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the Dog Blog

Probiotics for Dogs 101: What They Are and What You Need to Know

A happy dog lays outside with his dog parent after taking dog probiotics for healthy digestion.

When your dog doesn’t feel well, it may be time for a gut decision. Roughly 70 percent of a canine’s immune system is in their digestive tract, which means that a healthy gut can play a big part in the health and wellbeing of your beloved best friend. Fortunately, there’s a simple way that you can support your dog’s gut without much fuss: probiotics.

What are Dog Probiotics?

Probiotics have been a known entity since the 1900s, but, recently, scientists have learned more about their benefits. There are hundreds of strains of probiotics, some of which are especially helpful for canines. These strains include:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bacillus subtilis

What do probiotics do, exactly? Probiotics for dogs help balance the good bacteria in your dog’s gut. If the gut is unhealthy, it can result in digestive issues and even illness. Various strains support different gastrointestinal functions ranging from digesting food to supporting your dog’s immune system and fighting against illness, which plays a part in helping your four-legged friend live a healthy, active life.

Can Dogs Use Human Probiotics?

Like dogs, probiotics can help support digestive health in humans. While both people and pooches can benefit from probiotics, they shouldn’t use the same batch. Humans and canines have different biological needs, which means that probiotics tested for humans aren’t necessarily right for your dog, and vice versa. As a result, make sure your furry friend only gets probiotics that were made with him in mind.

When Does My Dog Need Probiotics?

In a way, probiotics are like reinforcements for your dog’s gut. When your dog displays signs like gas, bad breath, runny stool, or other digestive issues, probiotics are one way to help your pup replenish his good bacteria and get a boost to his immune system.

While there are signs that your dog is dealing with some bad gut bacteria, probiotics don’t have to be a reactionary tool for digestive health. You can be proactive and add probiotics to your dog’s diet which can help your dog keep the better balance of good bacteria at all times. This can be extremely helpful because you can’t always predict when your best buddy will decide to eat something he found in the park or lick something he shouldn’t.

What Should I Look For?

Probiotics for dogs come in a variety of different forms including powder, capsules and pills. Powders can be messy and pills can be hard for your dog to swallow. One of the easier ways to give your dog probiotics is a probiotic food spray like BreakThru Biotics Digestive Health & Immune Function Formula. This easy-to spray product allows you to just pump 12 strains of healthy probiotics on your dog’s food once a day in a tasty spray your dog will love.

Speaking of strains, you should always inspect product labels for a few key details. First, you’ll want to spot the specific strains identified in a product and look for some of the probiotics listed earlier in the post. You’ll also want to find the “best used by” date and a guaranteed analysis of the total live bacteria found in that product at the end of that product’s shelf life. Probiotics can die over time, so this analysis will let you know if you’re getting short-changed by a product or not.

Finally, you’ll want to see instructions for product use and storage. Some probiotics require refrigeration, so you’ll need to identify if a product is shelf stable or not. With this information, you can store your dog’s probiotics properly and get the most out of every container. BreakThru Biotics should not be refrigerated and can be kept on the counter where you feed your dog. Having it be readily available during feeding time will serve as a reminder to add it to your dog’s food and will make it convenient for you to do so.

Digestive Support for a Happy, Healthy Life

Gut health is a big deal for your dog, and probiotics can help you give your furry friend a good boost to be healthy inside and out. To learn more about what you can do to support a healthy lifestyle for your best friend, join our Best Friends Club to receive more articles about caring for your dog, training tips, members-only discounts on Bil-Jac products and other pup-friendly perks.