How important is it to supplement your pet with probiotics ?

How important is it to supplement your pet with probiotics ?


Editor's Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published June 13, 2022.

If you’re a pet parent, you probably know how important your dog’s immune system is to her overall health. But did you know that around 70% of her immune system resides in her gut? That means the healthier your dog’s gut microbiome, the healthier she’ll be overall, because it’s her immune system that defends her against disease. 

Factors That Influence Microbiome Health

There are two categories of bacteria that reside in your dog’s gut:

  • Friendly (good) bacteria that promotes the normal, healthy function of the GI tract and therefore, the immune system
  • Pathogenic (bad) bacteria that disrupts gastrointestinal function and compromises immune function as well

When your dog’s gut microbiome is healthy, it means there’s an optimal balance of good-to-bad bacteria present. When an imbalance occurs that allows an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, problems often develop in the GI tract first, followed eventually by other health conditions resulting from the inability of the immune system to function optimally.

The gut microbiome can be influenced by several factors — everything from emotional stress to an unhealthy lifestyle. Research has demonstrated these factors can negatively impact a pet’s microbiome:

  • Sudden change in diet creating GI upset
  • Vaccinations
  • Ultraprocessed diets, and lack of dietary diversity
  • Surgery and prescription medication (including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Pica (eating non-food items such as feces, sticks, rocks, etc.)
  • GI disease (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Drinking contaminated water or water treated with fluoride and chlorine
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm chemical preventives
  • Ingestion of fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticide residues in pet food or the environment
  • Emotional stress (often caused by a change in routine or environment, such as travel or boarding)

When physical or emotional stress upsets the bacterial balance in your dog’s digestive tract, it can trigger a cascade of nutritional problems, including poor nutrient absorption and intermittent or chronic diarrhea.

It also opens the door to leaky gut syndrome (dysbiosis) in which partially digested amino acids and allergens escape from the GI tract and enter the bloodstream. This in turn can create a host of other health problems, from allergies to autoimmune disease.

Selecting a High-Quality Probiotic for Your Dog

When choosing a supplement for your dog, avoid human probiotics, and probiotics added to commercial pet food. Probiotic formulas used by humans are developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract. Pets have specific strains of bacteria unique to them, so they do best with a customized probiotic.

Fermented foods provide a wider variety of beneficial bacteria than probiotic supplements and far more of them.

Information from : Dr. Karen Shaw Becker (

Tillbaka till blogg