Probiotics For Dogs
By Hungry Bark | August 3, 2020
Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Maybe they have gas or frequent loose stools that seem to come without rhyme or reason. Has their skin become flakey and itchy? Do they seem lethargic or just aren’t acting like themselves? You’ve tried changing their diet and have made sure they aren’t eating anything in the yard or digging in the trash, but nothing seems to be helping. It may be time to consider a probiotic for your dog.
Probiotics for humans are all over the place; you can’t get away from ads that talk about “supporting gut health”. From yogurt and drinks that are said to have probiotic properties to pills and powders, probiotics for humans come in many forms. Probiotics have slowly been making their way into the pet world as well. You may have started to see some pet foods containing probiotics. Pet stores suddenly have probiotic supplements on the shelves. What are probiotics? Can they really do what they claim, and most importantly, are they safe and effective for your dog? In this guide by Hungry Bark, we answer all these questions and help provide some clarity on the benefits of probiotics for dogs.
What are probiotics for dogs?
Probiotics are microorganisms that have a positive effect on the body’s natural flora. Beneficial microbes, “the microbiome” reside in the gut and help keep the immune system regulated, and they also aid in digestion. Research suggests that the microbiome also plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight and even in the mental health of your dog.
How a Dog Gets a Microbiome
The probiotic microbiome is established at birth and populated by bacteria acquired from the dog’s mother and things it encounters as a puppy while playing and socializing. The more a dog is exposed to, the better the diversity of the flora in their gut. Dogs with a greater variety of microbes in their microbiome have been shown to have fewer skin allergies and a stronger immune system.
Antibiotics, illness, and stress can all have a negative effect on the microbiome. A weakened microbiome can lead to an overpopulation of “bad” bacteria such as E.Coli, and H.pylori and lead to chronic gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and irregular bowel movements.
How Microbiomes and Probiotics Affect the Immune System
Studies on how the gut affects the immune system have shown that gut health can affect all the systems in the body, including the brain and nervous system. Probiotics for dogs are supplemented in their food or treats and rebuild the colonies of microbes that are naturally present in the canine gut. Some of the most common bacteria in a dog’s gut are:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium animalis
Benefits of Probiotics For Dogs
Giving your dog probiotics has many benefits. As probiotics colonize the gut, they help rebuild the microbiome and restore balance. With balance restored in the digestive system, your dog will have less gas and regular bowel movements will be restored.
Probiotics can have benefits beyond restored digestive function. Studies have shown that probiotics for dogs can:
- Help reduce allergy symptoms
- Improve the condition of their skin and coat
- Improved gut health may also lead to improved behavior as your dog starts to feel relief from any intestinal discomfort he may have been experiencing.
- In older dogs that may be on medications that can cause digestive upset, supplementation with probiotics may ease or prevent uncomfortable symptoms that affect their quality of life.
Probiotics For Dogs Side Effects
Side effects from probiotics for dogs are rare, but all dogs are different, so side effects are possible. Most side effects are mild and affect the digestive system through gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. Very rarely, there may be an overgrowth of bacteria in dogs with weakened immune systems. This can lead to infection which will require veterinary treatment. One dog in a million may suffer from an allergic reaction. Swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing are warning signs that your dog needs emergency veterinary attention.
Negative side effects can be the result of a poor quality supplement. A low-quality probiotic will degrade because of acid in the stomach and will not properly colonize the gut. It may also contain probiotics that are meant for human, not canine, consumption.
Choose only high-quality probiotic-containing foods and supplements to help lower the chances of side-effects, and get your dog’s microbiome back on track.
When selecting a probiotic for dogs, consider a product like Hungry Bark’s probiotic chews. Hungry Bark Balanced Belly Chews are made from ethically sourced ingredients that can be easily traced back to their source. Their probiotic chews contain a variety of microorganisms to help your dog’s gut health flourish.
- Bifidobacterium animalis- This organism can help prevent diarrhea, has been shown to fight lung infections, and helps regrow gut bacteria after chemotherapy.
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus- L. acidophilus can help relieve dermatitis, aids in nutrient uptake, and is useful in preventing food poisoning.
- Lactobacillus fermentum- This bacteria is useful in fighting bladder and urinary tract infections, helps support the immune system and can help reestablish balance after a course of antibiotics.
- Lactobacillus salivarius- This helps prevent gastric ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and can help settle upset stomachs.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus- This can benefit dogs suffering from allergies, supports the immune system, and can help prevent overgrowths of yeast.
- Lactobacillus reuteri- Helps in immune support, can aid symptoms of gastric or intestinal upset, and helps promote wellness.
Balanced Belly chews aren’t the only probiotic products Hungry Bark has to offer. You can also find probiotics in Hungry Bark’s premium recipes! Like their supplement chews, Hungry Bark premium dog food is made with only ethical ingredients, and their recipes contain superfood ingredients to help your dog get all the nutrients they need.
Probiotics for dogs are a good way to help maintain or restore balanced health. With few side effects, they are a safe and natural way to keep your dog’s immune system flourishing and their digestive system functioning smoothly. Whether you provide your dog probiotics through their food, or through a supplement chew, be sure to invest in quality products to get the best results.