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Can I Give My Dog Human Probiotics?

  • By Raquel Astacio
Golden Retriever laying on grass

So you have done your research on the benefits of probiotics for dogs and decide to give it a try. What is next? You may go on the internet and compare prices. Or, you may decide to give your furry friend some of your own probiotics. It’s all the same bacteria anyway, right? You may want to think again before going to the fridge or cupboard.

The Right Probiotics for Your Dog

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Let’s first start by breaking down the difference between human grade and dog probiotics:

Human Grade Probiotics

The term “human grade” in pet food describes any ingredients eaten by people. In recent times, this same term describes ingredients in pet supplements. There are a couple of meanings for human grade.

The first describes the quality and preparation of the food or supplement for your pet. In this case, a human grade probiotic for your dog is beneficial. This is because the supplement has the same standards as the food we eat. Another name for this quality food is “food grade.” These standards include: cleanliness, safety, record keeping and even the quality of ingredients.

The term human grade also describes probiotic supplements meant for people. In this case, you may want to reconsider giving your pet human-specific supplements. Probiotics for us do contain some strains of bacteria that can be helpful to canines, such as:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium

Evidence shows that these strains can help your furry friend recover quickly from diarrhea. They are common in probiotics with beneficial bacteria and do help canines.

The major issue is the bacteria in these probiotics strengthen our intestinal tract. Not a dog’s. Your pet can benefit the most from this supplement. To do so, it must contain strains of bacteria that support their digestive system.

All Bugs Are Not Created Equal

The digestive tract is the largest organ that your dog has. You want to make sure that your pet is benefiting the most from their probiotic supplement. The bacteria in these supplements help your canine. There are specific strains of bacteria that you should look for in a dog probiotic to help your pet and include:

  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Bacillus coagulans

The bacterial strain Enterococcus faecium is beneficial to pets. A study conducted showed an improvement in gut flora. An increase in levels of an antibody created in their intestinal lining also occurred. This antibody defends them from bacteria and viruses. It’s called fecal secretory IgA.

Bacillus coagulans is another strain of bacteria that is beneficial to canines. This strain can help protect dogs from different types of diarrhea. It also minimizes common digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) etc.

Picking The Right Probiotic

When searching for a probiotic for your pet, you must look for certain criteria:

Live organisms – The product should contain a high number of live organisms. There should be at least 20 million “good” bacteria in a serving. The higher the amount of bacteria, the better. It ensures that enough will survive through the acids in the digestive tract to benefit your dog.

10 or more “good” bacterial strains – Your pet receives the most benefits when there are different strains of beneficial bacteria. Each strain provides different benefits for your canine’s digestive tract. This provides your pet the most protection against disease and allergies.

Meets or exceeds Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) ISO requirements – This certification ensures the ingredients on the label are in the supplement. Many commercial probiotics add extra ingredients. Some do not include ingredients stated on the label. These same products may contain contamination and potency problems. The laws for pet food labels are not as strong. This certification will ensure the integrity of the product you are buying.

Other factors to pay attention to when shopping around include:

  • The expiration date
  • Directions for storing the product
  • The information to contact the manufacturer

These points can assist you in choosing the best probiotics for your pet.

Beware Of Commercial Dog Food

Many commercial pet foods may claim to include probiotics and prebiotics. Most of the time the bacterial strains do not survive the manufacturing process. It is important for the bacteria to be “live” in order for it to work and provide your pet with any benefits.

Long Story Short

Can I give my dog human probiotics? To sum up this question, the answer is that you can. If you ask yourself, should I give my dog human probiotics? The answer to this question is no.

Human probiotic supplements are not harmful to your pet. They do not provide the most benefits. Your dog needs a supplement that is specific to its species. Dog probiotics include bacteria found in human supplements and bacteria strains specific to them.

The digestive tract of a dog makes up about 70% of a canine’s immune system. The first step to keeping your dog healthy is to include probiotics in their diet. Next, make sure you buy a probiotic of high quality containing the correct bacteria. Your furry companion deserves a quality supplement and optimal health. Now it is time for you to make that happen.

Disclaimer: the advice and information in this article is not intended to be used as a replacement for professional medical advice from a veterinarian.



You can post comments in this post.

  • I have had my pet on canine probiotics. I went to purchase it again and it is very expensive. I have enough problem paying for my own rx and probiotics. Why is it so expensive and what can I give her in its place?

    Shelley 2 years ago Reply

    • Hey Shelley,

      We completely understand that probiotics can get expensive. As an alternative, you can give your dog food that contain good bacteria. Here is a list you can take a look at: https://doggysdigest.com/probiotic-foods-for-dogs/

      Hope that helps.

      Thank you.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Is it ok to give my small chihuahua a probiotic acidophilus product with lactobacillus, but has calcium included?

    Thank you.

    Idonna Harke 2 years ago Reply

    • Hey Idonna! Yes, it should be fine. I can’t imagine the amount of calcium is high to be a concern. But you can check with the vet.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Yogurt is chock-full of beneficial probiotics (described as “active or live cultures on yogurt containers) and can be fed safely to dogs to sustain levels of “good” bacteria

    Dr Roboto 2 years ago Reply

    • Yup! Yogurt is super beneficial and super delicious!

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Have you heard of Profauna 100 Dog Probiotic? What’s your opinion? Seems to be one of the better ones.

    Stefanie 2 years ago Reply

    • I have not seen that one. I will have to research it.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Can I give my 6 month old puppy a probiotic? He possibly may have kennel cough and i keep reading this is an important item to help him, but in the store I see the probiotic says dogs 1+ years. My puppy my be 6 months but he is a great swiss mountian dog weighing 75+ lbs.

    John 2 years ago Reply

    • Hey John! Yes but as I like to always recommend – check with your vet. And the dosage is mostly dependent on weight. Let us know how it goes.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Hi my dog has been abt 2 weeks on human probiotics and is doing v well however vet recommended changing to dog she food. Should I just gradually or all if a sudden. He needs daily dose as has ibd

    Matt 2 years ago Reply

    • Make it gradual and see how your dog reacts. If all is well, then increase until recommendation.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Will milk kefir provide my dogs with beneficial gut flora?

    Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo 2 years ago Reply

    • Yes it would!

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • My 10 year old lab/catahoula mix Oreo has battled with skin yeast most of his life. Is there a specific probiotic I should be giving him? Will yogurt work as well as a probiotic? Is there a prescription medication without so many dangerous side effects available that you can reccomend?

    Stephanie 2 years ago Reply

    • Stephanie, you can give him dog probiotics and/or yogurt to help. Anything related to prescription medication, you would have to consult with the vet.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Stephanie I have a 9 year old Lab and he has the skin yeast issues as well. He has been In and out of the vet with this med and that med all his life. With paying lots of $$$$$$$$. And he still isn’t cured. I have never been offered probiotics for him. Has probiotics helped your dog?

    Debbie 2 years ago Reply

  • I am trying to figure out how much probiotic my dog should be given and which one is best for his health.

    Pat Olson-Hoyer 2 years ago Reply

    • Hey Pat! Check out the other pages on our site where we talk extensively about dog probiotics. And dosage will depend on several factors. It is best to follow the directions for the brand that you buy.

      Raquel Astacio 2 years ago Reply

  • Good morning from Cyprus. I use Epigenetics Probiotics and i was wondering if i can give my dog the same probiotic that i use. If yes, what should be the dose please?

    Antigoni Soteriadou 1 year ago Reply

    • Hey Antigoni,

      We recommend that you give your dog probiotics meant for dogs instead of ones intended for humans. Dog probiotics contain bacteria that is specific to them and that would be the most beneficial.

      Raquel Astacio 1 year ago Reply

  • can I give my dog the capsule instead of sprinkling it on her food?

    pat williams 11 months ago Reply

    • You can if your dog takes to it. Otherwise, mix it in the food or water. Good luck! 🙂

      Raquel Astacio 11 months ago Reply

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