by K9 Power Team April 06, 2020 3 min read

We’ve all seen the classic Jamie Lee Curtis ACTIVIA commercials and know that earworm of a jingle...ACTIVIAAAAAA! For many, this was our introduction to probiotics, those beneficial, friendly microbes (aka bacteria and yeasts) that live in our gut.

Yogurts with live cultures are commonplace today, but not everyone knows that a dog needs those active cultures in their gut too. So we’re here to share the basics of pup probiotics and the benefits of adding them to their diet. 


Okay, so what are probiotics?

Since the mid-eighties, we have knownprobiotics to be helpful growth aids. Interestingly, they started in aquaculture, or aquafarming, the practice of growingaquatic animals or plants for food. Later we uncovered use cases formaintaining healthy water quality and controlling bacterial infections. Now, we often see probiotics as ingredients that help with nutrient digestion. They exist with our digestive system naturally, but we can consume additional probiotics to strengthen our immunity, aid in digestion, and for a host of other health benefits.

Probiotics benefit the microflora of a dog’s digestive system, similar to our own. The idea of giving your dogmorebacteria may sound odd, but think of probiotics as “good bacteria,” fighting the bad bacteria that can harm your dog’s intestinal microflora.

From time to time, the helpful bacteria in a dog’s GI tract can be damaged or even destroyed. If your pup suffers from excessive diarrhea or loose bowels, crazy bad breath, or if they just seem to be mysteriously sicker than other dogs, your veterinarian may suggest you explore prebiotics or probiotics.


What’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?

Prebiotic nutrients help nourish and and stimulate the growth of the good bacteria already living within your dog’s digestive system. Basically, they are extra fuel forexisting gut bacteria. However, if your pup’s bacteria levels have been depleted, probiotics might be necessary. The pet food regulatory body AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), calls them “direct-fed microbials,” or live cultures containing the kinds of bacteria normally found in the canine gut.


What are some common dog probiotics?

So glad you asked! A few of the most common strains include:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

Latin much? Us neither... Still, it’s helpful to familiarize ourselves with some of these common pup probiotic varieties. 


When might my dog need probiotics?

When your pup gets stressed or sick, the balance between the healthy and disease-causing microbes may be disrupted. This can lead to diarrhea, gas, cramping, bad breath, and other less-than-desirable symptoms. 

Sometimes, there’s little to nothing you can do to prevent this. That’s not a poor reflection on you as a dog lover, but here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Cuts or scrapes that may be infected.Any roughhousing at the dog park can lead to a small cut that can get infected. This can disrupt your pup’s bacterial imbalance, even in their gut, so check for broken skin and wash any cuts after each puppy playdate. 
  • General stress. Dogs experience emotional stress just like we do. Perhaps you went away for the weekend and left your pup with a friend. Maybe you moved to a new home. Or (happy thought), you recently rescued your new pup from a shelter! Any deviation from the norm can trigger colitis (inflammation of the colon), which often results in diarrhea.
  • Changes in diet.Your best friend, also a dog lover, just recommended an amazing new food. You goof, and don’tgradually introduce it, phasing out their old food. (Classic mistake.) Or maybe you didn’t see your pup get into the trash... Abrupt changes in diet can also throw gut microflora out of balance.
  • Some medications. Perhaps after a surgery or from some other ailment, your vet prescribes antibiotics or long-term steroids. These are known to reduce good bacteria, which can lead to GI issues for your pup. Check with your vet before introducing probiotics to counteract these effects.
  • Parasites.Our ever-exploring friends may occasionally pick up a friend of their own, unbeknownst to us all. Your vet is your best resource for diagnosing a potential parasite, and they likely will need a stool sample to do so. Probiotics may be a natural option on your four-legged friend’s recovery.

Why K9 Power?

As a company, we have over 25 years of experience researching & developing premium pet supplements for health-conscious dog enthusiasts, breeders, trainers, and competitors. We believe that our supplements combined with a balanced diet, can greatly improve any dog’s quality of life.

If you are looking for a digestive aid for dogs, K9 Power offers a supplement calledDigest Forte. We recommend Digest Forte to help maintain balance in your dog’s digestive functionality, boost nutrient absorption, and promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria


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