Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms, including bacteria and yeasts, that reside in the gastrointestinal system of humans and dogs. These gut-dwelling microbes play a crucial role in various aspects of a dog's health. For example, food digestion, fighting off pathogens, synthesizing nutrients and vitamins, and supporting a robust immune system.
Probiotics can also be particularly useful in managing conditions such as diarrhea, allergies, intestinal inflammation, and stress-related digestive issues. Probiotics for dallogs come in different forms, including powders, capsules, chews, and specialized dog foods, and can contain specific strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium lactis, among others.
While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits and mechanisms of probiotics in dogs, they are generally considered valuable for supporting a healthy microbiome and promoting a dog's vitality.
Best probiotic for dogs: a shortlist
- Gussy’s Gut — best fermented probiotic supplement for dogs
- Wild Earth — best probiotic for dog immune health
- Raw Paws Pet Food — best probiotic and prebiotic blend for dogs
- Ruff Greens — best overall probiotic for dogs
- Four Leaf Rover — best probiotic for maintaining dog gut health
How to choose the best probiotics for dogs?
When selecting the optimal probiotics for dogs, it is crucial to consider certain criteria that would allow you to choose a safe and effective product tailored to your dog’s specific needs. The following factors should be given due attention:
|Clean and science-backed ingredients
|Natural sources, no additives
|Adequate dosage and price
|Price vs. quantity
- Clean and science-backed ingredients. Ensure the supplement contains pure and high-quality ingredients, preferably derived from natural sources. Avoid those with unnecessary fillers or additives.
- Adequate dosage and price. Consider the dosage of probiotics provided in each serving of the supplement and compare it with the price.
- Probiotic strains. Look for probiotic strains for dogs that are specific to the canine gut and include bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium breve, among others, as these strains have shown beneficial effects on digestion and immune support in dogs.
- CFU. Colony Forming Units (CFU) refer to the number of viable bacteria present in each probiotic serving. Higher CFU counts indicate a higher concentration of beneficial bacteria. Ensure that the probiotics you choose have an adequate CFU count, typically in the billions, throughout the shelf life.
Best probiotics for dogs in 2023: an overview
When compiling this list, we reviewed brands offering probiotic products for dogs.
Finding a product that suits the specific individual needs of your dog means it is more likely to convey a positive health effect. While most probiotic supplements are similar in their general gut health benefits, the composition of each of them slightly differs. This is important to consider when trying to achieve specific health goals for your dog.
Each product is labeled under a specific category highlighting its unique benefits, ingredients, and other features. The list also includes the pros and cons of each product.
1. Gussy’s Gut — best fermented probiotic supplement for dogs
Gussy's Gut is a probiotic supplement for dogs, crafted from 19 fermented “superfoods,” including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and more. The product may support your pet's gut health, immune system, and overall well-being.
It is produced in small batches, fermented for two weeks, and freeze-dried under supervision. The supplement is organic, 100% whole food-based, and packed with a selection of nourishing vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, and more.
According to the website, Gussy's Gut is tested and certified by a team of pet health experts, ensuring its quality and safety. However, there is no provided proof indicating that the supplements are manufactured in FDA-monitored facilities.
Gussy’s Gut comes with 50 teaspoon servings. A single serving is 1 teaspoon per 10-20 pounds of body weight.
The product is priced at $31.45 with a 15% discount and includes free shipping.
2. Wild Earth — best probiotic for dog immune health
Wild Earth probiotic chews are designed to bolster your dog's immune system and regulate digestion.
The package comes with 60 soft chews. Each chew contains a blend of organic dog-friendly mushrooms, prebiotic fiber, digestive enzymes, liquid Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, beta-glucans, and a probiotic blend. The inactive ingredients include citric acid, coconut glycerin, flaxseed, and many more.
The recommended dosage varies with the weight of the dog:
- 1 chew for up to 25 lbs
- 2 chews for 26-75 lbs
- 3 chews for dogs over 75 lbs
The brand suggests administering the chews with regular food to reduce stomach upset.
According to the provider, the product is processed in a facility that also handles non-plant-based ingredients, corn, soy, rice, and wheat.
Wild Earth probiotic chews are available for a one-time purchase of $30.00 and a monthly subscription of $21.00 that includes a 30% discount and free shipping.
3. Raw Paws Pet Food — best probiotic and prebiotic blend for dogs
Raw Paws Probiotics & Prebiotics Soft Chew Supplements for Dogs are a natural, holistic solution for digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation. According to the provider, these functional treats are made with high-fiber pumpkin and soothing ginger.
The product comes with 110 soft chews. Each chew contains 2 billion CFUs that may promote a healthier balance in the gut of your pet friend and support digestive health.
The recommended dosage is:
- 2 chews daily for dogs up to 25 lbs
- 3 chews daily for dogs weighing 26 to 75 lbs
- 4 chews daily for dogs over 75 lbs
Based on the website, the product is made in the USA and is vet-approved.
Raw Paws Probiotics & Prebiotics Soft Chew Supplements for Dogs are available for a discounted price of $18.99
4. Ruff Greens — best overall probiotic for dogs
Ruff Greens VitaSmart is a nutritional supplement designed to provide your dog with vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
The product may support healthy skin, improve digestion, boost energy, and improve mobility and joint health. According to the brand, this highly concentrated blend of fruits, vegetables, and digestive enzymes is intended to supplement your dog's diet and support its overall health. The product is designed for all dog breeds and sizes.
Ruff Greens VitaSmart comes with 28 regular-sized dog servings. The recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon for dogs up to 40 lbs and 2 tablespoons for dogs over 40 lbs.
Ruff Greens supplements are manufactured in an FDA-registered facility. They are free from artificial flavors, colors, and GMOs.
The product is priced at $79.95 with multiple subscription options.
5. Four Leaf Rover — best probiotic for maintaining dog gut health
Four Leaf Rover's Protect is a veterinarian-formulated probiotic blend designed for daily use. This unique blend of soil-based probiotics, probiotic yeast, and carefully selected ingredients may support dog health by protecting them from exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins while promoting proper gut health.
The product includes soil-based probiotics (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans), Saccharomyces boulardii, organic wild blueberry powder, bentonite clay, chlorella, humic & fulvic acid, and organic dandelion & burdock root.
The recommended dosage varies based on the dog's weight, ranging from 1/2 tsp daily for dogs up to 30 lbs to 1 1/2 tsp daily for dogs over 101 lbs.
According to the website, the supplements are formulated with high-quality and hand-picked ingredients. They also contain a Certificate of Analysis to prove that the supplements were tested for purity and are free from harmful substances.
The product is priced at $29.99, with an option to subscribe and save 15%.
Comparison of the best probiotics for dogs
|Serving per bottle
|Cost per serving
|Cost per bottle
|Dosage per serving
|1 teaspoon per 10-20 pounds of bodyweight
|19 fermented “superfoods,” including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and more
|Organic mushrooms, prebiotic fiber, digestive enzymes, beta-glucans, and a probiotic blend
|Raw Paws Pet Food
|Max 2 billion CFUs (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus salivarius), ginger root
|Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus johnsonii, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus.
|Four Leaf Rover
|Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, Saccharomyces boulardii, organic wild blueberry powder, bentonite clay, chlorella, humic & fulvic acid, and organic dandelion & burdock root
How we compiled our list of best probiotics for dogs in 2023
Choosing the best probiotics for dogs is crucial for supporting their digestive health and overall well-being. While compiling this list, we looked at several main factors, such as CFU count, ingredient quality, brand reputation, suitable probiotic strains, and canine-specific probiotics that should guide the selection process.
- CFU. Colony Forming Units (CFU) refer to the number of viable bacteria present in each probiotic dose. Higher CFU counts indicate a higher concentration of beneficial bacteria. However, research has demonstrated that some products can be effective at lower CFU levels while others require higher levels to retain effectiveness. Ensure that the probiotics you choose have an adequate CFU count, typically in the billions, throughout the shelf life.
- Ingredient quality. Ensuring the formulation of probiotic ingredients in adherence to the highest quality standards is crucial for their effectiveness and safety. To meet this criterion, we specifically evaluated probiotics that are manufactured using Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Additionally, we considered probiotics that undergo third-party testing, which involves independent laboratories verifying the purity, potency, and accuracy of labeling.
- Reputation. We identified well-established brands with a proven track record of consistently producing high-quality supplements. We recognized the value of customer reviews and ratings in gaining insights into the satisfaction and experiences of other users. By considering the feedback from customers, we could assess the reputation of different brands and determine their reliability and trustworthiness in delivering high-quality supplements.
- Probiotic strains. We made sure that the provided products contained specific strains of bacteria known to benefit canine health. We looked for strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium breve, as they have shown positive effects on digestion and immune support in dogs.
- Species-specific probiotics. We chose probiotics formulated specifically for dogs and avoided the ones that are designed for humans, as they may not provide the same benefits or contain strains suitable for canine digestion. Canine-specific probiotics are tailored to meet the unique needs of dogs' digestive system.
What are probiotics for dogs?
Probiotics for dogs are beneficial microorganisms that support digestive health, fight pathogens, and strengthen the immune system. They can be introduced through powders, capsules, chews, or specialized dog foods containing specific bacterial strains.
Benefits include improved digestion, better stool quality, reduced risk of intestinal worms, management of skin issues and allergies, and positive effects on mood. Probiotics work synergistically with prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that nourish the beneficial bacteria, enhancing their growth and adherence to the intestinal barrier. It's crucial to use high-quality, dog-specific probiotics to ensure safety and efficiency.
It's important to note that probiotics for dogs should be specifically formulated for canine use, as human probiotics may not provide the same benefits or contain strains suitable for dogs.
Benefits of probiotics for dogs
Probiotics for dogs offer several potential benefits, including improved digestion and intestinal health, increased calmness, and reduced diarrhea symptoms.
Specific probiotic strains or their combinations may be a useful addition to your pet's diet to support gut health, yet more research is needed to characterize effective and safe probiotic preparations in dogs.
Probiotics play a crucial role in promoting healthy digestion in dogs. By maintaining a balanced and diverse gut microbiome, probiotics help break down food, enhance nutrient absorption, and prevent gastrointestinal issues such as excess gas and loose stool.
Intestinal health benefits
Probiotics produce short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate, during fermentation in the gut. These fatty acids create an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Additionally, they help maintain a healthy pH level and nourish the cells lining the intestines, promoting intestinal health in dogs.
Specific strains of probiotics, such as BL999 (Bifidobacterium longum), have been associated with promoting calm behavior in dogs. The gut-brain axis, the connection between the intestines and the brain, plays a role in influencing behavior and emotions. By positively impacting this axis, probiotics can help reduce anxiety and stress-related behaviors in dogs.
Certain strains of probiotics, such as Bifidobacterium animalis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, have shown efficacy in managing diarrhea, soothing irritable bowels, and reducing intestinal inflammation in dogs. Probiotics can restore the balance of gut bacteria, enhance gut barrier function, and alleviate digestive discomfort in dogs suffering from these conditions.
When should you give a probiotic to your dog?
Probiotics for dogs may be given when they have digestive issues, after a course of antibiotics, if they have a sensitive stomach, and during or after an illness. It's important to consult with a veterinarian for specific guidance on probiotic strains, dosage, and duration based on your dog's individual needs and health condition.
- Digestive issues. If your dog experiences digestive issues such as diarrhea, gas, or abdominal cramping — probiotics can be beneficial. They help restore the balance of gut bacteria, improve digestion, and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort. Probiotics promote a healthy microbiome and aid in the breakdown of food, enhancing nutrient absorption and preventing gastrointestinal problems.
- After a course of antibiotics. Using antibiotics not only kills harmful bacteria but also disrupts the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Giving probiotics after a course of antibiotics helps restore the balance of gut flora and promote healthy digestion. Probiotics can counteract the negative effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome and aid in recovery.
- Sensitive stomach. Dogs with a sensitive stomach may experience digestive upset or intolerance to certain foods. Probiotics can help alleviate symptoms by supporting healthy digestion, reducing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and promoting a balanced gut microbiome.
- Recovering from illness. After recovering from an illness or infection, probiotics can aid in restoring the gut health of your dog. Illnesses and medications can disrupt the natural balance of gut bacteria, leading to digestive issues and compromised immune system. Probiotics help replenish beneficial bacteria, strengthen the immune system, and support overall recovery and well-being.
Are there any possible side effects from probiotics for dogs?
Probiotics for dogs are generally considered safe. However, there are some potential side effects that may occur in rare cases. This includes allergic reactions, such as itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
Additionally, some dogs may experience temporary digestive discomfort, including diarrhea or vomiting, especially when starting probiotics for the first time. Changes in appetite, constipation, and gas may also occur. However, it is important to note that these reactions are extremely uncommon.
It is recommended to monitor your dog's response to probiotics and consult a veterinarian if you notice any concerning symptoms or persistent side effects. Using quality probiotic products and following proper dosage recommendations are key to minimizing potential side effects.
What is the recommended dosage of probiotics for dogs?
The recommended dosage of probiotics for dogs can vary depending on the specific product and the individual dog's needs. It's important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on the product label for the appropriate dosage and frequency of use.
Probiotics for dogs are available in various forms, including powders, capsules, chews, and even incorporated into certain dog foods. The product packaging should indicate the recommended dosage based on the specific formulation.
Can I give my dog human probiotics?
While it is possible to give human probiotics to dogs, it is generally recommended to use probiotics specifically formulated for dogs. Human probiotic supplements may contain different strains and species of bacteria that are not optimal for a dog's digestive system. The microorganisms used in human products are similar to those in canine products, but dog-specific probiotics may provide microorganisms that are unique to dogs.
Dog and human digestive systems are different, and while human probiotics may not be harmful to dogs, their use is still being researched. Giving your dog a human probiotic not tested explicitly for canine gut can potentially upset its digestive system and lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Best probiotics for dogs in 2023: conclusion
It is essential to consider the specific needs of your pet when it comes to finding the best probiotic for dogs. The provided list of probiotic products in this article may offer various benefits that may support the well-being of your pet. This includes improved digestion, intestinal health benefits, increased calmness, and reduced diarrhea symptoms.
Seeking advice from a veterinarian can prove valuable in obtaining tailored recommendations and choosing an appropriate probiotic for your dog.
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What are the best probiotics for dogs?
Raw Paws offers a blend of prebiotics and probiotics designed as a natural, holistic solution for digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation. Consuming the supplements may provide the right environment for the natural production of digestive enzymes and for restoring digestive health.
Is it OK to give my dog probiotics daily?
Yes. Yogurt can be a good probiotic for dogs as it contains beneficial bacteria that can improve their gut flora and digestive system. However, not all dogs can tolerate dairy due to lactose intolerance. It's essential to offer plain yogurt with live cultures and no added sweeteners, as some sugars and artificial sweeteners can be harmful to dogs. If your dog shows any adverse reactions to a new probiotic product, immediately consult your veterinarian.
What is the most effective form of probiotic?
The most effective form of probiotic varies based on individual health goals and needs. Probiotics come in various strains, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, and more. The efficacy of a probiotic depends on the specific strain, live microorganisms during consumption, dosage (measured in CFU), and whether it contains prebiotics. It's crucial to choose a probiotic supplement with evidence-backed health benefits and consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.
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