Our furry friends’ immune system mostly resides in their gut, containing almost 70% immune cells. This means that keeping them healthy and active their whole life means you need to keep their digestive system clean and optimal.
One way to keep the digestive tract healthy is by providing your pup with probiotics. There have been extensive studies on the benefits of probiotics in humans, however, veterinary research is just starting to really dive into how supplementing your pup with a variety of good bacteria can aid in keeping them healthy.
Probiotics not only keep your dog’s tummy happy, but they also provide your dog with relief from different allergies through the naturally “good” bacteria they need for improving overall health!
There are plenty of different types of probiotics you can give your pup. We look at how they will help your dog’s health and find the best probiotics for dogs with allergies.
What are Probiotics?
Not all bacteria are destructive for our health, and probiotics are living proof. These microorganisms provide numerous health benefits when ingested as foods or supplements. Probiotics should not be confused with prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that help the existing bacteria in the gut.
These yeasts and bacteria provide an array of support for your furry fellow by treating diseases related to the gastrointestinal system, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, providing health advantages in the intestines, and helping to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Mood behaviors, liver diseases, chronic abnormalities, and other conditions can also improve with probiotics. More aligned with our topic are probiotics’ abilities to make your dog’s skin and coat look and feel better, and to help with allergy symptoms.
What are the Best Types of Probiotics for Dogs?
Probiotics for dogs can come in the form of whole foods such as:
However, you must consider your dog’s tolerance for these dairy and non-dairy natural sources of probiotics. To avoid any possible side effects, probiotic supplements are also a good option. They can come as the following:
Each probiotic source contains at least one type of bacteria or yeast that has a distinct function. However, it should be noted that there is no probiotic supplement that is the most suitable for every dog and their condition.
Here are important types of bacteria to look for in dog probiotics:
- Enterococcus Faecium
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Casei
- Lactobacillus Plantarum
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Bifidobacterium Animalis
Watch this video about what you should look for in a pet probiotic supplement!
Dog Probiotics and Allergies
One benefit of probiotics is their ability to reduce the symptoms of allergies.
Humans and dogs both need sufficient amounts of “good” bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts to properly digest and release food nutrients into the body. Otherwise, allergy symptoms will start to increase due to a weakened immune system.
Illness, dietary changes, stress, medications, and systemic disorders can upset the balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria in the intestines, creating a wide variety of chronic health problems for dogs – including allergies.
Probiotics can help in the digestion of vitamins and minerals from food, killing the harmful bacteria and stopping them from colonizing the gastrointestinal tract.
Unlike antihistamines and cortisone injections for allergic reactions, probiotics usually do not have side effects since they are only composed of naturally occurring bacteria which aim to gently restore your dog’s health and stop the symptoms.
- Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl offer only minimal relief and usually result in making the dog lethargic and slightly dehydrated.
- Injections of cortisone, a powerful hormone, can exert anti-inflammatory effects throughout the dog’s body. However, cortisone produces distressing side effects, such as fatigue, vomiting, panting excessively, bloody stools, and personality changes that dog owners find upsetting.
- Some drugs can help but require the dog to take multiple shots before working effectively.
What Do Studies Say About Probiotics for Your Dog’s Allergies?
Some of the latest studies conducted have proven the effectiveness of probiotics in alleviating allergies in dogs.
A 2015 study showed that the probiotic Lactobacillus Sakei, when given for two months, significantly reduced the severity of atopic dermatitis in canines.
The key takeaway from these studies is that, while probiotics don’t directly target the allergies of your dog, they promote good gut and immune health.
By increasing the population of good bacteria in the body they can drastically reduce and prevent allergy symptoms like:
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Sneezing or wheezing
- Extremely wet nose or clear discharge from the nose
- Lack of appetite
- Sleeping more than usual
- Drinking more water than normal
- Itchy skin
- Hair loss
- Ear infection
- Difficulty breathing
Side Effects of Probiotics for Dogs
Any substance which can produce changes to a living organism will have side effects of varying degrees. So despite the many advantages, probiotics may have some side effects, from mild to severe, on dogs.
The good news is that experts only estimate that one in a million dogs and people could have an allergic reaction to probiotics. Some signs of an allergic reaction to probiotics include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the tongue and lips
- Unsteady gait
Probiotics’ advantages surely outweigh the possible risks, so be sure to purchase probiotics that are manufactured by trusted companies that truly care about your dog’s health.
What Is the Best Probiotic for Dogs with Allergies?
Many probiotic foods and supplements are available for your dog’s health. However, probiotics are sensitive to heat and other aspects, so too much processing can remove the benefits they provide for your dog.
Here are some of the best probiotics we recommend for your dog!
There is no doubt that the best way to give your dogs some medicine is to make them taste good. That is why we are thankful for probiotics that come in the form of treats.
VetriScience Laboratories Probiotic Everyday for Dogs can provide your pooch with their daily probiotic needs which are already treated with antibiotics. These 30 bite-sized chews are so easy to give do your dog as they have that yummy duck flavor.
Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites are loaded with 3 billion CFU prebiotics and probiotics per chew. It is also filled with Ganden BC30, a powerful spore Bacillus Coagulans probiotic which helps withstand stomach acid.
This wonderful treat helps promote healthy digestion, flora and gut bacteria. Best of all, it’s perfect for dogs of all sizes and age!
Probiotic Powders and Formulas
Treats are not the only probiotic-filled supplement you can give your dogs. There are also powders and formulas you can provide for them. The NUSENTIA Miracle Dog Probiotics is filled with complete probiotics to help restore your pup’s natural bacteria. This supplement helps restore balance and maintain your dog’s good health.
Additionally, you can choose the Dr. Dobias GutSens Probiotics for dogs. This one is specially formulated to keep your pup healthy. Everything is made in the United States using a patented organic manufacturing process, the formula is non-dairy and hypo-allergenic too. The best thing is that it also contains prebiotics to help probiotic bacteria flourish and thrive.
Here’s a unique probiotic product designed for your dog’s itchy skin: Mcgrupps Probiotic Spray! Just spritz it on their skin, paw, or coat and gently rub with a cotton ball for that soothing effect.
It works by supplementing your fur buddy’s immune system, with the Bacillus crowding out other microorganisms (an antibiotic effect) and cleaning up harmful chemicals.
Probiotics for Your Pooch’s Allergies: Yay or Nay?
Allergies in our darling dogs are not always as easy to deal with as we want. Different levels of reactions are possible, so it is a good thing that probiotics are a worthy tool for fighting these conditions.
However, the present studies are not yet conclusive despite the promising results. This does not mean you should rely solely on probiotic supplements for treating allergies, as these products can only diminish the symptoms and prevent future attacks.
Probiotics in your dog’s daily diet is surely a yay, but as always, talk to your veterinarian before deciding to give your dog any new supplement or treatment intended to help resolve health problems.