Your dog is a valued member of your family. Your beloved pooch’s health and well-being needs as much attention as other family members. To achieve that, your dog’s largest immune organ, one that contains the highest percentage of immune cells, must be healthy.
That organ is your dog’s gut. Just like in us humans poor digestive health in dogs can lead to a number of health issues. While a healthy gut will result in
You must be wondering what you can do keep your beloved pooch’s digestive health at its best? You will be surprised to know that the solution is a simple one, something that you probably are already familiar with. The simplest and most effective method to maintain your pup’s gut health is to include probiotics in his daily diet.
Now all you have to do is to choose the right one to give to your favorite four-legged companion. With all the choices available and the variations in types and prices, you are bound to be confused? Can you give your dog your human probiotics? Are human probiotics safe for dogs? After all, it’s all gut bacteria, right?
In this article, we will answer the question – Can I give my dog human probiotics? We will also help you with a list of our recommended probiotic supplements as well as suggestions for natural probiotic food sources for dogs.
Why Your Dog Needs Probiotics
Probiotics, loosely translated to mean “for life”, are beneficial live bacteria that once ingested will reside in the digestive tract and assist in its smooth functioning. They also help to prevent the growth of any unwanted pathogens in the stomach and intestine.
Probiotics can be added to a regular diet to prevent gut issues from arising. It can play a preventive role in the development of gastrointestinal issues, liver abnormalities, obesity, and cholesterol development, as well as behavioral concerns.
At times, stomach bacteria will become depleted in their numbers, resulting in health issues like diarrhea, gut inflammation, dietary problems, urinary tract infections, and decreased immunity. This could occur as a result of an ailment, antibiotic treatment, or even an unbalanced diet.
In such instances, probiotics can be used for the treatment of conditions arising from digestive stress. By adding probiotic foods and supplements into the diet of your pooch you can ensure that their digestive health remains unaffected, thereby preventing these potential health issues.
If you are concerned for your pooch’s digestive health and want to determine if he needs probiotic support, look for the following signs:
- Flatulence or gastric bloating
- Loss of shine and good texture in the coat
- Allergy symptoms like dry flaky skin with excessive itching
- Excessive shedding
- Bad breath and body odor, along with smelly stool
- Ear infection
- Yeast-associated disorders
If your dog shows one or a combination of these indications, it is best to contact your veterinarian to discuss a comprehensive probiotic plan.
Can I Give My Dog Human Probiotics?
While there are many probiotic options in the market to choose from identifying the right one for your pooch can be challenging. You may be wondering whether giving your human probiotics to your dog is okay, or should you buy dog specific probiotics instead?
So, what is the right answer? While giving your pooch human probiotics might not cause any harm to him, his gut flora and immune system are different from humans. His needs for the right combination of good bacteria to help aid his digestive health are different from ours.
While there are certain strains of bacteria that are common among humans and dogs, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, there are others will have limited positive influence on a dog’s health and immunity. For your pup to benefit from probiotics, it is essential that they contain bacteria that specifically support his digestive tract.
Also, the pH level of a dog’s digestive system is lower than that of humans. This essentially means that dogs produce higher levels of acid in their stomach to breakdown foods that cannot be processed by enzymes alone. They also have different digestive enzymes than us. This variation in pH level and digestive enzymes can negatively influence the effectiveness of a human-grade probiotic in your dog.
Another major difference found in your human versus canine probiotics is the concentration of probiotic bacteria in each dose. This variation arises due to the weight difference in the two species. While a higher concentration of cells found in human probiotics might not adversely affect your pooch, its effect on his digestive health is likely to be different.
For these reasons, it is best to not to rely on human probiotics for maintaining your beloved pooch’s health and wellness and to choose a probiotic made especially for dogs.
How to Choose the Right Probiotic for Your Dog
Each type of probiotic helps dogs in a certain way, and there is no one probiotic that is right for every dog and every health issue. But there are certain probiotic strains that have been found to be better for your dog’s gut health.
Some scientifically proven probiotics beneficial for canines include:
- Enterococcus faecium
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium animalis
- Bacillus coagulans
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus plantarum
Natural Dog Probiotics
There are a number of natural foods that provide the necessary probiotics to help maintain your dog’s gut health. It will definitely save you the trouble of finding ways to administer a pill to your pooch. They are also often more cost-effective than supplements.
Here are a few suggestions of natural probiotic options for you to try out in your dog’s diet:
- Raw Goat’s Milk – Containing plentiful naturally-occurring probiotics, raw goat’s milk can add a whole plethora of valuable bacteria to your dog’s digestive tract.
- Kefir – Topping your dog’s regular food, or given separately as a treat, kefir made from raw goat’s milk is another probiotic packed natural food for your dog.
- Yogurt – Plain, unsweetened yogurt made from low lactose milk is rich in lactobacillus, which will be great for your dog’s gut as well as his coat.
- Cottage cheese – Containing a variety of probiotics, cottage cheese made from goat’s milk will do wonders for your dog’s digestive health.
- Fermented vegetables and kimchi – These foods are extremely nutritious, already predigested, and help improve the beneficial bacteria and enzymes in your dog’s gut.
Of course, if your pup is refusing to eat the natural foods you added to his diet, supplements may be the only way to feed him the probiotics he needs. Natural probiotics also add only limited beneficial bacteria to your dog’s gut.
So, even though natural probiotics are beneficial for your pets, there are conditions when supplements make for a better choice. Supplements can also enhance the effects of natural probiotics.
Probiotic Supplements for Dogs
There are a number of companies today that manufacture probiotics specifically formulated for canines. With the variety available, it can be hard to decide how to pick the right one, the one that provides the maximum benefits to your dog.
While choosing the right probiotic supplement for your beloved companion, here are a few factors that you should bear in mind:
- The probiotic should contain a high number of living bacteria. Having live bacteria values more than 20 million ensures enough of the bacteria will survive the high concentration of stomach acids to be of benefit to your pooch.
- There should be 10 or more strains of beneficial bacteria in the probiotic to provide maximum protection to your pooch.
- The product should be organic and natural, without any harmful additives.
- The supplement should be produced using Good Manufacturing Practices and meet FDA requirements.
- Your choice of probiotic should be approved by your veterinarian.
Here are a few recommendations for dog probiotic supplements that we think make the grade. These probiotics are safe and effective and will help keep your pooch healthy, making sure you do not have any unwanted visits to the veterinarian.
Purina Pro Plan FortiFlora Dog Probiotic Supplement is a highly recommended probiotic, trusted by many veterinarians. It has been proven to improve intestinal health, taking care of that ghastly flatulence in your dog. The antioxidants added to the mixture will also boost your dog’s immunity.
NUSENTIA Probiotic Miracle Dog Probiotics is especially known for its digestive properties for dogs. The formulation will help protect against gastric problems like diarrhea and constipation, improve digestive health, provide immune support, and enhance the vibrancy of your dog’s skin and coat. It has been tested and deemed safe for use for both cats and dogs, making it a great option for multi-pet homes.
PetVitalityPRO Probiotic Premium Plus is an all-natural formulation with a multitude of benefits for your dog. Its prebiotic components aid the growth of healthy gut bacteria, while papaya extract helps aid the digestive enzymes in protein breakdown. It also prevents gastrointestinal issues caused by pathogens along with being a great source of a large variety of antioxidants.
In the end, we do not advise giving your dog human probiotics, and we suggest you consult a veterinarian to help in picking the best canine-friendly probiotic.