Health & Wellbeing

Here Are The Signs Your Dog Needs Probiotics

Wondering if your dog needs probiotics? The answer comes down to their gut health.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave like this woman, you’ve probably noticed ‘gut health’ has been a hot topic in the health and wellness space in recent times.

But not only when it comes to us humans. Yep…we’re looking at your little dog too! 

That’s because just like us, maintaining a healthy, well-balanced gut microbiome is super important for almost every aspect of your dog’s health and wellbeing

And this is where probiotics for dogs can help.

So, if you want to know the signs your dog needs probiotics – along with the many ways probiotics can benefit your dog’s gut health and overall wellbeing – we’ve got all the answers right here.

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Know the Signs Your Dog Needs Probiotics

Dog gut health and signs your dog needs probiotics

The basics: Dog gut health & the microbiome

Living inside your dog’s belly, namely their gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), are many types of different bacteria

When all of this friendly bacteria is in balance, this creates a thriving microbiome that helps your dog:

  • digest their food properly
  • make and absorb vitamins
  • fight off any harmful germs
  • support a healthy connection between your dog’s gut and their brain (you may even have heard of the gut being known as the second brain!)

When that healthy balance is thrown off by a growth in harmful bacteria (known as ‘dysbiosis‘) a whole range of infections or digestive problems can occur. 


What causes a dog’s GI tract to become unbalanced?

Taking antibiotics, a change of diet, dealing with a pesky parasite, or even going through a stressful time can cause dysbiosis – and ultimately spell tummy trouble for your best friend. 

The not-so-fun symptoms they may experience include diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and even a weaker immune system. We’ll cover these in a little more detail below.

Are you starting to see why it’s important to keep a harmonious balance of good bacteria in your dog’s gut? We know we wouldn’t want to see our boys in that kind of discomfort!


The benefits of probiotics for dogs

Thankfully, it’s possible to ensure your dog has a good mix of healthy gut bacteria, without turning to medications. You guessed it – with probiotics specially formulated for dogs.

Dog probiotics are food supplements that contain live microorganisms like bacteria or yeast, and are specially formulated to help restore gut imbalance. As a dog’s digestive system can be quite sensitive, vets often recommend probiotics. 

Probiotics for dogs work by boosting the number of beneficial microorganisms in your dog’s tummy. Ultimately, the addition of friendly bacteria helps to restore the microbiome to a healthy state, and in turn, support your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.

Signs Your Dog Needs Probiotics to keep them happy and healthy

Signs your dog needs probiotics

So, how can you tell when it’s a good idea to give your dog needs probiotics?

Besides all the digestive issues they can alleviate, dog probiotics can also be prescribed to help with a number of other health conditions your pup may experience. 

A research study by Cornell University shows that giving friendly bacteria to your dog by way of probiotics can help improve the following:

– Diarrhea

If your dog has diarrhea, you can assume something is wrong with their stomach. Whether the root cause is stress, bad food or digestive problems, the bacteria that created the imbalance in the gut should be treated. 

Dog probiotics are a good solution for getting rid of diarrhea by reducing the number of bad bacteria in your dog’s gut, and eliminating all the nasty symptoms that follow. 

– Other digestive issues

Does your dog have constipation, gas, or bloating? These are further signs their gut microbiome is out of balance and in need of restoration.

If you notice frequent gurgling sounds coming from your dog’s belly, or their poop is irregular – it’s time to consider giving your pet probiotic supplements. 

– Food allergies

Dry skin, rashes, itching, and swelling around the lips and eyes are all symptoms of allergies in dogs. 

Probiotics can help dogs with allergies by lowering histamine levels and calming inflammation in the gut, which in turn relieves the uncomfortable symptoms they experience.

Note however that food allergies can be difficult to determine and even more difficult to treat. So if you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet to be properly examined and diagnosed.

– Antibiotics

Antibiotics can be enormously useful in fighting various bacterial diseases and infections, but they can also harm your dogs’ gut by disrupting their gut microbiome. 

This is often why probiotics are recommended along with antibiotics, to maintain the balance in the gut and repopulate it with good bacteria. 

While your dog is taking antibiotics (and for a little while after too) it’s a good idea to give probiotics to your dog to avoid any gut imbalance. 

– Weight loss

When a dog’s gut microbiome is imbalanced, this can lead to poor nutrition and weight loss. 

It goes without saying, but if you notice your pup is losing weight, you should immediately take them to the vet. Only when all other underlying conditions are ruled out, it’s safe to assume your dog is simply not getting enough nutrition from their food. 

If this sounds familiar, it may be time to rethink your dog’s diet. This could include the addition of probiotics and other supplements or meal toppers to their food.

A healthy gut microbiota produces enzymes and proteins that support digestion. When this process doesn’t work properly, probiotics can help by balancing the microbiome and increasing the number of digestive enzymes that are present. 

In other words, your pup will be able to better absorb the nutrients from their food. 

– Yeast infection

A small amount of yeast is usually present in your dogs’ gut and skin, but yeast infections can occur with an overgrowth of the fungus Candida

By balancing out the gut microbiota, probiotics can help control yeast infections such as these (along with other treatments or medication, depending on the condition).

– Stress

Just like us humans, stress can seriously affect your dog’s gut health. When exposed to a stressful environment or major changes in their surroundings, dogs can become anxious. This ultimately reflects in their gut, and can lead to all sorts of digestive issues. 

As stress can affect your dog’s gut health, it’s a good idea to have dog probiotics to hand when travelling or moving. This can help to avoid upset stomach problems or diarrhea.

– For immune support

A dogs’ gut microbiome is closely related to their overall health and immune system. 

Therefore if something goes wrong with the gut, this will impact your dog’s whole body – as well as their immune response to various infections and diseases.

For this reason, probiotics can be useful for maintaining your dog’s immune system and their overall health. Probiotics can be particularly beneficial for senior dogs, who are more prone to health ailments and diseases.

Do dogs need probiotics? Keep your dog happy and healthy

Human probiotics for dogs: Yay or nay?

Technically speaking, giving your dog a human probiotic every now and then shouldn’t cause any harm. After all, probiotics made for humans need to meet certain standards to ensure they’re safe, clean, and made with good-quality ingredients. 

But here’s the catch: human probiotics are designed for human digestive systems.

While it’s unlikely they would cause any immediate harm to your dog, and they might even be okay to use regularly, you can never really be sure unless they’ve been tested and proven to be safe for dogs.

Therefore, it’s always best to play it safe and look for probiotics that have been clinically proven and specifically formulated for dogs.

Does your dog need probiotics? Final thoughts

If you decide to give probiotics to your dog, always follow the instructions and seek your vet’s advice – especially if you are giving probiotics to your pup for the first time.

Also be sure to add probiotics to your dog’s diet gradually, and have a little patience as it may take time to show signs of improvement!

We hope you now know when a gut imbalance may be occurring in your pup, and the signs your dog may need to start taking probiotics.

Best of luck!

Before you go…!

As you’re interested in probiotics for dogs, you might find these health topics useful too:

Or you can find more tips and information at our Health & Wellbeing section.

Here Are The Signs Your Dog Needs Probiotics

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