What To Know About Probiotics for Dogs
Dog probiotics are different than human probiotics.
While you can give your dog human probiotics or yogurt, these will not have the greatest benefit for your pet. The balance of bacteria in a human's gut differs from that of a canine. Scientific research shows that these healthy bacteria help our dogs by supporting their main immune system organ, the gut.*
Probiotics for dogs are specific because bacteria is host-specific.
For this reason, human probiotic supplements are not equally beneficial for dogs. Also, adding plain yogurt to your dog's diet may not harm your dog, but there is not a sufficient amount of living viable probiotics in yogurt to truly benefit your dog. When you supplement your dog with the best probiotics you’ll notice numerous natural health improvements that come along with having a healthy gut.
- Better skin and coat appearance
- Improved breath and body smell
- Less gas (flatulence)
- Fewer allergy symptoms
- Reduction in yeast issues
- Regular bowel functions (diarrhea & constipation)
Signs of Probiotic Deficiency in Dogs
- Itching and allergies
- Poor immune function
Contributing Factors to Probiotic Deficiency
- Dogs on antibiotics will be deficient in healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the gut since antibiotics strip your dog's gut of all bacteria.
- Aging dogs will naturally have a lower volume of healthy bacteria in the gut and require probiotic supplementation.
- Dogs fed a typical diet of processed dry kibble are susceptible to low healthy microflora.
- Stress contributes to an imbalance in the microbiome (dog's gut).
- Puppies are born with their guts sterile, so supplementing your puppy with probiotics early on may give them a "leg up" on fighting illness later on.
How Probiotics Help Your Dog
The best probiotics pass through your dog's stomach acid and bile, then implant in the gut where they multiply hundred-fold. This is when they become part of the collective microbiome and go to work. This process is important, because many probiotics will not survive passed the stomach, or, even the mouth.
In your dog's intestines, these probiotics perform jobs, like,
- Manufacturing vitamins and enzymes.
- Producing neurochemicals. There are so many neural connections in the gut, that it is referred to as the "second" brain. Research is showing that not only does supporting the gut with probiotics benefit digestive processes, but, it also promotes balanced mood, hormones, and the involuntary nervous system. 
- Acting as intestinal law enforcement—they maintain the gut wall and keep out bad guys like harmful, disease-causing bacteria.
How to Pick the Right Probiotic for Your Dog:
- AVOID LIQUID PRODUCTS
Liquid formulas are generally less stable and require refrigeration. Liquid probiotics are also generally less efficacious than stabilized powders and tablets.
- CHECK THE INGREDIENTS
A dose of probiotic powder should be undetectable on your dog's food, so there's no need to load the formula up with fillers, flavors or undesirable byproducts. Also, a good probiotic will contain a prebiotic, such as, FOS.
- CHECK THE REVIEWS AND GUARANTEE
A good product has stood the test of time. What are the pet owner's saying? Does the manufacturer provide a money-back guarantee? These are no-brainers.
- CHECK THE CFU AND SPECIES OF BACTERIA
Picking a good probiotic requires an understanding of CFU, and bacteria. High volume/multi species formulas can be problematic for your dog's body, and there's little research to support the benefit of these formulas. Does the formula contain only 1 species of bacteria? That's not enough for your dog. Research supports between 3-7 species having benefit to dogs.
- For all the reasons above, we like Probiotic Miracle®
Cites and References
- Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2012 Apr 15;146(2):185-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Mar 1. Early exposure to probiotics in a canine model of atopic dermatitis has long-term clinical and immunological effects. R, Santoro D, Ahrens K.
- Vet Ther. 2009 Fall;10(3):121-30 Clinical benefits of probiotic canine-derived Bifidobacterium animalis strain AHC7 in dogs with acute idiopathic diarrhea.
- Björkstén B, Sepp E, Julge K, Voor T, Mikelsaar M (October 2001). Allergy development and the intestinal microflora during the first year of life. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 108 (4): 516–20. doi:10.1067/mai.2001.118130
- Portrait of a canine probiotic Bifidobacterium–from gut to gut. O’Mahony D, Murphy KB, MacSharry J, Boileau T, Sunvold G, Reinhart G, Kiely B, Shanahan F, O’Mahony L.?Vet Microbiol. 2009 Oct 20;139(1-2):106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 May 19.
- Evaluation of efficacy of probiotics in prevention of candida colonization in a PICU-a randomized controlled trial. Kumar S, Bansal A, Chakrabarti A, Singhi S. Source Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatric Centre, Chandigarh, India.
- Anim Health Res Rev. 2012 Jun;13(1):78-88. doi: 10.1017/S1466252312000059. Epub 2012 May 30. Current state of knowledge: the canine gastrointestinal microbiome. Hooda S, Minamoto Y, Suchodolski JS, Swanson KS.
- Eksp Klin Gastroenterol. 2013;(2):54-64. Perspective applications of multi species probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
- Can J Microbiol. 2013 May;59(5):347-52. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2012-0472. Epub 2013 Mar 19.
Synbiotic administration of canine-derived strain Lactobacillus fermentum CCM 7421 and inulin to healthy dogs. Strompfová V, Lauková A, Cilik D.
- American Psychological Association. 2012 September, Vol 43, No. 8. That Gut Feeling. With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head, new research suggests