Probiotic supplements are everywhere. You might be taking one. Should your dog?
1. Boosting Canine Health
Probiotics are essentially a way of boosting the number of “good” microorganisms present in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby helping them to out-compete the “bad” ones. It also appears that probiotics can improve canine health in other ways: They seem to be able to beneficially modify an animal’s immune function.
Studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can help treat infections outside of the gastrointestinal tract as well as some allergic and inflammatory diseases. This isn’t too surprising given that a large proportion of the body’s immune system is associated with the gut. Anything that influences the immune system there could have a wide-spread benefit.
2. Can I Give My Dog Human Probiotics?
While there are no known studies that prove that human probiotic supplements can harm a dog, veterinarians that study the subject recommend that pet owners opt for a probiotic that is specially made for dogs and contains the specific strains that a dog’s gut needs.
There are significant differences in the biology of dogs and humans, including differences in the acidity of stomach fluids, digestive enzymes, and other features of the gastrointestinal tract. Because probiotics for humans have not been designed or tested to accommodate the biology of dogs, it is impossible to know if these will be safe or effective in our canine companions. It is safer to use products designed and tested for dogs.
3. How To Give A Dog Probiotics
Canine probiotic supplements are administered orally and can be included in a dog’s food or wrapped in a treat. When administering a probiotic to a dog, it’s very important that you follow the instructions on the product label.
Each product has its own instructions which should be followed consistently. Improperly formulated or administered probiotics can easily be destroyed in the stomach and not reach the intestines where they are intended to perform their function.
4. Risks And Considerations