How Dogs Benefit From Probiotics
Written By Ana Aleksic, MSc Pharm

How Dogs Benefit From Probiotics

Similar to your intestinal tract, your pet’s gut is also home to trillions of bacteria that keep their gut in a healthy state. Once the defenses break down, the dogs can also fall a victim to various GI diseases. Hence, the question arises, “can probiotics help your dog?” Research shows that probiotic therapy is a promising strategy for canines’ GI disorders.

Lactobacilli are phenomenal probiotics for dogs!

The primary probiotics studied to benefit dogs are the lactic acid bacteria. ( [1] This is ascribable to the potential of these live bacteria to survive in the intestinal tract of these animals.

Lactobacilli help ease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Dogs also tend to experience GI disorders like IBD and small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In fact, IBD is one of the common bowel problems experienced by canines. These illnesses cause chronic diarrhea in dogs, and on top of that, IBD and SIBO are treated with antibiotics (just like in humans) because of which the microbiome gets more out of control. [1] Probiotics restore the balance of the microbiome in dogs that is thrown into turmoil by these inflammatory gut ailments and by their use of antibiotics. This alleviates the associated diarrheal symptoms in canines. Probiotics also enhance the nutrient absorption (that is compromised in these disorders) in puppies required for the maintenance of their health.

Probiotics lessen the severity of acute diarrhea in dogs

The good bacteria strengthen the gut barriers in dogs, which prevents the invasion of harmful agents into their system that can induce acute diarrheal infections. In 2009, Dr. Kelly and colleagues from the Procter & Gamble Pet Care Technical Center reported that supplementation with a particular strain of probiotic reduces the duration of diarrhea in dogs. Also noted was a drop in the need for antibiotic treatment by about 38.5% (for the probiotic group) over placebo. [2]

Probiotics benefit a great deal of worm infections in canines

The hygiene and dietary habits of the pets render them susceptible to a wide range of infections. Especially worth mentioning is the hookworm infection, one of the universal infections identified in these animals. These parasites can critically harm the dogs, contributing to symptoms such as anemia, irritability, weight loss, and abdominal cramps and in severe cases, death. The dog hookworm, in turn, can trigger detrimental infections in humans. [3] Feeding certain probiotics to dogs infected with hookworm reduces the elimination of eggs laid by the hookworm, thereby improving the accompanying symptoms. [4] Probiotics not only provide protection against hookworm infection but a variety of other parasitic infections in dogs appear to benefit from probiotics. [4]

Probiotics help ease IBS in canines

Just like the human version, IBS in dogs can be distressing. Probiotics can alleviate IBS symptoms via improving the frequency and quality of the stools in dogs with sensitive guts. [5]

Probiotics boost the immune system in dogs

Probiotics prime the immune defenses in pets by promoting the production of secretory IgA, a protective antibody. [6]

Probiotics minimize the production of inflammatory substances in dogs

Very much like in humans, probiotics exert anti-inflammatory effects in canines by stimulating the release of anti-inflammatory substances, and hence, ease symptoms related to long-standing enteropathies like IBD. [7]


In the light of the given reasons, many veterinarians recommend probiotic use for the health of pets, including dogs.


Written by:
Dr. Rasheed Huma



  1. Manninen TJK, Rinkinen ML, Beasley SS, Saris PEJ. Alteration of the Canine Small-Intestinal Lactic Acid Bacterium Microbiota by Feeding of Potential Probiotics. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2006;72(10):6539-6543. doi:10.1128/AEM.02977-05.
  2. Kelley RL, Minikhiem D, Kiely B et al. Clinical benefits of probiotic canine-derived Bifidobacterium animalis strain AHC7 in dogs with acute idiopathic diarrhea. Veterinary Therapeutics. 2009;10(3):121-30.
  3. Landmann JK, Prociv P. Experimental human infection with the dog hookworm, Ancylostoma caninum. Med J Aust. 2003;178(2):69-71.
  4. Coêlho MDG, Coêlho FA da S, de Mancilha IM. Probiotic Therapy: A Promising Strategy for the Control of Canine Hookworm. Journal of Parasitology Research. 2013;2013:430413. doi:10.1155/2013/430413.
  5. Pascher M, Hellweg P, Khol-Parisini A, Zentek J. Effects of a probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus strain on feed tolerance in dogs with non-specific dietary sensitivity. Arch Anim Nutr. 2008;62(2):107-16. doi: 10.1080/17450390801892583.
  6. Benyacoub J, Czarnecki-Maulden GL et al. Supplementation of food with Enterococcus faecium (SF68) stimulates immune functions in young dogs. J Nutr. 2003;133(4):1158-62.
  7. Malewska K, Rychlik A, Nieradka R, Kander M. Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs and cats. Pol J Vet Sci. 2011;14(1):165-71.
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