10 Signs That Your Dog Needs Probiotics
Even your dog can have a day off! You may notice low energy levels, odd behaviour or digestive issues and this might be something dog probiotics can help with.
Over the years, dog probiotics have grown in popularity for a reason. They encourage good gut health and provide a variety of health-related benefits. Additionally, the overall benefits of probiotics make them a great choice for nearly any canine.
Read on to discover how probiotic supplements can support your pet's gut and start working on your dog's health today.
If your dog has issues with diarrhoea, it could be an outward sign that something is wrong internally. Stress or health-related issues lead to the imbalance of gut bacteria, causing cramping, gas and diarrhoea. Probiotics have been shown to minimise the duration of diarrhoea from seven to four days.
Stomach noise and bad gas
If you hear stomach noise in your pet's gut, more specifically gas moving around in their intestines, it's time for probiotic supplements. While this isn't something that happens too often, your pet will require gut support if noises are consistent.
Room-cleaning toots are a very unpleasant sign that something is wrong with your dog's digestion. Many pet parents find a dog probiotic to be an excellent solution.
Irregular potty schedule
This includes constipation and on and off stools. Adding plenty of fibre to your pet's diet can offer short-term relief but symptoms like diarrhoea and inconsistent poops could be linked to an imbalanced gut microbiome.
Food allergies are the main concern for dogs. While there is no cure for this condition, probiotics can help significantly and minimise allergy-related symptoms by boosting a dog's immune system.
Common symptoms include itching, rashes, dry skin and swelling around the eyes and lips. Dogs tend to be allergic to fleas as well, though they are typically more identifiable because they are visible to the naked eye. If you don't notice any parasites, your pet is likely to have a food allergy.
Probiotics can help dogs with allergies by regulating their immune response and reducing inflammation in the gut. They can break down food more efficiently, reducing the risk of food allergies.
Assuming your vet has ruled out underlying conditions, a dog losing weight rapidly isn't getting the necessary nutrients out of their food. Again, we can link this to an imbalanced microbiome.
A healthy microbiome produces digestive enzymes like lipase, protease and a minimal amount of amylase. These proteins have one task, to break down large molecules into smaller ones and help canines digest food.
That's why quality probiotics for dogs will pair well with digestive enzymes. Not only will this combination balance the microbiome, but increase the levels of digestive enzymes like cellulase, amylase and other digestive enzymes. These enzymes help dogs better digest food regardless of the food they are eating.
If your dog eats kibble, they require probiotics and all those digestive enzymes for dogs. Kibble-based food is packed with carbs or sugars, which can be an issue for many pets. Dogs are carnivores and aren't made to eat food with this many carbs.
Since canines have less salivary amylase, an enzyme that breaks down carbs, they need a daily dose of probiotics, which will balance their gut microbiome and improve digestion. In other words, probiotics will help dogs break down carbs and actually use that food.
It's completely normal for dogs to have some yeast in their gut. But if there is an overgrowth of yeast, it can cause your pet to experience different types of gastro symptoms. Dogs often experience a yeast infection in their ears but it all starts in the gut and spreads to the rest of the body.
That's why it's important to flood their gut with good bacteria, which will restrain yeast growth and restore balance to the microbiome.
When your dog's gut is healthy and balanced, it means they are healthy too because microbiome tends to affect mood positively or negatively. According to recent research, an out-of-balance microbiome causes dogs to express behaviour issues.
85% of the immune system resides in the gut and when your pet's gut microbiome is balanced, it means your dog is healthy. Adding probiotics doesn't only improve gut health but the immune system.
Your dog's immune system won't waste energy keeping bad bacteria at bay and will focus on more important tasks. Dog's stomach is an acid pit and if you don't give your pet enough probiotics, they won't reach the lower gastrointestinal tract, where it really matters.
A diet combined with a symbiotic (mixture of probiotics and prebiotics) could contribute to a longer and healthier life. Whether you are dealing with an occasional loose stool or want to support your pet's health, adding probiotics to their daily routine can make a difference.
What are dog probiotics?
Dog probiotics are dietary supplements containing beneficial bacteria that help maintain a balanced gut microbiome. These beneficial bacteria play a vital role in promoting digestive health, boosting the immune system and improving overall wellness in dogs.
Probiotics can help alleviate symptoms associated with digestive issues, such as diarrhoea, gas and bloating and help manage certain skin conditions and allergies.
Probiotics for dogs – how to choose the right one?
Finding a good probiotic for your dog can help support their digestive health and overall well-being. Here are some things to consider when making the final selection:
- Strains: Look for probiotics that contain a combination of beneficial bacteria strains, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus.
- Dosage: Make sure the probiotic you choose provides a high number of colonies forming units (CFUs) per serving to ensure that your dog is getting a therapeutic dose.
- Delivery method: Probiotics can be found in various forms, including powders, chews and liquids. Consider your dog's preferences and choose the delivery method that they are most likely to accept. We suggest getting a powder supplement because you can easily mix it with your dog’s kibble.
- Consult with a veterinarian: If your dog has a specific health condition, it's best to consult a veterinarian before starting a probiotic.
Remember, not all probiotics are created equal, so it's important to choose a high-quality product specifically formulated for dogs. Additionally, probiotics may take several weeks to show results, so be patient and continue to provide the recommended dose as directed.
Can dogs take human probiotics?
Dogs can take probiotics specifically formulated for them and it's not recommended to give them human probiotic supplements.
Dogs have a different digestive system and gut microbiome than humans and human probiotics may not be effective for them or cause adverse effects. Some products contain dangerous ingredients such as xylitol, a sugar substitute commonly used in human probiotics and this ingredient is highly toxic to your puppy.
Dog-specific probiotics are formulated specifically for dogs, which is a safer and more effective option. There are plenty of dog products to choose from, particularly here in Australia so there is no need to reach for human probiotic supplements.
Puppy probiotics – how beneficial are they?
Puppies can benefit from probiotics, just like adult dogs. During the first few weeks of a puppy's life, they are exposed to various bacteria and viruses that can impact their digestive and immune system. A good probiotic can help establish a healthy gut microbiome, supporting overall health. Puppies can also experience gastrointestinal issues due to changes in their diet as they grow and probiotics can help to alleviate these symptoms. Go for products made in Australia as they offer the highest quality.
How to use dog probiotics?
Using probiotics for dogs can benefit their digestive health and overall well-being. Here's a step-by-step guide for using probiotics for your dog:
- Follow the instructions: Read the label carefully and follow the recommended dosage instructions for your dog's weight and age. Some probiotics come in different forms, such as powders, chews and liquids and the instructions for each may vary. A powder product may be easier to manage and administer.
- Introduce gradually: Start with a smaller dose and gradually increase to the full recommended amount over the course of a few days. This will help your dog's body to adjust to the probiotic and avoid any digestive upset.
- Give with food: Probiotics work best when taken with food, so try to give the probiotic to your dog during a meal or snack time.
- Store properly: Keep the probiotic in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat to maintain its potency and effectiveness. Make sure they are recently manufactured, preferably in 2023 or in the last two years because their shelf life is short.
- Continuous use: Most probiotics take several weeks to start showing benefits, be persistent and use a recommended dose.
Probiotics work great when combined with a balanced diet and proper veterinary care. It’s not that common for dogs to experience adverse effects but if that happens, stop using probiotic supplements.
Does dog food contain enough probiotics?
The percentage of probiotics in commercial dog food can vary depending on the brand and specific formula. Some dog foods may contain probiotics but the amount may not be sufficient to provide a therapeutic dose to support the digestive health of your dog. In these cases, it may be necessary to supplement with an additional probiotic product.
Not all dog foods are formulated in the same way and some may contain low-quality ingredients that can negatively impact your dog's digestive health. It’s crucial to choose a high-quality dog food that meets your dog's specific nutritional needs and has an optimal amount of probiotics that will benefit your pet’s digestive health.
Even if a dog food formula contains probiotics, it's still a good idea to periodically rotate the brand or formula to provide a diverse range of beneficial bacteria strains to your dog. This can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome and support overall health.
A healthy and balanced diet combined with high-quality probiotics is the best way to ensure the well-being of your pup. Pay close attention to your dog's needs and learn to recognise the signs that indicate your dog requires probiotic supplements.