What do Probiotics do for Dogs?


If you're interested in giving probiotics to your dog or if you're already giving probiotics to your dog, you may be wondering “what do probiotics do for dogs?”

In short, probiotics promote gut health in dogs, which in itself has numerous all around health benefits for dogs. Continue reading to learn more in-depth about what probiotics do for dogs.

1) Probiotics Have Similar Health Benefits in Dogs and Humans

There are exceptions of course, quite a few the health benefits that probiotics have for humans are the same for dogs. That said, there have been a lot more studies testing probiotics in humans compared to dogs, so there's still a lot to find out about what probiotics do in dogs.

2) Probiotics Improve Gut Health in Dogs

The first thing to note about probiotics in dogs is there benefits on gut health.

A dog's gut is populated by trillions of microorganisms. This assortment of microorganisms is called the “microbiome” and also the health or balance from the microbiome has a significant impact on a dog's health.

The microbiome includes both good microorganisms (a.k.a. probiotics) and harmful microorganisms. These microorganisms include bacteria, yeast, viruses, and more.

When the microbiome is filled with good microorganisms, digestive health improves. When the microbiome is overrun by parasites, viruses, and pathogens, digestive health suffers. Not only that but should there be not enough probiotics in the gut and a lot of pathogens, harmful as well as deadly infections can happen.

That's not the only reason to want your pet to possess a healthy gut though; gut health is inextricably associated with other facets of health.

3) Stronger Immune Health

Probiotics help strengthen the defense mechanisms in many ways.

First, probiotics promote immune health by crowding out pathoenic agents and other harmful microorganisms in the gut. By simply having more probiotics in the gut, pathogenic microorganisms have less chance to cause infections.

Additionally, probiotics strengthen immune health by regulating host immune response. (1) What this essentially means is that if there's a harmful microorganism in the body, your body's immune response will be stronger towards the invading pathogen.

4) Probiotics May Make Your pet Happier

Dogs get really stressed out and anxious must do. Dogs can experience stress situationally, like from being home alone too much time without being discrete while you are gone, to being boarded, to being groomed, environmental changes, etc. They can also experience stress simply due to their psychological makeup.

As as it happens, there is scientific evidence that indicates that probiotics relieve anxiety and stress in dogs, in turn making your pet happier and healthier psychologically.

A 2012 study discovered that supplementing with probiotics helped support “optimal stool production and could assistance to prevent stress-related gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhea”. (2)

A 2021 systematic review that reviewed 10 studies on probiotics as well as their effects on psychological effects in dogs found “positive results on all measures of depressive symptoms”. This study did mention though that “the evidence for probiotics alleviating depressive symptoms is compelling” but that more research is needed. (3)

5) Probiotics May Relieve along side it Effects of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are essential for treating microbe infections in dogs just like they're in humans. However, antibiotics may cause negative effects inside your dog that create discomfort, the most typical being diarrhea, also known as antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD).

Giving your dog probiotics as they or she's on the treatment of antibiotics will help lessen the severity and duration of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Another negative side effect of antibiotics is that they kill most bacterial microorganisms in their path, whether good or bad, leaving the microbiome virtually totally destroyed. By providing your dog probiotics while on antibiotics, you're helping to replenish the healthy side of your dog's microbiome, which supports bring it back to a wholesome balance.

6) Probiotics Might help if Your Dog Includes a Digestive Disorder

Dogs might have digestive disorders just like humans do, such as ibs.

The good thing is the fact that probiotics are beneficial in relieving the signs and symptoms of digestive complaints.

There are many studies in humans showing that probiotics improve symptoms of digestive complaints. This research found that a lactobacillus probiotic “positively altered intestinal microflora” in dogs with gastrointestinal disorders. Probiotics also helped regulate cholesterol levels in this study.

So, Exactly what do Probiotics do for Dogs?

In summary, probiotics have these benefits and much more in dogs:

  • Probiotics improve gut health in dogs
  • Stronger immune health
  • Probiotics may relieve stress, anxiety, making your pet happier
  • Relief from side effects of antibiotics
  • Relief from digestive disorders

As you can observe, there are plenty of benefits to giving your dog probiotics. But it's not just these health benefits which are so good for dogs.

As stated earlier, gut health and health, in general, are inextricably linked. Whenever a dog has good gut health, it's more likely they'll be healthy generally. If your dog has poor gut health, the much more likely they will be unhealthy in general.

A big reason behind this is the connection between the brain and the gut. This connection is called the 'gut-brain axis' and links “emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions”. (4) In other words, gut health is really important since it has so many implications for any dog's psychological physical well-being.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006993/
  2. http://www.jarvm.com/articles/Vol10Iss3/Vol10%20Iss3%20Kelley.pdf
  3. https://annals-general-psychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12991-017-0138-2
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/