You’ve likely heard giving probiotics to your dog but you might be wondering if a probiotic supplement is really necessary to help your dog’s gut. There are a ton of dog experts who will tell you conflicting things. If probiotics are as beneficial as they seem, what kind should you give your dog to promote gut health? Can you give them human probiotics? When should they take them and how? Is it okay to give a probiotic supplement to your dog every day? Are probiotics really good for your dog? Let’s take a look at what the experts say.
Probiotics are given to make sure your pup has enough good bacteria in their system to fight the bad bacteria. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can also work in conjunction with prebiotics. These are types of dietary fiber that feed the good bacteria in your gut. This relationship is why dog owners might prefer to feed their pups a combination of prebiotics and probiotics.
Probiotics are not only found in the gut. They’re also found in many essential organs to keep vital areas clean and free of bad bacteria. Probiotics are found in the following areas in your pups’ body:
Probiotics are meant to boost your pup’s immune system and there is no obvious downside to giving these supplements to your dog on a regular basis. After all, roughly 80% of your dog’s immune system is in their GI tract, specifically the stomach. Probiotics help maintain the good bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract which can reduce inflammation throughout your dogs’ body. As we know, most chronic diseases and illnesses are caused by inflammation so this is quite beneficial.
When it comes to probiotics, vets have differing thoughts and theories as well as some concerns. When it comes to giving your dog a probiotic supplement for digestive issues, it makes sense but the issue here is that there isn’t any conclusive research to show that a probiotic supplement helps with these things. In fact, studies found that probiotic use in horses had a mixed result, some making no difference and others making diarrhea worse. Not enough studies have been done on our canine friends and what little evidence there is generally based off of non-significant findings from human studies.
Another issue that veterinarians have with probiotics is that they are often not packaged safely or may be exposed to heat that damages their integrity. Studies have shown that a number of probiotics sold by veterinarians are mislabeled and do not contain either the type or number of microorganisms or beneficial bacteria that they are said to contain. That said, there is no scientific research confirming that probiotics are in any way unsafe for your pup to ingest.
While there are undoubtedly many naysayers out there in the veterinary community, there are vets who believe that probiotics for dogs are incredibly beneficial, including Liam O’Mahony, an immunologist at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center at University College Cork in Ireland. Mr. O’Mahony lead a study that included 31 pooches suffering from digestive issues. 13 of these dogs were given a probiotic supplement and recovered, on average, 40% faster than those who weren’t. Can this really be a coincidence? Purina has created a probiotic supplement called FortiFlora, which claims that it’s recommended by veterinarians and “contains a probiotic proven to promote normal intestinal microflora” as well as promoting a stronger immune system, reducing gas, and increasing healthy bacteria for the overall health and well-being of your dog.
Brennen McKenzie, a veterinarian with the Adobe Animal Hospital in California, has conducted multiple studies on the benefits of probiotics for dogs and has nothing but positive, encouraging findings. He concluded that not only are probiotics safe but they are also effective. This was especially true in the prevention of diarrhea and in the improvement of inflammatory bowel disease.
When it comes to whether or not probiotics are beneficial to your pup, there is just not enough evidence to say for sure either way. There has been a considerable amount of promising evidence but nothing conclusive. This could very well be due to the fact that not enough studies have been conducted in the first place. You will notice that even in probiotics that have seemingly been proven to work, it is noted that your dog’s condition “may” improve and that they “may” provide some relief. This gives the impression that probiotics should work, but whether or not they actually will is another story. Results are widely seen as promising when it comes to whether or not canine probiotics are effective or dogs.
Whether or not you wish to give your dogs probiotics depends on what you believe. If you are looking for solid evidence that probiotics are beneficial to your dog’s health, there is no conclusive study to stay for sure. However, it has been proven that the use of probiotics is definitely promising and that they are not damaging to your dog’s health. You can try to consider giving them CBD dog treats too! More and more veterinarians are recommending probiotic supplements for dogs, especially in cases of GI tract upset. Ask your vet if they can recommend a tried and true probiotic that has been tested for safety and accuracy. If you can find a probiotic that you know is safe for your furry best friend, you really have nothing to lose.