What are the Best Prebiotics for Dogs?

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Honest Paws Pre+ Probiotics
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  • Supports digestive and immune health
  • Can aid in alleviating the impact of seasonal allergies
  • Promotes a robust immune system, encourages healthy gut flora, and helps facilitate smooth digestion

What are Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics for dogs are dietary fibers that selectively stimulate the growth and activities of specific bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and exert beneficial effects on the host.

In simpler terms, prebiotics are fibers that pass through the GI tract undigested. The healthy flora in the intestine uses them as food, and once they reach the colon, they are fermented and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which promote a healthy gut. 

There are different types of fibers, and not all of them serve as prebiotics. However, prebiotic fibers can be classified into two groups – soluble fibers and insoluble fibers.

Gut bacteria can ferment the soluble fibers. Some common soluble fibers with prebiotic properties include:

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS): extracted from the fructose molecules found in many fruits, roots, and whole grains (bananas, blue agave, yacon root, chicory root, beet pulp, oats, flaxseed).
  • Inulin: an indigestible starch found in many fruits and vegetables (bananas, apples, asparagus, artichokes, chicory, dandelion, raw garlic, artichokes).
  • Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS): derived from the cell walls of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast.
  • Galactooligosaccharides (GOS): made from dairy products, beans, legumes, and root vegetables.

It should be noted that many probiotic supplements use maltodextrin as a prebiotic source. Although maltodextrin shows prebiotic activity, it should be avoided in dog products.

This is because it is usually derived from GMO corn and affects blood sugar levels. Some pet products list this ingredient as soluble corn fiber or resistant starch so make sure to read the label information thoroughly. 

How do Prebiotics for Dogs Work?

Prebiotics for dogs work by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the dog’s gut, or in other terms, they serve as a food source for the probiotics. Interestingly prebiotics can selectively nourish only the healthy flora, thus preventing the growth of bad microorganisms. 

In addition to providing nutrients for the good bacteria, once metabolized in the colon, the probiotics create short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that promote the host’s health through several mechanisms: 

  • Supporting gut health and proper digestion 
  • Serving as a source of energy for the colon cells 
  • Inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria 
  • Maintaining normal intestinal electrolyte and fluid balance 
  • Managing or reducing inflammatory processes  
  • Decreasing the risk of digestive tract disease

Considering that 80% of the dog’s immune system is located in the GI tract, maintaining a healthy digestive system is closely related to supporting a strong immune response. 

What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics for Dogs?

In a nutshell, probiotics are live cultures that introduce new and good microorganisms in the gut while prebiotics serve as food sources for the already present beneficial microbiome. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), probiotics are “living microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”

Definitions aside, probiotics are the billions of live and beneficial microorganisms (mostly bacteria but sometimes yeasts) that inhabit the dog’s gut. They play several key roles such as “helping to digest food, maintaining intestinal mucosal integrity, participating in metabolism, and stimulating systemic immune function.” 

What are the Benefits of Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics do more than just feed the good bacteria in the gut. They are a standalone health booster and provide the following benefits:

  • Support Fermentation and Healthy Digestion. Prebiotics support the fermentation processes in the colon and have a direct impact on stool quality. When used regularly and in combination with probiotics, prebiotics can prevent and manage loose stool and diarrhea. Overall speaking, prebiotics are critical for normal and regular digestion. 
  • Increase the Nutrient Absorption. Prebiotics can change the pH in the intestines and modulate the composition of gut microorganisms. As a result, they make the intestines more conducive to nutrient absorption. Namely, instead of just passing through the intestines, prebiotics make the nutrients more likely to get absorbed and utilized by the dog’s body. 
  • Prevent and Manage Intestinal Disorders. A healthy gut is the brick and mortar of a healthy digestive tract. Keeping the good and bad bacteria balanced and supporting the normal digestion and absorption processes is a good starting point for both preventing and managing disorders affecting the different parts of the dog’s GI tract.  
  • Control Blood Sugar Spikes. As fibers, prebiotics slow down digestion and modulate the absorption processes, thus leading to thorough nutrient breakdown and constant blood sugar levels. This is particularly beneficial for dogs with diabetes in which sudden blood sugar spikes and changes can have serious consequences. 
  • Improve Bone Density and Robustness. In many animal models, gut health and its microbiome can affect bone density and strength. This is believed to be a result of improved nutrient absorption. Namely, the more calcium the dog absorbs in the intestines, the less likely it is to develop osteoporosis or other issues related to poor bone quality. 
  • Strengthen the Immune System. Prebiotics are directly linked with stronger immunity and a more robust immune function. What is more, when fed to pregnant and lactating females, prebiotics can “increase the immune power of the colostrum.” Consequently, the puppies are more likely to develop a healthier response to regular vaccinations. 

The Best Prebiotics for Dogs Reviewed

There are many prebiotic supplements for dogs. To help pet owners find the right product, we have reviewed the best prebiotics for dogs.

Honest Paws Probiotics for dogs and cats

Summary: This is our top pick when it comes to prebiotics for dogs. This is mainly because the product contains both probiotics and prebiotics in a precise ratio. This inhibits the growth of pathogens that might be harmful to your fur baby. Additionally, it also pre-stimulates the growth of gut flora. The product also helps to promote the production of antibodies and free radicals that are beneficial for your dog. These prebiotics for dogs also helps fight diarrhea, loss of appetite, and constipation, among other problems.

Recommended Uses: Healthy gut, allergy relief, and immune support

Ingredient Analysis

  • Solarplast: A spinach leaf extract that helps with cellular health and regeneration
  • Inulin: Derived from chicory root, serves as an excellent source of dietary fiber.
  • Bacillus subtilis: In addition to maintaining a healthy gut flora, this ingredient helps improve digestive and immune health.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: This ingredient assists intestinal health and builds immune function.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum: This is a great ingredient that offers digestive support and helps with maintaining healthy gut flora.
  • Bacillus coagulans: This not only improves bowel health but also helps with improving the digestive power of your dog.
  • Bifidobacterium longum: Supports a healthy gut microbiota.
  • Specially formulated with probiotics and prebiotics
  • Promotes the production of natural antibodies
  • Helps reduce allergies and itching
  • Benefits the digestive and immune systems
  • Encourages healthy aging
  • The flavor might not suit your dog

Review: This product is available in a natural chicken flavor. The prebiotics for dogs comes pre-portioned in small sachets making it easy to administer the dose.

Petlab Co. Prebiotics Dental Sticks for Dogs

Summary: These innovative sticks are designed to improve dental and periodontal tissue health. Additionally, it also helps maintain oral hygiene and prevents the buildup of plaque and tartar. The product is formulated with peppermint oil, organic coconut oil, and ground flaxseed. These dental chews have been developed by a team of dog owners who have a passion for improving your dog’s health overall. The peppermint flavor of the prebiotics for dogs will surely be a hit with your pet.

Recommended Uses: Oral hygiene

Ingredient Analysis

  • Microfos Ultra (Inulin Powder): This is a naturally occurring prebiotic known for its potency and digestive health benefits.
  • Peppermint Oil: Peppermint Oil is used mainly for countering mouth odor. It also has mild anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Potato Starch: This is a great source of carbohydrates and fiber. It adds an earthy flavor to the product that dogs love.
  • Oatmeal Flour: This is a great source of fiber and thus helps improve digestion. It also reduces inflammation in the body and helps counter Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Supports a wide range of issues
  • Improves gum health and oral hygiene
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Contains no harmful chemicals
  • Prevents plaque and tartar buildup
  • Can cause allergies in sensitive dogs

Review: These dental sticks offer a great peppermint flavor that keeps your dog’s mouth smelling fresh as day. The prebiotics for dogs are perfect for all breeds and ages.

Meaningful Tree Prebiotics for Dogs

Summary: Meaningful Tree Prebiotics for dogs developed a proprietary way to combine extra virgin olive oil and acacia fiber into an effective prebiotic for dogs. Made with sustainable and traceable products, this is an all-natural formula made in the USA. This supplement helps balance a dog’s gut microbiomes and fights inflammation for overall wellness. Additionally, it can also improve skin, coat, and heart health for dogs.

Recommended Uses: Improves digestive and supports skin and coat health

Ingredient Analysis

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Contains nutrients like Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your dog’s skin and coat health. 
  • Acacia Fiber: A natural prebiotic that supports healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive system. 
  • Made with only two all-natural ingredients 
  • Vet-approved prebiotic super-powder
  • Promotes a healthy gut and digestive microbiome
  • Improves skin and coat health
  • Stimulates brain and heart health
  • Only comes in one size jar

Review: With an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, pet owners highly recommend Meaningful Tree prebiotics. Dog parents love that this prebiotic is made from all-natural products with no unnecessary additives or fillers. They also report that it helps firm up their dog’s poop and helps digestion.

VetriScience Laboratories Vetri Mega Probiotic and Prebiotic for Dogs

Summary: This non-dairy product is made with an all-natural source of beneficial microorganisms that support digestive health. It contains 5 billion microorganisms per capsule with 8 beneficial strains. It builds GI tract health and issues related to food sensitivity and allergies making it perfect for dogs who find it difficult to digest food. The prebiotics for dogs also helps regulate common digestive problems such as flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation.

Recommended Uses: Digestive health

Ingredient Analysis

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS): Dietary fibers or prebiotics
  • Seven Probiotic Strains: Support a healthy gut flora, build immunity, and promote overall health.
  • Offers a non-dairy formula
  • Recommended for pets that suffer regular digestive troubles
  • Helps reduce food sensitivity and allergies
  • Support digestive health
  • Improves GI tract health
  • The product is on the expensive side

Review: If your dog suffers from food intolerances, this prebiotics for dogs is bound to provide relief. It also helps with your dog’s overall well-being.

NaturVet Digestive Enzymes for Dogs Plus Probiotics & Prebiotics

Summary: This cat and dog supplement contains essential enzymes that can accelerate the process of food breaking down. It also helps the beneficial nutrients to be absorbed more easily by your dog’s digestive tract. If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach and flatulence, this is the product you need. It is perfect for pets that are older than 6 weeks. The prebiotics for dogs has been formulated by renowned vets and has been made in the USA.

Recommended Uses: Gut health and improved digestion

Ingredient Analysis

  • Aspergillus oryzae: This inhibits the production of harmful bacterial populations that could cause various health issues in your dog.
  • Aspergillus niger: This helps improve the absorption of nutrients such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates in your dog’s body.
  • Bacillus coagulans: This improves your dog’s bowel health and makes stools more manageable. It also helps in the absorption of nutrients.
  • Trichoderma longibrachiatum: This helps maintain a normal good bacteria balance in the lower intestine along with improving digestion and promoting overall gut health.
  • Great for food transitioning
  • Helps break down food more easily
  • Veterinarian formulated product
  • Available in powder and capsule form
  • Can also be used with cats
  • Lower potency compared to other products

Review: This product is easy to administer, especially if you have a picky dog. The prebiotics for dogs is easy to use as they can be sprinkled on top of the dog food. 

Strawfield Pets Pre+ Probiotic Powder

Summary: This probiotic supplement for dogs is great for your dog’s overall health. Additionally, it also helps with improved digestion and immune function. The supplement is suited for small, medium, large & adult, and senior dogs. The prebiotics for dogs is available in beef & vegetable flavored powder that contains a unique 5-strain bacterial formula with over 5 billion CFUs per scoop. It also contains a propriety enzyme blend formulated with pumpkin that helps with overall digestion.

Recommended Uses: Gut health

Ingredient Analysis

  • Pumpkin: An excellent source of fiber that supports digestion and intestinal motility.
  • Proprietary Blend of Digestive Enzymes: Help with food breakdown.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: This ingredient helps to maintain normal bacteria balance in the lower intestine.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum: This ingredient helps support a normal digestive function and offers overall wellbeing.
  • Lactobacillus brevis: This ingredient improves your dog’s gut health and helps with enhanced nutrient absorption.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum: Helps build strength in your dog’s digestive system and maintains a healthy level of good bacteria in the body.
  • Helps reduce food sensitivity and allergies
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Helps break down food more easily
  • Contains no harmful chemicals
  • Support digestive health
  • Often out of stock due to high demand

Review: This supplement has been made in a federally regulated laboratory. The prebiotics for dogs is safe for all dogs over 6 weeks old.

What are Natural Prebiotics for Dogs?

There are several ingredients that serve as natural prebiotic sources. However, not all of them are safe for regular use in dogs. Here are some of the dog-friendly, prebiotic-rich foods:

  • Mushrooms. Rich in various carbohydrates with prebiotic properties like chitin, hemicellulose, xylans, beta-glucans, and mannans. The best prebiotic mushrooms are: 
  • Chicory Root. Improves digestion, manages inflammation, provides anti-oxidant support, and alleviates constipation. Its semi-sweet taste makes it well-accepted by dogs. 
  • Burdock Root. Contains the same inulin levels as the chicory root. Plus, it is readily available and easy to add to the dog’s menu. 
  • Larch Arabinogalactan. Called “the good sugar” arabinogalactan is a soluble fiber abundantly present in carrots, pears, coconut, corn, shiitake mushrooms, and plants like echinacea and astragalus.
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PetLab Co. Dental Sticks
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  • Helps target build-up via the sticks' abrasive and mechanical action, and keeps their breath fresh
  • Supports your dog's oral hygiene and promotes healthy digestion 
  • A tasty and effective dental treat

What Should I Look for in Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics for dogs not only improve digestive health but also offer several dietary benefits. There are several factors that one needs to keep in mind when looking for the best prebiotics for dogs: 

  • Natural Ingredients. It is best for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing if they are given supplements that contain only natural ingredients. This helps improve the quality of their gut flora. Just like in some dog foods, you can find several supplements that contain these ingredients.
  • Vet Developed/Recommended. If your brand has been recommended by a vet, you can be sure that it is a quality product. There are some brands that have especially been developed by vets. This ensures that the supplement has been manufactured with the right formulation.
  • Easy Administration. Most pet parents will agree that giving your dog their medicines and supplements is a truly tedious task. Therefore, you have to ensure that your supplement is easy to administer. For instance, a powdered form of the supplement might be easy to give as compared to a pill. This is because you can simply hide it in the dog food. Some prebiotics are available in the form of delicious chews that could be used as a treat.
  • Third-Party Testing. If your supplement has been tested by a third party, you can be sure that it is safe and has passed the required quality checks. Just like several pet foods, pet supplements are also tested by these external agencies to ensure quality.

How Long does it Take for Prebiotics to Work in Dogs?

It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for prebiotics to start showing their effects. Prebiotics pass through the GI tract intact. However, the time it takes to act on your dog’s health will depend on why you are using the supplement in the first place. Therefore, it is best to consult a vet for the best results.

How can I Add Prebiotics to My Dog’s Diet?

Prebiotics for dogs are one of the latest trends in pet health care. Therefore, some dog food brands add probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to their diet formulas. Before talking to your veterinarian about prebiotic supplements, check the dog food label. 

If the dog food is not enriched with prebiotics or they are present in low amounts, you can proceed and start incorporating prebiotics in two ways:

  • Naturally with the help of human foods that are rich in prebiotics.
  • With prebiotic supplements designed for dogs. 

We have already explained which foods serve as natural sources of prebiotics. However, we should note that some of the need to be used with caution. For example, raw garlic has toxic potential when used excessively, and beet pulp can irritate the dog’s sensitive stomach. 

Bottom line, sticking to prebiotic supplements for dogs is the best way of adding this nutraceutical to your pet’s menu. We recommend using the Honest Paws Wellness Pre + Probiotic for dogs. 

The supplement is a blend of various prebiotics and probiotic strains and features only natural high-quality ingredients available in a natural chicken flavor. Additionally, it is powdered and packed in individual sachets making it easier to administer the dose.