What Are Probiotics For Dogs And Why Should You Use Them? - Sparkly Tails

What Are Probiotics For Dogs And Why Should You Use Them?

Jun 11, 2024

You've probably heard about probiotics in yoghurt and how they're good for humans. But did you know that probiotics can also be helpful for your dog? 

Dogs have lots of tiny living things called bacteria in their gut. These bacteria help them digest food, fight off bad germs, and stay healthy. Stress or medicine can sometimes mess up the balance of good and bad bacteria in the tummy. That's where probiotics for dogs come in!


What Are Probiotics For Dogs?

You can't see probiotics with just your eyes, but they can have a huge effect on your dog's health. Probiotics for dogs are tiny living organisms, like bacteria and yeast, that live inside their tummies. These little helpers keep the dog's belly healthy by supporting the immune system, helping with digestion, and making important vitamins and nutrients. Think of them as good bacteria essential for a dog's tummy to work properly.

hearbal probiotic for dogs

Probiotics for dogs might have names like Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium lactis, or Lactobacillus acidophilus on the label. Each type of probiotic bacteria has its own special traits and jobs. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus can make lactic acid, which helps make the belly more acidic and stops bad bacteria from growing. Meanwhile, Bifidobacterium lactis can help improve the immune response and make the belly healthier.

It's important to know that not all probiotics are the same. Different types can help with different things. So, it's a good idea to pick a probiotic that's right for your dog's needs and health.

If your pet's tummy is out of sorts, they might start feeling sick and not themselves. In such cases, it could indicate that their gut needs some extra support! Here are five fantastic reasons why you might want to think about giving your dog probiotics


Supporting Oral Health

Dog's teeth

Caring for your dog's teeth is important, and probiotics can help! They work inside your dog's belly to keep bad bacteria away from their mouth. This means fewer dental problems and fresher breath for your pet. Adding probiotics to your dog's routine along with brushing their teeth and giving them dental treats can keep their smile shiny and healthy.

Improving Behavior

Dog's playing in the park

The connection between the gut and the brain is fascinating and complex, and it turns out, it applies to our dogs too! Emerging research in the field of the gut-brain axis suggests that a healthy gut microbiome can positively influence mood, behaviour, and even thinking function.

So, how do probiotics fit into this? By promoting a balanced and healthy gut environment, probiotics can indirectly support your dog's mental and emotional well-being. Here's how:

  • Mood Enhancement: Certain gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which play an essential role in mood regulation. Probiotics, by promoting the growth of these beneficial bacteria, may help elevate your dog's mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Stress Reduction: A healthy gut microbiome can help regulate the production of stress hormones, leading to a calmer and more relaxed pup.
  • Thinking Function: Studies suggest a potential link between gut health and thinking function. Probiotics may support healthy brain function and improve learning and memory in dogs.

Supporting Dogs With Seasonal Allergies

Lady giving probiotics to her dog

Seasonal allergies can be a real nuisance for dogs, causing discomfort and distress, but probiotics can offer relief! They offer a natural and effective way to support dogs with seasonal allergies.

Incorporating probiotics for dogs into their daily routine during allergy season can provide much-needed relief and improve their overall quality of life. This can lead to fewer symptoms such as itching, scratching, and sneezing, allowing your dog to enjoy the outdoors without constant discomfort. 

Aiding Doggy Digestion

Probiotics and bacterias

Nobody likes a tummy ache, especially dogs! But with probiotics, your dog's belly can feel better in no time. They work by balancing the so-called “friendly” bacteria in your dog's gut, which makes digestion smoother and reduces any tummy woes.

Probiotics for dogs help reduce discomfort and improve nutrient absorption, ensuring that your dog receives the maximum benefit from their food. Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet can be especially helpful when they're stressed, their diet changes or their tummy feels upset.

Helping Senior Dogs Stay Energetic

As dogs age, their bodies experience various changes, including a decline in immune function. Probiotics for dogs can be particularly beneficial for senior canines, helping them stay healthy and active as they enter their golden years. 

A healthy gut is the foundation for a healthy senior dog. Probiotics play an important role in maintaining gut health by fostering a balanced microbiome, which strengthens the immune system and improves the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients. This is particularly important for older dogs, as their immune function and digestive efficiency naturally decline. 

On top of that, these beneficial bacteria can help alleviate age-related digestive issues such as constipation or irregularity, promoting comfort and vitality.

FAQs About Probiotics for Dogs

Q) Can they be given daily or lose effectiveness if given continuously?

  1. A) Probiotics for dogs can be safely administered daily, especially during stress or digestive imbalance periods. However, it's important to understand that probiotics are not a permanent replacement for healthy gut flora. Ideally, they should be used to help restore balance to the gut microbiome, after which the frequency can be reduced or discontinued, depending on your dog's individual needs and the advice of your veterinarian.

Q) Are there any side effects from probiotics for dogs?

  1. A) Probiotics are generally very safe, with few reported side effects. In rare cases, dogs may experience gas, stomach upset, or discomfort, especially when starting the supplement.

Q) Can I give my dog yoghurt?

  1. A) Some human foods, like yogurt, kefir, and fermented veggies, have live cultures that might help your dog. It's okay to give them plain, unsweetened yogurt without any artificial sweeteners like “xylitol,” which is harmful to dogs.

Recommended yoghurt doses for dogs:

Small dogs — One teaspoon per day

Medium-sized dogs — Two teaspoons per day

Large/giant-breed dogs — Three teaspoons per day

Q) Are probiotics safe for puppies?

  1. A) Specially designed probiotic products for dogs are safe and gentle for puppies. However, it's important to consult your veterinarian before giving your pup any new supplements.

Many veterinarians suggest probiotics for puppies to help their growing immune system and gut health. Even though puppies may seem carefree, they can be affected by diet changes, growth, and training, which might cause loose stools.

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