Dogs, like humans, also need good bacteria to be healthy. Overall well-being is all about proper balance after all, including the balance of good and bad bacteria in a dog’s system. Microbial imbalances in canine often cause gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, flatulence, and even canine halitosis. Health is wealth, always, and so give your dog probiotics to help bring back their system’s homeostasis, especially during stressful times or sick conditions.
As a precautionary measure in probiotics administration, besides consulting the family vet, learn how to read the label first. Some live microbes when combined together balance out their positive effects. Other bacteria strains even have limited probiotic activities, which are not worth the price. Practice looking at labels as you read our user-friendly dog probiotics guide below:
The Best Probiotic for Dogs
Purina is one of the trusted names when it comes to pet nutrition. That’s why when the brand came up with its own Veterinary Diets formulation that features the probiotic organism Enterococcus faecium, you can expect the accolades from loyal followers saying that the FortiFlora is the best probiotics for dogs.
While it only comes with a meager 100 million colony forming units (CFUs) of the probiotic for each sachet, a figure that pales in comparison to the other probiotics for dogs in the market, the FortiFlora has nevertheless gained the wide acceptance of pet parents and veterinarians alike. Giving just the right amounts of probiotics – not too much, not too little – is crucial to reestablishing balance in your pet’s digestive tract. It also comes with amino acids, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants that bring better all-around health for your hound. So if you want canine probiotics that are trusted by more pet parents, FortiFlora should always be considered.
Contains 100 million CFUs of Enterococcus faecium per sachet
Contains 43% protein, 10% fat, 1% fiber, and 10% moisture per sachet
With digestive enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals
Can be easily mixed with dog food
- BrandPurina Fortiflora
- Weight3.2 oz
Containing 8 different strains of gut-friendly bacteria, the Vetri Mega is a natural probiotics for dogs that doesn’t include any other ingredient except for probiotics and fructooligosaccharides or FOS as well as a few other all-natural ingredients to bind everything together. This is unlike other pet probiotics that typically come enriched with minerals and vitamins to further augment the benefits brought about by both prebiotics and probiotics.
It may seem counterproductive, yet many pet parents don’t think so. In fact, many choose the Vetri Mega since they know that what they are giving to their pets are simply probiotics and prebiotics for dogs and nothing else. This can help provide better security and relief knowing that you can easily determine if your dog is reacting to the formulation or not. It comes in capsule form which can be easily broken in two and the powder sprinkled into pet food. Alternatively, it can also be hidden in pill pocket treats.
Contains 5 billion CFUs of probiotics per capsule
Contains 8 strains of probiotic organisms
For all breeds of dogs
Can be sprinkled on dog food or hidden in doggie treats
- BrandVetriScience Laboratories
- Weight5.4 oz
If you’re a fan of omega fatty acids you’ll definitely love the Doggie Dailies probiotics for puppies and dogs. Aside from the fact that Doggie Dailies contain 5 strains of beneficial bacteria, it also contains a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids courtesy of salmon oil, cod liver oil, and flaxseed oil. This formulation is perfect for ensuring your pet also gets shinier and healthier skin and coat while improving its cognitive functions as the probiotics work to harmonize intestinal flora.
From healthier digestion to improvements in the dog’s skin condition and even strengthening of its immune system, the Doggie Dailies probiotics for dogs is exceptionally useful. The inclusion of phytonutrients also helps further improve the overall benefits afforded by the canine probiotics. It also comes in a grain-free formulation that utilizes the amazing taste of natural duck meat, making sure your pet easily takes a soft chew for a no-mess, no-fuss administration.
Contains 1 billion CFUs of probiotics per soft chew
Contains 5 strains of probiotic organisms
Enriched with prebiotics, phytonutrients, salmon oil, and cod liver oil
Delicious duck flavor
- BrandDoggie Dailies
- Weight1.2 lbs
If you’re after the sheer number of gut-friendly microorganisms put into each serving of the best dog probiotic supplement, then Pet Ultimates’ Probiotics for Dogs is always a great choice. Featuring a dizzying number of probiotic species – a total of 22 strains – accounting for about 2 billion colony forming units for every scoop of this powdered formulation, the Pet Ultimates stakes its claim as the best probiotics for dogs.
While some may question the unusual number of probiotic species, pet parents don’t seem to mind. The inulin-based recipe is deemed important in improving digestion that it even classifies as a great probiotic for puppies with diarrhea. Other digestive issues such as bad breath, gas formation, and even irritating skin conditions will be things of the past after a few weeks of giving the Pet Ultimates. There are no fillers or anything artificial in the formulation so you’ll feel safer for your pet, too.
Contains 2 billion CFUs of probiotics per scoop
Contains 22 different species of probiotics
Made from a c-GMP facility
No fillers, sugar, wheat, soy, artificial ingredients
Can be sprinkled on dog food
- BrandPet Ultimates
- Weight4.8 oz
The Probiotic Miracle is a powdered formulation of canine probiotics and prebiotics for dogs that features 6 different strains of healthy bacteria. Nusentia takes pride in its formulation, underscoring its clinical significance in affording optimum digestive, integumentary, and immune system health for dogs. The pet probiotics formulation of the Probiotic Miracle includes inulin as its principal prebiotic, giving the much-needed fuel for its probiotic organisms.
It’s perfect for those dogs that may have issues with the regularity of their bowel movements, the incidence of allergies and bad breath, and problems in their immune system. Nusentia says that its recipe is backed by science, putting only the right number of biologically appropriate microorganisms in the formula. It is neither too much nor too little; it’s just right for what your dog really needs.
Contains 1 billion CFUs of probiotics per scoop
Contains 6 stable probiotic strains
With inulin as prebiotic
Can be sprinkled on dog’s food
No wheat, soy, fillers, or byproduct ingredients
Formulation backed by scientific research
- Weight4 oz
Featuring a unique Green SuperFood formulation that boasts of a blend of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and natural digestive enzymes for dogs, the PetVitalityPRO Probiotic Premium Plus is always a good choice when you want more than just a simple dosing of pet probiotics. Each soft chew contains about the same amount of colony forming units as a single serving of the Nusentia. But, since the Health Booster comes in soft chew form, it’s way easier to administer.
Going to its ingredients, what is notable is the inclusion of Maqui berry and papaya as well as natural prebiotics such as wheatgrass, alfalfa grass, and spirulina, among others. It’s a great probiotics for puppies with diarrhea, allergies, and immunocompromised states as well as dogs that are receiving antibiotics or those on steroids. The unique blend of antioxidants, nucleotides, vitamins, and minerals strongly complements the probiotic-richness of the Probiotic Premium Plus.
Contains 2 billion CFUs probiotics per chew
Green SuperFood formulation
Contains prebiotics, nucleotides, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins,
Contains natural digestive enzymes
Contains Maqui berry, papaya, and other botanicals
- Weight5.3 oz
Although the AAFCO and the NRC don’t recognize these as nutrients or substances essential to your pet’s health, there’s no questioning the many benefits of canine probiotics. And if you also add the joint-friendly benefits of glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin you’ll know that you’ve got a winning combination for the best probiotics for dogs. That’s what the Probiotic Joint Supplement is. Not only does it provide exceptionally high levels of probiotics, but it also adds three of the pet world’s most important substances for improving the health of the joints.
With its tasty bacon and liver flavor, administering the Probiotic Joint chews is a breeze. There is no need to open any packet or even measure a scoop just so you’ll know you’re giving the right amounts of these beneficial substances to your pet. You’re not only ensuring a healthier digestive and immune system for your dog, but you’re also guaranteeing better mobility so they get to enjoy life as any dog should.
Contains 7.5 billion CFUs of probiotics per gram
Contains digestive enzymes
Contains glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin
Delicious bacon and liver flavor
Made from a cGMP facility
- BrandAmazing Nutritionals
- Weight6.1 oz
From the makers of Cosequin and Dasuquin, two of the world’s most trusted names when it comes to joint health, comes Proviable-DC. This Nutramax formulation is primarily intended to support the optimum functioning of your dog’s digestive system while also enhancing its immune system. Like its other products, Nutramax believes in getting straight to the point by including only 7 different strains of probiotic microorganisms and a couple of prebiotics in the formulation. This is unlike other pet probiotics that also come with digestive enzymes for dogs, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and a whole lot more.
On the bright side, each capsule of the Proviable-DC provides the highest number of CFUs on a per serving basis. This makes the Nutramax natural probiotics for dogs exceptionally useful in supporting the optimum health and function of not only your dog’s digestive system but also its immune functioning.
Contains 5 billion CFUs of probiotics per capsule
7 key probiotic organisms
Multi-strain probiotic formulation
No artificial ingredients
- BrandNutramax Laboratories
- Weight1 lb
For certain dogs, probiotics may not be enough to ensure a healthier digestive system. In these cases, giving natural digestive enzymes for dogs can be a great way to ensure better digestion, enhanced immunity, and the prevention of a host of problems associated with the proliferation of bad bacteria and yeast organisms in the dog’s gut. With the Advanced Probiotic Supplement from Deley Naturals, your dog not only gets sufficiently high amounts of probiotics for dogs, but it also receives 6 of the key digestive enzymes that will ensure better digestibility of all food particles that ever go into its intestines.
The Deley Naturals canine probiotics is a good blend of beneficial microorganisms and bioactive enzymes that help promote better digestion, lesser shedding, better skin and coat health, and a stronger immune system. It’s also especially effective in returning the normal flora of the canine intestines after antibiotic therapy.
Contains 4 billion CFUs of probiotics per soft chew
With 6 digestive enzymes
Enriched with prebiotics
Delicious chicken flavor
Grain-free, gluten-free formulation
- BrandDeley Naturals
- Weight1 lb
Also featuring natural digestive enzymes for dogs, this Zesty Paws formulation of canine probiotics utilizes the nutrient goodness of papaya and pumpkin to deliver the kind of digestive and immune system health that all dogs need. It also features the proprietary blend of probiotics called Ganaden BC30 which uses the bacteria Bacillus coagulans as its principal probiotic. Aiding the activity of B. coagulans are 5 strains of Lactobacillus to bring the total CFUs for each soft chew to 3 billion. It’s not as high as some other probiotics for dogs, but it is higher than most.
Pet parents can attest to the Zesty Paws’ effectiveness in helping their dogs with diarrhea, indigestion, and even intestinal discomfort and symptoms of leaky gut. It is also a great probiotics for puppies with diarrhea while aiding senior dogs to achieve a more regular and smoother bowel movement.
Contains 2.5 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus strains per soft chew
Contains 500 million CFUs of proprietary Ganaden BC30 probiotic system
Contains pumpkin, papaya, and prebiotics
- BrandZesty Paws
- Weight1 lb
Best Probiotics for Dogs Buying Guide & FAQ
What You Should Look for in Probiotics for Dogs
The right probiotics for dogs should always contain live organisms, not dead ones. Ideally, you would want a minimum of 20 million colony forming units of dog gut-specific bacterial or yeast strains. Twenty million may seem too many, but you have to realize that the probiotic supplement will pass through the highly acidic environment of the dog’s stomach. The more colony forming units or CFUs you give to your dog, the greater are the chances that there will be sufficient numbers of live microorganisms reaching the gut.
In addition to the number of colonies forming units of live microorganisms, it is equally important to look at the probiotic strains present in the supplement. Bacillus coagulans and Enterococcus faecium are just two of the clinically important probiotic organisms in dogs. Other probiotic organisms that are very beneficial to dogs can include Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus fermentum.
These are just some of the strains of microorganisms that have been proven to be very beneficial for dogs. If you see other probiotic strains in the supplement that you are going to buy, we strongly recommend researching for it first to find out just what it can provide to your dog and whether or not it is safe to give to your pet.
Sometimes it is better to look for probiotic supplements that come with other ingredients such as substances designed to improve joint health, encourage brain development, boost immune functioning, and the like. However, just make sure that these substances do not interfere with the principal action of the probiotic organisms.
One critical factor that you should never forget when picking a probiotic supplement for your pet is the credibility and trustworthiness of the manufacturer. As much as possible the product should be manufactured from a facility that is certified as GMP. Moreover, it is best to get a product that’s made in the US, although this can be tricky. There have been issues wherein the product is guaranteed to have been made in the US, but the ingredients are sourced from China. Do your research very well especially if you’re not familiar with the brand of the probiotics you want to buy.
Some pet parents also choose a product that is more convenient for them to administer. Some will go for soft chews especially flavored ones, although there may be some issues when it comes to the use of artificial flavorings. Some individuals prefer to use powdered formulations of prebiotics as this can be easily sprinkled into the dog’s food.
Also, check the product’s expiration date. Pick a product with a much longer expiration date, although this may be tricky considering you’re talking about live microorganisms in the formulation. It is critically important to have a good understanding of how the product should be stored once opened. Lastly, you should have a clear idea of where to get in touch with the manufacturer if something goes wrong.
Health Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics are nothing more than the same healthy microorganisms that live in your dog’s gut where they serve as ‘good’ bacteria. It is for this reason that giving probiotics to your dog is largely considered as very beneficial. Here is a list of what probiotics can do for your pet.
- Improves the overall function of the digestive system, allowing food particles to be broken down and the nutrients absorbed by the blood more efficiently.
- Probiotics aid in the more effective evacuation of stool so your dog will not feel constipated.
- It can help reduce the risk and incidence of food intolerance as well as any accompanying signs and symptoms.
- It reestablishes the balance in intestinal flora so that ‘bad bacteria’ can be effectively neutralized.
- Can reduce the severity of intestinal inflammation which can result in the resolution of diarrhea or even constipation.
- Can improve overall energy levels for the dog because of the improvement in the absorption of energy-dense nutrients while also eliminating or minimizing the effects of a variety of chronic inflammatory conditions.
- Helps neutralize and break down toxins and potential carcinogens found in pet food.
- Improves canine breath and prevents the development of bad breath or halitosis in dogs.
- Can contribute to improvements in skin and coat health by making sure that the necessary nutrients are absorbed and delivered by the blood to the dog’s skin and coat.
- Improves immune functioning especially since more than 70% of the cells of the immune system of the dog are found in the gut. Improving the immune function can also help reduce the incidence of allergies, hypersensitivity reactions, and even infections.
- Promotes the production of B vitamins, biotin, and folic acid.
Related Post: Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? (Nutrition Guide)
Potential Side Effects of Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics are safe for dogs. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that things can happen along the way. This is especially true in probiotic supplements that may contain ingredients other than probiotics. It is possible that the dog is showing the side effects of any of these ‘other’ ingredients and not necessarily the probiotic organisms themselves.
In such instances, it is possible to see diarrhea, constipation, gas, or even bloating in dogs. It is for this reason that products with only probiotics as their ingredients are way better than those that have multiple ingredients as you’ll never know which of these substances your dog might react to.
Best Probiotics for Dogs FAQ:
Q: What are probiotics?
A: These are live microorganisms, specifically bacteria and yeast organisms, which help keep the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines. Everyone has this notion that germs are naturally bad. However, microorganisms reside in every region in the dog’s body. They carry out different functions such as the synthesis of certain vitamins and the maintenance of immune system health.
The intestines are naturally filled with germs, both good and bad. When a dog is given antibiotics, the bad bacteria are killed. Unfortunately, some of the good bacteria are also killed in the process. This leads to what they call antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Probiotics can help ‘replenish’ these lost good bacteria so that balance can be reestablished.
Ideally, you would want a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines. If there are more bad bacteria, then the dog can present with a variety of conditions we don’t normally associate with the overgrowth of bad bacteria such as bad breath, itching, skin allergies, gas, low energy, and many others. Probiotics can help restore such balance so that these problems will also naturally go away.
Q: Are human-grade probiotics safe for dogs?
A: No! The intestinal florae found in dogs are very different from the ones found in human intestines. To be more specific, dogs require very specific strains of bacteria and yeast that are highly compatible with their intestines. Just because both human- and pet- grade probiotics contain Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium doesn’t automatically give you the right to give your probiotic supplement to your dog. If you give human-grade probiotics to your dog you might as well give it the kind of organisms that will make it very sick instead of helping it improve its digestive and immune system capabilities.
Q: When should I use probiotics for dogs?
A: Probiotics can be given to dogs on a daily basis, although veterinarians usually prescribe them only when the dog is having some digestive upset, is taking steroids or antibiotics, or is experiencing stress. However, we have seen a lot of pet parents who gladly share their stories about the tremendous benefits of giving probiotics to dogs on a regular basis and not only when they have digestive problems.
Q: Can I give probiotics to my puppy?
A: Yes, you can give probiotics to your puppy. The intestinal tract of puppies, just like human babies, is still relatively sterile. Giving them probiotics can help strengthen the health status of their still-immature gut while improving their overall immunity. A healthy gut also helps facilitate the better absorption of nutrients from the mother dog’s milk while paving the way for other more complex food molecules in puppy food.
Our Top Pick
The FortiFlora Veterinary Diets formulation from Purina may only have 100 million CFUs of a single probiotic strain, but it makes up for it by putting into the formula one of the best clinically proven probiotic for dogs – Enterococcus faecium. The formulation also comes with amino acids and digestive enzymes as well as minerals and vitamins to give your pet a more well-rounded approach to optimum digestive, immune, and whole-body health.
Dogs need probiotics. Period. If you love your pet, then you should start looking for the best dog probiotic supplement now. You can always start with our list, of course.