With many probiotics available, how do you pick the best probiotic for your dog? Here are the three main elements we recommend researching when picking a probiotic for your pup:
1. Colony Forming Units (CFU) — In order for a meaningful amount of probiotics to successfully pass through the harsh digestive tract of dogs (which can reach a pH of 1 - the acidity of battery acid!), it is important to begin with a high CFU count since not all the bacteria will survive the trip. Begin by looking at the ratio of probiotics per serving on the back label. Some dog foods or probiotic supplements may only have a few million CFU per serving, which may not be sufficient for rebalancing or improving your dogs digestive tract. In general, we recommend at least 3 billion CFU per day for a small dog.
2. Multi-Species — Several of the commonly available probiotics are either single-species, or contain only a few different types of bacteria. For reference, dogs’ guts can accommodate thousands of unique species of bacteria. To help promote probiotic diversity, we recommend at least 10 species, including lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. For example, DIG Lab’s probiotic blend includes 11-species to provide a broad spectrum of good bacteria to support our dogs’ digestive systems.
3. Spore Formers — Spore formers are a special type of probiotic that are able to protect themselves from the harsh acidity encountered within the digestive tract. When spore former reach the small intestine, they can activate, providing digestive benefits where they are needed. While a high CFU count will maximize the opportunity for the probiotics to reach the small intestine, spore formers go one extra step further! We recommend including at least one spore former, such as bacillus coagulans, in your dog’s probiotic.
Questions about choosing a probiotic for your dog? We would love to talk with you —please leave a comment or email us!