Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” present in your dog’s stomach, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium breve, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium lactis. Probiotics help to fight infections, make the immune system stronger, help digest food, and make vitamins and nutrients. This is called the microbiome and a healthy dog needs a healthy microbiome.
Changes in the microbiome caused by antibiotics, changes in food, stress, parasites, and eating spoiled food can make dogs sick in different ways, causing diarrhea, obesity, gas, cramping, general poor health, upset stomach, bloating, and bad breath. Research shows that giving probiotics to your dog can improve these conditions.
There are different types of probiotics, including food-based, powders, and pills.
Foods with probiotics for dogs. A good source of natural probiotics for dogs is yogurt or kefir with live cultures. Sometimes certain brands use cultures to make yogurt or kefir, but they are not probiotics. Yogurt and kefir may also contain artificial sweeteners, which can be dangerous for dogs. Dogs should only eat plain yogurt with no artificial sweeteners.
Dog foods with probiotics. Some dog foods have added probiotics. This might be an easier way to give your dog probiotics. It’s important to also look for prebiotics in the food that will feed the friendly bacteria.
Bacteria are sensitive to temperature, air, and moisture. This means the way dog food is made, how probiotics are added, and the type of food can all change the quality of the food and probiotics.
Probiotic treats. Soft treats that contain probiotics might be the easiest way to give your dog a dose of them. Some treats don’t contain live probiotics and might also have additives and extra preservatives.
Pills. Probiotic capsules are also available. You can hide a pill in canned food or a treat like peanut butter and give it to your dog.
Powders. Powdered probiotics are also available. Live probiotics in individual pockets are thought to be better. This controls exposure to air and moisture. Powdered probiotics might be harder to give to your dog, though.
- Before giving your dog probiotics, ask for an expert advice to find out the best kind for your friend! And come to Hollywood Houndz, we have lots of options!