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The 8 Best Dog Foods with Probiotics

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Dog Food By Kelsey Snyder 18 min read September 23, 2021

dog food with probiotics

One of the latest human trends to go to the dogs (literally) is probiotics.

But these microorganisms aren’t just another fad; they have the potential to help improve your dog’s health in a number of ways. You can administer them on their own via supplements, or you can select a food containing them to make things easier — and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

We’ll identify some of the best dog foods with probiotics and help digest the facts (and fiction) surrounding probiotics below.

Best Dog Foods with Probiotics: Quick Picks

  • Nom Nom [Best Overall Dog Food with Probiotics]: Made with fresh ingredients, this brand is the bee’s knees for high-quality, gut-friendly food. This is a top-shelf pick for probiotic-rich dog nutrition. Plus, new users can get 50% off!
  • Wellness Complete Health [Best Overall Kibble with Probiotics]: Adding probiotics to your pup’s diet doesn’t get much easier than this easy-to-digest, crunchy formula. Also made with plenty of fiber, this kibble will keep your dog’s digestive tract working like a well-oiled machine.
  • Diamond Naturals [Most Affordable Dog Food with Probiotics]: Gut health doesn’t need to break the bank with this budget-friendly, probiotic-inclusive kibble. Featuring digestive-performance-improving ingredients like pumpkin, it gives your pup the gut-boost she needs for less.

What Are Probiotics?

probiotic for dogs

Just like your digestive tract, your dog’s belly is full of billions of good and bad bacteria. This natural harmony contributes to overall health in what’s referred to as your dog’s microbiome.

But sometimes, this delicate bacterial balance is thrown off by antibiotics, illness, or stress, leading to digestive upset, irregularity, and other unpleasant side effects that can impact your dog from nose to tail. 

This is where probiotics can help. 

Probiotics consist of naturally occurring gut bacteria and yeast to help right the balance of organisms living in your dog’s digestive system and restore proper digestive function. This improved digestive landscape also promotes overall health and wellness, potentially leading to better absorption, less gas, and more.

Probiotics are relatively common amongst us humans today, with many supplements and even yogurts dedicated to our gut. These probiotic supplements also exist for dogs, though it’s far more convenient not to have to add another supplement to your routine.

You might be surprised to discover your dog’s current food may already contain probiotics too, so check the bag to be sure.

In dog probiotics, the most commonly included bacteria include:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus

These added bacterias are noted within a food’s ingredient list, typically towards the end (they should technically be printed in italics, but this isn’t always the case on dog food labels).

This bacteria won’t make you or your dog sick, but they’re sensitive to heat, moisture, and air, so follow the food’s storage instructions.

One Bacterial Strain or Several? Which Approach Is Best?

Some probiotic-inclusive dog foods (and supplements) contain only a single bacterial strain, while others include a mixture of several different strains. This leaves many owners wondering which approach is best.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a broad consensus among vets or human doctors about which approach is best. But broadly speaking, the trend seems to be a “shotgun” approach, in which a variety of strains are included.

Ultimately, you’ll just have to discuss the issue with your vet and make the best choice you can on behalf of your dog.

For most owners, a multi-strain food will probably be the easiest choice. However, you might choose a single-probiotic food over a varied one if your dog’s showing an imbalance in a particular bacteria strain, which is detectable via a stool sample.

You might also opt for a single-source food if your vet recommends it, as certain bacteria can aid more with some issues than others.

The 8 Best Dog Foods with Probiotics

beneficial bacteria in dog food

Despite the relative newness of probiotics on the dog food scene, there are many options available on the market today, whether you have a fresh-food lover or a pup who prefers crunchy kibble. We’ve fetched the standouts, so you don’t have to.

1. Nom Nom 

Best Overall Dog Food with Probiotics

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

nom-nom without peas

Nom Nom

Always made with fresh ingredients, you can add probiotics to these foods for a complete canine dietary upgrade.

About: Nom Nom is a gamechanger in the fresh-food movement, bringing healthy recipes designed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists to your doggo’s bowl — now with the benefit of add-on probiotics. Offering 20 billion CFU live cultures with each scoop of probiotics, the GI support is hard to top as the only current fresh-food option offering it.

Features:

  • All recipes are prepped using low heat, no extrusion methods to protect nutrients
  • The full-spectrum probiotic blend has a whopping 7 bacteria types 
  • Food safety is paramount with Nom Nom’s small-batch quality control
  • Made in the USA using US-sourced ingredients
  • Customized for your specific canine’s age, size, breed and other traits

Bacterial strains included:

  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Pediococcus acidilactici
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Options: Available in turkey, pork, beef, and chicken formulas with the option of adding on GI-targeted probiotics for dogs with diarrhea issues or full-spectrum probiotics for dogs looking for a boost. 

Ingredients List

Ground turkey, Brown rice, Eggs, Carrots, Spinach...,

Dicalcium phosphate, Calcium carbonate, Salt, Potassium chloride, Fish oil, Natural flavor, Vinegar, Citric acid, Taurine, Choline bitartrate, Zinc gluconate, Ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, Copper gluconate, Niacin, Manganese gluconate, Vitamin A supplement, Thiamine mononitrate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Selenium yeast, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 supplement, Cholecalciferol, Potassium iodide

Protein Content (Turkey): 8.5%

Pros

  • This food packs a punch of probiotics in each scoop.
  • Nom Nom offers microbiome testing for fine-tuning your dog’s probiotic needs.
  • Nom Nom’s single-protein formulas are excellent for dogs with meat allergies.
  • Nom Nom’s taste easily beats out most kibble.

Cons

  • Nom Nom — like most fresh dog foods — is expensive, especially for large dog owners or multi-dog households
  • The probiotics are sold separately from the food itself.
  • These foods require refrigeration.

2. Wellness Complete Health 

Best Overall Kibble with Probiotics

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Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food with Grains, Chicken & Oatmeal, 30 Pound Bag

Wellness Complete Health 

A convenient way to serve your pup high-quality proteins and grains with a generous helping of probiotics.

About: Wellness Complete Health features an assortment of belly-boosting prebiotics and probiotics in an easy-to-serve kibble. With high-quality protein always the first ingredient, your pup gets the amino acids he needs along with fiber from carrots and blueberries for digestive health and regularity. 

Features:

  • Available in grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties
  • Made without corn, soy, wheat, or meat by-products
  • Formulated with added glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and taurine for body-wide wellness
  • Made in the USA

Bacterial strains included:

  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Enterococcus faecium

Options: Available in chicken, lamb, and whitefish recipes.

Ingredients List

Deboned chicken, Chicken meal, Oatmeal, Ground barley, peas...,

Ground brown rice, Chicken fat, Tomato pomace, Ground flaxseed, Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural chicken flavor, Potassium chloride, Choline chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E supplement, Taurine, Zinc proteinate, Mixed tocopherols, Sweet potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc sulfate, Calcium carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous sulfate, Iron proteinate, Vitamin A supplement, Glucosamine hydrochloride, Chondroitin sulfate, Ascorbic acid, Copper sulfate, Thiamine mononitrate, Copper proteinate, Chicory root extract, Manganese proteinate, Manganese sulfate, d-Calcium pantothenate, Sodium selenite, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Yucca schidigera extract, Garlic powder, Vitamin D3 supplement, Biotin, Calcium iodate, Vitamin B12 supplement, Folic acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Rosemary extract, Green tea extract, Spearmint extract

Protein Content (Chicken): 24%

Pros

  • Wellness kibbles provide both prebiotics and probiotics for gut health.
  • This food’s kibble size perfectly suits most dogs (perfect for multi-breed households!).
  • This food’s price tag is higher than some other kibbles but still reasonable considering the quality.

Cons

  • While basic protein options are offered, Wellness offers no exotic choices for doggos with food sensitivities.
  • The flavor of this food wasn’t a hit with pickier palates.

3. Nulo Adult Dog Food

Best Single-Strain Probiotic Dog Food

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Nulo Adult Dog Food

Nulo Adult Dog Food

Offering a single strain of bacteria for targeted digestive boosting and wellness, this is the best option for many dogs.

About: Looking for a single-source probiotic kibble? Nulo Adult Dog Food has you covered! A premium blend of high-quality ingredients that are cooked up in US-kitchens, Nulo is a nutritious, gut-health-boosting food that never contains any corn, soy, wheat, or artificial colors. This makes it an excellent pick for dogs with touchy tummies or food sensitivities.

Features:

  • High-quality meat is always the first ingredient
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes available
  • Contains plenty of fiber sources, including fruits and vegetables
  • Made in the USA

Bacterial strains included:

  • Bacillus coagulans

Options: Comes in bag sizes ranging from 4.5 to 26 pounds, and numerous proteins, including lamb, turkey, and salmon, and recipes, like senior, light, and small breed.

Ingredients List

Deboned turkey, Turkey meal, Salmon meal, Chickpeas, Chicken fat...,

Sweet potato, Yellow peas, Deboned trout, Pea fiber, Natural flavor, Yeast culture, Dried chicory root, Dried tomatoes, Dried carrots, Dried blueberries, Dried apples, Salt, Calcium carbonate, Choline chloride, Potassium chloride, Zinc proteinate, Vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Iron proteinate, Niacin, Copper proteinate, Thiamine mononitrate, Calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, Manganous oxide, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Sodium selenite, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 supplement, Biotin, Dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, Vitamin B12 supplement, Calcium iodate, Folic acid, Rosemary extract

Protein Content (Grain-free Turkey): 33%

Pros

  • Nulo offers plenty of recipes for sensitive systems, including chicken and egg-free recipes.
  • The taste of this food was a hit with most doggos.
  • The small, triangular-shaped kibble is easy for most breeds to eat.

Cons

  • This is a pretty expensive kibble, though it does still provide good value.
  • The smell of this food can be a bit strong for human noses.

4. Solid Gold Mighty Mini

Best Small-Breed Dog Food with Probiotics

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Solid Gold Mighty Mini

Solid Gold Mighty Mini

Packing a punch of probiotic goodness in small, mouth-friendly bites, this is a great option for tiny pupperinos.

About: Solid Gold Mighty Mini With Sensitive Stomach Probiotic Support gives your small breed doggo’s belly a helping hand. Packed with plenty of produce for healthy fiber and mixed probiotics, this digestion-friendly kibble can aid in regularity.

Features:

  • Real protein is always at the top of the ingredient list
  • Manufacturer promises 90 million probiotics per pound of food
  • Rich in omega 3 fatty acids for brain, eye, and coat health
  • Made in the USA

Bacterial strains included:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus casei

Options: Available in five proteins, including salmon, beef, chicken, lamb, and turkey.

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Pea protein...,

Chicken fat, Pumpkin, Sweet potato, Dried eggs, Ocean fish meal, Ground flaxseed, Natural flavor, Dicalcium phosphate, Carrots, Salt, Salmon oil, Potassium chloride, Blueberries, Cranberries, Vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin A supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Biotin, Folic acid, Choline chloride, Zinc sulfate, Ferrous sulfate, Copper sulfate, Manganese sulfate, Zinc proteinate, Manganese proteinate, Copper proteinate, Sodium selenite, Calcium iodate, Dried chicory root, DL-methionine, Rosemary extract, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product

Protein Content (Chicken): 30%

Pros

  • This food contains a diverse mixture of probiotics (and plenty of them).
  • This tiny kibble is perfect for toy and small-breed mouths.
  • The taste of this kibble was a hit with most four-footers, which makes it a great food for even the pickiest picky pups.

Cons

  • The limited number of bag sizes offered is a bummer.
  • Solid Gold doesn’t offer any grain-inclusive options. 

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Food

Best Large-Breed Dog Food with Probiotics

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Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection

A high-quality food containing a diverse array of bacterial strains for woofers with bigger bellies to protect.

About: Provide probiotic support to your big buddy with Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed. Featuring five different probiotic cultures, fantastic ingredients, and Blue Buffalo’s patented antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits, it’s a great way to add a broad spectrum of probiotics to your doggo’s diet.

Features:

  • Real meat is always the first ingredient
  • LifeSource Bits contain an added boost of antioxidants
  • Excellent source of fatty acids
  • A made-in-the-USA dog food

Bacterial strains included:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Trichoderma longibrachiatum

Options: Available in three protein options: lamb, chicken, and fish.

Ingredients List

Whitefish, Menhaden fish meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Brown rice, Pea starch...,

Peas, Chicken fat, Dried tomato pomace, Natural flavor, Flaxseed, Potato starch, Pea protein, Potassium chloride, Fish oil, Dehydrated Alfalfa meal, Potatoes, Dried chicory root, Pea fiber, Alfalfa nutrient concentrate, Choline chloride, Calcium carbonate, Dicalcium phosphate, Taurine, Salt, Glucosamine hydrochloride, Mixed tocopherols, Dl-methionine, Sweet potatoes, Carrots, Chondroitin sulfate, Garlic, L-carnitine, Zinc amino acid chelate, Zinc sulfate, Vegetable juice, Ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, Iron amino acid chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley grass, Parsley, Yucca schidigera extract, Dried kelp, Turmeric, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, L-lysine, Copper sulfate, Biotin, Vitamin A supplement, Copper amino acid chelate, Manganese sulfate, Manganese amino acid chelate, Thiamine mononitrate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Calcium iodate, Dried yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic acid, Sodium selenite, Rosemary oil

Protein Content (Fish): 20%

Pros

  • This kibble offers an excellent source of mixed probiotics.
  • This is a relatively affordably priced food, given its quality.
  • Blue Buffalo offers a great selection of bag sizes.

Cons

  • Unfortunately, there are relatively limited protein options in this product line.
  • Not every dog likes Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits — many dogs seem to pick around them.

6. Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food

Best Senior Dog Food with Probiotics

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Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food

Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food

Specifically designed for senior dogs, this kibble has an assortment of good bacteria to help our old friends feel young.

About: Support your pup’s gut into maturity with Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food, a probiotic-rich kibble with plenty of fiber and protein for energy and healthy digestion. Containing four culture types, real meat, and healthy grains, this recipe takes a multi-bacteria approach to improving digestive flora.

Features:

  • Real meat is always the first ingredient
  • Grain-inclusive and grain-free varieties available
  • Great source of fatty acids for aging brains and eyes
  • Made in the USA

Bacterial strains included:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus casei

Ingredients List

Deboned chicken, Chicken meal, Brown rice, Oatmeal, Barley,...,

Turkey meal, Chicken fat, Quinoa, Natural flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon oil, Potassium chloride, Salt, Apples, Carrots, Sunflower oil, Organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, Choline chloride, Iron amino acid complex, Zinc amino acid complex, Zinc sulfate, Sodium selenite, Manganese amino acid complex, Copper amino acid complex, Potassium iodide, Cobalt proteinate, Cobalt carbonate, Taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, Mixed tocopherols, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin supplement, Vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, Thiamine mononitrate, Folic acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 supplement, Citric acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Protein Content (Healthy Grains): 27%

Pros

  • This kibble’s palatability gets a paw’s up, even from picky dogs.
  • The kibble size is perfect for most breeds, big and small alike.
  • This food also contains 800 milligrams of glucosamine and chondroitin per kilogram of food for healthy joints.

Cons

  • The mixed protein ingredient lists in this product line can be an issue for dogs with food allergies or sensitive systems.
  • This food is on the pricier side.

7. Diamond Naturals Dry Food 

Most Affordable Dog Food with Probiotics

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Diamond Naturals Dry Food 

Diamond Naturals Dry Food 

A long-loved brand with five culture types that’s available for a fraction of the cost of some other options.

About: For a daily boost of probiotics without blowing your treat budget, check out Diamond Naturals, a kibble containing 80 million CFU (colony-forming units) per pound. Available in both grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas, there’s a Naturals kibble for practically every pup.

Features:

  • Real protein is always the first ingredient
  • Features plenty of fiber derived from chia, pumpkin, and more for digestive support
  • Contains no corn, soy, or wheat
  • Made in the USA

Bacterial strains included:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Bifidobacterium animalis

Options: Diamond Naturals comes in a number of formulas, including small breed, extreme athlete, and light, as well as several proteins, like beef, lamb, and chicken.

Ingredients List

Beef meal, Grain sorghum, Ground white rice, Dried yeast, Egg product...,

Rice bran, Cracked pearled barley, Chicken fat, Dried beet pulp, Natural flavor, Flaxseed, Potassium chloride, Salt, Dl-methionine, Choline chloride, Taurine, Dried chicory root, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Kale, Chia seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca schidigera extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, Vitamin E supplement, Beta carotene, Chondroitin sulfate, Iron proteinate, Zinc proteinate, Copper proteinate, Ferrous sulfate, Zinc sulfate, Copper sulfate, Potassium iodide, Thiamine mononitrate, Manganese proteinate, Manganous oxide, Ascorbic acid, Vitamin A supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Manganese sulfate, Sodium selenite, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 supplement, Folic acid

Protein Content (Beef): 25%

Pros

  • This is an affordable, yet nutritious option that’s rich in probiotics.
  • The kibble size is perfect for most dog breeds, alleviating problems for owners of really big or very small dogs alike. 
  • The flavor of this kibble was a hit with most dogs.

Cons

  • Diamond Naturals offers relatively limited protein options compared to other kibbles.
  • While meat meals are nutritious protein sources, we’d prefer if this food contained a whole protein.

8. Instinct Raw Boost 

Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food with Probiotics

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Instinct Raw Boost 

Instinct Raw Boost 

A probiotic-infused raw dog food that’s safer and more convenient to feed than homemade alternatives.

About: Give your dog a pop of probiotics with Instinct Raw Boost, a nutrient-rich recipe made with a single type of live culture, to provide a targeted approach to bacterial warfare. Featuring real freeze-dried meaty bits, this kibble allows your dog to enjoy raw food without the mess.

Features:

  • Humanely-sourced protein is always the first ingredient
  • Does not contain corn, soy, wheat, or by-products
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes available
  • Made in the USA

Bacterial strains included:

  • Bacillus coagulans

Options: Grain-free variety is offered in four proteins: duck, salmon, chicken, and beef. Grain-inclusive comes in chicken, lamb, salmon, and puppy.

Ingredients List

Duck, Chicken meal, Peas, Egg product, Turkey meal...,

Canola oil, Tapioca, Natural flavor, Montmorillonite clay, Freeze dried duck (including freeze dried ground duck bone), Freeze dried chicken, Freeze dried chicken liver, Pumpkin seeds, Salt, Freeze dried chicken heart, Vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Niacin supplement, Vitamin A supplement, Thiamine mononitrate, d-Calcium pantothenate, Riboflavin supplement, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 supplement, Folic acid, Vitamin D3 supplement, Biotin, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Dried tomato pomace, Zinc proteinate, Iron proteinate, Copper proteinate, Manganese proteinate, Sodium selenite, Ethylenediamine dihydriodide, Potassium chloride, Choline chloride, Dried kelp, Salmon oil, Blueberries, Dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, Rosemary extract.

Protein Content (Duck): 34.5%

Pros

  • The kibble size of this food works well with most dog breeds.
  • The flavor of this food was a hit, particularly the meaty freeze-dried bits.
  • This company embraces eco-friendly packaging principles. 

Cons

What Health Benefits Do Probiotics Provide?

dog food probiotics

Unfortunately, research into the benefits probiotics provide dogs is still in its infancy. However, positive anecdotal accounts abound, and most of the research that has been conducted has yielded positive results (we share some additional studies below).

Generally speaking, it is thought that probiotics may provide the same benefits to our four-legged friends that they do for us. Essentially, they help combat or prevent gut issues that can affect wellness from head to toe. 

Think about it: When your belly is feeling off, you feel off, right?

Canine probiotics may aid in: 

  • Regulating digestion
  • Reducing gas
  • Alleviating diarrhea 
  • Eliminating foul breath caused by stomach bacteria overgrowth
  • Protecting stomach flora

Remember: If your dog is experiencing changes in eating, pooping, or passing gas, contact your vet for an exam to rule out underlying conditions.

Never give your dog a supplement made for humans, either, and don’t feed probiotic yogurt without checking with your vet, as hidden artificial sweeteners can be dangerous, and dairy can cause gastrointestinal upset.

When Are Probiotics Used in Dogs?

With the potential benefits, it’s natural to have your interest piqued surrounding probiotics. In some cases, certain dogs see marked improvement by introducing dietary probiotics, while the changes may be less noticeable in others and act more as a preventative than a solution. 

Probiotics are given to dogs in several situations, including:

  • Normalizing gut flora: If your dog’s digestive tract is running a little sluggish, probiotics may help restore its balance. Signs of an imbalance can include diarrhea, constipation, and excessive gas.
  • Post-antibiotic treatment: As we all know, antibiotics can wreak havoc on our tummies, and it’s no different with doggos. Essentially, broad-spectrum antibiotics end up killing off the good bacteria along with those that are causing illness. Probiotics can help return your dog’s gut to its natural state after antibiotics run their course.
  • Reducing sensitivity symptoms: Some dogs with super sensitive systems may go through bouts of stomach unrest. Probiotics can boost gut health and possibly alleviate symptoms and prevent future stinky situations.
  • Post-illness gut boost: Probiotics can help dogs who’ve recently been ill get back on track, especially if they were suffering from a gastrointestinal problem.
  • Preventative use: By bolstering your doggo’s tummy, it can ward off illness and leave her feeling in tip-top shape. Old dogs can particularly benefit in this area, as a peak-performing digestive tract means more energy, less discomfort, and better nutritional absorption.
  • Calming a stressed system: Some events, such as moving, being adopted to a new home or being kenneled can cause stress-induced diarrhea. Probiotics can help ease this not-so-fun problem.

As always, consult your veterinarian before trying probiotics or any supplement, for that matter. Your dog’s existing medications, supplements, or conditions may not be compatible with probiotic use. 

Are Probiotics Safe for Dogs? 

are probiotics safe

You should always consult your vet before starting a supplement regimen or switching dog foods — especially if your pooch already has a health issue.

But yes, canine probiotics are largely considered safe for dogs.

Thinking about willingly feeding your fur kid bacteria can be alarming, but probiotics contain good bacteria that already exist within your canine’s stomach. Basically, probiotics function like more of a good thing. For example, you might take a daily multivitamin when you’re already getting nutrients in the food you eat.

However, as we discussed above, don’t offer your dog human probiotics. Our stomachs differ from doggo ones, so the included bacteria in a human probiotic differs from a canine one. You might accidentally cause certain belly issues to get worse or cause other harm.

Do Probiotics Actually Work for Dogs?

Again, there isn’t a ton of research yet available regarding probiotic use in dogs.

Nevertheless, several scientific studies have demonstrated the efficacy of canine probiotics, including a 2009 one noting benefits seen in dogs suffering from idiopathic diarrhea after probiotic administration.

Another study specifically linked the canine probiotic Bifidobacterium to potential improvements in canine gastrointestinal health. 

As with any supplement, probiotics aren’t always a surefire fix, but they’re worth a shot if your vet green-lights them.

Are There Alternatives to Feeding a Food Containing Probiotics?

Absolutely! While a dog food containing probiotics is convenient, we understand hesitating to run out and try a new kind, especially if you have a pickier pupperoni at home.

If you and your doggo are happy with his existing food, you can still tap into the possible benefits of probiotics by:

  • Feeding a dog-friendly yogurt: Yogurt is an easy way to sneak some probiotics into your doggo’s bowl, but remember to check your labels to avoid xylitol or other toxic artificial sweeteners. The secret here is to stick as close to plain yogurt as possible. Be mindful of portion size, as calories add up quickly and stomach upset is a possibility with too much dairy. 
  • Using a probiotic supplement: Typically packed into a tasty tablet or offered in a capsule, these healthy bacteria boosters can be fed on their own or hidden in your pup’s favorite snack, like dog-safe peanut butter. Follow storage instructions closely to ensure the best results, as probiotics require special handling.
  • Feeding a prebiotic: Prebiotics are fibrous ingredients that serve as food for probiotics, so they can help with your dog’s natural probiotic growth. They’re a great alternative if you’re looking to boost your dog’s existing gut flora. Some owners opt to feed prebiotics and probiotics, but always check with your vet to see what’s best for your pup.

***

Does your dog enjoy any of the probiotic-packed foods on our list? Is there another food with probiotics she loves? Let us know in the comments!

best probiotics for dogs
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Written by

Kelsey Snyder

Kelsey is a K9 of Mine contributor who has worked with dogs as a shift runner and office manager of a boarding kennel. When she’s not writing, she can be found throwing a ball or losing at tug of war. An animal lover to the max, she lives in South Jersey with her husband, her five dogs Boomer, Taj, Batman, Maya, and Moxie, some kitties, and two grumpy turtles.

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