What Kind of Probiotics are Good for Dogs?

Image of two dogs standing on grass and smiling

If you’re looking to buy a probiotic product for your dog, you may be wondering “what kind of probiotics are good for dogs?”

Probiotics are living microorganisms (bacteria/yeast) that are beneficial to humans and dogs.

Probiotics come in strains. The most common species of probiotics are bifidobacterium and lactobacillus.

In this article, you’ll learn about the known probiotic strains that have health benefits in dogs.

Probiotic Strains That Are Good for Dogs

An image divided in two; on top probiotic dog treats and on bottom someone feeding their dog a probiotic dog treat showing what kind of probiotics are good for dogs

There are a number of bacterial strains that are known to be probiotic in humans. Many of those probiotics are beneficial in dogs too, although there has been less scientific testing specifically in dogs.

The known probiotics in dogs include:

Bacillus Coagulans

A 2011 study found that a probiotic tempeh containing bacillus coagulans was safe, increased numbers of probiotics in the gut, and had health benefits in dogs. It helped maintain a more optimal balance of microbiota and a better intestinal environment. (1)

Bifidobacterium Animalis

Bifidobacterium animalis has been studied pretty extensively in human and mice studies. Results have indicated that it’s good for overall gut health, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, and fighting off infections. (2) (3) (4) (5)

In one study, disease-causing bacteria was reduced in dogs after a two-week treatment of bifidobacterium animalis. (6)

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

Studies in humans and mice have shown that Bifidobacterium Bifidum was effective in relieving the symptoms of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal conditions/infections. It was effective in treating diarrhea and constipation.

One study found that it was the most prevalent probiotic in dogs. (7)

Bifidobacterium Breve

Studies have found numerous health benefits of bifidobacterium breve in humans. Bifidobacterium breve is likely effective in improving gut health, skin health, allergies, diarrhea, and constipation. (8) (9) (10) (11)

Studies of bifidobacterium breve have been done in dogs but more need to be done. (12)

Bifidobacterium lactis

Bifidobacterium lactis is a probiotic found naturally in dogs. (13)

Bifidobacterium lactis promotes digestive health and boosts the immune system against autoimmune diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis and celiac disease. (14) (15)

Bifidobacterium lactis combats allergies, normalizes blood sugar, promotes healthy levels of cholesterol, and may even help stop the formation of tumors. (16)

It also has a high acid tolerance, so it does a good job of reaching the intestines. (17)

Enterococcus Faecium

Enterococcus faecium is a probiotic that stimulates immune function in dogs. This means that the body will have a stronger immune response if a harmful pathogen enters the body. (18)

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

A study of Lactobacillus acidophilus in dogs found that it “can be successfully incorporated into a dry dog food, survive transit through the canine gastrointestinal tract, and populate the colon” and that it “may have the potential to enhance intestinal health and improve immune function in dogs”. (19)

Lactobacillus acidophilus may help digest nutrients as well. (20)

Lactobacillus Casei

Lactobacillus casei is a probiotic strain that boosts immune strength in dogs. (21)

Studies in humans showed that lactobacillus casei improved the symptoms of and reduced the duration of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and diarrhea caused by c. difficile, improved constipation, and lowered inflammation. (22) (23) (24)

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Lactobacillus plantarum is found naturally in dogs and in their diet. (25) Studies have found that lactobacillus plantarum acts as a probiotic in dogs. (26)

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus

Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been studied extensively in humans.

It does make it to the digestive tract without being killed by stomach acid, just as it does in humans. (27)

It is found naturally in dogs and a 2019 study found that it had a “significant preventive effect of gastrointestinal infections” in the dogs in the study. (28)

Lactobacillus Reuteri

Lactobacillus reuteri is a probiotic in dogs that is resistant to bile, which means it has a better chance of reaching the gut, where it can pass off its health benefits. (29)

A test-tube study that was done with the microflora of dogs found that lactobacillus reuteri and galactooligosaccharides functioned as synbiotics. Synbiotics are a mixture of probiotics and prebiotics that work in synergy together to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and create a more favorable gastrointestinal environment, which has many health benefits. (30)

What Kind of Probiotics are Good for Dogs Conclusion

In conclusion, the kinds of probiotics that are good for dogs include:

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

When looking to buy a probiotic for dogs, you should look for these probiotic strains so you know that each strain has been tested for effectiveness and safety in dogs.

If you’d like some help in finding the perfect probiotic for your dog, we published a guide on the best probiotics for dogs here.

If you’d like to learn more about probiotics and dogs, take a look at some of our other articles on the topic below:

  1. https://www.jarvm.com/articles/Vol9Iss2/Vol9%20Iss2Fujisawa.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15076628
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22284965
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17635382
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26821116
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1075996414000511
  7. https://academic.oup.com/femsec/article/76/2/301/698674
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965514/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27590263
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15269618
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048518/
  12. https://sfamjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2007.03702.x
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378113512003550
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23470164
  15. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016169&type=printable
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15542102
  17. https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.3920/BM2015.0050
  18. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/4/1158/4688074
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15027683
  20. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/132/12/3721/4712115
  21. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/228c/a8d711f026fef6b10cfdc828192f9dc8ec4d.pdf
  22. https://www.bmj.com/content/335/7610/80
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14631461
  24. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1756-185X.12333
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC340078/
  26. http://kjvr.org/upload/2016/06/27/20160627133651628060.pdf
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12395758
  28. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01117/full
  29. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00310.x
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4648921/