Probiotics for Dogs
“As in humans, probiotics also exert beneficial effects in dogs”
What are probiotics for dogs?
Dog care is very important to keep our pet always healthy and energetic and the administration of probiotics is one way to achieve this.
Probiotics, as defined by the WHO, are live microorganisms that when consumed in adequate amounts confer healthy effects on the host. These microorganisms, mainly bacteria, coexist in the intestine of the healthy dog in a symbiotic and balanced way.
Dogs also have a digestive system that, although different from that of humans, also has a microbiota whose balance is fundamental not only for their digestive system but also for their immune system and disease prevention.
The intestinal microbiota of the dog is made up of thousands of different microorganisms, although one of the most studied is Enterococcus faecium DSM 10663.
The most common strain in probiotic supplements is Enterococcus faecium DSM 10663 / NCIMB 10415.
What are the benefits of probiotics for a dog health?
As in humans, probiotics also have beneficial effects in all dog breeds.
Although they are very different digestive systems, the function of the intestinal flora or microbiota in dogs is similar to that of the microbiota in human health.
Among these beneficial functions, the most important is to facilitate the absorption of nutrients from food by producing certain substances such as short-chain acids (SCA), lactic acid, some vitamins and to strengthen and maintain the dog’s immune system.
Likewise, a balanced microflora prevents the presence or proliferation of other invasive species that can cause intestinal diseases, and thus we will have a healthy dog.
How do probiotics work in dogs?
Regardless of breed, probiotics for dogs have a mechanism of action similar to that in humans, modifying and normalizing the intestinal microbiota or flora, improving the digestibility of nutrients, strengthening the intestinal wall, reducing gastrointestinal disorders and regulating the immune system.
When to give probiotics to the dog?
Although, the contribution of a food supplement with probiotics to a dog should be prescribed by a veterinarian, the most common situations that may require the administration of probiotics are usually all those that generate alterations or imbalances in its microflora:
All these situations and the consequent alterations of the microflora give rise to intestinal diseases, problems in the digestive tract, diarrhea, accumulation of gases, etc., which can improve or remit with the administration of probiotics.
Can puppies take probiotics?
Yes, there are studies(1) demonstrating the efficacy of probiotics with Enterococcus faecium (SF68) in strengthening the puppy’s immune system.
In addition, puppies can go through situations that affect their microbiota, such as moving to a new residence, adaptation to feed, etc.
In any case, the best thing to do is to go to your veterinarian and ask him to recommend the best probiotics for your puppy.
Can dogs take human probiotics?
The answer cannot be generalized. It depends on the particular probiotic we are talking about.
For example, if we are talking about probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bacillus coagulans or Bacillus subtilis, these are very common microorganisms among probiotic supplements designed for humans, but which also have studies of their benefits in dogs. In this case, we could administer these probiotics to both humans and dogs.
But we can also find other types of Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria that are common in the human microbiota, but are not common in the microbiota of the dog, or there are simply no studies carried out in the dog with these probiotics. In these cases, obviously, we should not administer these probiotic supplements to our pet.
But we can even find the opposite case. For example, the probiotic strain Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415, which is by far the most common among probiotic supplements for dogs and with a large number of studies performed on them, does not appear in any probiotic supplement designed for humans. At least, I have never seen them.
In summary, the ideal is to administer to our pet probiotic supplements specially designed for dogs, since they are those that have demonstrated benefits in the canine organism. Anyway, the fact of administering an inadequate probiotic should not cause more discomfort than some intestinal alterations that should disappear in a few days, but I insist, we should avoid administering these probiotic supplements if they are not strains especially suitable for them.
Can we give yogurt to our dog?
Yogurt is food derived from milk that contains two bacterial species, specifically Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. What these bacteria do is to ferment the lactose in milk, producing a series of very beneficial components for the dog’s health, in addition to the components that milk itself contains.
However, the administration of yogurt should be done with caution to avoid the effects of lactose intolerance, although in theory, this intolerance should be small, since the lactose is “consumed” by the bacteria during fermentation.
Apart from yogurt, there are other fermented foods that do not contain milk. This is the case of kefir, which is prepared with water and kefir grains that provide a large number of microorganisms. In this case, as kefir is a dairy-free product, the risk of possible lactose intolerance is eliminated.
What is the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics?
Although by name they only differ by one letter, the reality is that conceptually they are very different. A probiotic is one or a group of microorganisms or bacteria, while a prebiotic is a component, generally fibers and carbohydrates, that the dog’s organism cannot digest, but its microflora can.
In a way, we could say that prebiotics “are the food” of probiotics.
What are the best probiotics for dogs?
Obviously, these probiotics for dogs are made from microorganisms identified as indigenous to their gut and which have generally been extracted and identified from dog stool samples.
Numerous bacterial species have been identified as living naturally in the dog’s gut. Most of them are species of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, although other beneficial bacteria for dogs have also been identified, such as Bacillus subtilis or Bacillus coagulans.
But one of the most commonly used probiotics in dogs are those containing the species Enterococcus faecium DSN 10663 / NCIMB10415 as this is the species with which most studies have been carried out in dogs and which is present as a single component or sometimes together 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 further veterinary attention (2).
The Top 13 Best Probiotics for dogs
These are some of the best probiotics for dogs
Fortiflora for dogs
5 x 108 CFU per dose
Probiotic with a minimum of 5 x 108 CFU per gram of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium SF68. This SF68 strain is the same as the aforementioned DSN 10663/ NCIMB 10415. It is a powder supplied in powder in sachets.
The differentiating feature of Fortiflora compared to other products is the presence in its formula of two vitamins, namely 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.
It is a product that promotes the dog’s immune system with a better immune response against pathogenic elements (1).
It also has the ability to shorten the duration of non-specific diarrhea in dogs, accelerating the recovery process (3) as well as diarrhea associated with stress that our pet may suffer (4).
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 ratings from dog owners.
It is, therefore, a very complete and excellent quality product for our pet. The administration of probiotics is always beneficial to regulate their gut health regardless of whether the animal feels sick or shows any symptoms.
Yumove for Dogs Lintbells
2 x 108 CFU per dose
Another of the probiotics for dogs with Enterococcus faecium DSN 10663/ NCIMB 10415 that we can find in the market is YuMove for Dogs 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 YuMove for Dogs the quality of the feces is improved, the flatulence of the dog is diminished, and its appetite is improved.
It is supplied in tablets that you can crush and mix with his food in a meal or distribute it throughout the day’s meals. If you prefer, you can give him the tablet from our own hand.
Each tablet contains 2 x 108 CFU of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium DSM 10663/ NCIMB 10415 4b1707
Probiocin for Dogs – Oral Pet Gel
1 x 107 CFU per dose
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, in addition to Enterococcus faecium, has three other probiotics:
Lactobacillus acidophilus, which has beneficial properties to promote intestinal health and improve the dog’s immune system (6).
Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, which regulate and stabilize the dog’s intestinal microbiota and also help to strengthen its immune system (7)
19 x 109 CFU per dose
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 is supplied in powder form and each 3.2 g dose contains 19 billion of a total of 7 different probiotics.
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 supplied in powder form that can be mixed with the feed or dissolved in liquid and fed directly to the dog.
It is therefore a very complete probiotic for dogs because of its content in probiotics, enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
Vital Planet Flora Dog Probiotic
20 x 109 CFU per dose
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 contains a total of 20 billion viable cells per dose (one 3.7 g scoop), which also makes it one of the probiotics for dogs with the highest concentration of viable microorganisms.
Supplied in powder form that can be mixed with the dog’s feed.
Glandex Anal Gland
1.9 x 109 CFU per dose
This product contains a probiotic but is actually designed to promote and maintain clean and healthy anal glands (or anal sacs) of our pets. The obstruction of these glands is a common problem, not only in dogs, but also in cats and can significantly affect their well-being.
The product contains a probiotic species, 1.9 billion cfu of Lactobacillus acidophilus that helps, like all probiotics, to have a better intestinal health in the dog.
It also has other components such as Bromelain, a protease type enzyme that aids digestion, fibers in the form of Pectin and Pumpkin seeds, which helps to have firmer stools and, naturally, helps to empty and maintain healthy anal glands of the dog.
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 on intestinal problems.
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.
Naturvet – Digestive Enzymes
1 x 1010 CFU per dose
Product with a single probiotic species: 1.0 x1010 cfu of Bacillus coagulans, a probiotic widely used also 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
1.1 x 109 CFU per dose
Another supplement from NaturVet with a similar composition but with an additional probiotic: Bacillus subtilis.
That is, it is a probiotic supplement with 2 probiotic strains belonging to the same genus. One of them is Bacillus coagulans and the other is Bacillus subtilis, a probiotic that when added to the dog’s food, together with its feed, improves intestinal health and the characteristics of the feces, being drier and with less ammonia, as demonstrated in this study with 12 dogs (9).
It is supplied in the form of chewable tablets containing 1.1 billion cfu of the probiotic strains Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans.
NutriVet Defense for dogs
1 x 109 CFU per dose
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
1 x 109 CFU per dose
Symbiotic with prebiotic (Inulin) and 1 billion of 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
1 x 109 CFU per dose
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, per gram, a total of 1 billion viable cells of live 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.
Nutrition Strength Probiotics for Dogs
5 x 109 CFU per dose
Very complete probiotic supplement with 10 strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus but also has bacillus coagulans, a microorganism with the ability to form spores which makes it more resistant to pass through the gastrointestinal tract.
It is supplied in the form of chewable tablets with an amount of 5 billion cfu of probiotics per tablet.
In addition, this probiotic supplement has several enzymes that aid digestion such as amylases, proteases or lipases, as well as bromelain and papain.
In addition to probiotics, it has prebiotics, specifically inulin and fructooligosaccharides that promote the growth of the dog’s native microbiota.
VSL 3 for Dogs
112 x 109 CFU per dose
This is not the original VSL#3 whose formula was created by Dr. De Simone (that one is currently marketed as Vivsbiome).
The product we are analyzing here has a formula very similar to Dr. SImone’s original, but it is not exactly the same.
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
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus helveticus
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Streptococcus thermophilus
This VSL#3 is also characterized by very high concentrations of probiotics: 112 billion bacteria (1.12 x 1011) per capsule.
It is perhaps the probiotic with the highest concentration of bacteria in the market and several studies have demonstrated its efficacy also in dogs.
Degree in Pharmacy – Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Specialist in Chemical Analysis – Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Master in Pharmaceutical Industry – CESIF Madrid.
Diploma in Ophthalmic Optics – Universidad de Barcelona
Diploma in Optics and Optometry – Universidad de Granada
Other Types of Probiotics