If you’ve suffered from poor digestion, stomach aches or other gastrointestinal problems, you’ll understand how frustrating and painful they can be. The last thing you’d want is for your pet to suffer through those same issues. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to managing and promoting your dog’s gut health. One of those most popular ways is through probiotics.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that reside within your dog’s body to fight against disease, strengthen the immune system and optimise their overall wellbeing. If your dog has shown signs of elevated stress, loose stools, malnutrition, changes to their skin or ears, infection, allergies, and/or a pungent odour from either their coat or breath, it may be time to consider probiotics. (1) (2) (3)
Notable benefits may include:
- Producing proper vitamins and nutrients
- Aiding digestion
- Managing inflammation and irritable bowel
- Preventing infections
- Minimizing anxiety symptoms
- Boosting mood
- Managing food allergies. (1)
It’s important to note that while you may be tempted to give your pet some of your own probiotics, it’s recommended that you provide them with supplements specific to their species, otherwise they may not receive the full benefits of the supplements. (1) (3)
Before going out and buying the first probiotics you see, it’s vital to understand the different types available, safety precautions and potential side effects, as well as how long you’re expected to wait before seeing results.
What are the different probiotic types?
Similar to human supplements, you can purchase probiotics for dogs in different forms depending on your personal preference. You can either swallow a pill whole or enjoy having something to chew on. Dog probiotics offer the same options, however, there are some that are more recommended than others.
Many speak against offering dogs a capsule, as they’re more likely to have trouble swallowing or give you a hard time when attempting to get it down. However, this option is available if you or your pet prefers it. Otherwise, you may be better off trying a powder form or chewable. Powder-form probiotics give you the advantage of disguising it within their foods, while chewable forms may naturally lure your dog in due to their flavouring. (2) (4)
The different types of probiotics include:
Dairy-based (lactic acid) probiotics
- Lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium animalis
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Enterococcus faecium
- Pediococcus acidilactici
Healthy yeast probiotics
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
Soil-based (spore forming) probiotics
- Bacillus coagulans
- Bacillus indicus
- Bacillus subtilis
- Specific yoghurts
- Fermented foods
- Raw goat milk
(2) (5) (6)
To make an informed choice about what’s right for your dog, make sure you conduct further research into the types listed above. Each will offer slightly different results and some are better suited to certain conditions.
How long does it take for the probiotics to work?
It’s important for you to consult with your veterinarian to ensure you administer the correct dosage to your dog. Once this has been established their gut health should be on the road to improvement. It’s suggested the once the probiotics enter their systems, the effects will start to take place immediately. It’s dependant on the dog and the supplements, however, as to when the probiotics become fully digested and implemented. (7)
Some dogs may take a few hours to digest it properly, while others may take a few days. Therefore, the expected waiting times before you witness noticeable changes in your dog’s behaviour and health may differ.
- If your dog suffers from diarrhoea, it’s suggested that the severity of the condition will ease quickly. The American Kennel Club highlighted a 2009 Irish study of probiotics that revealed a duration reduction of diarrhoea in dogs, from seven days to four.
- Constipation and irritable bowel may also decrease in severity within a few days.
- If you don’t see improvement in your pet’s gastrointestinal issues within a few days, it’s recommended to seek medical advice.
- If your dog suffers from a chronic or severe health condition, positive effects may take longer to present themselves.
- Full immune benefits can sometimes take up to a month.
(2) (4) (7) (8)
Are there any side effects?
It’s thought that, with the correct dosage and monitoring, your dog shouldn’t fall victim to any severe side effects. However, there are possible health risks, depending on your dog’s pre-existing conditions and if they’re given an incorrect dosage—especially an excessive amount.
Side effects may include:
- Digestive discomfort
- Bloating and gas
- (1) (2)
Probiotics can potentially aid in your dog’s gut health and overall immunity. They may also work as calming agents if your pup suffers from anxiety and distress (if so, you might also consider dog calming tablets). Depending on the canine, it can take between a few days to a month for the probiotics to do their job.
- ‘Probiotics for Dogs: Do They Work?’, Source: https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/probiotics-dogs-what-you-need-know
- ‘PROBIOTICS FOR DOGS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE’, Source: https://dope.dog/blogs/dogs/probiotics-for-dogs-the-ultimate-guide
- ‘Probiotics For Dogs 120 Chicken Flavour Tablets’, Source: https://www.supplementswise.com/shop/pet-care/probiotics-support-dogs-120-tablets/
- ‘Probiotics for Dogs’, Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/probiotics-for-dogs/
- ‘Foods With Probiotics for Dogs’, Source: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/foods-with-probiotics-for-dogs#1
- ‘Probiotics For Dogs: Which Ones Work Best?’, Source: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/6-best-probiotics-for-dogs/
- ‘How long does it take for probiotics to work in dogs?’, Source: https://wamiz.co.uk/dog/advice/22483/how-long-does-it-take-for-probiotics-to-work-in-dogs
- ‘How Long Does it Take for Probiotics to Work in Dogs?’, Source: https://pethealthreport.com/how-long-does-it-take-for-probiotics-to-work-in-dogs/