What happens if dogs eat probiotics? Here’s the Answer

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that live in the body, primarily the stomach, intestines and colon. They are considered “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your dog’s gut healthy. Probiotics are most often given as a supplement but also occur in many fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut and tempeh.

What To Look for in Canine Probiotics

There is no one probiotic supplement suitable for all dogs and every health condition. The best approach is to set up an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the best probiotic strains for your dog and any health issues they are experiencing. The following probiotic strains have scientific evidence to support their safety and efficacy in dogs.

  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifodobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • VSL#3
  • Probiotics for dogs comes in several forms, including:

  • Yogurt or kefir with live cultures

  • If you give your dog yogurt or kefir, keep in mind yogurt cultures are used for the manufacture of the product; live cultures may not be present. Only give your dog unsweetened, plain yogurt. Read the label carefully to ensure there are no artificial sweeteners in the product.

    Live probiotic cultures can be found in other fermented food products, such as raw goat milk, fermented vegetables, kimchi and tempeh.

    Probiotic powders usually come in a packet form. Dogs eat them when sprinkled in their food or mixed with water.

    Probiotics come in capsule forms. These can be given in pill pockets or any other way you’ve found works for your pup. Is your dog rejecting his or her medicine? Check out this Canine Campus post: 10 Tips to Get Your Dog to Take Medicine.

    Most dogs will eat these soft chews without a problem as a treat. Dosage is based on your dog’s weight.

    Live probiotics cultures are included in some dog food formulas. It is best to consult your veterinarian before selecting a probiotic-infused dog food to ensure you are feeding your dog the right formula to meet his or her needs.

    7 Possible Side Effects of Probiotics in Dogs

    Dog probiotics are considered to be safe and have very few side effects. The side effects listed below will rarely occur. If they do, they usually have mild effects on your dog’s overall health.

    Can probiotics harm your dog?

    The pros and cons of probiotics for dogs are similar to those of probiotic supplements for humans. Canine probiotics can help regulate a dog’s intestinal and digestive health, as well as promote a healthier coat and skin and boost energy. Probiotics can even help with certain yeast infections and rashes the dog might experience.

    Oftentimes, a dog’s symptoms will get worse before they start to show improvement, and he might even develop symptoms he wasn’t showing before he started taking the supplements. Although probiotics don’t usually require prescriptions, it’s always safest to consult a veterinarian to rule out any serious health problems before beginning a probiotic regime.

    Some benefits of probiotics for dogs are similar to those of probiotics for humans, such as improved intestinal health and digestive functions. Probiotics can help regulate constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating. Other pros include healthier skin and coats and improved breath. Canine probiotics can also help if the dog has a problem with shedding or has been experiencing a lack of energy. A veterinarian might recommend probiotics if a dog has a problem with a yeast overgrowth or certain rashes.

    Although they can present some side effects, probiotic supplements usually aren’t dangerous. Such side effects might include digestive discomforts such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas. The dog’s original symptoms might become worse until his body adjusts to the probiotics. Also, it might be difficult for the owner to administer the probiotics, especially if they’re in tablet form. In the beginning, the owner might find himself going through a trial-and-error period before he finds the right probiotics for his dog and starts seeing results.

    Typically, probiotics supplements of any sort don’t require a prescription, and this includes probiotics for pets. If the dog owner wants to try canine probiotics merely to take advantage of the health benefits, he can generally purchase them over the counter at any pet store or through its website or catalog. If the owner wants to try probiotics for dogs to cure a particular health problem, though, he might want to consult with a veterinarian. For example, canine probiotics can help treat a dog’s unhealthy digestive tract, but only a veterinarian can tell whether or not there’s a serious underlying health condition causing the digestive problem in the first place. It’s in the dog’s best interest if his owner takes him to the vet for a thorough exam before reaching for the probiotics.

    It’s important for the owner to treat the probiotics for dogs as he would any kind of supplement. For example, using and storing the canine probiotics exactly as directed can help maximize their effectiveness and safety. If the symptoms don’t show improvement after the allotted amount of time, the owner should discontinue use. If the symptoms persist or get worse after discontinuing use, the owner should make an appointment with the dog’s veterinarian. The veterinarian can then diagnosis the problem, if he hasn’t already, and choose another course of treatment.