Has your veterinarian recommended trying a probiotic? Or maybe you read about the benefits online and want to give it a try. There are so many different kinds of probiotics on the market… how do you pick?
Why Probiotics, Anyway?
Probiotics are used to support good GI health. They include good bacteria that can restore the good bacteria in a dog with GI upset and/or diarrhea, or they can lessen the negative effects of giving antibiotics. Probiotics can also improve your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients and minerals from his or her diet.
Benefits of Probiotics:
- Aid digestion by helping to break down food and making nutrients and vitamins
- Strengthen immunity
- Provide intestinal benefits by producing short-chain fatty acids, which inhibit harmful bacteria
Probiotics May Also:
- Treat diarrhea, irritable bowel, and intestinal inflammation
- Prevent urinary tract infections
- Reduce allergic reactions by decreasing intestinal permeability and controlling inflammation
Picking a Probiotic
Picking a probiotic can be difficult because, just like in human medicine, they are not FDA regulated. But this doesn’t mean they are unsafe or unhelpful. It just means you need to keep your eyes peeled for a few basic things. I always recommend looking for the NASC Quality Seal. The NASC is a non-profit group that independently audits products so you know the supplement comes from a reputable company, and you know that you are actually getting what it says on the label.
I’m going to cover two of my favorites below. Both are NASC certified and have been used in countless peer-reviewed studies. One, FortiFlora, is a prescription that we have used in clinics for years, and the other, ProBios, is over the counter. I actually use it on my own dogs.
FortiFlora is made by Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements and is one of the most commonly prescribed probiotics by veterinarians. It’s designed for the dietary management of puppies and adult dogs with diarrhea. It comes in individual powder packets to sprinkle over food, as well as a chewable tablet. It does require a prescription from your veterinarian. Read The Daily Dog’s full review of FortiFlora here.
ProBios is made by Vets Plus, Inc. and is available over the counter. It’s designed to help supplement proper digestion in dogs (and cats too). It comes as a powder or a chewable treat. The powder is very palpable and comes with an easy-to-use measuring scoop.
As a Registered Veterinary Technician (and active dog mom!), I am always looking for great, affordable, and effective products to share with my clients. Most of the time I will try new, commonly needed products with my own pets. I personally use ProBios Probiotic Powder with all of my animals. ProBios has helped regulate their bowel movements and prevent diarrhea. I have not had any issues with my pets refusing to eat with it on their food. It is easy to add a scoop to their food once a day. The scoop is pre-measured so there is no guesswork. As a bonus, it is a very cost-effective option at approximately $10 for a 45 day supply for one dog.
Check out The Daily Dog’s Digestive Supplement Buyer’s Guide—written by a veterinarian—and corresponding top picks.