Can Dogs Take Human Probiotics?

People take probiotics for their gut health, but dogs can benefit from them too. When the right types are given in the right amounts, these helpful microorganisms can keep your dog’s gut microbiome healthy. The question is: can dogs take human probiotics? The short answer is yes. However, there are distinct benefits to giving your dog species-specific probiotics instead of sharing your own.

What are probiotics?

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Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms, which confer health effects on the host if administered in sufficient amounts”. To break it down, probiotics are “good” bacteria or yeast that are naturally present in the body. You are not introducing something that is not already perfectly comfortable in the intestines.

However, the digestive tracts of dogs and humans have some differences that make dog-specific probiotics a better choice than the human versions. The differences start in the saliva. Dog saliva performs more antimicrobial functions, while enzymes in human saliva work primarily to help break down food. While both species have acidic stomach environments, dog stomachs are more acidic than a human’s stomach. Dog intestines are also shorter than human intestines.

These key digestive characteristics along with dietary differences create a unique gut microbiome for each species. Although human probiotics are not harmful to dogs and may be helpful for them, they will not provide the same benefits as dog-specific probiotic strains.

Does my dog ​​need probiotics?

The gut microbiota helps digest food, but it does more than that. The gut’s natural microbial population also helps support the immune system and influences everything from weight management to allergies. Probiotics may benefit dogs prone to gastroenteritis, irritable bowel disease (IBD), and allergies. Dogs that struggle with any of these issues are candidates for daily probiotics. However, consult your veterinarian to determine if a specific strain might work better than another.

Sometimes illness, the administration of antibiotics, or a change in diet can alter the bacterial balance in the gut, leading to stomach upset, diarrhea, or other digestive problems. Changes in the gut microbiome can also reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, making the dog more susceptible to pathogens in their environment or food. Probiotics put the good guys (bacteria) back in control.

Can dogs take human probiotics?

Yes, dogs can take human probiotics. The fact is, dogs and humans have co-existed long enough that dogs often carry human strains of gut bacteria. For example, hBoth humans and dogs have various strains of lactobacilli in their microbiome, and strains of canine and human bifidobacteria are found in the typical dog microbiome.

However, probiotics that are beneficial to humans may not be as beneficial for your dog than those designed specifically for him. Probiotics designed for dogs (and cats) are balanced for their specific microbiome and needs. Different strains of probiotics for dogs are also designed to address specific issues like diarrhea, immune system support, or even anxiety relief. You’ll get more bang for your buck (financially and health-wise) by sticking to dog-specific strains.

When and how to give canine probiotics

Probiotics for Dogs

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A daily probiotic may be a good idea for your dog if:

  • he is prone to stomach problems
  • he is a curious eater who eats everything and anything
  • he has a chronic digestive problem such as IBD or frequent gastroenteritis
  • he took antibiotics
  • he could use an immune system boost

However, if your dog suddenly develops serious digestive issues, a probiotic is not the answer. That’s when it’s time to call the vet to make sure a serious problem isn’t developing. You also don’t need to give a separate probiotic if your dog’s food already contains probiotics.

Probiotics come in different forms, such as chews, powders, and gels. Picky dogs may need you to be a little sneaky to give probiotics using a tasty chew or flavored powder to mix into their food. Dog probiotics also come in different strains designed to target specific problems. Give a variety that meets your dog’s specific needs, such as digestive health, immune system support, or behavioral issues like anxiety. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the dog receives the correct amount, as excessive doses can cause diarrhea, bloating and general discomfort.

Final remarks

Human probiotics aren’t a bad idea in a pinch. They certainly won’t harm your dog. However, like most things, the human version isn’t the best choice for dogs. Probiotics designed for dogs will provide the most benefit. If you’re unsure if your dog could benefit from probiotics, talk to your veterinarian. Managing your dog’s health is a partnership between the two of you. He or she may even recommend a brand and variety that is more likely to target your dog’s specific health issues.

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