The 3 Best Probiotics For Dogs
Although, probiotic supplements are not a cure-all, using the best probiotics for dogs can help improve their gut health when off balance. Just like humans, without the proper balance of good bacteria in their stomachs, your pet can experience things like diarrhea, dehydration, skin allergies, and even oral diseases. Luckily, probiotic supplements can help ease gastrointestinal (GI) problems and even help boost your dog’s immune system.
To learn more about how to best use probiotics for your dog, Bustle reached out to JoAnn Morrison, DVM, MS, DACVIM, a veterinarian with Banfield Pet Hospital. "Probiotics primarily help with achieving or maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract," Dr. Morrison explained in an email. "Potential benefits outside of the GI tract may include reduced inflammation and improved behavior or cognition." Some can even help with anxiety, according to Dr. Morrison.
However, Dr. Morrison recommends that they primarily be used as a supportive therapy rather than the primary one since they do not directly protect against common parasites or viruses. “If your dog is otherwise healthy and is fed a complete, nutritionally balanced diet appropriate for their life stage, there should not be a medical need for additional probiotic usage. However, there are certain medical and physical conditions in pets that may cause your veterinarian to recommend pre/probiotics as part of treatment,” she explains.
How to find the best probiotics
When you’re shopping for a probiotic for your dog, it can be beneficial to look for one with many strains of bacteria and a large number of them. The number of active units is called CFUs or colony forming units. “The higher number of strains of bacteria and the higher the number of CFUs, the more effective they can be,” says Dr. Morrison.
Dr. Morrison points out that the probiotic supplement market is not well-regulated, so it's especially important to do your research when it comes to which probiotic to choose. To find a quality product, it helps to talk to your vet and look for supplements with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal. "For probiotics to be effective, they must survive the acts of chewing and swallowing and the very acidic environment of the stomach to reach the small intestine. If probiotics are not of sufficient quality, they may deteriorate before reaching the small intestine and might not have a beneficial effect,” she explains. Once you've decided on your dog probiotic, it's a good idea to discuss dosing size with your vet too.
To help you select the right supplement for your pet, here’s my roundup of the best probiotics for dogs on Amazon. These picks are all top-rated and from NASC-approved companies to ensure your dog’s digestive system is on track.
1. The Overall Best Probiotic For Dogs
Purina Pro Plan FortiFlora Dog Probiotic Supplement is a vet-approved top pick among pet owners with more than 3,700 five-star reviews on Amazon. It's also frequently recommended by vets. This supplement contains probiotics to promote balance in the digestive tract to help with diarrhea, gas, and other GI issues. It includes a 30-count supply of individual powdered packets that you sprinkle onto your dog’s food which makes it convenient and easy to administer with no measuring required. However, while it has vitamins added and a guaranteed number of live microorganisms, it doesn't have as many strains as some other brands. It has a guaranteed 100 million live CFUs per pack, and the brand is also a NASC member.
What fans say: “My vet recommended this product when I brought my dog to their office for frequent vomit and diarrhea. I have been giving this to him every day since and I think it is really working. His system seems to be more tolerant with different kinds of bones, treats, and food."
2. The Best Probiotics For Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
For pets with sensitive stomachs, NaturVet's Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes is a good choice. This supplement was specially formulated to ensure the blend is properly digested to help bring intestinal balance. “My toy poodle has a sensitive stomach, and these really keep her gut healthy! She used to vomit or get constipated (sorry TMI lol) with everything she ate, but these really have been a lifesaver!” raved one Amazon reviewer.
It’s also NASC-approved and comes in the form as a tasty soft chew that you can administer to your dog just like a treat. Theses chews are wheat-free and deliver more than 1 billion CFUs per serving. However, they’re not recommended for puppies under the age of six weeks old.
What fans say: “I definitely recommend these. I rescued my dog at 10 weeks old she was in very poor healthy, it took several trips to the vet and a lot of medications to get her back to health. She's always had a very sensitive stomach, very picky with food. I bought these a few weeks ago and I've noticed a huge change, she no longer eats tons of grass, no more vomiting, no more stool issues.”
3. The Best Budget Probiotic For Dogs
The Nutri-Vet Pre And Probiotic Soft Chew is a budget-friendly option for dog owners that's still highly potent. With this two-pack offering 240 chews total, each container of these liver and cheese flavored soft chews is less than $15 and delivers about 1 billion CFUs of microorganisms per dose to help balance your pup’s digestive tract and boost the immune system. The formula is designed to stimulate the growth of good bacteria and includes multiple strains. It's a quality product from a NASC-backed brand with a 4.3-star rating that's still a great deal.
What fans say: “My pup has a sensitive stomach and has had to be brought to the vet three times in one month. Vet asked to put my baby on Forti-Flora but it’s about 28-30 bucks for 30 packs. I tried to find a counter solution for cheaper and still help my pup in the process. This was the perfect find! It’s cheap and helps my baby’s digestive system just as much!"
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