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What Are the Pros and Cons of Probiotics for Dogs?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2014
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The pros and cons of probiotics for dogs are similar to those of probiotic supplements for humans. Canine probiotics can help regulate a dog’s intestinal and digestive health, as well as promote a healthier coat and skin and boost energy. Probiotics can even help with certain yeast infections and rashes the dog might experience. Oftentimes, a dog’s symptoms will get worse before they start to show improvement, and he might even develop symptoms he wasn’t showing before he started taking the supplements. Although probiotics for dogs don’t usually require prescriptions, it’s always safest to consult a veterinarian to rule out any serious health problems before beginning a probiotic regime.

Some benefits of probiotics for dogs are similar to those of probiotics for humans, such as improved intestinal health and digestive functions. Probiotics can help regulate constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating. Other pros of probiotics for dogs include healthier skin and coats and improved breath. Canine probiotics can also help if the dog has a problem with shedding or has been experiencing a lack of energy. A veterinarian might recommend probiotics if a dog has a problem with a yeast overgrowth or certain rashes.

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Although they can present some side effects, probiotic supplements usually aren’t dangerous. Such side effects of probiotics for dogs might include digestive discomforts such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas. The dog’s original symptoms might become worse until his body adjusts to the probiotics. Also, it might be difficult for the owner to administer the probiotics, especially if they’re in tablet form. In the beginning, the owner might find himself going through a trial-and-error period before he finds the right probiotics for his dog and starts seeing results.

Typically, probiotics supplements of any sort don’t require a prescription, and this includes probiotics for pets. If the dog owner wants to try canine probiotics merely to take advantage of the health benefits, he can generally purchase them over the counter at any pet store or through its website or catalog. If the owner wants to try probiotics for dogs to cure a particular health problem, though, he might want to consult with a veterinarian. For example, canine probiotics can help treat a dog’s unhealthy digestive track, but only a veterinarian can tell whether or not there’s a serious underlying health condition causing the digestive problem in the first place. It’s in the dog’s best interest if his owner takes him to the vet for a thorough exam before reaching for the probiotics.

It’s important for the owner to treat the probiotics for dogs as he would any kind of supplement. For example, using and storing the canine probiotics exactly as directed can help maximize their effectiveness and safety. If the symptoms don’t show improvement after the allotted amount of time, the owner should discontinue use. If the symptoms persist or get worse after discontinuing use, the owner should make an appointment with the dog’s veterinarian. The veterinarian can then diagnosis the problem, if he hasn’t already, and choose another course of treatment.

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