Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics for Dogs

Image of a brown dog laying on the ground

You’ve probably heard of probiotics (living microorganisms that benefit their host), but what about prebiotics, which are lesser-known?

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that promote healthy digestion and are a food source for probiotics. So in dogs, prebiotics help to form solid stools and allow probiotics to flourish.

Read on to learn more about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics for dogs.

Prebiotics and Probiotics for Dogs: What Are the Differences?

Here are some additional differences between prebiotics and probiotics:


  • Living microorganisms
  • Help digestion by promoting a healthy microbiome (the collection of microorganisms in the gut)
  • Bacterial strains (most commonly bifidobacterium and lactobacillus strains)
  • Must be kept alive and delivered through a viable transport mechanism to reach the gut
  • Makes up part of the microbiome, which communicates with the brain


  • Non-living, non-digestible fiber
  • Improves digestion by forming healthy stools
  • Promotes the growth of healthy microorganisms (a.k.a. probiotics) in the microbiome by acting as a food source
  • Easy storage requirements; doesn’t need to be refrigerated
  • Promotes healthy growth and maintenance of the microbiome

Should You Give Your Dog Both Prebiotics and Probiotics?

Individually, prebiotics and probiotics do have health benefits, in humans and dogs alike. But when you combine them together is when they have their real health benefits.

Dogs need fiber just like humans do in order to form healthy stools. And they also get the digestive, immune, and overall health benefits from probiotics.

Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics for Dogs Conclusion

The difference between prebiotics and probiotics for dogs is that prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that promote digestion and act as a food source for probiotics; probiotics are living microorganisms that benefit dogs.

If you’re looking for a probiotic + prebiotic combination for your dog, take a look at our article The Top 5 Best Probiotics for Dogs. Our number one pick was BlueBiology Canine Probiotic.