Can I Give My Dog Probiotics While on Antibiotics?

Image of a small dog on a couch laying down

Antibiotics are very important for dogs when the situation calls for using them. Dogs get bacterial infections and illnesses that can only be treated with antibiotics just like we do.

Antibiotics can save your dog’s life. However, they do have some harmful side effects, so you shouldn’t give your dog antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary.

For one, bacterial strains are becoming resistant to antibiotics, which could become a major issue if we run out of antibiotics to treat certain pathogenic bacteria. Bacterial resistance occurs because of doctors and vets overprescribing antibiotics when they’re unnecessary, so make sure that your veterinarian does testing to make sure your dog actually has a bacterial infection before giving them antibiotics.

The other issue is that antibiotics have several harmful side effects on gut health and overall health in dogs.

So if your veterinarian has prescribed antibiotics for your dog, you may wonder “can I give my dog probiotics while on antibiotics?”

Probiotics are helpful in treating the side effects of antibiotics and rebuilding the microbiome (the collection of microorganisms in the gut), which is important for overall health.

Side Effects of Antibiotics in Dogs

Image of chocolate lab dog having side effects of antibiotics for article on "Can I Give My Dog Probiotics While on Antibiotics?"

There are a number of common side effects of antibiotics in dogs. Some include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach irritation
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite

Do Probiotics Help with the Side Effects of Antibiotics in Dogs?

The side effects of antibiotics occur because of how they disrupt the balance of the microbiome. The microbiome acts as an organ that communicates through signals back and forth with the brain. It’s unhealthy to have it be wiped out and can cause all sorts of digestive and other health issues.

Probiotic Strains for Dogs

These are the probiotic strains that have been tested and recognized as effective in dogs:

  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri

So, Can you Give Your Dog Probiotics While on Antibiotics?

Yes, you absolutely can and should give your dog probiotics while on antibiotics. The most common side effect of antibiotics is diarrhea and probiotics have been shown to reduce the severity of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and how long it lasts.

There is one important thing to know though: make sure to give your dog probiotics at least two hours before or after the antibiotics. The reason being is that you don’t want the two interacting with each other, as the antibiotics will kill the probiotics. Antibiotics kill all or most bacteria in their path, including good probiotic bacteria.

Don’t Forget the Prebiotics

You’ve heard of probiotics, but have you heard of prebiotics? Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that are a food source for probiotics. Prebiotics will also help to repopulate your dog’s gut after taking antibiotics.

Some probiotic dog products contain prebiotics as well. Our top pick for the best probiotic for dogs, BlueBiology’s Probiotics for Dogs, contains both, for example.

It’s also a good idea to feed your dog food containing prebiotics.

Which Probiotics to Give your Dog While on Antibiotics

If you’re looking for the ideal probiotics to give your dog while on antibiotics, we compared the best probiotics for dogs on antibiotics here. In short, we found that the best probiotic product for dogs on the market is BlueBiology’s Probiotics for Dogs.

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