The Lowdown on Probiotics

Posted by Travis Mercure on

Planning on giving your dog probiotics?  

Find out how to give your dog some amazing health benefits – and save some money too!

  • Your dog needs probiotics … and she needs them every day. I’ll tell you why.

  • But probiotic supplements are expensive … and that daily dose doesn’t have to come in an expensive pill.

Probiotics can be confusing. You may wonder, “Can I give my dog probiotics?” or “Can dogs take human probiotics?” And if so, how and when should you give them? Some people say only in certain situations, others say all the time.

I’m going to answer those questions. And then I’ll tell you about my favorite 6 ways to give your dog probiotics, along with some helpful recipes.

But first, here’s a bit of background on probiotics and prebiotics.

Helpful Definitions

Probiotics – Immune System Building Blocks

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in various parts of your dog’s body, including the gastrointestinal tract, the oral cavity, vagina, nasal cavity, respiratory organs and even on the skin. The term probiotic literally means “for life.” The word comes from the Latin preposition pro meaning  “for” and the Greek word bios meaning “life”. Probiotics are often called “good bacteria.” Keeping a good balance of good (vs bad) bacteria is vital for your dog’s health.

Prebiotics – Feed The Probiotics

Prebiotics are various types of preferred foods that nourish the probiotic bacteria and keep them active. Feeding prebiotics along with probiotics gives your dog symbiotics.

Symbiotics – The Perfect Couple

Symbiotic means a beneficial interaction (known as a symbiotic relationship) between two different things. Prebiotics and probiotics form a perfect couple by working together to keep your dog’s body super-healthy.

The pre and the probiotics are simply and naturally a beneficial boost to your dog’s diet. Your dog’s diet – that’s another platform to address. There are very tricky marketing terms that manufacturers use to confuse you when buying your pets food. This makes it extremely difficult to know if your dog is getting the wholesome diet he needs to stay healthy and active (and skip unnecessary and expensive trips to the vet).

We’ve built a simple calculation tool and formula you can follow to know exactly what your dog is getting in his food. Enter your email below and grab our Free 3-part pet food workshop and get the tools you need to start buying better foods for your dog today …

Important Hangouts for Probiotics

Your dog has trillions and trillions of friends in her body that you didn’t even know about! As many as 1,000 different types of bacteria and microorganisms from your dog’s microbiome (your dog’s “ecosystem”).



Beneficial bacteria live in the mouth and keep it healthy. Good bugs in your dog’s mouth can be the first line of defense against viruses and bacteria entering the body. Feeding carbohydrate foods to your dog creates the wrong kind of bacteria in the mouth, causing tartar and plaque to form on his teeth.


Good bacteria in the pharynx help maintain good health. When the pharynx contains pathogenic bacteria, they will cause pharyngitis and other signs of inflammation.

Stomach, Pancreas, and Gallbladder

The enteric system (a system of neurons that control the gastrointestinal system) continues down the throat and into the stomach. Probiotic bacteria go through the acid in the stomach and need to survive the pancreatic enzymes and bile from the gallbladder.

Digestion takes place In the stomach and small intestine. Minerals are absorbed in the small intestine.


I call the colon probiotic headquarters! The colon is where probiotics exert their greatest effect. Studies have shown that probiotics can even help prevent colon cancer in humans.

Some experts question whether probiotics survive their journey to the colon (sometimes this is a marketing claim for probiotic brands with enteric coatings). In fact, most of the healthy bacteria can travel through the high acid situations, enzymes, and bile in the body.

Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, creator of the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) protocol, says that it doesn’t matter if the probiotics don’t arrive alive in the colon. Even if they’re dead, the body scan still use their genetic material to benefit the colon.

Anus – The “Back Door!”

Every time your pet has a bowel movement, hundreds of thousands of bacteria, yeast, and other microbes exit the body. This is part of the body’s detoxification process and probiotics help remove the toxins.

Lady Parts

It’s not on the illustration, but probiotics live successfully in your dog's lady parts. When puppies are born, they get a first dose of healthy bacteria as they pass through the birth canal. (This is true of human babies too, and C-section babies miss out on this benefit.)

Why Your Dog Needs Probiotics

Good bacteria are crucial for the health of your dog’s gut. But they also support her brain, digestion, assimilation of nutrients and – best of all –  her immune system. Boosting your dog’s immune system is probably the most important role of probiotics.

Immune System

As much as 80% of your dog’s immune system is based in her gut. Different probiotics pair with almost every different part of the immune system that we know of.

Viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and probiotics are present starting in the mouth and throughout your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Maintaining the good bacteria keeps pathogens in check and is your dog’s primal immune system.

A good balance of probiotics helps reduce inflammation throughout your dog’s  body – and that lowers her susceptibility to chronic disease.


Probiotics support digestion as well as the assimilation of vitamins and minerals. They help your dog’s body process critical nutrients like vitamin B-12.


The intestinal microbiome is in charge of producing neurotransmitters and neuropeptides needed for brain health. The gut is filled with nerve cells so probiotics in the gut can also support brain function. One study showed that mice that lacked gut bacteria behaved differently from normal mice, engaging in “high-risk behavior.” Probiotics also synthesize some important hormones – serotonin, for example – and some strains are even effective in DNA repair.

They say that the gut is the “second brain” but when I see the links from the neurons in the gut to the brain, I’m beginning to think the brain is secondary and the gut is the first and biggest brain!

When To Give Your Dog Probiotics

I say every day! This is a question many people disagree on. Some experts think you should only give your dog probiotics when she has a digestive upset, when she’s under stress, or if she’s been taking antibiotics or other conventional medication.

But I believe that probiotics are such an essential part of your dog’s health that you should give them all the time. That’s why (as you’ll see soon) I recommend varying your dog’s source of probiotics and feeding a lot of probiotic foods.

I also like to give probiotics at different times of day. They’ll work differently depending on what’s going on in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract at the time. Dr Campbell-McBride advises giving probiotics in between meals to avoid the environment of high gastric juices and acids caused by digestion.

A Note About Antibiotics

If your dog is taking antibiotics, it’s a good idea to alternate them with probiotics so you’re constantly trying to limit the damage done by the antibiotic. I recommend giving probiotics two hours after each antibiotic dose. I think this is more effective than trying to repair the gut after the antibiotics are finished.

When it comes to probiotics for dogs, there are lots of different ways to give them. Using probiotic foods as well as supplements boosts your dog’s diet with a myriad of nutritional benefits to keep your dog glowing with health.

 source: Dogs Naturally Magazine // Patricia Jordan DVM


Get your dog started on Doggone Best's Advanced Dog Probiotic today!


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