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Best probiotics for dogs

Testing the best probiotics for pups 📷: Sara Ondrako

Probiotics support your dog’s gut health by introducing healthy bacteria into their system. Among other things, healthy bacteria strengthen your dog’s immune system and aid in digestion. Our team set out to find the best probiotic for dogs to boost immune and digestive support. We reviewed these products ourselves, comparing their ingredients, dosage, packaging, and more.

Our favorite probiotics for dogs

Our top pick

Purina Fortiflora is widely used and recommended by veterinarians. This supplement is designed for dogs that struggle with diarrhea and poor intestinal health. These once-daily packets of powder can be sprinkled directly onto your dog’s food.

  • Safe ingredients. This probiotic contains safe, effective ingredients like vitamins C and E, zinc, and more. It also contains a concentrated flavoring made up of proteins that are safe for most dogs, including those with food allergies.
  • Bacterias. Enterococcus faecium is the only bacteria used in this product, which is used to treat gastrointestinal upset.
  • Palatability. Purina Fortiflora is highly palatable, especially when used in powder form and offered to dogs with their regular food.
  • Recommended dosage. These 1-gram sachets of powder are meant to be given to dogs once daily.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. This product was not formulated by veterinarians, however, there are clinical trials available to show its effectiveness.
  • Packaging. The powders are super easy to tear open and use, and since they’re single serve, they’re especially convenient when traveling.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Erica Irish recommends this probiotic to her patients that suffer from tummy troubles since it’s shown to be very effective. She notes that experts in the field of GI health helped to formulate this product, which is why it’s among the top probiotics on the market.

Our limited ingredient pick

Native Pet Probiotic is made with all-natural ingredients and was formulated by vets to ensure its safety and effectiveness. We like that it includes ground pumpkin seed, which supports dogs’ immune systems and GI health.

  • Safe ingredients. There are only four ingredients in this product: a probiotic blend, Jerusalem artichoke, pumpkin seed, and tasty bone broth. It’s a great pick for pet parents looking for a probiotic without any artificial sweeteners or fillers.
  • Bacterias. Native Pet uses dried fermentation products as opposed to full bacteria strains, which differentiates it from other products on this list.
  • Palatability. This formula is highly palatable and can be sprinkled over your dog’s normal food. 
  • Recommended dosage. The label recommends one scoop daily for dogs that weigh less than 50 pounds and two scoops for dogs that weigh more. Our product reviewer noted that each scoop contains 6 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of bacteria, putting two scoops on the high end of our vet’s dosage recommendations, even for large pups.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. This probiotic is vet- and nutritionist-formulated.
  • Packaging. This option comes in a canister and includes a plastic scoop. Since the powder isn’t individually packaged, there’s less waste.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish likes that the ingredients are clearly listed on the product label. Given Native Pet’s track record of creating safe products for pets, she feels confident recommending this probiotic to her patients.

Best for picky pups

Proflora had the highest palatability of the probiotics we reviewed, meaning our dogs couldn’t get enough of them! It contains six different strains of bacteria to promote gut health. It should be noted, though, that this chew does contain macrogol, which is a laxative. This is beneficial for constipated dogs but could be an issue for pups with diarrhea.

  • Safe ingredients. Proflora contains more ingredients than some of the other options on this list, including a sweetener. Though sugar feeds healthy bacteria, it’s not a good additive for diabetic dogs.
  • Bacterias. As noted, there are six strains of bacteria in this chew.
  • Palatability. These chews are highly palatable.
  • Recommended dosage. Each chew contains 1 billion CFUs of bacteria per dose, which is low on the recommended scale.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. Though this product was formulated by a vet, we couldn’t find the name of that vet listed anywhere on the packaging or company website.  
  • Packaging. These chews come in a resealable plastic pouch.

What our vet thinks

Knowing which probiotic cultures or bacterias are included in a probiotic is important for pet parents when making their decision. Dr. Irish likes the fact that all bacteria strains are clearly labeled on this product.

Best dosage

These chews have a lot going for them. We chose them as the top probiotic when it comes to dosage based on the fact that each chew contains 3 billion CFUs. This is a great place to start when it comes to introducing healthy bacteria into your dog’s system.

  • Safe ingredients. These chews don’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. They include things like coconut glycerin, flaxseed, garbanzo flour, papaya, pumpkin, and more.
  • Bacterias. These probiotic bites contain a six-strain probiotic blend. The probiotics included are Bacillus subtilis DE111, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Lactococcus lactis.
  • Palatability. Our dog found these to be very palatable. There are three flavors to choose from — pumpkin, chicken, and bison — depending on your dog’s preferences.
  • Recommended dosage. With 3 billion CFUs per dose, these chews fall right in line with dosage recommendations.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. These probiotics are not vet-formulated or clinically tested.
  • Packaging. The container is sealed with a plastic covering that has to be removed upon opening, which was somewhat difficult. However, after the first use, you can easily twist the cap to open this product.

What our vet thinks

While Dr. Irish doesn’t have experience with this probiotic, she does like the fact that the ingredients are clearly listed on the product page, which shows transparency.

Best for tummy troubles

This once-daily powder contains prebiotics and probiotics that are great for GI upset, which is why we picked it as the best option for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s also free of dairy, gluten, soy, flavorings, and fillers — making it perfect for any pet with allergies!

  • Safe ingredients. This powder blend contains only the probiotics listed below, as well as stearic acid and the prebiotic inulin.
  • Bacterias. Our product reviewer noted that the strains of bacteria in this probiotic are especially beneficial for dogs that suffer from diarrhea.
  • Palatability. The powder is palatable and very easy to administer since it goes right on top of your dog’s normal food.
  • Recommended dosage. Nusentia’s dosage recommendations vary depending on the size of your pet. Each scoop contains 1 million CFUs.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. This product doesn’t appear to have been formulated by a vet.
  • Packaging. This probiotic comes in an easy-to-open twist top canister, however, the scoop can get buried quite deep in the powder.

What our vet thinks

According to Dr. Irish, this product is made with safe and effective ingredients. That said, there’s not much scientific research to demonstrate how inulin helps to support a dog’s immune system.

An affordable pick

These chicken probiotic chews have the lowest price per unit on our list, and they still have great reviews and are packed full of natural ingredients like flaxseed, rosemary, and oat flour. Dogs also seem to like the chicken flavor. One downside? Our product reviewer noticed that some of the chews are bigger than others, which could lead to inconsistency in dosage.

  • Safe ingredients. Packed full of safe and healthy ingredients for dogs, these chews include rosemary extract, oat flour, coconut glycerin, rice bran, and flaxseed.
  • Bacterias. The strains included in this product are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Lactococcus lactis.
  • Palatability. Our dog found the moderate chicken flavor to be very palatable.
  • Recommended dosage. Premium Care recommends giving your pup one chew for every 25 pounds of body weight. Dogs shouldn’t be given more than five chews per day.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. Though this product wasn’t vet-formulated or clinically tested, it does claim to be recommended by vets.
  • Packaging. These chews arrive in a well-sealed and easy-to-open canister with a screw-top lid.

What our vet thinks

Based on the ingredients and reviews, Dr. Irish would be confident recommending Premium Care Probiotic Chews.

Our research process 

Why you should trust our reviews

  • Dr. Erica Irish helped us formulate this list — Using her knowledge of probiotics, Dr. Irish reviewed every product on our list. She chose a favorite and provided us with her likes and dislikes for each supplement.
  • We ordered and paid for these products — None of the products on our list were sponsored or gifted to us. Our team used our own resources to research and purchase these probiotics so that we could review them objectively.
  • We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field — We sent each probiotic to our product review expert Sara Ondrako. She tried them with her dogs and did additional research with a veterinarian to provide her honest feedback.

How we picked

Testing probiotic products

Our product tester gives Premium Care Probiotic Chews a go 📷: Sara Ondrako

We scoured the internet for the most popular and highest-rated probiotics on the market. Veterinarian Dr. Erica Irish helped us narrow down our list before we ordered each option and sent them off to our product reviewer. After a thorough review, our team chose a “top pick,” the product that ranked the highest in all of our criteria.

Sometimes we decide we don’t want to recommend a product to pet parents after reviewing it. For this reason, some popular products didn’t make our list, and we think it’s important for pet parents to know why.

At first glance

On paper, here’s a glance at how the probiotics stack up against each other.

Product Price Form (chew or powder) Price per chew/serving
Premium Care $24.96 Chew $0.21/chew
Zesty Paws $26.97 Chew $0.29/chew
Proflora $19.75 Chew $0.29/chew
Native Pet $29.99 Powder $0.50/serving (varies by pet weight)
Nusentia $39.99 Powder $0.22/serving (varies by pet weight)
Purina $30.99 Powder $1.03/serving

*price at the time of our review

How we tested these products

We worked with our product expert and veterinarian to determine the most important criteria when it comes to choosing a probiotic for your pup. Based on their insight, we selected six criteria that we graded each product against.

  • Safe ingredients. We reviewed each option carefully to make sure it was safe for dogs and didn’t contain any harmful ingredients.
  • Bacterias. We questioned whether the bacteria strain(s) in each product were beneficial and well-researched.
  • Palatability. Sara tested each probiotic on her own dogs to determine how much they enjoyed the taste. She also noted whether or not the powders mixed well with food.
  • Recommended dosage. Vets recommend between 1 and 10 million CFUs per dose of probiotics. With this in mind, we noted the dosage on each product to see how they compared.
  • Veterinarian-formulated. We sought out answers to whether or not the product was formulated by a veterinarian or clinically tested. In some cases, this involved reaching out to the company.
  • Packaging. We considered how easy the packaging was to open and close and whether or not there was more plastic waste than necessary.

What else should pet parents consider?

What’s a probiotic?

Probiotics are live organisms and gut-dwelling microbes (good bacteria and yeast). There are billions of live bacteria in the GI tract and intestines of dogs.

Probiotics help to:

  • Aid in digestion
  • Fight pathogens
  • Bolster the immune system

Dogs suffering from all sorts of issues can benefit from taking probiotics. This includes dogs with GI issues, acute diarrhea, anxiety, and tear-staining.

Are dog probiotics the same as human probiotics?

You might wonder if dog and human probiotics are the same. Though there are many similar qualities to any probiotic, you should avoid using human probiotics for dogs. The pet-friendly probiotics that your vet prescribes are your best bet since human probiotics may not contain canine-specific benefits. For a probiotic to be effective, it must contain strains of bacteria that support your dog’s digestive system.

The difference between prebiotics and probiotics

“Think of prebiotics as ‘food’ for the probiotics,” says Dr. Irish. They support bacteria already living in your dog’s colon. Probiotics add to the number of healthy microbes in a pet’s gut.

The following are the kinds of bacteria in a dog’s gut that are usually included in most probiotics:

  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Pediococcus acidilactici
  • Enterococcus faecium (strain SF68)
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium animalis (strain AHC7)
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (strain LGG)
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Pediococcus acidilactici
  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum (BL999)
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

Common causes of gut troubles in pups

There are a few things that cause a dog to experience digestive imbalance and other gut issues. Some of the most common are listed below:

The overall health benefits of probiotics

Most dogs can benefit from them. For example, a probiotic can:

  • Alleviate digestive issues
  • Decrease the side effects of antibiotics
  • Impact behavior and energy levels
  • Reduce skin allergies
  • Contribute to better skin, coat, and breath

When you should give your dog a probiotic

Dogs can take probiotics at any time of day. Many of our recommended probiotics are easy to sprinkle on top of or mix in with a dog’s food at mealtime. Probiotics may come in different forms, including powders, capsules, and pills. Follow the instructions on the packaging for dosages and the best times to administer the probiotic.

👉 If your dog has an upcoming stressful situation (like travel or grooming), don’t forget their probiotic in the days leading up to the event. 

DIY probiotics

While feeding dogs human probiotics like yogurt and kefir may not necessarily cause harm, it’s not recommended. Dogs can be lactose intolerant to a certain degree, so they may get diarrhea from dairy.

Risks involved with giving your dog probiotics

All dogs can take probiotics except those with severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Even healthy dogs should consider a daily probiotic. Always consult your vet when adding anything to your pup’s diet.

How to pick the best probiotic for your pup

There are a few things to pay attention to when choosing a probiotic for your pup. Every dog is different, so it’s important to keep your dog’s unique needs in mind. In addition, some of the following tips can help:

  1. Get familiar with your dog’s specific gastrointestinal habits and other ailments (like arthritis or allergies).
  2. Look at the ingredients on your favorite product label and get it approved by your vet.
  3. Always pay attention to the expiration date. Using probiotics after they have expired may mean that some of the healthy bacterias have died.
  4. Administer the product in slow increments and watch for progress.

Healthy gut, happy pup

Taking into account your dog’s gut health can go a long way. Your dog’s healthy and balanced gut will support their day-to-day comfort, digestive system, and immune system into their old age.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best probiotic to give a dog?

Based on our thorough analysis of the best probiotics for dogs, we recommend Purina Fortiflora.

What probiotics do vets recommend?

Vets recommend probiotics that offer dogs between 1 and 10 billion CFUs per dose. Our vet Dr. Irish chose Purina Fortiflora as her top pick.

Can I feed probiotic yogurt to my dog?

We don’t recommend it considering that a probiotic made for dogs is always a better choice. Many dogs are also lactose intolerant, so dairy could cause them to experience GI issues like vomiting and diarrhea.