Probiotics for dogs- they might sound a little over-the-top but there’s actually quite a bit of evidence to suggest that these are very beneficial to the average dog’s health. Of course, once we were sold on the many benefits of giving your dog natural probiotics to maintain their gut and over all health, we knew we had to share our favorites with you.
Not only that, but we’ve been kind enough to answer some of your more frequently asked questions and even give you a general overview of how probiotics work and why you should consider supplementing your dog’s diet with them. Still not convinced? Read on and discover why we love them so much, ourselves and we’re sure you’ll be picking out one of our top ten, by the time you’ve finished.
The Best Probiotics for Dogs
Topping our list at number one is the dog food giant Purina with their Pro-Plan FortiFlora probiotic supplement for dogs. Naturally, this is perfect for dog owners who are following the Pro-Plan brand across the spectrum, but they are also the top probiotic brand prescribed by vets for dogs in America.
Available in a powder format, this probiotic for dogs goes down without the frown, as it can easily be added to their usual food without the fuss and hassle of trying to feed your pooch a pill. Made in the USA, this is the best probiotic for dogs you’ll find on the market as it’s easy to use, tasty to your dog and trusted by vets across the country.
- BrandPurina Fortiflora
- Weight0.8 ounces
Available at a great price, the Vetri-science Mega Probiotic for dogs and cats is a great option for multi-pet households as you can administer the supplements as part of all of your pets diets. Each tablet is guaranteed to host over 5 billion microorganisms and promises that these are sourced from 5 different, non-diary sources.
In other words, this is the perfect option for pets who are a little sensitive to dairy foods (particularly with cats, who are known for being lactose-intolerant). If your dog is known for being food sensitive or have allergies, then this is the best probiotic on the market for them.
Great for sensitive stomachs
Can be consumed by dogs with allergies
- BrandVetriScience Laboratories
- Weight4 ounces
Made in the USA and designed to be tantalizingly tasty to dogs, the Doggie Dailies option of probiotics for dogs makes it to the top three for being so easy to administer. These little treats go down without a fuss thanks to their appealing taste and chewy consistency.
More importantly, however, is the fact that this is the first option from our top picks to offer both probiotics and prebiotics in one. In other words, not only will your dog be able to consistently take care of their stomachs by munching on these chews, but they’ll also have the optimal environment in their digestive tract for growing healthy bacteria and fighting bad bacteria.
Pre and Pro-biotics
Chewy treat format
- BrandDoggie Dailies
- Weight1 pounds
Taking great pride in their ability to contain over 22 different species of beneficial microbes is the powdered Pet Ultimates probiotics for dogs. Hugely popular and available with over 22billion CFU’s per scoop you can be sure that your dog’s stomach will be treated to a huge helping of beneficial bacteria with each dose.
Simply sprinkle over your dog’s food using the little scoop provided, to ensure a happy, healthy dog with guaranteed improved health. Yes, you heard right, Pet Ultimates are so sure of their product that they are willing to guarantee your dog’s health- that’s dedication to your (and your pups) happiness.
22 species of friendly bacteria
- BrandPet Ultimates
- Weight4.8 ounces
This huge tub of probiotics for dogs from NUSENTIA provides over 360 servings for your dog, and comes with over 360 billion CFU’s per tub- meaning you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck when using the NUSENTIA brand probiotics for dogs.
With well over 1,000 positive reviews, you can be sure that this is a tried-and-tested product that has been loved by dog owners for years. Made completely naturally with no rice, no maltodextrin, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Non Dairy, No Soy, No Fillers, No Flavorings, Odorless and no byproducts such as casein, this is perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs.
No unnecessary extras
Great for sensitive stomachs
- Weight7.2 ounces
Another chewy treat, although this time it’s from the masterminds at PetVitality Pro. Available with both pre and probiotics included in the production of the delicious chews, these little nuggets of doggy happiness come with naturally digested enzymes that work in harmony with your dog’s body to produce the optimum number of good bacteria that your dog needs.
Made with papaya, maqui berry and green superfoods, these dog treat also come with a moneyback guarantee, for your peace of mind. There are 60 treats per tub, all of which are made solely for dogs and, as such, come packed with the good stuff to make your pet a happy pup- so be sure to give them one a day and enjoy the difference in your dog.
- Weight7.2 ounces
These probiotic supplements from Amazing Nutritionals come in tablet format, so you may struggle to get the pickier pups to have a taste but this is still one of the most popular supplements available, today. This is all thanks to the 100% safe ingredients and amazing results which Amazing Nutritionals probiotics offer.
With no extras and no funny business, this is a probiotic that is made in the USA and kept to the highest standards. With over 120 tablets per tub, this is amazing value for money and the results certainly speak for themselves, so be sure to try a jar and, if you’re not happy, you can always receive your money back.
No unnecessary extras
- BrandAmazing Nutritionals
- Weight6.4 ounces
Nutramax may not have all the dazzle and sparkle that comes with some of the other options on our list but there’s no denying that, what it lacks in shine, it makes up for in effectiveness. These duel-wielding pre and probiotics from Nutramac contain the most beneficial bacterium without the hefty price tag- and they’re loved by reviewers too.
The biggest benefit to these supplements over others is that come in a sprinkle capsule format, meaning you have the choice of either feeding them to your dog via the capsule itself, or breaking it open and sprinkling the powder over their food- great for first-timers who need to know what their dog prefers.
Pre and pro-biotics included
- BrandNutramax Laboratories
- Model0.8 ounces
As you may have guessed, Deley Naturals take pride in offering supplements which are made with 100% natural ingredients. These natural probiotics for dogs work wonder as they are perfect for those with sensitive stomachs while still packing a punch when it comes to helping your dog’s gut.
Another offering in a chewable format, these supplements are GMP compliant and even created within an FDA-inspected facility, so you can sure that your new probiotics are completely safe and very healthy, and all created with no artificial colors or flavors.
No artificial colors or flavorings
- BrandDeley Naturals
- Weight1.1 pounds
As one of our favorites, we couldn’t leave our list without including these probiotics from Zesty Paws. Created with dogs and dog owners in mind, these chewable treats are one of the most popular options available online- and created by one of the most highly-rated and consumer-loved companies in the dog food world.
You’ll get 90 chews per tub, and each chew is packed with Bacillus Coagulans to promote health digestion and encourage gut bacteria growth- all while tasting of pumpkin!
3 billion CFU per chew
- BrandZesty Paws
- Weight15.2 ounces
Best Probiotics for Dogs Buying Guide & FAQ
What You Should Look for in Probiotics for Dogs
At first glance, it might seem that all of these natural probiotics for dogs all do the same job. Of course, each one should contain the basics for maintaining a healthy gut. However, as with all things, the biggest differences lie hidden in plain sight.
Still confused? To start with, you’ll need to look for a probiotic that includes the following microbe types, as they will lay the best foundation for a healthy gut:
- Enterococcus faecium
Found in the dog’s stomach, the enterococcus faecium will aid in digestion and ensures a good mix of bacteria remains present
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
Found within the digestive tract, this bacteria is naturally occurring, although the amount can change over time. They help with digestion, as well as aiding the immune system.
- Lactobacillus casei
These bacteria work to protect the lining of the digestive tract, as well as aiding digestion.
- Lactobacillus plantarum
A very strong bacterium which helps to treat diarrhea, as well as improving your dog’s liver health (therefore aiding in enzyme production and so on)
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
These little workers help to bring balance to your dog’s digestive tract while aiding in digestion itself.
- Bifidobacterium animalis
Naturally found in the large intestine, these (once again) aid in digestion but also support a healthy immune system within your dog.
One of the most powerful pieces of the puzzle, VSL#3 contains billions of live bacterium. Strong enough to survive the harsh environment of the digestive tract- including the stomach- this ingredient works in sync with probiotics to provide a powerful boost to your pup’s immune system.
Now you know the basics of what should be included with your probiotics, you’ll need to look at the more specific aspects of your pro or prebiotics of choice. For starters, you should consider the age of your dog before buying any of the options presented to you, as not all probiotics are made for all dogs.
Puppies should be on stable wet and dry food, comfortably, before attempting to add any extras to their food, as their stomach may not be able to handle the changes. That said, natural probiotics should also do no harm to younger pups- in this case, it’s best to consider speaking with your vet prior to administering any changes in a young puppies’ diet.
The best option for young dogs is to find a probiotic made specifically with their stomach’s needs in mind. A dog and a puppy have a world in difference in the requirements needed to aid in healthy digestion and the best probiotic manufacturers should acknowledge this by providing a puppy and adult version of each type.
You should also consider the method of each probiotic’s administration- some dogs may not think twice about downing a tablet in one go, whereas other will need a bit of persuasion! If this is the case, you may decide to go for the treat format of supplements, which comes with a more appealing taste and scent that your dog might be more approving of. There are also multiple other formats, including liquids, powder and dog food- once you’ve found the method that works for you, stick with it. Dogs love routine as much as they love their humans, and they’ll appreciate their new treat once they’ve become used to it.
Finally, you should take into consideration any health problems your dog may currently have. You’ll need to check with your vet before buying your preferred probiotic, to see if there will be any interactions between their medicines and new supplements. If you’re given the go-ahead, check out some of the options available to you, as there are some probiotics designed to work specifically for certain illnesses, which can help your dog immeasurably.
Health Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
What initially began as purely anecdotal evidence has matured over time to full, scientifically-backed studies which have proven that there are multiple benefits to giving your dogs probiotics. For example, one study completed in 2010 found that dogs who were given probiotics were able to recover from bouts of diarrhea up to three days faster than dogs who given no supplements at all.
Given that 70% of the immune system and 80% of plasma cells are made and stay in your dog’s gut, it’s easy to understand how having a healthy digestive tract can have a knock-on effect to the rest of your dog’s immune system and health overall. So, in the same way that Lactobacillus Plantarum can benefit the liver of the dog, the liver can then fully support digestion, as well as the creation of beneficial enzymes, detoxify dangerous substances and metabolize drugs. From this, you can clearly see the benefits of the probiotic don’t stop at the stomach!
Other benefits to your dog’s digestive tract and overall health include:
- An improved immune system, as a healthy dog is able to fight off toxins and bad bacteria much more effectively
- Being able to manage long-term conditions. Although they won’t cure any issues your dog may have, they can certainly work together with your prescribed medication to help combat issues, such as kidney disease.
- Reduce cholesterol levels, benefitting your dog’s heart health and blood flow
- The reduction of pain and swelling due to the anti-inflammatory properties found in a healthy gut
- Shorter bouts of diarrhea, as well as the gas, cramping and general sickness associated with gastrointestinal issues
- An improved recovery time when poorly, as well as reduced stress and improved emotional well-being, possibly found from the improved overall health.
Potential Side Effects of Probiotics for Dogs
In a generally healthy dog, there are unlikely to be any side effects that would make your dog uncomfortable or poorly, although there would naturally be some low-key side effects that would naturally accompany any changes to your dog’s diet. The most common of which would likely be gas or bloating, as your dog’s digestive tract becomes accustomed to the changes in their stomach’s environment.
There are also likely to be side effects that are more moderate for dogs who take other supplements or medicine, as the changes will likely “double-up”. This is why it’s very important to chat with your vet before administering any changes or adding any supplements to your dog’s diet.
Known side effects include:
- Slowed metabolic rate
- Over-stimulation of the immune system
These are incredibly rare, but you should still be on the look out for these symptoms, as they can worsen over time. According to PetMD, these are only likely to occur when the ingredients listed on the product do not match up to what is actually inside the supplements. Yes, unfortunately, this does happen as the industry is not yet regulated- meaning that you’ll likely find estimates when it comes to the correct dosage.
Of course, some are better than others and have sought out as much approval as they are able, while others have worked with vets and various professionals in an attempt to find the best measurements for optimal puppy health- and these are the ones we have tried to include in our top picks.
Best Probiotics for Dogs FAQ
Q: What are probiotics?
A: There are millions of microbes within the gastrointestinal system of every living being, including dogs. The beneficial- or “friendly”- microbes are often referred to as a probiotic- a term which comes from the Latin “for” (pro) and the Greek “life” (bio).
During digestion, many of the positive microbes in the body are used up, meaning that we rely on consumption of fresh probiotics to “top up” the number of probiotics in our bodies. If probiotics for dogs aren’t given, you might notice your pup develop an upset stomach, signified through diarrhea or sickness, for what seems to be no reason.
Aside from canine probiotics, there are also prebiotics for dogs which work by nourishing and nurturing the good bacteria already present in the gut. These two methods are best used in conjunction with each other, in order to give your dog the healthiest possible gut- taking care of the current, friendly microbes while helping new healthy, microbes to be produced.
Q: Are human grade probiotics safe for dogs?
A: There’s no evidence to suggest that human supplements for dogs would lead to any negative consequences because there have been no studies to extract this information. In other words, it’s not that you’ve been told you can’t, it’s just that you really shouldn’t- because it’s impossible to know (until such a study has been conducted) what the consequences of human probiotics on the dog’s digestive system will be.
There are lots of differences between us humans and dogs- some obvious, some not so much. Take the digestive tract, for example. The canine digestive tract differs immensely when compared to the human digestive tract, from the acids in the stomach to the enzymes used within the digestive system. Therefore, you should specifically use enzymes for dogs when looking at probiotics.
Q: When should I use probiotics for dogs?
A: Probiotics shouldn’t be used as a treatment for an illness and doing so can actually exacerbate some conditions, such as diarrhea. Instead, try to find a healthy, steady method of giving your dog probiotics, every day. Once your dog is used to this, they’ll understand the routine and likely look forward to their pet probiotics- especially if they come in a treat format and are extra tasty!
If you haven’t given a probiotic before and have been recommended to do so by your vet, follow their instructions closely. If you haven’t been advised by your vet but are considering beginning probiotics for puppies, then go with a dog supplement that works with your lifestyle.
Not sure about whether to give natural probiotics for dogs? Consider the following: Does your dog have bad breath? Are they suffering with diarrhea, cramping or gas? These are all signs of an imbalance in your dog’s gut and, if your vet has ruled out anything sinister, it could absolutely be worth starting with probiotics.
Remember, the best probiotics for dogs should be designed to work in sync with your puppies’ gut. This isn’t medicine but more of a helping hand in assisting your dog with maintaining a good lifestyle- and should be treated as such. Don’t forget, if your dog requires prescribed medicine, to ask your vet if there are any interactions between your probiotics and their meds.
Q: Can I give probiotics to my puppy?
A: The best dog probiotic supplement can be given from a young age, so you can absolutely give probiotics to your puppy. As puppies are born with a sterile gut, having some help from a probiotic can assist them with their digestion as they age and discover new foods to eat.
If you’re considering probiotics for puppies with diarrhea, you’ll be pleased to know that studies have concluded that young dogs who were given probiotics were less likely to suffer from bouts of loose stools or had no issues at all, when compared to puppies who took nothing.
80% of your puppy’s immune system relies on a healthy gut, as this is where the majority of your dog’s defenses lie. Thus, one of the healthiest things you can do for your puppy is provide them with probiotics that help them develop a healthy habitat for beneficial bacteria growth.
Once given, be aware that the best way to maintain this healthy gut is to give your dog their probiotics indefinitely. Ensuring that they have a healthy gut for the rest of their life will ensure your puppy grows to have the best chances of fighting off illness and bad bacteria- meaning they are more likely to have a long, healthy life with you.
Our Top Pick
Being highly rated by both users and vets, there was an obvious top choice when it came to Purina Pro Plan FortiFlora Dog Probiotic Supplement. This is the best puppy supplement out there as it is so easy to use, and dogs seem to love the taste- simply add a sachet to your dog’s food each day.
Once administered, reviewers claim a world of difference in their dogs and many were even recommended this brand over others by their vets. With 30 sachets in each box, each one will last roughly a month, so if you and your dog love it, be sure to stock up while the price is right!