Probiotics are considered safe for humans, and extremely beneficial in treating some stomach pains, but is it safe to give the same kinds of probiotics to dogs? As with any diet or supplements we feed our pets, we’d have to make sure it is safe and suitable with ample research first. With many differing opinions on this topic, we have collated some answers for you regarding probiotics for dogs.
Can I Give My Dog Probiotics?
It’s actually beneficial to give your dog probiotics. These bacterial strains can help strengthen your dog’s digestive tract just like they can help yours. Here’s a word of caution though: supplements meant for people will not have the same benefit for dogs. The types of bacteria that work for humans do not necessarily support a dog’s digestive system, so when buying, make sure you go for a product specific for pets. Some of the best strains for dogs include enterococcus faecium and bacillus coagulans, which will not only help with diarrhea, but also with the increase of gut flora.
Related: Find out how to stop stinky dog farts if your dog has gut & gas problems.
Benefits of Probiotics for My Dog
Probiotics can certainly be really helpful, something which you’ve probably heard before. What you might not have heard is why they’re so beneficial for your pet.
When the defensive bacteria in your dog’s gut break down, it can cause a lot of digestive issues like vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. It’s not a great thought for you or your dog, which is where probiotics come in. Taking these supplements can lower the intestinal pH by introducing “good” bacteria and lowering the amount of disease-causing bacteria in their gut, like E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens. It can even boost immune function, fix up bacterial imbalances, and enhance the cells within the gastrointestinal tract.
Just the improvement of gut flora by enterococcus faecium will increase antibodies in the intestines that will defend from bacteria and viruses. Bacillus coagulans can protect against diarrhea as well, and even minimize issues like irritable bowel syndrome. You might find that your dog is feeling much more comfortable with easier digestion too!
Other specific strains that you might want to look for that will benefit your dog include bifidobacterium animalis, which reduces the time your dog will experience diarrhea, lactobacillus acidophilus that will assist the quality of stools in sensitive dogs, and lactobacillus rhamnosus, which can treat diarrhea in both humans and dogs.
5 strains of bacteria to look out for:
– Enterococcus faecium for antibodies
– Bacillus coagulans for diarrhea
– Bifidobacterium animalis for diarrhea
– Lactobacillus acidophilus for stool quality
– Lactobacillus rhamnosus for diarrhea
Quick summary of what probiotics can help your dog with:
- digestive problems
- boosting the health of your dog’s intestines by reducing the ‘bad’ bacteria and lowering the strength and chances of diseases to start in there
- increasing general immune function
- targeting bacterial imbalance
- diarrhea, constipation, vomitting, irritable bowel
- slowing down and reducing the production of harmful bacteria
- lowering allergic reactions, in some cases
- urinary tract infections, in some cases
When giving your dog any sort of medication, as always, you’ve got to keep a few things in mind. There’s just a little bit more to think about if you want to ensure that your dog is getting all the health benefits possible.
Firstly, when you buy your brand of probiotics for your dog, check to see if it needs to be refrigerated. Some brands require it, but some don’t; always just make sure to read and follow the label when it comes to storage if you want it to last and be safe. You can buy freeze-dried probiotics too, which are meant to last longer than their refrigerated counterparts. When buying powdered products, try not to expose them to water either, since this will shorten the shelf life. In the end, there should always be some sort of expiration date for you.
You should also be aware that many products do not actually contain as many organisms as their labels may lead you to believe. On top of that, it’s a little questionable how many of these organisms actually survive all the way through the digestive tract. If your dog is taking them for digestion, throw them in with meals, if not, between meals may be your best bet for optimal organism survival. So where does that leave you for dosage?
How Probiotics Are Measured
Well, probiotics are measured by colony forming units, and while there haven’t been too many studies on dosage, your pets will need a lot to make any difference. Ultimately, follow the label for dosage, and give the full amount to heavier (40 pounds or greater) dogs. Reduce the amount for smaller dogs, and if you see diarrhea-like stool.
Be aware that probiotics have not been studied very extensively for pets yet, so while it’s possible that it can help, be careful not to give your dog too much. It’s impossible to deny the benefits if you keep this in mind!
Probiotics for your dog might seem like a new concept for you, even if you’ve heard of probiotics for humans before. Sure, it can help human digestive problems, but there are clear benefits for dogs as well. Probiotics can treat many intestinal pains for our pets as long as we read the labels and keep the dosages in mind. We’ll do anything to keep our pets healthy, and this can definitely give us a hand.