Should Your Dog Be On A Probiotic?

A dog’s digestive system is as delicate as humans and that’s why we hear so many vets recommending the use of probiotics. We can find probiotic supplements in many forms and the vast majority of them are designed to improve gut health in canines.

As a caring and committed dog owner, it’s your job to ensure your pet lives its life to the fullest and giving them probiotics might be one of the ways to do so.

Let’s see how probiotics work and what their effect is on your dog’s overall health.

How do probiotics for dogs work?

Probiotics are nutritional supplements that contain live microorganisms, yeast or bacteria that aim to improve a canine’s gut health. Billions of bacteria are found in your pet’s gut, which work together to help your dog digest food, among other things.

This network of bacteria is called a microbiome. Healthy dogs have a healthy microbiome but the number and type of bacteria can sometimes change, making your dog sick.

Let’s take diarrhoea, for example, that will sometimes be persistent even after you have done everything to stop it. The problem usually lies within an imbalance between two types of gut bacteria: those that promote healthy gut function and others that are present in a large number and secrete toxins.

Probiotics can help you fix this issue and will boost the number of good microorganisms in your dog’s stomach. They also appear to have a beneficial effect on the canine’s immune system.

What are dog probiotic products used for?

Most of the time, pet parents use probiotics to minimise diarrhoea and gas, but these supplements are often recommended for various digestive conditions. Like with people, vets usually prescribe probiotics for canines on antibiotic treatment because they help replace good bacteria in the gut.

Some research indicates that probiotics can help with weight management, fur, the immune system, bad breath, allergy-related conditions and liver and kidney function. If you decide to give your dog probiotics daily, they could promote your pet’s overall health and well-being.

In fact, probiotics support the protective layers of the intestine and help with nutrient absorption and normal digestion. Nearly 70% of a canine’s immune system is linked to its gastrointestinal tract, while small and large intestines store billions of good bacteria that are crucial for your pet’s health.

Benefits of probiotics

Benefits of probiotics

An increasing amount of scientific evidence supports the claim that probiotics have a wide range of benefits on your dog’s overall health. Studies show that probiotics can help with: digestion, GI issues, immune system, reduce allergies, enhance nutrient absorption, promote nutrient production, support skin healing and eliminate toxins from their bodies.

They are able to deliver such amazing benefits thanks to a positive impact on the gut lining. Probiotics can strengthen the mucosal barrier while minimising the toxin transfer in your pet’s body and promoting a more resilient immune system.

A healthy gut barrier is known to help protect against infection and prevent the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Any disturbance in your pet’s stomach can cause an increased permeability, or in other words leaky gut. Many lifestyle and dietary factors our pets are exposed to could lead to leaky gut and potentially damage our canine’s microbiota.

Anti-inflammatory and acid-lowering medications, along with antibiotics, can cause a significant and rapid drop in microbial numbers and diversity. That’s why vets prescribe probiotics every time dogs are put on antibiotics.  

We need to mention that the bacterial community is usually more important than the individual components. Disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, atopic disease, diarrhoea, allergies and many other conditions are known to react better to multi-strain probiotics than to single strains.

Different types of probiotics can have different positive effects on your pet’s body. We will name a few of them and list several health benefits they have on your dog.

  • Enterococcus faecium: boosts immune function, minimises pathogenic bacteria, prevents stress-related diarrhoea and shortens the duration of acute diarrhoea.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: improves immune function, boosts faecal parameters, has a beneficial effect on diarrhoea and enhances nutritional status.
  • Bifidobacterium longum: can reduce anxiety and pathogenic bacteria, improve intestinal health and reduce GI disorders.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae: offers all the benefits mentioned above with the addition of deducing symptoms of chronic enteropathies.

Type of probiotics for dogs

If you’ve decided to give your furry companion probiotics, the first thing you should do is choose the type you are going to purchase. A wide range of options is available, from pet-specific probiotics to products that particularly target certain areas of your canine’s health.

You can find probiotics in different forms, such as yoghurt drinks, capsules, powders and incorporated in kibble. Dog probiotic powder is particularly convenient because you can just sprinkle it on top of your pet’s food and it’s great for dogs suspicious of pills.

Type of Probiotics for Dogs

How long does a probiotic take to work?

We all expect instant results, but that’s not how probiotics work. When you start giving your dog a new supplement it takes time to notice the first results. You should keep in mind that all dogs are different and they react differently to new products.

Some canines may feel effects within a couple of days while others might need up to six weeks to show any changes. You must be wondering how long your pet should consume probiotics; unfortunately, there is not enough information to determine the time limit. But as long as your pet feels good, there is no reason why you should stop with probiotics.

In many cases, these supplements work as a preventive treatment while ensuring your dog stays healthy in the longer run. Make sure to choose a multi-strain product and 100% natural and certified organic powder like Petz Park probiotic.

Foods high in probiotics

Some dairy products like sauerkraut and green tripe are high in probiotics. While fruits and veggies don’t contain live bacteria, they are rich in prebiotics and dietary fibres that serve as food for the healthy bacteria in the dog’s intestines.

Here are a couple of ingredients that might benefit your pet.

  • Yoghurt: This is a well-known natural probiotic that can either be store-bought or homemade. Yoghurt is packed with Lactobacillus – probiotic strains that help with digestion and upset stomach while maintaining the dog’s gut health.
  • Kefir: Another fermented milk product packed with digestive enzymes and strains of beneficial bacteria. Kefir originates from Turkey and means a “good feeling.” It can help your canine with digestive health, gut problems and manage blood sugar levels.
  • Buttermilk: Made by churning out butter from cultured cream, buttermilk is a probiotic food because it retains the live cultures added during fermentation.
  • Goat milk: This type of milk is a great source of beneficial bacteria. It’s a highly effective probiotic that could protect your dog’s body against harmful microorganisms. Goat milk features oligosaccharides and prebiotics, which only increase its benefits.
  • Green Tripe: Tripe is the stomach lining of sheep and cows and green tripe is a raw stomach lining, which means it hasn’t been treated in any way. It is an amazing source of digestive enzymes and probiotics and can keep your pet’s stomach acidity under control.
  • Sauerkraut: You probably know this as a fermented cabbage, which is quite easy to make. When it comes to the number of Lactobacillus bacteria, this ingredient has even better probiotic properties than yoghurt. It’s rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
  • Broccoli: The majority of green veggies are great for gut health and broccoli falls into this category. While it doesn’t contain live bacteria, it’s rich in fibre which could help maintain a healthy GI tract. Broccoli might be an excellent alternative for all dogs that are intolerant to lactose.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are rich in prebiotics and will support your pet’s gut health. They provide food for healthy microbes in your pet’s gut and support overall digestion. Sweet potatoes are gluten-free and contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
  • Bananas: This is another alternative for lactose-intolerant canines. Bananas contain a high amount of inulin, a specific prebiotic that is proven to have a beneficial effect on dogs’ digestive tract. Inulin promotes the growth of good bacteria.

Foods high in probiotics for Dogs

Can dogs take human probiotics?

While human probiotics don’t pose a risk to canines, vets don’t recommend this approach. Most human probiotics won’t survive the transit through the canine’s GI tract. They are not likely to be harmful but can hardly provide any benefits. It’s better to opt for dog-specific products.

Now that you know how probiotics aid digestion and improve gastrointestinal health, choosing a product that will benefit your dog becomes easier.