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.
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:
Evidence shows that these strains can help your furry friend recover quickly from diarrhea. They are common in beneficial bacteria supplements 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.