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What Are the Pros and Cons of Probiotics for Dogs?

A vet can help determine if a dog should take probiotics.
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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 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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Logicfest
Post 2

@Melonlity -- there are a lot of good ways to get a dog to take medicine. If you're getting probiotics from your vet, see if you can get it in a liquid form instead of in a pill.

If you must give a dog a pill, try hiding it in some hamburger meat. Another effective method is to poke the pill in the dog's mouth, hold her snout closed and then massage her throat until she swallows. That method doesn't hurt the dog and works surprisingly well.

Melonlity
Post 1

The biggest problem with probiotics for dogs is getting the little varmints to take them. Giving a pill to my dog usually involves the dog spitting it up a few times before I can get her to swallow it. I only have to give pills to my dog a couple of times a year. I can't imagine trying to poke one down her on a daily basis.

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