Digestive difficulties are common problems for many dogs, and, while rarely life-threatening, you’ll want to do everything you can to cure your dog’s troubling symptoms to ensure he enjoys a high quality-of-life. Fortunately, you can often help improve your dog’s digestive function by giving him one of the best probiotics for dogs.
Scroll down to learn more about the role bacteria plays in your dog’s digestive tract and some of the conditions that typically respond to probiotic regimens. But, we’ll begin by sharing the five probiotics we most strongly recommend.
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Hyperbiotics PRO-Pets Probiotics
Elite Dog Probiotics
PetPup Probiotic and Prebiotic
Active Chews Premium Probiotics
InMotion Probiotic Jerky
The following five probiotic supplements are great products, and they have received some of the best reviews in the product category. Any of these should give you a great chance at helping alleviate your dog’s intestinal issues.
Hyperbiotics’ Pro-Pets Probiotics are formulated to help provide your pet with a variety of the most effective bacterial strains, to ensure the best chances of alleviating your dog’s digestive problems. Made in micro-pearl form and enhanced with beef flavoring, Pro-Pet Probiotics taste great and are easy to administer.
Although a very small number of owners were unsatisfied with the results of Hyperbiotics Pro-Pets Probiotics, the vast majority of those who tried the product were happy with their purchase. Many owners noted that this probiotic formula worked when no others had, and that it reduced their dog’s gas and solidified their stools.
Because it includes six different bacterial strains and provides more CFUs than any other probiotic in our review, Pro-Pets Probiotics is easily one of the best probiotics for dogs on the market. Also, while most dogs appear to like the taste of the micro-pearls, they are small enough to conceal inside a treat if need be.
Elite Dog Probiotics is a powdered supplement, designed to regulate your pet’s digestive system and help eliminate flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting. Made through a special process designed to protect the live cultures from heat, air and moisture, Elite Dog Probiotics are made with strains known to survive long enough to reach the small intestine.
The vast majority of users who reviewed Elite Dog Probiotics reported that it successfully eliminated their pet’s intestinal issues and improved their pet’s vigor and quality of life. Some owners even reported that it helped clear up hot spots and the itchiness associated with food allergies.
Elite Dog Probiotics has almost all of the things you’d want in a good probiotic powder. Among other things, users rated it very highly and it appears to be palatable, so it is certainly one of the best probiotics for dogs. Additionally, Elite Dog Probiotics are very affordably priced and represent a good value.
Some of the best supplements not only contains probiotic bacteria, but they also include the food to support these bacteria, known as prebiotics. And that’s exactly what PetPup does with their chicken-flavored probiotic and prebiotic powder. Designed to be sprinkled on your dog’s food, this supplement is as easy to administer as it is helpful for your dog’s health.
Unidentified. Made with a proprietary blend.
Most owners were very pleased with PetPup Probiotic and Prebiotic Powder and hardly any could find fault with the product. Owners reported that it helped put an end to diarrhea, vomiting, excess gas and bad breath, and some even noted their dog’s improved pep and energy after a short time.
PetPup Probiotic and Prebiotic is a well-reviewed, competitively priced supplement that definitely deserves consideration. It is easy to administer to your dog, and most seem to appreciate the chicken-flavored taste. The most troubling issue is undoubtedly the manufacturer’s refusal to disclose the strains contained in the recipe, which does give us pause, but the positive user reviews help offset these concerns.
Active Chews Premium Probiotics are delicious, duck-flavored chews that come packed with 2 billion probiotic CFUs and several additional supplements per treat. Unlike a lot of other probiotic supplements, Active Chews are made with a unique “no-heat, no-cook” process that helps ensure the bacteria are not killed before they get into your dog’s mouth.
Active Chews Premium Probiotics received resoundingly positive reviews and ratings. Owners noted improved elimination habits, a reduction in gas and even an improvement in their dog’s breath. Dogs appear to love the taste of the chews as well, which means they’re easy to administer to your dog too.
Although we’d rather see real duck used in the formula instead of duck meal and duck flavor, higher-quality ingredients would inflate the cost considerably, so this should probably be considered an acceptable sacrifice. But aside from that, these are highly recommended treats which most owners (and their dogs) have loved.
InMotion Probiotic Jerky gives owners a great way to provides some beneficial bacteria and a delicious treat at the same time. Made from naturally lean chicken breast and fortified with five different probiotic strains, these jerky chews are a healthy treat that will also help regulate your pet’s digestive system.
InMotion Probiotic Jerky received stellar reviews from most owners and negative reviews were exceedingly rare. Most dogs appear to love the taste of the treats and not only take them willingly, but eagerly. Additionally, many owners noted that this put an end to their dog’s chronic diarrhea and gas.
InMotion Probiotic Jerky Treats are fantastic supplements that provide a bucketful of CFUs in a tasty package, which is available at a very reasonable price. It is very difficult to find fault with the product in any way.
The world is home to an astonishing number of bacteria – they pretty much cover every inhabitable surface of the planet. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how many different species exist, but estimates range from 10,000 to over 1 million.
As you’d expect, there is considerable diversity among this group. Different species live in different environments, subsist on different resources and go about life in different ways. Many are completely benign and ubiquitous, while others are rare and exceedingly dangerous. Some are actually vital to other species.
The point being, while some bacteria are “bad,” others are quite important and can be generally considered to be “good” bacteria. Probiotics are comprised of one or more species belonging to the latter category.
Healthy dogs (and most other animals) harbor an entire microbial ecosystem inside their digestive tracts. The vast majority of these bacteria are either beneficial or fail to have any appreciable effect on the dog’s health. The beneficial bacteria perform a number of important functions, such as assisting in the digestion of food and maintaining a proper pH in the digestive tract.
However, these beneficial bacteria can be wiped out by a number of different things. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, for example, often kill off these bacteria, while poor-quality dog foods may fail to provide the crucial nutrients the beneficial bacteria need to survive. In either case, your dog ends up with a depleted gut biome.
Normally, these beneficial bacteria help outcompete problematic bacteria, but when the beneficial bacteria die off, they provide an opening for the harmful varieties. If these bad bacteria set up shop in your canine’s intestinal tract and start reproducing, vomiting, diarrhea and other digestive problems will often follow.
However, by providing probiotic supplements to your dog, you can usually restore the gut flora to its original state. This will typically help alleviate intestinal symptoms and make your dog feel better.
Several probiotic supplements also contain prebiotics, which are also helpful for restoring proper digestive function. Prebiotics are not bacteria; instead, they are food sources for beneficial bacteria.
They are often included in supplements to help support the probiotic bacteria being delivered, to ensure that the bacteria do not starve once inside your dog’s intestines. Additionally, because it is likely that some beneficial bacteria are already present inside your dog’s digestive tract, prebiotics can help support these populations too.
Prebiotics are typically fibrous substances that your dog’s body cannot digest. This ensures that they will survive passage through the stomach to reach the small intestine. Inulin – a type of polysaccharide produced by many plants – is one of the most commonly used prebiotics for dogs. It is typically harvested from chicory root.
As referenced earlier, the world is full of different bacterial species (or strains, as they are often called), and each interacts with its environment in different ways. And this holds true for those in your dog’s digestive tract too – there are likely dozens of different beneficial bacteria that help to keep him healthy.
Some of these strains are undoubtedly more helpful than others in restoring proper digestive function, but the scientific data on the subject is not conclusive. Although there is some data demonstrating the efficacy of a few strains, such as Bifidobacterium animalis and Enterococcus faecium, the efficacy of others remains unknown.
Given this uncertainty, some of the best probiotics for dogs include several different bacterial strains to help achieve the best possible results. However, some studies have demonstrated that different bacterial strains can actually work against each other, so much more research is necessary.
Although many owners simply give their dog probiotics as a preventative practice, others use these supplements to help treat specific health issues. While probiotics are not universally effective for treating all of these problems, some of the most common ailments probiotics are used to treat include:
Now that you understand the role beneficial bacteria play in your dog's health, you'll want to compare the various products available so you can select the best probiotic for dogs.
Although it is impossible to guarantee that a given product will alleviate your dog’s symptoms, you can increase your odds of success by considering the following recommendations.
Because scientific data regarding the efficacy of various probiotics is somewhat limited, one of the best ways to find the best probiotics for dogs is by reading the reviews of other dog owners. Chances are, the better the reviews of a given probiotic are, the more likely it will help your dog feel better.
Unfortunately, some supplements may be contaminated during the manufacturing process or include ingredients not listed on the label. To avoid this as much as possible, stick with supplements made in countries and regions with strict safety- and quality-control standards.
If your dog won’t eat a probiotic, it won’t do him any good, so you should always look for probiotics that feature dog-friendly flavors, such as beef or chicken. This is especially important for tablets or chews, as you’ll want your dog to accept them like a treat.
Your dog’s digestive tract is a harsh environment that is designed to kill most bacteria that enter it, including those in many probiotics. To help prevent this from happening, the best manufacturers encapsulate the bacteria in a type of shell that protects it from stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
The bacteria in a probiotic supplement cannot live forever, and all probiotics will eventually contain nothing but dead bacterial cultures, if not used by a given date. Most of the best probiotics for dogs will provide information on the label that indicates the length of time that the cultures will remain alive as well as an expiration date.
It is not only important to ensure the beneficial bacteria in a probiotic survives its passage through the stomach, you also want to make sure that the bacteria have the best chance of thriving once in the small intestine. One good way to do this is by providing them with prebiotics – food – to help them grow and reproduce.
Have you ever treated your dog with probiotics? How did it work out for you? Did you begin the probiotic regimen to treat a specific problem or as a preventative? Do you feel like you selected one of the best probiotics for dogs?
Let us know all about it – including your favorite product – in the comments below.