What are Probiotics for Dogs ?

Research reveals that around 70% of a dog’s immune system lies within the digestive tract and therefore it is extremely important for their overall health what is actually in their food. In summary, probiotics for dogs consist of helpful bacteria that not only help the immune system, but also improve the digestion of certain ingredients in a dog’s diet. When incorporating probiotics into the meal, it is best to do this once it has been cooked and cooled so that the bacteria have the best chance of survival. By choosing a dog food which contains a healthy balance of probiotics, natural fibre and other helpful bacteria, this will help to ensure for a stronger immune system and healthy digestive tract.

How best to take them?

probiotics for dogs
If probiotics for dogs are being used to aid digestion then taking them with meals is advisable, however, as briefly mentioned above this can sometimes mean that they don’t survive as well and work to their full potential. Taking with water would allow it to help dilute stomach acid and carry it much quicker into the dig
estive tract. Although, if you do want to still give them with meal times, make sure the food is already cooked and cooled as previously stated to give the probiotics the best chance.

Problems caused by stress?

Not all that dissimilarly to humans, dogs can suffer from both emotional and psychological stresses in everyday life which can have a direct impact on their gastrointestinal tract. A number of different factors can trigger this lack in helpful bacteria including things such as:
  • Travelling
  • A drastic change in diet
  • Antibiotics
  • A strong change in environment
Usually, a probiotic is sought after for dogs prior to a course of antibiotics which has been prescribed by a vet for one of a number of different health reasons (such as eye infection etc.). Especially, if your dog is experiencing side effects to the extended period of antibiotics, most commonly relating to diarrhoea, then probiotics would again be beneficial.

Important Tips

Requesting advice from your veterinarian is crucial since with increasing numbers of different brands selling probiotics for dogs and a variety of different supplements now on the market, it can be difficult to identify which are the safest to use. Some supplements currently available today are not regulated and cannot ensure that they contain what they say that they do. Again, consulting a professional if you are ever unsure will help to put your mind at ease without risking your dog’s health further.
probiotics for dogs
Probiotics for dogs should never be given to a pet that is suffering from a lower immune system unless recommended to do so by a veterinarian first.
They are now also available in a variety of different forms, such as syringes, powders, tablets or even a paste. This allows for some flexibility if you do find it difficult to give your dog medication in one specific form and need an alternative.

What to look for?

When a probiotic is working correctly, you will notice certain health benefits in your dog, such as:
  • Less problems with bowel function (diarrhoea)
  • Enriched coat and skin
  • Less breath odour
  • Maintaining healthy digestion

Problems with Probiotics for dogs

Certain probiotic products require refrigerating and therefore, the storage instructions should always be checked thoroughly on the label. This can also sometimes be a clue as to how many live organisms are included since more often than not, non-refrigerated probiotic products tend to contain less.
In addition to this, the shelf-life needs to be considered due to product forms which are opened and accessible to air and moisture do not last as long as freeze-dried probiotics. Every probiotic product should also contain an expiration date, so this should be checked before purchasing.
Some experts have said that probiotics are not necessarily beneficial to your dog unless they are suffering from diarrhoea since a dog’s natural flora recovers on its own after a course of antibiotics (which is in essence what the probiotics help to achieve).

Important Tips

Probiotics for dogs are different to probiotics which a human may take since different bacteria species are found in both the human gastroenteritis tract and that of a dog, meaning both needs separate medication targeting different bacteria in order for it to be most effective.
If you are unsure of which probiotics are safest for your dog and haven’t yet consulted your veterinarian, you can always check the canine probiotic research list for specific brand names.

Benefits of Probiotics for dogs

Traditional veterinarians originally claimed that probiotics did not pass through the gastroenteritis tract properly and therefore were not making an impact on the dog’s health. However, recent researchers found that pets with gastrointestinal disorders did actually have a positive reaction to the probiotics and not only recovered more quickly, but also had a lower number of long-term health complications.
Probiotics for dogs not only help to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the intestines, but also help to eliminate certain side effect problems which could be caused by antibiotics (such as diarrhoea etc.).
Further reading, here is another article which gives additional information regarding probiotics for dogs :