probiotics for puppies

Probiotics for Puppies: Are They Right for Your Pup?

Veterinarians.org Team
By Veterinarians.org Team
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

What are the Best Probiotics for Puppies?

Honest Paws Pre+ Probiotics
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Helps maintain proper gut flora
  • Immune system support

Are Probiotics Safe for Puppies?

Yes, probiotics for puppies are safe.

Based on a study evaluating the safety of probiotics in growing pups, using probiotic supplements is “well tolerated with no safety concerns.”

However, it is important to note that for the probiotics for puppies to be safe, they need to be of the right type and used responsibly. By right type, we mean canine probiotics (probiotics made for dogs). Human probiotics contain different types of microbes that may not be beneficial to puppies. Also, they are often high in CFUs.

By responsible use of the probiotics for puppies, we mean in accordance with the vet’s instructions and manufacturer’s guidelines.

Are Probiotics Good for Puppies?

Yes, probiotics for puppies are good.

Here is a closer look at the health benefits of probiotics for puppies:

  • Optimal Digestion. Probiotics for puppies promote digestive tract health, resulting in better nutrient absorption and vitamin synthesis.
  • Diarrhea Management. Probiotics are excellent for puppies with diarrhea. Studies show that probiotics can decrease both the duration and intensity of diarrhea episodes.
  • Parasite Control. Probiotics are gaining popularity as emerging evidence suggests they can help eliminate intestinal parasites like hookworms and Giardia.
  • Immune System Boost. Probiotics have immune-boosting properties. This is critical for pupp since they are born with immature and poor immune responses.

In addition to these main benefits, probiotics for puppies can help with issues like skin allergies, bad breath, ear infections, anxiety, and bad mood.

With the benefits covered, we should note that in rare cases, probiotics for puppies may cause side effects. Like any other supplement, if introduced suddenly or too much, they may trigger gassiness, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

The Best Probiotics for Puppies Reviewed

There are many different probiotic supplements for puppies on Amazon and Chewy. With so many options, it is hard to find the best product. To make things easy, we have selected and reviewed the best probiotics for puppies.

Honest Paws Pre+Probiotics

Honest-Paws-Probiotics-for-dogs.jpg

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Summary: The Honest Paws Pre+Probiotics is a healthy blend of probiotics and prebiotics that work together to support GI tract health and prevent imbalance in the puppy‘s gut microbiome. It features a potent yet gentle formula that is suitable for pups with sensitive stomachs. The blend comes in the form of chicken-flavored powder packed in easy-use, single-dose sachets. Owners should just sprinkle the powder over the dog food.

Recommended Uses: Stomach/intestinal health, immune support, and allergy relief for puppies

Ingredient Analysis: The formula features strains of good bacteria and high-quality sources of dietary fiber, such as inulin and Solarplast® (spinach leaf extract). The supplement is free from soy, corn, and GMO ingredients.

Probiotics Strains: Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, Bifidobacterium animalis, Bigidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus plantarum

Pros

  • Supports the digestive system and overall health
  • 5 billion CFU per stick, 30 single-dose sachets per pack
  • GMO-free, gluten-free, and vegan product
  • Easy-use, chicken-flavored powder
  • Suitable for all life stages and safe for cats too
  • USA product with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Often out of stock due to high demand

Review: Dog owners rate the Honest Paws Pre+Probiotics supplement with 4.5 out of 5 stars. They say the probiotic works wonders, and it “changed their dog’s life.“ Some users say it helped manage yeast infections in the ears.

Pet’s Choice Pharmaceuticals Puppy Booster Probiotic Powder

Pet’s Choice Pharmaceuticals Puppy Booster Probiotic Powder

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Summary: The Pet’s Choice Pharmaceuticals Puppy Booster Probiotic Powder is a potent formula made for puppies. The formula is great for managing puppies with environment- and stress-triggered diarrhea. The supplement comes in the form of a powder that can be served in two ways – sprinkled over the dog food during mealtime or mixed with the drinking water. It has 6 billion CFU per pound.

Recommended Uses: Digestive tract health and strong immune system

Ingredient Analysis: The probiotic supplement has two types of probiotics mixed with dextrose, citric acid, and other carrier ingredients. It also features added calcium which puppies need for healthy bone formation. The only thing we do not like is the use of artificial colors and flavors.

Probiotics Strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus lactis

Pros

  • Promotes healthy digestive and immune system
  • Helps return microbial balance in the intestines
  • Tasty flavor that encourages healthy hydration
  • Powder form with two serving options
  • 6 billion CFU per pound of product
  • Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients

Cons

  • Contains artificial flavors and colors

Review: Dog owners give the Pet’s Choice Pharmaceuticals Puppy Booster Probiotic Powder a rate of 4.4 out of 5 stars. They say it helped their “new puppies adjust” and managed diarrhea. Users say it is “easy to use“ and “does not change the flavor of the food/water.“

Jack&Pup Puppy Probiotic Dog Chews

Jack&Pup Puppy Probiotic Dog Chews

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Summary: The Jack&Pup Puppy Probiotic Dog Chews are formulated to help with digestion and strengthen the immune response. The supplement does wonders in managing GI tract issues like diarrhea, gassiness, bloating, and constipation in puppies. The addition of digestive enzymes and fiber makes nutrient absorption smooth and efficient. The probiotic comes in the form of tasty soft chews that are perfect for small and medium puppies.

Recommended Uses: Digestive and immune system health

Ingredient Analysis: The formula has one probiotic strain that helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. It also contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and a blend of digestive enzymes extracted from papaya and Aspergillus fungi.

Probiotics Strains: Bacillus coagulans

Pros

  • Vet-formulated blend of pro, prebiotics, and enzymes
  • Support healthy GI tract and optimal digestion
  • Boost the dog’s health and immune system
  • 60 soft chews with over 90 billion CFU per pack
  • Third-party audited product with NASC seal
  • Made in the USA with clean, wholesome ingredients

Cons

  • The taste of the chews is not specified

Review: Dog owners rate the Jack&Pup Puppy Probiotic Dog Chews with 4.3 out of 5 stars. They say that the “probiotic works great,“ “makes pooping easy,“ and “simplifies poop-scooping.“ Users describe it as “dog-approved“ and mention they like it despite featuring a non-specified taste.

Pet Naturals of Vermont Daily Probiotics

Pet Naturals of Vermont Daily Probiotics

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Summary: The Pet Naturals of Vermont Daily Probiotics feature one probiotic strain and a source of fiber along with a healthy blend of nutrients. It is formulated for puppies of all breeds and ages to support overall health. The supplement helps with digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, and gassiness. It can also boost the immune response and fight off bad breath. It is available as duck-flavored soft chews with 1.5 billion CFU per treat.

Recommended Uses: Digestive issues and overall pet health

Ingredient Analysis: Contains a single type of probiotic and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) as a source of dietary fiber. It also features a concentrated aloe vera gel for hydration and nutrient booster. The only ingredient we do not like in the supplement is canola oil.

Probiotics Strains: Bacillus coagulans

Pros

  • 1.5 billion CFU per treat (1.5g)
  • Easy-to-feed bite-sized soft chews
  • Free of corn, wheat, and artificial ingredients
  • Help with constipation, bloating, and bad breath
  • Resealable pack with 160 probiotic treats
  • NASC-approved and made in the USA

Cons

  • Contains canola oil (high in trans fats)

Review: Dog owners give the Pet Naturals of Vermont Daily Probiotics a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. They say the probiotic is excellent as “settling stomach issues“ and has “improved digestion.“ Some even note it can help with skin irritations and hot spots.

PetHonesty Digestive Probiotic Soft Chews

PetHonesty Digestive Probiotic Soft Chews

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Summary: The PetHonesty Digestive Probiotic Soft Chews are USA-made with natural, high-quality ingredients. They feature a unique blend of beneficial bacteria, dietary fiber, and digestive enzymes to support a healthy gut and strong immune system. The probiotic supplement comes in the form of soft chews packed with 6 billion CFU per treat. Because of the high concentration of live cultures per treat, they are best for large puppies.

Recommended Uses: Gastrointestinal and immunity support

Ingredient Analysis: The probiotic has 7 strains of good bacteria and a multi-enzyme blend for digestive support. It also features pumpkin as a prebiotic source and a superfood base, including carrot, sweet potato, and flaxseed.

Probiotics Strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus brevis, Enterococcus faecium, and Lactobacillus fermentum

Pros

  • 6 billion CFU per treat
  • Support digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Soft textured with duck/pumpkin flavor
  • Free from artificial flavors and preservatives
  • Resealable pack with 90 probiotic chews
  • Made in the USA in a GMP-compliant facility

Cons

  • Should be given on a full stomach

Review: Dog owners are generally pleased with the PetHonesty Digestive Probiotic Soft Chews and give it 4.4 out of 5 stars. Some customers even describe the product as a “lifesaver“ and say it is the “best probiotic so far.“

When Should I Give My Puppy Probiotics?

You should give your pup probiotics when dealing with digestive problems, usually diarrhea, or when in need of a quick immune boost.

Let’s take a look at the situations in which you should use probiotics for puppies:

  • Stress-Triggered Diarrhea. Puppies are gentle creatures and may experience stress-triggered diarrhea during weaning, traveling to their new home, or adjusting to the new family. In these situations, the use of probiotics is more than helpful.
  • Diet Changes. Finding the right puppy food requires some trial and error. Sudden changes in the diet result in stomach upset – vomiting, and diarrhea. If you plan on trying new food, start giving your pup probiotics before the switch. Keep using until the puppy adjusts to the food.
  • Worm Infestations. Intestinal parasites or simply worms are a widespread issue in puppies. It is advisable to use a probiotic supplement following the deworming treatment. Probiotics may help with some parasites. Plus, they will help the digestive system recover from the infestation.
  • Antibiotic Use. Antibiotics kill microorganisms, and prolonged use reduces the population of good bacteria. Puppies are prone to infections and often subdued to antibiotic treatments. In such cases, it is a good idea to pair antibiotics with probiotic supplements.

How Often Should I Give My Puppy Probiotics?

Depending on the reason for using probiotics, you can give them daily or on an as-needed basis.

If using the probiotics to manage digestion problems or a specific issue, it is better to give the probiotics as part of the treatment plan. On the other hand, if using them to support the pup’s overall immunity, they should be given more often.

If you are unsure about how often to use probiotics for puppies, talk to your trusted vet.

What Kind of Probiotic Should I Give My Puppy?

When it comes to probiotics for puppies you should give different bacteria strains.

For example, if your puppy has diarrhea, it will benefit from a probiotic supplement with strains like Bacillus coagulans. Simply put, Enterococcus faecium is recommended for stress-triggered diarrhea, Bifidobacterium animalis for idiopathic diarrhea, and Saccharomyces boulardii for antibiotic-caused diarrhea.

Puppies in need of immune system support benefit from supplements with strains like Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

Lactobacillus acidophilus helps relieve the symptoms of skin allergies, Lactobacillus casei decreases plaque build-up and prevents bad breath, and Lactobacillus fermentum protects from urinary tract infections.

Keep in mind that some of these live bacteria can also be found in certain human foods. The best natural probiotic that is safe for puppies is kefir.

What Should I Look for in Probiotics for Puppies?

When looking for probiotics for puppies, you must consider factors like the type of good bacteria, number of live cultures, overall ingredient quality, probiotic form, and flavor.

  • Types of Good Bacteria. The probiotic should feature different probiotic strains that fit the puppy’s individual needs. For example, Bifidobacterium members boost the immune system while Lactobacillus bacteria support digestion.
  • Colony Forming Units (CFU). This is a measurement that indicates the number of bacteria in the supplement. Usually, higher CFUs are better. However, it must not be too high since good bacteria can start competing with each other. 
  • Ingredient Quality. All ingredients in the probiotics for puppies must be of premium, human-grade quality and supportive of the probiotic’s goal (for example, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins).
  • No Fillers & Allergens. Probiotics for puppies must be free from GMO ingredients, fillers, and potential allergens (corn, soy, wheat, and gluten). It should also be free from preservatives and artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors.
  • Form & Flavor. Probiotics for puppies come in various forms (powder, chews, capsules, liquids) and dog-friendly flavors (beef, chicken). Get a probiotic form that is easy for you to administer and the probiotic flavor your puppy likes the most.

Finding the best probiotics for puppies is a challenging task. There are many brands offering different types of probiotics. Plus, a  study found a mismatch between probiotic product labels and the actual content.

Therefore, it is important to stick to the above-explained factors when shopping for probiotics for puppies.