There is no doubt about the beneficial effects of probiotics and prebiotics on human health. In fact, there are hundreds of studies in humans with different probiotics, microorganisms and strains that confirm all these beneficial effects. Our pets are no exception, and studies are increasingly being conducted that also demonstrate the benefits of probiotics for dogs.
Probiotics for dogs have a similar mechanism of action to that exercised in humans, modifying and normalizing the intestinal microbiota, improving the digestibility of nutrients, strengthening the intestinal wall, reducing gastrointestinal disorders and regulating the immune system.
Probiotics with Enterococcus faecium (not to be confused with Enterococcus faecalis)
One of the most commonly used probiotics in dogs are those containing the species Enterococcus faecium DSN 10663 / NCIMB10415 as this is a species with which more studies have been conducted in dogs and that is present as a single component or sometimes, along with other probiotics and / or prebiotics forming what is called a symbiotic
This species has, among the benefits, that of stimulating the immune system against infections (1) and a significant effect on acute diarrhea, reducing its duration and thus avoiding greater veterinary attention (2)
Some of the probiotic products with Enterococcus faecium that we can find in the market are:
Fortiflora for dogs
One of the best probiotics for dogs with a minimum of 100 million viable Enterococcus faecium SF68 cells. This SF68 strain is the same as the already mentioned DSN 10663/ NCIMB 10415.
Manufactured by Purina, a brand with more than 80 years of history in pet food and with the guarantee of belonging to the Nestlé group. One of the products with the highest number of positive evaluations by dog owners.
The differentiating characteristic of Fortiflora compared to other products is the presence in its formula of two vitamins, specifically Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as a series of essential minerals (zinc, manganese, iron, copper, iodine and selenium) and beta-carotene, an antioxidant.
Each gram of the product has 5 x 108 CFU of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium.
In a study conducted with several puppies, it was shown that this product promotes the dog’s immune system with an improved immune response against pathogens (1)
Similarly, in cases of dogs that have diarrhea, another study showed how this product shortens the duration of non-specific diarrhea in dogs, accelerating the recovery process (3) as well as the diarrhea associated with stress that our pet can suffer (4).
It is therefore a very complete and excellent quality probiotics for our dog. The administration of probiotics is always beneficial to regulate its intestinal health regardless of whether the animal feels sick or shows any symptoms.
H2 YuDIGEST Dog – Lintbells – Probiotic for dogs
Another of the probiotics for dogs with Enterococcus faecium DSN 10663/ NCIMB 10415 that we can find in the market is YuDigest Dog (previously known as Yumpro BioActiv) from the firm Lintbells, one of the most important veterinary supplement companies in the United Kingdom.
In addition to the probiotic Enterococcus faecium, it is a product rich in prebiotic fiber, having in its composition three types of fibers: short chain fructooligosaccharides (scFOS), manooligosaccharides (MOS) and Betaglucan.
With YuDigest Dog the quality of the feces is improved, the flatulence of the dog is diminished and its appetite is improved.
Each gram of product contains 2.1 x 108 CFU of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium DSM 10663/ NCIMB 10415 4b1707
It comes in the form of chewable tablets that can be administered directly or with meals.
Probiotics for dogs with Enterococcus faecium (not to be confused with Enterococcus faecalis) + other probiotic species
In addition to the aforementioned products, there are also probiotics for dogs in which, in addition to Enterococcus faecium, they also contain other probiotic species such as lactobacilli or bifodibacteria. Let’s look at some of the ones we can find in online stores.
Probiocin Oral Gel 15gm Syringe – Probios
Product of the Probios brand, with the guarantee of belonging to the Danish multinational Chr. Hansen, a real reference in the field of probiotics with more than 100 years of history.
The product is a gel for oral administration that is administered by means of a type of syringe with a graduated plunger that allows the measurement of the grams of dose to be administered to the animal. Each gram of product contains 1 x107 cfu of viable cells, a lower amount than the rest of the products analyzed.
This product has several probiotics for dogs, in addition to Enterococcus faecium. On the one hand, it contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, which has beneficial properties for promoting intestinal health and improving the dog’s immune system according to a study carried out with 15 dogs (6), as well as two other probiotics that also produce beneficial effects: Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, which regulate and stabilize the dog’s intestinal microbiota and also help strengthen its immune system, as was confirmed in a study carried out with 90 dogs (7).
We could say that it is an all-in-one.
Very complete product as it contains a wide range of probiotics from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as Enterococcus faecium. It also has a series of fungi, basically of the Aspergillus genus, very rich in digestive enzymes (lipases, proteases, etc) that provide the product with excellent characteristics to improve the dog’s digestion. Not everything ends here since it also contains more than 20 mineral components (Copper, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc or Selenium) and vitamins (A, E, D, C, group B), all of them essential elements that the dog cannot synthesize and that need to be contributed by means of the diet or thanks to these supplements.
It is therefore a very complete probiotic for dogs because of its content in probiotics, enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
Dr Lyon’s Probiotic Digestive
Probiotic for dogs with a similar probiotic composition: genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in addition to Enterococcus faecium as well as inulin as a prebiotic product.
In this case, in addition to its probiotic composition, the product also contains several vitamins such as Vitamin A, E or C and several minerals such as Copper, Iron, Manganese and even Taurine.
Vital Planet – Flora Dog – High Potency
Probiotic for dogs with a very complete formula since it contains not only Enterococcus faecium but 9 additional probiotic species of the Lactobacillus genera as Bifidobacterium, being one of the probiotics for dogs with a greater spectrum of probiotics beneficial for the health of our dog.
It also has 20 billion viable cells per dose (one spoonful), which also makes it one of the probiotics for dogs with the highest concentration of viable microorganisms.
Probiotics with other probiotic species
This product contains a probiotic but is actually designed to promote and maintain clean and healthy anal glands (or anal sacs) in our pets. The obstruction of these glands is a frequent problem, not only in dogs, but also in cats, and can significantly affect their well-being.
Glandex is an American company that was born precisely to combat this problem in our pets. Today it also makes other products for animal health.
The product contains a probiotic species, Lactobacillus acidophilus that helps, as all probiotics, to have a better intestinal health in the dog. It also has other components such as Bromelain, a protease-type enzyme that helps digestion, fibers in the form of Pectin and Pumpkin Seed, which helps to have firmer stools and naturally helps empty and maintain the dog’s anal glands healthy. Finally, this Glandex product also has Quercetin, a flavonoid with beneficial properties as an antioxidant to prevent dog diseases more associated with age.
Therefore, this is a probiotic product, but more focused on the problem of anal glands than intestinal problems.
Naturvet – Digestive Enzymes
Product with a single probiotic species: 1.0 x1010 cfu of Bacillus coagulans, a probiotic widely used in humans and with numerous studies on its benefits for intestinal health. Bacillus coagulans has as a differentiating characteristic over the rest of probiotics, the capacity to form spores which gives it a greater resistance to the passage through the gastrointestinal tract.
This probiotic also has a series of digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, cellulase and lipase that help promote digestion since these enzymes are an important aid in the metabolism of starch, protein, cellulose and fat.
Manufactured by the American company Naturvet, with more than 25 years in animal care and an extensive catalog of products for dogs, cats and even horses.
Naturvet – Digestive Enzymes and probiotics
This same company has a product: NaturVet Advanced Probiotic & Enzymes Powder for Dogs with a similar composition but with an additional probiotic: Bacillus subtilis, in which a study carried out with 12 dogs showed that the supplementation of this probiotic in the dog’s diet improved intestinal health and the characteristics of the feces, which were drier and contained less ammonia (9)
Nutri-Vet Probiotic Capsules for dogs
Product with 1 x109 microorganisms per capsule of three probiotics: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Streptococcus thermophilus. These three species are very common in probiotic products (S. thermophilus, is even one of only two species recognized by official bodies as a constituent of yogurt). They therefore have a beneficial role in displacing other pathogenic microorganisms and preventing their proliferation.
It also contains inulin, a prebiotic that acts by promoting the growth of microorganisms native to the dog’s intestine, thus stabilizing its intestinal microbiota.
NUSENTIA Probiotic Miracle for Dogs and Cats
Symbiotic with prebiotic (Inulin) and a series of 6 probiotic species, all of which are acidic bacteria: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarus and Bifidobacterium animalis.
Of the six species contained in the product, five of them belong to the genus Lactobacillus, that is, to the majority genus in the dog’s intestine, and in particular the species Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is the predominant one among all the lactobacilli (10).
Precisely, on L. acidophilus, a study was carried out in 15 dogs where it was confirmed that this bacterium crosses the gastrointestinal tract and reaches the colon where it exerts its beneficial effect, improving the intestinal health and the immune function of the dog (11).
There are also other studies that show how lactobacillus can produce a reduction in cholesterol levels in dogs diagnosed with enteritis or gastroenteritis (12).
In addition, the product contains Bifidobacterium animalis, a probiotic with the ability to reduce the resolution time of acute diarrhea in dogs (13).
This product can be combined with digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, lipase, cellulase and lactase that help the digestion process, as well as Bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme that acts in the same way, favoring the metabolism of proteins. This product also contains a series of minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium necessary to maintain good health in our pet.
Jarrow Formulas Pet Dophilus
Probiotics for dogs and cats from the prestigious company Jarrow Formulas, with a composition that helps maintain a balanced intestinal microbiota while strengthening the immune function. Jarrow Pet Dophilus formulas contain five species of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and Pediococcus acidilactici, a species that is rare in these products but with studies showing its beneficial effect in the treatment of acute diarrhea in dogs by reducing the convalescence time (14)
This probiotic also contains Inulin, a prebiotic that promotes the growth of the dog’s native microbiota, as well as a component called Metabolin® which, according to the manufacturer Jarrow Formulas, is a mixture of components that act synergistically with probiotics.
Each gram of the product contains 1,000 million viable microorganisms.
Nutrition Strength Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotic for dogs with a formula similar to the previous ones of Nusentia, although to its probiotic composition of species of the genus Lactobacillus we have to add the species Bacillus coagulans which, as we mentioned before, has the capacity to form spores, thus obtaining an additional resistance to the gastric juices and acid of the stomach during its transit through the gastrointestinal tract.
Made in the United States, it has a total of 3.4 billion Lactobacillus and 600 million Bacillus coagulans, a total of 4 billion viable probiotic microorganisms.
Other probiotics for dogs
Finally, we would like to highlight a probiotic product for dogs characterized by a higher number of probiotic species than the usual amount we have seen in the products analyzed so far. This is Vivomixx (previously known as VSL#3)
VSL#3 – Vivomixx
The original VSL#3, – formula created by Dr. De Simone -, is currently marketed as Vivomixx. There is also a similar formula currently marketed under the name VSL#3 but it is not the same as the original, despite having exactly the same name.
It is a product designed for administration and therapeutic effect in humans, but there are also studies in which its efficacy has been evaluated in the treatment of certain intestinal pathologies in dogs such as inflammatory bowel disease (15).
This product consists of a mixture of 8 probiotics: Lactobacillus paracasei DSM 24734, Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 24730, Lactobacillus acidophilus DSM 24735, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus DSM 24734, Bifidobacterium longum DSM 24736, Bifidobacterium infantis DSM 24737, Bifidobacterium breve DSM 24732 and Streptococcus thermophilus DSM 24731 are characterized by very high concentrations of probiotics: 450 billion bacteria per sachet (4.5 x 1011) or 112 billion bacteria (1.12 x 1011) per capsule
It is perhaps the probiotic with the highest concentration of bacteria on the market and several studies have demonstrated its effectiveness for treatment in humans.
When to give my dog a probiotic
There are still not enough studies that clearly indicate what exact indication each probiotic has. One thing is clear: They do not harm, in fact, some studies have been done with some probiotics giving doses that are several times the standard dose and the result is that the dog has not shown any discomfort that would indicate a possible negative effect of the probiotic.
Currently dog probiotics have their use in canine gastrointestinal diseases such as Hookworm diarrhea where the Lactobacillus mixture appears to be positive. Other types of diarrhoea such as stress diarrhoea from kennels or diarrhoea induced by antibiotics (similar to what occurs in humans) can be combated with the use of probiotics for dogs.
There are even some probiotics that have been designed for humans such as Vivomixx (VSL#3 – a mixture of 8 probiotic microorganisms) but can also be beneficial when administered to a dog being treated for parvovirus.
However, because it is safe and harmless, it can be given to the dog to improve its intestinal microbiota and digestive capacity, just as it does for humans. It is not necessary to be sick to take probiotics.