Can Dogs Take Human Probiotics?


Golden Doodle dog being given a probiotic pill

Hey there, fellow pet parents! Today, we're diving deep into the wonderful world of probiotics: beneficial microorganisms that can support your furry friend's digestive health. These friendly bacteria work their magic by maintaining a healthy balance in the gut and helping fend off nasty intruders.

So, what do probiotics look like? You might find them in the form of pills, capsules, powders, or even in soft chews. But wait! Before you go sneaking your own probiotics into their kibble, let's find out if it’s safe for your dog to share our probiotics. We’ll bet you already know the answer!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms that help create–and maintain–a healthy microbiome in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A microbiome is an environment in which microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and viruses live. Probiotics promote the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut microbiome, with help from prebiotics that feed these good bacteria and help them flourish.

The microbiome–which exposes us to a multitude of bacteria and other microbiota–may not sound glamorous, but many healthcare professionals agree that it’s central to our whole-body health. Without a healthy microbiome, the digestive and immune systems in humans–and pets–are majorly compromised.

Can dogs take human probiotics?

Now, we know it's tempting to share everything with our four-legged buddies, from our favorite snacks to our comfy beds. But when it comes to probiotics, that’s one thing you shouldn’t share with your dog. Here's why:

Different bacterial strains

Dogs and humans have different digestive systems, which means they need specific strains of bacteria to support their unique needs. Probiotics formulated for humans might not have the right bacteria strains to benefit your furry friend.

The question of serving size

Dogs and humans also differ in terms of the ideal amount of probiotics they should take. What may be beneficial for us might be too much or too little for our canine companions. Just like Goldilocks, we need to find the perfect probiotic serving that's just right for our pups.

Fido-friendly formulations

Uniquely formulated probiotics for dogs undergo rigorous testing and quality control to ensure their safety and effectiveness for canine consumption. Human probiotics don't go through the same scrutiny, and we don't want to risk giving our precious pups something that's not meant for their delicate stomachs.

Feeding your dog a ‘people’ probiotic could lead to painful stomach symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating. 
Closeup of probiotic pill capsules

Benefits of probiotics for dogs: tummy TLC & beyond

Are probiotics good for dogs? Yes––when used as directed, they can be great for your dog’s health! Let's focus on how using a probiotic for dogs can help support your dog’s digestive tract and more: 

Happy tummies

Probiotics for dogs can work wonders by supporting the digestive tract and keeping gut bacteria in tip-top shape. They can help dogs digest their food, regulate bowel movements, reduce gas and bloating, and even help alleviate symptoms of dog diarrhea or constipation.

Immune health

A strong immune system is key to keeping your pup's tail wagging. Probiotics can lend a helping paw by boosting immune function, which means fewer vet visits and more playtime at the park.

Seasonal allergy support

Piggy-backing off their benefits for immunity, probiotics can also be helpful for dogs who struggle with environmental or seasonal allergies. That’s why premium seasonal allergy supplements for dogs will often contain probiotics––to support a balanced immune response to irritating seasonal allergens. 

Behavior & mood

Believe it or not, the gut and the brain are more connected than a pair of inseparable best friends. Probiotics can support your dog's mood and behavior by influencing the production of neurotransmitters and reducing stress-related symptoms.

Does my dog need probiotics? Listen to their gut

Now, the million-dollar question: Does my dog need probiotics? Well, it depends. Just like us humans, every pup is unique. While many dogs can benefit from the help that probiotics provide, others may have ‘guts of steel’ and don’t need the extra help.

However, as devoted pet parents, we should always strive to be proactive about supporting our dog's gut health. This includes offering a balanced diet, encouraging daily exercise to keep things moving, and ensuring they have access to clean water for proper hydration.

In some cases, veterinarians may recommend probiotics for certain dogs, such as those who have recently undergone antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics, while effective at fighting off harmful bacteria, can also disrupt the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics can help restore that balance and aid in the recovery process.

Dogs with sensitive stomachs, food allergies, or digestive issues may also benefit from probiotic supplementation. A course of probiotic treatment–or a daily probiotic supplement for dogs–can help target inflammation, support dogs with gastrointestinal disorders, and promote overall digestive wellness.

How to introduce probiotics into your dog’s diet

When introducing probiotics to your dog's routine, start with a gradual approach. Introduce small amounts and always follow the instructions on the label of your dog’s probiotics. Different brands will have different directions, so don’t assume they’ll all require the same amount or serving size. 

Next, monitor your dog's response over the first week and gradually increase the amount if needed. And of course, keep an eye out for any unusual reactions or changes in your pup's behavior or bowel habits––such as diarrhea, vomiting, irritability, or allergic reactions.

Before you dash to the store and grab the first probiotic you see, it's important to consult with your veterinarian if you think your dog has a specific need for probiotics. They know your dog's health history and may be able to help recommend the most suitable probiotic strain and serving size for your dog’s particular health status. 

Bottom line? Resist the urge to share your stash of human probiotics with your dog! Instead, ask your veterinarian for recommendations on dog-specific probiotic supplements to keep your pup's tummy happy and their tail wagging!

Want more vet-reviewed tips for your dog’s gut health? Read the latest: 

When and How to Use Probiotics for Dogs

What Does Healthy Dog Poop Look Like?

10 Toxic Foods Dogs Can’t Eat

9 Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds for Pets

Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?

Digestive Issues In Dogs

This blog exists to provide general information and education about veterinary health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website, or in any linked materials is not intended as and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions, or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website.

If you suspect that your pet has a medical concern, you should consult with your veterinary health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website, or in any linked materials.

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Dr. James Bascharon set out on a mission ten years ago to create a pet supplement company unlike any other. After realizing there was no solution for pets with anal gland issues, Dr. Bascharon set out on a research mission to create a supplement specifically for this problem. After years of research, multiple patents, and collaboration with top industry professionals, Glandex® is now a veterinary-renowned solution for pets with anal gland issues. This journey proved that with the correct nutritional supplementation, pets could lead healthier and happier lives. Vetnique Labs® continues with an innovative veterinary mindset and approach to help make a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of millions of pets.

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