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

4 Responses

K9 Power Team
K9 Power Team

June 26, 2020

Hi Carol,

We get it! There are a lot of probiotic options out there, and the strand names can look like alphabet soup sometimes. We answer your exact question in our follow-up blog post, titled “Which is the Best Dog Probiotic?” (It’s like we read your mind!) In the article, we have a section that reviews the balance of different probiotic strands. Here’s a link:

Thanks for the great question!

- K9 Power Team

K9 Power Team
K9 Power Team

June 26, 2020

Hi Bill,

We do not formulate Joint Strong with any digestive balancing ingredients, so it’s focused squarely on easing joint stiffness and increasing mobility. Some ingredients help maintain cartilage and connective tissue and provide joint lubrication. The confusion may come in with the antioxidants, which we include to help boost immune response and reduce inflammation. That’s separate from the digestive support in Digest Forte, which can help strength the immune system by ensuring proper nutrient absorption. Hope this helps!

- K9 Power Team


June 26, 2020

I know probiotics are important but I’m not sure of which one is the best for my dog .

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

June 15, 2020

Why do you recommend joint strong to maintain balance in your dog’s digestive system I use digest forte that’s all but have used your products for many years , thanks

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