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General Dog Info

What are the Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs? 

By December 14th, 2023No Comments

You might have heard the term ‘probiotics’ in relation to human foods, yoghurts and drinks. But did you know you can also get them for your pets? Probiotics are often referred to as ‘good bacteria’, helping to support overall digestive health and gut flora, and they can make a significant difference to your dog’s gut health. 

So what are the benefits of probiotics for dogs? You might be surprised to learn that improved gut health can have wide-ranging impacts on your dog’s quality of life, including both their physical and mental health. Here are a few key benefits: 

1. Improved digestion.

Probiotics can make a huge difference to your dog’s overall digestive health, meaning they’re less likely to suffer from upset stomach, diarrhea, or indigestion. 

2. Improved quality of stools.

If your dog regularly has runny or watery poops, then it might be time to consider adding probiotics to their diet. Improved gut health and digestion will mean much healthier bowel movements, which are more comfortable for your dog and much easier to pick up on those morning walks!

3. Improved coat and skin.

Probiotics improve your pet’s ability to synthesize essential vitamins, helping to improve the condition of their skin and the shine and health of their coat. 

4. Improved immune response.

Your dog’s gut contains lymphocytes, which are crucial to their immune response. In fact, up to 80% of your dog’s immune system is in their digestive tract, making gut health an important part of their overall health and well-being. Giving them probiotics will help improve their gut health and support their overall immune system. 

5. Improved mental health.

With an improvement in gut health, stool quality, skin condition and digestion, your dog will be feeling more comfortable and better able to fight off any bugs or illness. As a result, you can expect a happier, more energetic pup!

So, it’s clear that probiotics are a beneficial addition to your dog’s diet, but how do you know which probiotic to give them? Many people are tempted to simply give them as much as possible, but it’s important to find the right probiotic in the right amount, ensuring your dog gets the full benefit of their new diet. 

You want to aim for a probiotic that aids digestion, and is scientifically proven to do so. A good place to start is Enterococcus Faecium, which is a bacteria found naturally in animals. It’s proven to be particularly beneficial for dogs, and give your pup the best chance of improved gut health. You want to aim for a product with around one billion colony forming units, or CFUs. This measurement tells you how many live bacteria are in the food, and one billion is proven to be a good amount for seeing positive health benefits in your dog. 

You can choose to get probiotics as a supplement to your existing dog food, or to switch to a food that already contains the live bacteria. In our experience, the latter is the easiest choice, as supplements can come in a range of formats, including pills and pastes. If you do opt for food with live bacteria already in it, be sure to buy from a reputable provider, as the way it’s prepared, packaged, and stored is important in ensuring the bacteria reaches your dog’s gut alive. 

Keep in mind that switching dog foods can be tricky, especially if you have a particularly picky puppy. You should try and introduce new foods slowly, over the course of one or two weeks. This way you can gradually phase out the old food without upsetting your dog or their tummy too much. 

Some dogs can suffer a change in their bowel movements when changing foods, and it’s not unusual to see loose stools while you make the change. If you do see this, you might want to slow down the transition to the new food, and double check you’re not giving them too much. A good rule of thumb is to take it slowly, and keep a close eye on how your dog is responding – any stomach upset should correct itself within a week or two. There’s never any harm in consulting your vet before transitioning to a new food, or if you continue to see signs of an upset stomach after you’ve made the switch. 

Hopefully this article has helped you make the switch to dog probiotics, answering some of the common questions around introducing new foods, and showing you the benefits of improving your dog’s gut health. We have plenty more guides, articles, and tips to help your pet live their best life, so be sure to stick around and explore the site. If you’ve made the switch to probiotics for your dog (or cat), let us know how your furry friend got on in the comments!