As more information and understanding become available about probiotics through research and use, veterinary medicine is realizing more and more the positive impact probiotics can have on pet health.
It is already known that probiotic supplements aid digestion, support the immune system, keep the gut healthy, and help make and absorb vitamins and minerals. And if that wasn’t enough, some research has shown that they may help with medical conditions such as diarrhea, constipation, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and possibly others like anxiety. They may also help pets with gas and bad breath.
Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFUs). CFUs indicate the number of viable (live and active) cells. The current recommendation for dogs is for them to take 1–10 billion CFUs a day.
Because your dog needs between 1 and 10 billion CFUs a day, you want to make sure that you buy a probiotic that contains enough CFUs; otherwise, it won't be as effective. And conversely, if the product you're considering has more than 10 billion CFUs, you may be paying more with no additional benefits.
Do not use expired products since their potency and effectiveness are lost over time. It is also not recommended to give human probiotics to pets.
Probiotics are considered to be very safe and have few side effects, which are generally only mild (stomach upset or discomfort at first, but it should go away). If you feel that your pet can benefit from probiotics, below are some we highly recommend.