Probiotics for Dogs with IBD

Image of a beagle dog laying on a hardwood floor and a pillow looking tired or sick

More and more studies indicate that there’s a connection between the health (or lack thereof) of the microbiome (the collection of microorganisms in the gut) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs. (1)

There’s still a lot to be learned about what probiotics can do to improve the health of the microbiome and symptoms of IBD in dogs but research does indicate that probiotics may be effective in dogs with IBD.

What the Research Says

Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs refers to “chronic, relapsing inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract”. It also shows that inflammatory bowel disease is “remarkably similar” in humans and animals. (2)

The fact that it’s similar in people and animals is good in this case, considering that clinical evidence supports the use of probiotics for IBD in people. (3)

Researchers have been seeing more and more correlations between imbalances of the gut microbiome and illnesses, diseases, even mental health.

Research has also shown that some probiotics do have benefits for certain IBD conditions. For example, a 2012 study found that probiotics were effective in achieving “clinical responses and remissions in patients with mild-to moderately active UC”. (4)

A 2007 study found that probiotics were effective in the treatment of pouchitis, which is inflammation that occurs after surgery for ulcerative colitis. (5)

Other studies have found that probiotics were effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. (6) (7)

You can’t automatically assume that probiotics or any supplement/vitamin/medication will work the same in one species as it does in another and some of the studies mentioned here were done in other animals and humans. However, it’s not unreasonable to take an educated guess that probiotics are likely beneficial in dogs because inflammatory bowel disease acts similarly in other species.

Signs of IBD in Dogs

If you suspect your dog may have IBD, here are some of the symptoms they may display:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Gas/flatulence
  • Vomiting

Check with your veterinarian if you think your dog has the symptoms of IBD.

What We Can Conclude

We don’t have 100% definitive answers as to whether probiotics for dogs with IBD will be beneficial. There’s just haven’t been enough studies done on this specific subject to know for sure yet.

On the bright side, probiotics do help with the symptoms of IBD in other animals and humans, so there’s a good chance they provide relief from the symptoms of IBD in dogs too. Plus, the probiotic strains known to benefit dogs have a good safety profile, so regardless of whether they benefit your dog’s IBD, they’ll be safe and may provide other health benefits unrelated to IBD.

If you notice symptoms of IBD in your dog, giving them probiotics for dogs could be beneficial for them. Just be sure to consult with your veterinarian.