabolic disorders and obesity by keeping the cells lining the stomach close together (preventing leaky gut).
  • Increase the number of essential T-cells in the immune system, which aids in the reduction of chronic inflammation.
  • Provides protection from food allergies
  • Aid in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, and other minerals by the body

Bacteria are important for your dog’s health because his stomach contains 80% of his immune system. A broad and well-populated bacteria community is especially important for your dog’s health.

What Are the Best Dog Probiotics?

Probiotics for dogs come in a variety of forms, including food, powders, and pills. Here we provide you with the best probiotics for dogs:

  1. Foods for dogs that contain probiotics. 

Yogurt or kefir with live cultures is a fantastic source of natural probiotics for dogs. Cultures are sometimes used in the production of yogurt or kefir, however, they are not probiotics. Artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful to dogs, may be included in yogurt and kefir. Plain yogurt with no artificial sweeteners should be fed to dogs.

  1. Dog foods containing probiotics.

Probiotics have been included in several dog meals. This could be a more convenient approach to deliver probiotics to your dog. It’s also vital to look for prebiotics in meals, which nourish the good bacteria.

Remember, Bacteria are temperature, air, and moisture sensitive. This means that the manner dog food is prepared, how probiotics are introduced, and the type of food can all impact the food’s and probiotics’ quality.

Is it Possible to get Natural Probiotics for Dogs?

Fiber and carbohydrates are fermented by bacteria, As a result, they’re frequently found in foods. 

Foods that are high in probiotics include:

  1. Yogurt with probiotics

Yogurt is a fermented milk product created using Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus microorganisms. The use of yogurt as a probiotic has a few drawbacks. Dairy products, for starters, can trigger inflammation and immunological problems in dogs.

Second, most yogurt includes only a little amount of probiotics. In addition, most yogurt has a lot of sugar, which might disrupt intestinal flora.

  1. Fermented foods

Foods like Chagasoil-basedin, kefir, and kimchi can be beneficial to your dog’s health. Fermented foods are notable for the high concentration of prebiotics they contain. Because prebiotics isn’t picky about the bacteria they feed, fermented foods could be feeding dangerous bacteria and yeast.

Fermented foods can cause SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and yeast infections in dogs, so use them sparingly and with caution.

  1. Foods that are high in prebiotics

Fiber-rich foods are the greatest choice for feeding beneficial bacteria and supporting a healthy gut.

  • Mushrooms 
  • Dandelion greens 
  • Chicory root 
  • Jerusalem artichoke 
  • Garlic 
  • Asparagus 
  • Bananas are all good prebiotic additives to your dog’s food.

When Should You Use Probiotics?

Probiotics are most commonly recommended, and help in maintaining a “desirable gut microbial balance.” The balance between healthy and disease-causing microorganisms may be upset when an animal gets stressed or unwell. Diarrhea, gas, cramps, and poor breath are all possible side effects.

The following are some of the factors that can cause stomach problems:

  • Bacterial imbalance or infection
  • Stress: Changes that generate mental stress, such as boarding, moving, or losing a home, can cause colitis in animals, just as they can in humans. One of the reasons why so many dogs in shelters have diarrhea is because of this. Probiotics have been shown in several trials to be as effective as antibiotics in treating diarrhea in shelter dogs.
  • Diet: This might include drastic changes in the menu, as well as eating damaged or otherwise unsuitable food for the dog.
  • Antibiotics and long-term steroids have been linked to the development of diarrhea by destroying beneficial bacteria.

Symptoms that Probiotic can help with in Dogs

  • Leaky gut 
  • Parasites
  • Overgrowth of yeast (Candida) 
  • Urinary tract infections 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Colitis and bowel illnesses 
  • Pancreatitis
  • Obesity 
  • Allergy symptoms 
  • Mood disorders

Small changes in the bacteria that live in your dog’s stomach can have a big impact on its host. All the disorders mentioned above are linked to changes in bacterial populations in your dog’s microbiome.

These changes are less noticeable if your dog’s gut has a wide variety of microorganisms. Bacterial shifts will have a smaller impact on your dog’s health if the population of bacteria is large. Bacterial shifts, on the other hand, happen all the time. 

Antibiotics, drugs, toxins, aging, and a high-starch, high-fat diet can all trigger bacterial changes.

If your healthy dog is prone to diarrhea in stressful situations, you should consider giving him a probiotic. 

If you’re going to a dog show or boarding your dog, it might be a good idea to start giving probiotics a few days ahead of time.

Puppies who suffer diarrhea following training lessons or vet appointments, for example, might benefit from a few days of probiotics in advance of the stressful event.

Can Probiotics Help Your Dog’s Diarrhea?

Yes, probiotics can help dogs with diarrhea caused by stress colitis, which can be triggered by boarding, relocating, or any other change in their routine. 

Changes in your dog’s diet, such as consuming new or unusual food, should be avoided. Long-term antibiotic use can cause a bacterial imbalance, which can often lead to diarrhea. 

Probiotics may also help remove infections that cause bacterial overgrowth.

Is it Possible for Puppies to Take Probiotics?

Yes, puppies can take probiotics designed for dogs. This will aid their developing gut bacterial balance, which will maintain a healthy immune system and lower the prevalence of diarrhea, constipation, and digestive tract infections.

Can Dogs Take Probiotics from Humans?

Yes, dogs can take human probiotics; they are not hazardous to them, but it is not advisable to give dogs probiotics meant for people. They don’t offer the same advantages as a supplement tailored to a single species. The bacteria found in dog supplements may be combined with comparable bacterial strains found in human supplements.

Adviser’s Words of Caution:

Human and canine digestive systems are very different, so giving your dog human probiotics can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. They may also multiply too quickly in your dog’s system, resulting in a serious infection or inflammation.

Canine-friendly probiotic strains are required for your dog and therefore A probiotic supplement tailored to your dog’s species is required.

Can Dogs Eat Probiotic Yogurt and Other Foods?

Human foods with live cultures, such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, may help some dogs. Read the labels of human foods carefully to make sure they’re plain, unsweetened, and free of artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is poisonous to animals.

Probiotic meals for dogs should be limited to the following amounts:

  • For tiny dogs, 1 teaspoon per day is sufficient.
  • Medium-sized dogs, 2 teaspoons per day
  • Huge canines or giant-breed dogs, 3 tablespoons per day is recommended.

Do Dogs Have Side Effects From Probiotics?

Probiotics are, for the most part, a fully safe supplement with multiple safety studies. Constipation, gas, and bloating are the most common side effects.

When initiating probiotics, some dogs may develop stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, or nausea.

It’s possible that a stomach ailment will get worse before it gets better.

Changes in appetite could be an early sign of a negative reaction.

What to Look for in a Probiotic Product and How to Take Care of It?

When you look at a probiotic, you’re looking at live bacteria that have evolved to thrive in the gastrointestinal system. Their viability will be harmed if they are exposed to air, moisture, or temperature extremes. As a result, some of these items are sold in single-serving packets.

When choosing a probiotic product, consider the temperature. “You don’t want to buy probiotics when it’s 110 degrees outside, four hours at the mall, and your probiotics have been sitting in a hot car for five or six hours. The probiotics have a slim chance of surviving in such situations.

Make sure to check The best-before date and never use the probiotics after the expiration date.

There is no one-size-fits-all probiotic supplement for your dogs’ health conditions. 

Setting up an appointment with your veterinarian to discover the optimal probiotic strains for your dog is the best course of action to find about any health issues that may come with it. 

The safety and efficacy of the probiotic strains listed below has been scientifically proven in dogs.

Probiotics for Dogs: What to Look for?

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus 
  • For Lactobacillus casei 
  • Lactobacillus plantarum 
  • Enterococcus faecium 
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum 
  • Bifidobacterium animalis 
  • VSL#3

What Probiotic Should You Give Your Dog?

The sort of probiotic you give your dog is entirely dependent on his health and requirements. Here are some of the well-researched and effective dog probiotic strains.

  1. Probiotics based on Lactic Acid

Lactic acid bacteria, which are commonly generated from fermented milk, make up the vast bulk of probiotic supplements. Their strain names, as well as the species name, are printed on the supplement label. 

Lactobacillus bacteria convert milk sugar to lactic acid, which stops dangerous bacteria from growing in the intestine. Bifidobacterium species, like Lactobacillus, create lactic acid, although they aren’t called lactic acid bacteria. 

Bifidobacterium is a type of bacteria that lives in the colon and interacts with immune cells.

They can aid the immune system by crowding out dangerous microorganisms. Anxiety has been linked to a lack of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are delicate, lasting only around 24 hours before being removed from the gut.

Even if they are unlikely to colonize, their DNA is still present, and they can provide a variety of health benefits. 

  • Probiotic Yeast

Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast that is good for dogs and can be used to treat acute and chronic diarrhea in dogs. Candida and yeast have also been successfully treated with S. boulardii.

  1. boulardii can modify cell signaling pathways in the immune system, which can aid with digestive difficulties caused by chronic inflammation. Antibiotics are unable to kill S. boulardii, which makes it unusual.It can be used in conjunction with antibiotics to protect beneficial gut flora and avoid antibiotic-related diarrhea.
  • Probiotics that form spores

Bacilli probiotic strains, unlike Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, produce spores. These bacteria have the ability to develop a hard coating that protects them from heat, stomach acids, and the majority of antibiotics. 

How Effective Are Probiotics?

Probiotics have anecdotal evidence—stories of individual success—to back them up, and some vets swear by them. There have been some scientific research on the health advantages of probiotics in humans and animals, as well as the use of probiotics to improve immunological responses in puppies.

Supplementing with a specific strain of Bifidobacterium animalis reduced the length of diarrhea from seven to four days in a 2009 Irish research. It also reduced the requirement for antibiotic treatment by 10% when compared to placebo.

When may Regular Probiotics not be Enough to treat your dog?

The truth is that probiotics aren’t always beneficial and might even be harmful to your dog. Below are some problems that may not be fixed using Probiotics:

  1. Overgrowth of Small Intestinal Bacteria (SIBO)

SIBO develops when the small intestine becomes infected with an excessively large number of bacteria. This will make digestion and nutrition absorption difficult. SIBO can cause the following symptoms: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Weight loss 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) 
  • Gas
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 
  • Food intolerances 
  • Skin problems 
  • Leaky gut

SIBO can also be induced by high-sugar, high-carbohydrate diets, decreased intestinal motility, or medications that alter the microbiome (antibiotics and steroids). 

Because SIBO is caused by bacterial overgrowth, giving your dog probiotics is like adding fuel to the fire — depending on which probiotic you give him. Because soil-based probiotics do not fill the small intestine, they are helpful in the event of SIBO.

  • After Antibiotics

Giving Lactobacillus probiotics following antibiotic use can slow the regeneration of the microbiome. 

After antibiotics, Saccharomyces and soil-based probiotics are a superior choice for restoring your dog’s microbiota.

  • Lack of Diverse Bacteria

In dogs, probiotics may not colonize for more than a few days. Alternatively, they may not be the proper strain for your dog. The microbiome of your dog is as unique as he or she is. 

To maintain a healthy immune system, your dog’s digestive tract has to be a diverse community of thousands of different bacteria, fungi, and viruses all working together.

As a result, it’s critical to enhance gut bacteria through diet, which should include prebiotics and polyphenols. Chlorella, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, dandelion, burdock root, and apples are examples of foods that contain polyphenols.

When it comes to probiotics, how long should dogs take them?

You can provide probiotics on most days if you’re delivering them as part of a preventative health regimen. Because soil-based probiotics are less likely to cause SIBO, they are a superior alternative for everyday probiotics.

If your dog develops diarrhea, a lactic acid probiotic with a high CFU count should assist within a few days. 

A good multi-strain probiotic with gut-soothing herbs is a wonderful choice if your dog has persistent diarrhea or a digestive issue. 

In this scenario, you’ll want to maintain your dog on probiotics for the long haul, or until the diarrhea clears up completely.

Keep in mind that consistency is essential.

It’s vital to remember that administering probiotics to your dog is a continuous activity. You’re trying to establish colonies in your dog’s intestines, which will take some time and effort.

The canine gut is a difficult environment to heal in, and probiotics have a hard time surviving in the intestines. By supplying life cultures — in whatever form you choose — you are assisting in their colonization.

 

Conclusion:

Including probiotics in your Doggo’s daily diet will reap him great results. Include Probiotics in your little furry friend’s diet today and watch his health and well-being improve with time.

But, before you begin to include a probiotic to his meals, ensure to contact your vet.