Did you know that probiotics exhibit the same positive health effects for our dogs as they do for us humans? They’re not just prescribed for illnesses either, but for overall pet health and wellness. Read on to find out the inner workings of it all.
Ideally, dogs should be getting all the nutrition they need from the food they eat. 
But unfortunately, that’s not always the case (same as with us humans). As dogs age or develop medical conditions,  there could be issues (especially in the digestive tract)  that limit their nutrient intake or ability to process their food.
Before you introduce anything new into your dogs diet/life, it’s always best to know exactly what that “new thing” is, and how it will effect them overall.
How do probiotics work?
As is the case with most things in life, it’s all about balance; more specifically, we’re talking about your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. You see, the medical world classifies bacteria into two types, the “good bacteria” and the “bad bacteria.”
When there’s an imbalance, illness manifests itself in many ways, such as:
- suppressed immunity
- and/or an upset stomach.
But by speaking with your vet and supplementing your canine’s diet with probiotics, you’re essentially helping their immune system fight the good fight! You’re boosting the amount of “good bacteria” soldiers your dog desperately needs to take on the “bad bacteria” villains trying to conquer all the valuable nutrients and intestinal binding sites! To restore the healthy balance.
Benefits of probiotics for dogs
Probiotics for dogs  are meant to combat the above issues by providing millions of beneficial gut bacteria to aid the digestion of your pet. It’s not a one-stop shop for success, though. Don’t neglect your dogs health and solely rely on probiotics!
Now, that being said, there are a vast variety of functions that the bacteria contained in a probiotic are expected to carry out, some of them being:
- reducing the incidence and continuation of gastrointestinal disorders 
- reducing the abundance of damaging metabolites in the colon
- alleviating constipation and irritable bowel syndrome
- promoting mineral metabolism to achieve and maintain healthy bone mass
- lessening allergy symptoms
- fortifying the immune system
- improving skin health
- expediting the removal of toxins by enhancing the digestive process.
As mentioned, they’re not just reactionary, vets will sometimes use probiotics as a preventive measure. The more information you share with your vet the better their assessment will be.
Related: Read up on the surprising benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
Best dog probiotics reviewed
Just ahead, we’ll walk you through five of our favorite canine probiotic supplements across five different categories so that you have a few starting points the need to buy arises.
Best Overall Probiotic for Dogs | Pet Ultimates Probiotics for Dogs
Our first entry is the ideal product for someone who wants all the benefits of a probiotic for their pet with none of the hassle, or the fuss.
This tub contains 22 different species of bacteria for complete overall health, all in one easy-to-use powder. All it takes is one scoop into your dog’s water or food to start seeing the intended effects, or they’ll give you your money back. How’s that for confidence?
- Extremely concentrated
- Easy to dose your dog
- Has a strong taste, picky dogs won’t eat their food to avoid it
Customers are incredibly impressed with the effect that this probiotic has had for their pets and rated it with 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Dogs experiencing everything from diarrhea to ear infections experienced reported improvements in their conditions at a fraction of the price of formulas prescribed by veterinarians.
One great upside is that most dogs don’t mind the taste, either, so giving it daily requires just a few seconds of your time, rather than trying to coax your dog to take a pill. There are reports that the product doesn’t work for every pet, though, so don’t think of it as a magic bullet for their health.
Best Grain-Free Probiotic for Dogs | Deley Naturals Advanced Probiotic Supplement
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, then you know how difficult it can be to find food and treats that don’t cause them any distress. Probiotics, while helpful, sometimes can contain ingredients that make sensitivity symptoms worse.
That’s why Deley Naturals formulated a grain-free alternative that specifically targets the immune system and digestive health of your dog. They even come in convenient chicken-flavored chews that most dogs seem to adore.
- Ingredients sourced from the USA
- Requires two chews per serving, making each bottle only last two months
Many owners of sensitive dogs are thrilled to have found one of the seemingly few probiotics on the market that actually helps their dog more than it allegedly worsens symptoms, and this product scored a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Diagnosed medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome have reportedly become much more manageable in some dogs after giving them these supplements, which is a massive relief for owners of older pets who fear the worst. As a bonus, many even claim that their dog’s breath is quite a bit fresher, too.
Related: Read why grain-free dog food might not be the best choice for your pup after all!
Best Supplement Probiotic for Dogs | Purina Fortiflora Canine Nutritional Supplement Box
One of the leading brands of dog products globally, Purina brings their expertise to the probiotic world with their FortiFlora solution. This formula comes in pouches of powder to be sprinkled over your dog’s food, which, while convenient, makes it hard to dose if you want to give a smaller amount of the product.
Thankfully, a full pouch will do well for most breeds, and the included vitamins will help keep your dog looking his or her best.
- Includes anti-oxidants
- Convenient serving sizes
- Extremely popular, so it’s often faked
Most customers are quite pleased with the results of their purchase and rated the product with 4.6 out of 5 stars. Many of them state that their dogs love the taste and are eager to gobble it down, which is great for owners of picky eaters.
In particular, Purina’s formula is meant to be helpful at helping your dogs process their food, which owners report creates much quicker, firmer stools in some of their pets.
That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though. It has been getting more and more expensive recently, and since the brand is so popular customers can occasionally be sent counterfeit boxes from China. As always, make sure you’re getting exactly what you order before giving it to your dog.
Best Chewable Probiotic for Dogs | PetVitalityPRO Probiotics Premium Plus for Dogs
If Purina is no longer sitting comfortably in your budget, then consider this cheaper, but no less effective, alternative from PetVitalityPro. The fact that they’re chewable make them ideal to give as healthy treats after a meal since they contain great ingredients like papaya which acts as a natural source of vitamins.
Their formulas are lab-tested as well, so if you’re a skeptical first-time buyer, you at least know that you’re getting something that’s perfectly safe for consumption.
- Natural digestive enzymes
- Easier on the stomach than some other probiotics
- Can begin to melt in excessive heat, refrigeration is advised
This isn’t the first probiotic for many customers, but for many of them, this one is by far the best, and it’s scored a 4.4 out of 5-star rating. They appreciate that it’s affordable and tastes great, while in some cases being more effective than competing products.
Many owners report that this is the brand that has managed to almost eliminate excessive gassiness in their pet, which is, quite literally, a huge breath of fresh air when they’re around the house with their dog. However, because it contains alfalfa, some dogs that are allergic to pollen experience some reactions after eating these.
Capsules Form | VetriScience Laboratories Vetri Mega Probiotic
We saved the most concentrated, powerful formula for last. For your money, you get 5 billion CFUs per capsule  that act quickly to try and promote greater intestinal health. While this isn’t a whole-body formula like the Pet Ultimates we looked at earlier; if you’re specifically trying to improve bowel and intestinal health, then this is probably the ideal product for you.
Unfortunately, dosing might be more difficult since many dogs don’t like capsules, but if you can get them to swallow these, then they’ll thank you in the long run.
- Extremely concentrated
- Difficult to get some dogs to swallow capsules
This product scored a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, and many customers are drawn to this probiotic after emergency vet trips and turn to it as a last resort. While it’s not a miracle solution for all pets, when it works many owners claim that their dogs require fewer trips to the bathroom which are then less stressful and painful.
Many have experienced fewer accidents around the house and are happy to say that their dogs are more confident and content on a day-to-day basis.
However, if your dog is already healthy, then it might be wise to avoid using these since a few owners have noted some side effects like diarrhea after trying these for the first time.
Final say on giving dogs probiotics
For many owners, the digestive health of their pet is a recurring problem. Some go too often, some don’t go enough, and some become so nervous from the negative experiences that they don’t go at all.
While switching to better foods might solve these problems, your local vet and probiotics are where you may end up turning if they don’t. The bacterial cultures attempt to promote proper gut health to improve the overall health of your pet.
Take a look at Dr. Becker’s video summary on dog probiotics:
If you think they might be worth trying, then take a look at the options we listed and give one of them a try. It might just be the change your dog’s body is looking for to fight off the bad bacteria!
Read this next: Best Organic Dog Food – Top 5 Reviewed
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