The best probiotics dogs can consume is one specifically made for their species. Too many people find that despite feeding premium dog food, their pets suffer from a sensitive stomach and/or a range of troublesome health problems that originate in the stomach. Like humans, a dog’s immune system exists primarily in their digestive tract, so focusing on the health of your dog’s gut can improve their health overall.
Best Probiotics Dogs Consume
Giving your dog the probiotics you take is not beneficial to the dog. There are particular strains of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) that benefit canine health and can make a marked improvement in your dog’s wellbeing. Each strain of bacteria does something different. Some are immune stimulants and others have anti-inflammatory properties. For instance, Lactobacillus helps increase nutrient absorption, while bifidobacterium is known to help stop diarrhea. A good canine probiotic will have a variety of strains that don’t overlap and help balance the bacteria of the gut.
Like people, individual dogs can have different requirements, but vets can recommend a product that is beneficial for most canines. Probiotics beneficial to humans won’t benefit your dog since our diets differ. No matter what the brand you decide on, the best probiotics for dogs should contain most of the following probiotic strains as they have scientific evidence to support their safety and efficacy in dogs:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium animalis
Why Probiotics for a Dog Are Different Than for Humans
Studies that show supplementing with probiotics early in life, can have a positive effect on your dog’s health, especially dogs that are prone to immune-related disorders. Dog owners who have used Purina’s ProPlan FortiFlora have reported it helped clear up the following issues:
- Diarrhea/loose stool
- Bad breath
- Tear Stains
- Coprophagia (eating poop)
- Itchy skin (dry patches, hot spots)
When Should You Use a Canine Probiotic?
There are specific times when you may want to consider adding a probiotic supplement to your dog’s diet. Stressful events such as being kenneled or vet visits often mean bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive shedding. You may want to consider giving your dog probiotics in the days leading up to the event and for some time after. Also, if you are feeding your dog human grade canned meat or fish which is sterile, adding probiotics would be suitable.
Are Probiotics Effective for Dogs?
The best probiotics dogs benefit from are those probiotics that are handled and stored properly. Keep in mind that probiotics are living organisms. For the most part, they cannot withstand heat or sunlight. Don’t have them sitting in your hot car all day. Store them in a cool, dark environment–or even refrigerate them. While there is some benefit to consuming the dead bacteria, there are many more positive effects of live probiotic bacteria.
Needless to say, you should feel free to consult your veterinarian before introducing a supplement to your dog’s diet.