You’ve probably heard about the importance of “good bacteria” to your own gut health, but did you know your canine companion benefits from a balanced gut too?

That's where probiotics for dogs come in – they're like tiny superheroes supporting their digestion, immunity, and overall health.

As a veterinarian with BetterVet, I may determine that a dog’s good gut bacteria is weakened for a number of reasons, and recommend adding a probiotic supplement to their routine.
Dr. Joshua Montgomery

In this blog post, I’ll go over probiotics for dogs - types, benefits, and everything else you need to know about choosing the right one for your furry friend.

What are Probiotics for Dogs?

Probiotics for dogs are microbes made up of bacteria and yeasts that live within a canine's gut. Billions of these microbes live in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of all animals and are thought to have a number of health-boosting benefits, such as helping with digestion and strengthening your dog’s immune system.

Probiotics in pet food are referred to as “direct-fed microbials” by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), which oversees pet food safety.

How Do Dog Probiotics Work?

Probiotic products for dogs maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms within the digestive system.  They contribute to the overall digestive process which allows the intestinal tract to properly break down food, and absorb nutrients, while also promoting a strong immune system so it can fight off harmful bacteria.

Benefits of Probiotics for Your Dog

The advantages of a healthy gut with the help of probiotics go beyond just good digestion.

Here are some key benefits of giving your dog probiotics:

Digestive Support

Probiotics can help with occasional diarrhea in dogs, vomiting, and gas, especially after dietary changes or antibiotic use.

Immune System Boost

Some studies indicate there is a link between probiotics and your dog's natural defenses against illness and allergies.

Improved Nutrient Absorption

Probiotics may enhance your dog’s absorption of essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health.

Calms Sensitive Stomachs

Promotes a healthy gut flora and provides relief for dogs with food sensitivities and intolerances.

Soothe Stomach Issues Due to Conditions

Can help soothe digestive issues caused by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Pancreatitis, and kidney disease.

If your dog is having ongoing digestive issues or is becoming sick more than usual, your veterinarian may suggest using probiotic products.

Improves Bowel Regularity & Consistency

Promotes healthy bowel movements and stool consistency.

Types of Canine Probiotics

When it comes to choosing a probiotic, your veterinarian can guide you as to the best type for your pup.

Here's a breakdown of the available options of probiotics for dogs:

  • Commercial Dog Food with Probiotics
  • Probiotic Treats
  • Dog Probiotic Powders
  • Capsules or Tablets
  • Liquids
  • Pastes

Choosing the Right Probiotic for Your Dog

With so many choices, selecting the right probiotic for your dog can feel like an overwhelming task.

Here are some steps to help you with your decision:

1. Consult Your Veterinarian

Your BetterVet care team can recommend the best probiotic product based on your dog's individual needs and health conditions.

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2. Look at the Active Ingredients

Ensure the label clearly states the specific probiotic strains and their CFU (colony-forming units) count. Opt for higher CFUs for increased potency.

3. Ensure Non-Expired Date

Check the expiration date to guarantee viable bacteria.

4. Make Sure It’s Third-Party Tested

Look for certifications from independent labs verifying the product's potency, purity, and safety.

5. Skip the Extras

Avoid probiotics with unnecessary additives, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Best Probiotics for Dogs

While I can't recommend a specific brand or product without knowing your dog's individual needs, I can provide some examples of the most effective probiotic delivery methods.

Foods That Contain Probiotics for Dogs

  • Prescription dog food diets
  • Digestion support diets
  • Some limited ingredient or hypoallergenic diets

Probiotic Supplements for Dogs

  • Treats
  • Powders
  • Capsules
  • Pastes


Probiotics can be a valuable tool for supporting your dog's gut health and overall well-being. Together with your BetterVet veterinarian, you can find the right product for your dog’s needs to help them thrive from the inside out.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know if my dog needs probiotics?

If your dog has chronic health conditions, poor digestive health, has changed diets, or has recently been on antibiotics, your veterinarian may recommend probiotic supplements.

Are dog probiotics necessary for my pet’s nutrition?

Dog probiotic supplements are not essential to your dog’s nutrition in the same way as proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals, but are beneficial to many dogs, especially ones with digestive issues or immune challenges.

Can dog probiotics help with digestive issues or allergies?

Yes, dog probiotics can help with your dog’s digestion and allergies by:

  • Replenishing and promoting healthy bacteria
  • A healthy gut reduces intestinal inflammation, aiding in better absorption of nutrients
  • Can aid in the breakdown of certain foods
  • Supporting the immune system

How long does it take to see results from dog probiotics?

Typically, results from dog probiotics can be seen within a few days to a few weeks, but depends on factors such as your dog’s health, individual response, and the reason for use.

What food has probiotics for dogs?

Foods for dogs that contain probiotics include prescription diets, commercially prepared diets, and treats.

Are there probiotic foods for cats?

Yes, there are probiotic food and supplement options for cats specifically formulated to support their health.