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Best Dog Probiotics: Types, Pros, Cons, & More

Table of Contents

Dogs will chew on anything. And If you are the lucky owner of a pooch, you already know that all too well.


Unfortunately, everything a doggo eats affects their digestive health and overall well-being. Because dogs make the best buddies, every pet parent wants to ensure that their furbaby is always feeling their best and in top-notch condition.

One of the ways you can promote your dog’s well-being is by providing probiotic gut supplements to help keep their tummies happy and healthy. Recently, probiotics have become a popular option for many pawrents looking for alternative ways to help promote better gut health for their dogs. After all, a happy pooch equals lots of jumping, tail wagging, and unending slobbery kisses.

Now, who wouldn't want that?

In this piece, we explore the world of probiotics, what they are, how to spot a good quality probiotic product, plus our list of probiotics we think are worth exploring.

Let's jump into it.

What Are Dog Probiotics?

Dog probiotics are “friendly” or beneficial microorganisms in a dog’s gut. These microorganisms are also referred to as flora or good bacteria. They play a significant role in maintaining the health of your dog’s digestive system.

You can think of probiotics as “tiny helpers” that survey the gut and help things move along smoothly.

Probiotics offer the following health benefits:

  1. Help regulate your dogs’ mental and emotional condition
  2. Helps manage stress and anxiety
  3. Prevents harmful pathogens from growing in the gut
  4. Helps manage the effects of allergic reactions like diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal inflammation
  5. Helps good bacteria to thrive in the body
  6. Supports a healthy immune system

Image examples of gut microorganisms:


When Should You Give Your Dog Probiotics?

Probiotics can be used as preventative care measures to maintain the overall digestive and gut health of your dog. But also, probiotics can be helpful if your doggo is experiencing tummy-related health problems. For example:

  • Your pooch has eaten something that has upset their stomach, or they have had a drastic change in their diet
  • If your dog has been on antibiotic treatment for a while, the antibiotics can kill off good bacteria in your dog’s digestive system, but you can replace them by administering a probiotic
  • When your doggo is experiencing stress-related colitis due to a change in their environment or routine
  • If you have a senior dog or puppy whose digestive and immune systems need support
  • If your dog has had problems with parasite infection or suffering from bacteria imbalance due to sickness

What is the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics?

If you have been researching probiotics, you must have also come across the word prebiotics. While these two words sound similar, they refer to different things.

  • Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in the gut.
  • Prebiotics are a special type of fiber that promotes the growth of healthy microorganisms in the body.

Probiotics and prebiotics are important for your dog because they support a healthy immune and digestive system. The gut makes up 70% of a dog’s immune system, and so a healthy gut ultimately leads to a better immune response.

Can You Use Human Probiotics For Dogs?

While some say that dogs can take human probiotics, it is not recommended. Dogs and humans have completely different gut physiology and gut bacteria, meaning that human probiotics may not react properly with the dog’s system, either not doing anything meaningful or, at worst, causing reactions like an upset stomach or diarrhea.

That being said, should your pooch accidentally consume some of your probiotics, there should be no cause for alarm as these are not potentially harmful when consumed in small doses.

Types of Probiotics for Dogs

types-of -pobiotics-dogs

Dog probiotic products come in different forms and combinations. Storage, ease of transport, and cost of production are among the factors that influence how a probiotic is made. Common types of probiotics include:

Dog Probiotics Powder

Some of the best dog probiotics come in powder form. Powder probiotics have a longer shelf life and are easy to transport and store. Odorless probiotics are easy to administer. Most of them can be mixed in with your dogs' food or added to their water without affecting the taste.


Probiotic capsules are also available for dogs. They can be conveniently stored and often have a long shelf life. Unfortunately, capsules can be difficult to administer, especially if your dog hates taking pills orally. You can hide the capsule inside a yummy treat or a dog pill pocket.

Probiotic Chews

Chews are very popular with dogs because they resemble treats. This makes it easy to administer as your furbaby will be more willing to try out a treat-look-alike. Chews are also convenient to carry around and have on hand.

Beware, some probiotic chews may contain filler ingredients and artificial sweeteners used to make them more palatable for dogs. While these additives are effective in getting your dog to eat the chew, they may be unhealthy for your pet in the long run. Always check the label carefully to ensure that you’re aware of the calories and ingredients in the chew.

Dog Liquid Probiotics

Some dog probiotics are made in liquid or paste form. Liquids are typically easier to administer, because you can add them to your dog's food or water or give it orally through a pipette or syringe. However, liquids can be a challenge to transport since they easily spill. Also, some dogs dislike the taste of food when liquid probiotics are added to it.

Probiotic Dog Food

Some brands manufacture dog food formulated with probiotic cultures. These provide some of the most convenient ways of giving probiotics to your dog. Unfortunately, some of the brands do not contain the right concentration of live culture to be effective. While other brands have artificial ingredients and fillers that are not healthy for your dog.

Later in this article, we recommend a variety of the best dog probiotics, including dog food. The best dog probiotic foods include ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Other essential ingredients to look for include:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Bifidobacterium lactis

The ingredients listed above will typically appear near the end of the food ingredient list on the dog food’s label. Your vet can also help recommend a good quality probiotic dog food brand.

Pros and Cons of Dog Probiotics




Help with digestive problems

They may contain other microorganisms not listed on the label

Support healthy immune system

Some dogs can suffer side effects like diarrhea or worsen stomach problems

They help relieve anxiety and stress

Capsule and pill forms can be hard to administer

They are good for promoting overall health and wellness of your dog

Effects do not last long and wear off once the usage is stopped


Considerations with Dog Probiotics



Probiotics have been proven to be beneficial for dogs of all breeds and ages. Because of their efficacy, the probiotic market has grown exponentially and is targeted to reach $ 5.5 Bn by 2032. That means one thing… more probiotic options to choose from.

Before you make that trip to the pet store, here are some things to remember:

1. Probiotics Aren’t Regulated.

Probiotic products are not aggressively regulated by the FDA as other health products within the USA. In Canada, the Canadian Natural Health Product Directorate (NHPD) regulates the use of probiotics as natural health products and classifies food products containing probiotics as food. However, manufacturers and food importers are responsible for ensuring that the food they produce and sell is safe. That means you have to ensure that you buy probiotics from reputable manufacturers.

2. The Bacteria May Not Be Helpful

Probiotics contain species-specific bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. As noted by Dr. Czarnecki-Maulden, probiotics for dogs that contain multiple strains of bacteria may not be the best.

Dr. Czarnecki explains that each strain of bacteria is unique and accomplishes different functions from each other. When many strains are combined, some may work against one another. Ultimately, this would reduce the efficacy of the probiotic. In her view, Dr. Czarnecki recommends the best dog probiotics be those of a single strain of bacteria.

That doesn't mean that multiple-strain probiotics are completely useless. No. It means you might have to try out different brands to find what works best for your pooch.

3. There Can Be Potential Side Effects

Though most probiotics help improve the health of your dogs’ gut and immune system, some dogs can suffer unprecedented side effects. This is especially true when a dog is first introduced to probiotics. Side effects may include but are not limited to flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and general digestive discomfort.

Introducing a probiotic in your dog’s diet may first affect the gut flora's composition before restoring it. So make sure you use only the best-rated dog probiotics for your furbaby.

And if your doggo has a sensitive gut, you can look for the best dog probiotics for sensitive stomachs to help your furbaby enjoy the benefits of probiotics.

What Makes Good Dog Probiotics?

Probiotics are not made equal. To make sure you are giving your four-legged buddy only the best, there are several things that you should consider.

Find a Trusted Manufacturer

Consider buying your doggo’s probiotics from a reputable manufacturer. This is preferably one with long-term experience in the industry. Also, a manufacturer whose information you can easily find and verify online.

A manufacturer with published documentation on the efficacy of their probiotic product is always a plus in our books. Another good indicator is a manufacturer that has employed pet nutritionists and veterinarians. This means that expert knowledge has been used to create quality products.

Ultimately, you can consult with your vet. They will most likely recommend a breed-specific probiotic suitable for your dog.

Probiotic Containing 1-10 Billion CFUs

CFU is an acronym for colony forming unit. It refers to the number of live bacteria in the dosage of a probiotic product.

The correct dosage of CFUs your dog needs depends on your dog’s weight and health status.

For instance, higher CFU is desirable if your dog suffers from a particular health problem like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to help quick recovery. But a lower CFU will be ideal if you are giving your pooch probiotics as a preventative measure. Your vet will recommend a probiotic that will fit your dog’s health requirements. They will also indicate the dosage as well as how long you should give your dog the probiotic.

List of the Specific Bacterial Species and Strains

Dog's health needs differ. Thus they will need different types of bacteria to help with their individual health problems. The ideal probiotic has the right combination of bacteria strains to help alleviate your dog's specific health challenge.

The table shows a list of common bacteria species and strains found in Dog probiotics and their benefits.

Bacteria Species and Strains


Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Lactobacillus Casei

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus-strain LGG

  • Help with stool consistency
  • Alleviate Constipation
  • Helps with diarrhea

Bacillus Coagulans

  • Helps with Diarrhea,
  • Reduces inflammation,
  • Protects the stomach lining
  • Promotes growth of healthy gut microorganisms
  • Aids in food digestion and metabolism regulation
  • Supports healthy immune response

Bifidobacterium animalis-strain AHC7

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

Bifidobacterium Longum-strain BL999

  • Helps with anxiety and stress management
  • Helps with acute diarrhea
  • Promotes healthy gut for dogs prone to GI disorders

Enterococcus faecium-strain SF68

  • Aids digestion
  • Helps promote healthy gut microorganisms
  • Helps normalize stool consistency


A list of the bacteria species and strains will often be displayed on the probiotic label, so read it carefully. A good quality product outlines all ingredients on the label and has clear instructions and information on how to use the product. It should also indicate the quantities of each ingredient per serving.

List of Ingredients

Some manufacturers can be sneaky when it comes to ingredients. They might slip in undesirable additives to bulk up the product or to help reduce production costs. Be on the lookout for any artificial flavors, dyes, colors, and preservatives that might be lurking in your dog's probiotic. Additives are common in probiotic dog foods and are aimed at enhancing flavor and prolonging the shelf life.

Artificial additives are unhealthy for your dog and might cause future health challenges. The best option is to avoid all products with artificial ingredients. It is safe and advisable to buy vet-recommended dog probiotics. In addition, beware of products with a mile-long list of ingredients. Opting for products with a short list of quality ingredients is always safer.

For instance, TRI-ACTA for Pets contains all-natural ingredients with no fillers, such as glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin sulfate, which help promote joint health in dogs. The benefits of glucosamine for dogs in terms of supporting their joint health are often discussed, and combined with the other ingredients listed above, TRI-ACTA acts as a powerhouse for your dog’s joint health support.

TRI-ACTA for Pets

A proactive approach for developing and younger adult pets to maintain optimal joint health mobility, minimize inflammation and fend off age-related ailments.


Top Rated Dog Probiotics

Purina ProPlan Fortiflora Canine Probiotic

Purina ProPlan Fortiflora Canine Probiotic


Purina is a well-known and loved American brand that makes pet-related food and supplement products. This particular Purina probiotic comes highly recommended by veterinarians and pet parents alike. It contains 30 one-gram sachets of prebiotic powder. It is administered by adding it to your dog’s food as per the instructions on the package.

The ProPlan FortiFlora prebiotic contains one billion CFU, vitamins (C and E), and essential minerals like copper proteinate. It promotes gut health, reduces flatulence, improves stool quality, and supports a healthy immune system.

The probiotic is administered for short-term use (3 days) unless otherwise advised by the veterinarian. It is also advised not to give it to dog breeds at risk of copper toxicity, like Labrador Retrievers, American Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Skye Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, and Keeshonds.

* Price starts at CAD$ 42.99 as of February 2023

NaturVet Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes Soft Chews

NaturVet Advanced Probiotics & Enzymes Soft Chews


NaturVet has been another popular brand in the pet supplement-making business for over 25 years. Their advanced probiotics and enzyme chews are vet designed for all dogs to promote respiratory wellness, relieve mid-allergy symptoms, promote joint health and help mineral and vitamin absorption in the stomach.

This probiotic is wheat-free and one of the best dog probiotics for sensitive stomachs. NaturVet probiotics and enzymes dog chews carry 100 million probiotic CFU and I billion CFU of PB6vet strength. PB6 Vet allows beneficial bacteria to move throughout the stomach and intestine, delivering potent therapeutic effects.

The recommended use is it to give it with each meal according to your dog's weight. These NaturVet probiotics are easy to administer because they resemble treats that dogs love. Unfortunately, because of their yummy taste, pets have been known to chow down entire contents of unattended packages. So be sure to tuck them out of your furbabys’ reach.

These NaturVet probiotic chews are a great price for the quality product they offer.

* Price starts at CAD$ 26.99 as of February 2023


Canigest Combi Probiotic

Canigest Combi Probiotic


The Canigest Combi is a gut paste probiotic supplement. It contains both probiotic and prebiotic elements to help promote a healthy digestive system and aid natural immune response.

It contains two potent probiotic bacteria strains (Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium) that support healthy gut microorganisms' growth. It is effective in alleviating stomach discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea.

The Canigest Combi is made from all-natural ingredients and comes with a syringe for ease of administration. It has a natural meat flavor that dogs of all ages love. It contains a potent dose of 6.6 billion CFU and is arguably one of the best natural dog probiotics on the market.

In rare cases, however, some dogs can develop an allergic reaction to the rape seed oil in the product.

* Price starts at CAD$ 19.95 as of February 2023

Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites

Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites


Zesty Paws is an American household brand specializing in the manufacture of pet supplements and food products. Their probiotic bites for dogs contain six bacteria strains (Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus, and Lactococcus strains) designed to promote healthy growth of gut flora, support natural immune response, offer mobility support, and aid in the overall health of the digestive system.

This probiotic contains 3 billion CFU per chew. The formula also incorporates papaya and pumpkin to aid digestion and help regulate stool consistency.

Zesty probiotics are suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes. They are particularly loved by canines because they smell and taste like delicious treats.

The probiotic contains tapioca flour which might cause allergic reactions in some dogs.

Similarly, pea flour and other additional carbohydrate ingredients can contribute to weight gain in the long term.

* Price starts at CAD$ 28.99 as of February 2023

Mary Ruth’s Organic Liquid Probiotic

Mary Ruth’s Organic Liquid Probiotic


Mary Ruth’s organic liquid dog probiotic is a unique USDA-approved product. It is extracted raw in water from a proprietary blend of special grasses. It contains four live strains of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria species.

MaryRuths’ organic probiotic is created in an enzyme-rich substrate that delivers potent therapeutic benefits for dogs of all breeds and sizes. It is filler-free, vegan, and contains non-GMO ingredients. Because it is water-based, the probiotic is easy to hide in your dogs’ food or mix with their drinking water.

This liquid probiotic is particularly beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs and those prone to allergies. It is great for supporting the growth of healthy gut microorganisms and promoting a natural immune response.

It comes with a pipette for ease of administration and contains 2.5 billion CFU per serving. The only downside to this probiotic is that it is unflavored. Your doggo may not appreciate the bland taste. However, for health-conscious pet parents, this product is one of the best natural dog probiotics.

Price starts at CAD$ 56.34 as of February 2023

Comparison Table




Price (CAD)


Purina ProPlan Fortiflora

1 Billion



NaturVet Advanced Probiotic

100 Million



Canigest Combi

6.6 Billion



Zesty Paws Probiotic

3 Billion



Mary Ruths’ Organic Liquid

2.5 Billion




Pairing Dog Probiotics

Dog probiotics are a great addition to your dog’s diet to promote healthy, balanced nutrition.

Good Food

Your dog is what they eat.

To maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, your dog must eat a balanced diet. So, in addition to giving your pooch quality probiotics, you should ensure they have access to good quality meals.

When your dog eats healthy meals designed to meet his nutritional needs, the probiotics can sustain optimal gut health, leading to a better functioning immune system.

Health Supplements

Your dog's health is influenced by many things besides food-related factors. Supplements are a good way to provide additional nutrients and other health components to bridge any nutritional gap

For example, to keep your dog active and moving, you need to provide supplements that support joint health. Supplements like TRI-ACTA for pets contain 100% pure active ingredients, such as glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin sulfate, that help support and maintain joint health. It is a high-quality supplement that is ideal for all dog breeds and can be used from puppyhood to adulthood. Joint supplements can be given jointly with probiotics under the guidance of your vet.

TRI-ACTA for Pets

A proactive approach for developing and younger adult pets to maintain optimal joint health mobility, minimize inflammation and fend off age-related ailments.


Healthy Treats

You can use treats to encourage your dog to take his daily dose of probiotics, especially if your pooch is a finicky eater. Not all pets enjoy probiotics, even worse if the probiotic is in tablet or capsule form.

Treats can help mask an unpleasant tasting or smelling probiotic. They are also a yummy reward for good behavior.

Drinking Water

Always provide a bowl of fresh drinking water for your dog. It is by far one of the most important components of your dog’s nutrition. Water facilitates body cell activities, keeps your pooch hydrated, helps maintain body temperature, aids in digestion and filtering out body waste, and supports organ function and blood circulation.

Water is also a great way to give liquid and water-soluble probiotics.



A dog’s health and happiness is the ultimate goal of every pet parent. Probiotics are a worthy investment for pawrents seeking to provide preventative care for their dogs’ gut and immune systems.

Your vet is an integral part of your canine’s life. So keep them in the loop when sourcing for dog probiotics. They probably already know the product that best suits your dogs’ unique health needs. Use dog probiotics for the recommended time, as you would any prescribed medication.

Always provide a healthy and complete diet for your canine buddy and plenty of rest and playtime. And if you want to set them up for great days ahead, don't forget to add supplements like TRI-ACTA for pets. It is great for keeping your dog’s joints well-greased and healthy. TRI-ACTA ingredients can also help alleviate overall body inflammation resulting from gut-related problems.

Hop onto our resources for dogs page for more info on how to care for your canine best friend. And don't forget to check out where you can get our joint health supplement TRI-ACTA for pets.