Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (2024)

What are the Best Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (1)

  • Supports digestive and immune health
  • Can aid in alleviating the impact of seasonal allergies
  • Promotes a robust immune system, encourages healthy gut flora, and helps facilitate smooth digestion

What are Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics for dogs are dietary fibers that selectively stimulate the growth and activities of specific bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and exert beneficial effects on the host.

In simpler terms, prebiotics are fibers that pass through the GI tract undigested. The healthy flora in the intestine uses them as food, and once they reach the colon, they are fermented and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which promote a healthy gut.

There are different types of fibers, and not all of them serve as prebiotics. However, prebiotic fibers can be classified into two groups – soluble fibers and insoluble fibers.

Gut bacteria can ferment the soluble fibers. Some common soluble fibers with prebiotic properties include:

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS): extracted from the fructose molecules found in many fruits, roots, and whole grains (bananas, blue agave, yacon root, chicory root, beet pulp, oats, flaxseed).
  • Inulin: an indigestible starch found in many fruits and vegetables (bananas, apples, asparagus, artichokes, chicory, dandelion, raw garlic, artichokes).
  • Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS): derived from the cell walls of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast.
  • Galactooligosaccharides (GOS): made from dairy products, beans, legumes, and root vegetables.

It should be noted that many probiotic supplements use maltodextrin as a prebiotic source. Although maltodextrin shows prebiotic activity, it should be avoided in dog products.

This is because it is usually derived from GMO corn and affects blood sugar levels. Some pet products list this ingredient as soluble corn fiber or resistant starch so make sure to read the label information thoroughly.

How do Prebiotics for Dogs Work?

Prebiotics for dogs work by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the dog’s gut, or in other terms, they serve as a food source for the probiotics. Interestingly prebiotics can selectively nourish only the healthy flora, thus preventing the growth of bad microorganisms.

In addition to providing nutrients for the good bacteria, once metabolized in the colon, the probiotics create short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that promote the host’s health through several mechanisms:

  • Supporting gut health and proper digestion
  • Serving as a source of energy for the colon cells
  • Inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria
  • Maintaining normal intestinal electrolyte and fluid balance
  • Managing or reducing inflammatory processes
  • Decreasing the risk of digestive tract disease

Considering that 80% of the dog’s immune system is located in the GI tract, maintaining a healthy digestive system is closely related to supporting a strong immune response.

What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics for Dogs?

In a nutshell, probiotics are live cultures that introduce new and good microorganisms in the gut while prebiotics serve as food sources for the already present beneficial microbiome.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), probiotics are “living microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”

Definitions aside, probiotics for dogs are the billions of live and beneficial microorganisms (mostly bacteria but sometimes yeasts) that inhabit the dog’s gut. They play several key roles such as “helping to digest food, maintaining intestinal mucosal integrity, participating in metabolism, and stimulating systemic immune function.”

What are the Benefits of Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics do more than just feed the good bacteria in the gut. They are a standalone health booster and provide the following benefits:

  • Support Fermentation and Healthy Digestion. Prebiotics support the fermentation processes in the colon and have a direct impact on stool quality. When used regularly and in combination with probiotics, prebiotics can prevent and manage loose stool and diarrhea. Overall speaking, prebiotics are critical for normal and regular digestion.
  • Increase the Nutrient Absorption. Prebiotics can change the pH in the intestines and modulate the composition of gut microorganisms. As a result, they make the intestines more conducive to nutrient absorption. Namely, instead of just passing through the intestines, prebiotics make the nutrients more likely to get absorbed and utilized by the dog’s body.
  • Prevent and Manage Intestinal Disorders. A healthy gut is the brick and mortar of a healthy digestive tract. Keeping the good and bad bacteria balanced and supporting the normal digestion and absorption processes is a good starting point for both preventing and managing disorders affecting the different parts of the dog’s GI tract.
  • Control Blood Sugar Spikes. As fibers, prebiotics slow down digestion and modulate the absorption processes, thus leading to thorough nutrient breakdown and constant blood sugar levels. This is particularly beneficial for dogs with diabetes in which sudden blood sugar spikes and changes can have serious consequences.
  • Improve Bone Density and Robustness. In many animal models, gut health and its microbiome can affect bone density and strength. This is believed to be a result of improved nutrient absorption. Namely, the more calcium the dog absorbs in the intestines, the less likely it is to develop osteoporosis or other issues related to poor bone quality.
  • Strengthen the Immune System. Prebiotics are directly linked with stronger immunity and a more robust immune function. What is more, when fed to pregnant and lactating females, prebiotics can “increase the immune power of the colostrum.” Consequently, the puppies are more likely to develop a healthier response to regular vaccinations.

The Best Prebiotics for Dogs Reviewed

There are many prebiotic supplements for dogs. To help pet owners find the right product, we have reviewed the best prebiotics for dogs.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (2)

Summary: This is our top pick when it comes to prebiotics for dogs. This is mainly because the product contains both probiotics and prebiotics in a precise ratio. This inhibits the growth of pathogens that might be harmful to your fur baby. Additionally, it also pre-stimulates the growth of gut flora. The product also helps to promote the production of antibodies and free radicals that are beneficial for your dog. These prebiotics for dogs also helps fight diarrhea, loss of appetite, and constipation, among other problems.

Recommended Uses: Healthy gut, allergy relief, and immune support

Ingredient Analysis

  • Solarplast: A spinach leaf extract that helps with cellular health and regeneration
  • Inulin: Derived from chicory root, serves as an excellent source of dietary fiber.
  • Bacillus subtilis: In addition to maintaining a healthy gut flora, this ingredient helps improve digestive and immune health.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: This ingredient assists intestinal health and builds immune function.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum: This is a great ingredient that offers digestive support and helps with maintaining healthy gut flora.
  • Bacillus coagulans: This not only improves bowel health but also helps with improving the digestive power of your dog.
  • Bifidobacterium longum: Supports a healthy gut microbiota.

Pros

  • Specially formulated with probiotics and prebiotics
  • Promotes the production of natural antibodies
  • Helps reduce allergies and itching
  • Benefits the digestive and immune systems
  • Encourages healthy aging

Cons

  • The flavor might not suit your dog

Review: This product is available in a natural chicken flavor. The prebiotics for dogs comes pre-portioned in small sachets making it easy to administer the dose.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (3)

Summary: These innovative sticks are designed to improve dental and periodontal tissue health. Additionally, it also helps maintain oral hygiene and prevents the buildup of plaque and tartar. The product is formulated with peppermint oil, organic coconut oil, and ground flaxseed. These dental chews have been developed by a team of dog owners who have a passion for improving your dog’s health overall. The peppermint flavor of the prebiotics for dogs will surely be a hit with your pet.

Recommended Uses: Oral hygiene

Ingredient Analysis

  • Microfos Ultra (Inulin Powder): This is a naturally occurring prebiotic known for its potency and digestive health benefits.
  • Peppermint Oil: Peppermint Oil is used mainly for countering mouth odor. It also has mild anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Potato Starch: This is a great source of carbohydrates and fiber. It adds an earthy flavor to the product that dogs love.
  • Oatmeal Flour: This is a great source of fiber and thus helps improve digestion. It also reduces inflammation in the body and helps counter Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Pros

  • Supports a wide range of issues
  • Improves gum health and oral hygiene
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Contains no harmful chemicals
  • Prevents plaque and tartar buildup

Cons

  • Can cause allergies in sensitive dogs

Review: These dental sticks offer a great peppermint flavor that keeps your dog’s mouth smelling fresh as day. The prebiotics for dogs are perfect for all breeds and ages.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (4)

Summary: Meaningful Tree Prebiotics for dogs developed a proprietary way to combine extra virgin olive oil and acacia fiber into an effective prebiotic for dogs. Made with sustainable and traceable products, this is an all-natural formula made in the USA. This supplement helps balance a dog’s gut microbiomes and fights inflammation for overall wellness. Additionally, it can also improve skin, coat, and heart health for dogs.

Recommended Uses: Improves digestive and supports skin and coat health

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Contains nutrients like Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your dog’s skin and coat health.
  • Acacia Fiber: A natural prebiotic that supports healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive system.

Pros

  • Made with only two all-natural ingredients
  • Vet-approved prebiotic super-powder
  • Promotes a healthy gut and digestive microbiome
  • Improves skin and coat health
  • Stimulates brain and heart health

Cons

  • Only comes in one size jar

Review: With an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, pet owners highly recommend Meaningful Tree prebiotics. Dog parents love that this prebiotic is made from all-natural products with no unnecessary additives or fillers. They also report that it helps firm up their dog’s poop and helps digestion.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (5)

Summary: This non-dairy product is made with an all-natural source of beneficial microorganisms that support digestive health. It contains 5 billion microorganisms per capsule with 8 beneficial strains. It builds GI tract health and issues related to food sensitivity and allergies making it perfect for dogs who find it difficult to digest food. The prebiotics for dogs also helps regulate common digestive problems such as flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation.

Recommended Uses: Digestive health

Ingredient Analysis

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS): Dietary fibers or prebiotics
  • Seven Probiotic Strains: Support a healthy gut flora, build immunity, and promote overall health.

Pros

  • Offers a non-dairy formula
  • Recommended for pets that suffer regular digestive troubles
  • Helps reduce food sensitivity and allergies
  • Support digestive health
  • Improves GI tract health

Cons

  • The product is on the expensive side

Review: If your dog suffers from food intolerances, this prebiotics for dogs is bound to provide relief. It also helps with your dog’s overall well-being.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (6)

Summary: This cat and dog supplement contains essential enzymes that can accelerate the process of food breaking down. It also helps the beneficial nutrients to be absorbed more easily by your dog’s digestive tract. If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach and flatulence, this is the product you need. It is perfect for pets that are older than 6 weeks. The prebiotics for dogs has been formulated by renowned vets and has been made in the USA.

Recommended Uses: Gut health and improved digestion

Ingredient Analysis

  • Aspergillus oryzae: This inhibits the production of harmful bacterial populations that could cause various health issues in your dog.
  • Aspergillus niger: This helps improve the absorption of nutrients such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates in your dog’s body.
  • Bacillus coagulans: This improves your dog’s bowel health and makes stools more manageable. It also helps in the absorption of nutrients.
  • Trichoderma longibrachiatum: This helps maintain a normal good bacteria balance in the lower intestine along with improving digestion and promoting overall gut health.

Pros

  • Great for food transitioning
  • Helps break down food more easily
  • Veterinarian formulated product
  • Available in powder and capsule form
  • Can also be used with cats

Cons

  • Lower potency compared to other products

Review: This product is easy to administer, especially if you have a picky dog. The prebiotics for dogs is easy to use as they can be sprinkled on top of the dog food.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (7)

Summary: This probiotic supplement for dogs is great for your dog’s overall health. Additionally, it also helps with improved digestion and immune function. The supplement is suited for small, medium, large & adult, and senior dogs. The prebiotics for dogs is available in beef & vegetable flavored powder that contains a unique 5-strain bacterial formula with over 5 billion CFUs per scoop. It also contains a propriety enzyme blend formulated with pumpkin that helps with overall digestion.

Recommended Uses: Gut health

Ingredient Analysis

  • Pumpkin: An excellent source of fiber that supports digestion and intestinal motility.
  • Proprietary Blend of Digestive Enzymes: Help with food breakdown.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: This ingredient helps to maintain normal bacteria balance in the lower intestine.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum: This ingredient helps support a normal digestive function and offers overall wellbeing.
  • Lactobacillus brevis: This ingredient improves your dog’s gut health and helps with enhanced nutrient absorption.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum: Helps build strength in your dog’s digestive system and maintains a healthy level of good bacteria in the body.

Pros

  • Helps reduce food sensitivity and allergies
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Helps break down food more easily
  • Contains no harmful chemicals
  • Support digestive health

Cons

  • Often out of stock due to high demand

Review: This supplement has been made in a federally regulated laboratory. The prebiotics for dogs is safe for all dogs over 6 weeks old.

What are Natural Prebiotics for Dogs?

There are several ingredients that serve as natural prebiotic sources. However, not all of them are safe for regular use in dogs. Here are some of the dog-friendly, prebiotic-rich foods:

  • Mushrooms. Rich in various carbohydrates with prebiotic properties like chitin, hemicellulose, xylans, beta-glucans, and mannans. The best prebiotic mushrooms are:
    • Turkey Tail Mushrooms
    • Chaga Mushrooms
    • Maitake Mushrooms
    • Reishi Mushrooms
  • Chicory Root. Improves digestion, manages inflammation, provides anti-oxidant support, and alleviates constipation. Its semi-sweet taste makes it well-accepted by dogs.
  • Burdock Root. Contains the same inulin levels as the chicory root. Plus, it is readily available and easy to add to the dog’s menu.
  • Larch Arabinogalactan. Called “the good sugar” arabinogalactan is a soluble fiber abundantly present in carrots, pears, coconut, corn, shiitake mushrooms, and plants like echinacea and astragalus.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (8)

  • Helps target build-up via the sticks' abrasive and mechanical action, and keeps their breath fresh
  • Supports your dog's oral hygiene and promotes healthy digestion
  • A tasty and effective dental treat

What Should I Look for in Prebiotics for Dogs?

Prebiotics for dogs not only improve digestive health but also offer several dietary benefits. There are several factors that one needs to keep in mind when looking for the best prebiotics for dogs:

  • Natural Ingredients. It is best for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing if they are given supplements that contain only natural ingredients. This helps improve the quality of their gut flora. Just like in some dog foods, you can find several supplements that contain these ingredients.
  • Vet Developed/Recommended. If your brand has been recommended by a vet, you can be sure that it is a quality product. There are some brands that have especially been developed by vets. This ensures that the supplement has been manufactured with the right formulation.
  • Easy Administration. Most pet parents will agree that giving your dog their medicines and supplements is a truly tedious task. Therefore, you have to ensure that your supplement is easy to administer. For instance, a powdered form of the supplement might be easy to give as compared to a pill. This is because you can simply hide it in the dog food. Some prebiotics are available in the form of delicious chews that could be used as a treat.
  • Third-Party Testing. If your supplement has been tested by a third party, you can be sure that it is safe and has passed the required quality checks. Just like several pet foods, pet supplements are also tested by these external agencies to ensure quality.

How Long Does It Take for Prebiotics to Work in Dogs?

It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for prebiotics to start showing their effects. Prebiotics pass through the GI tract intact. However, the time it takes to act on your dog’s health will depend on why you are using the supplement in the first place. Therefore, it is best to consult a vet for the best results.

How can I Add Prebiotics to My Dog’s Diet?

Prebiotics for dogs are one of the latest trends in pet health care. Therefore, some dog food brands add probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to their diet formulas. Before talking to your veterinarian about prebiotic supplements, check the dog food label.

If the dog food is not enriched with prebiotics or they are present in low amounts, you can proceed and start incorporating prebiotics in two ways:

  • Naturally with the help of human foods that are rich in prebiotics.
  • With prebiotic supplements designed for dogs.

We have already explained which foods serve as natural sources of prebiotics. However, we should note that some of the need to be used with caution. For example, raw garlic has toxic potential when used excessively, and beet pulp can irritate the dog’s sensitive stomach.

Bottom line, sticking to prebiotic supplements for dogs is the best way of adding this nutraceutical to your pet’s menu. We recommend using the Honest Paws Wellness Pre + Probiotic for dogs.

The supplement is a blend of various prebiotics and probiotic strains and features only natural high-quality ingredients available in a natural chicken flavor. Additionally, it is powdered and packed in individual sachets making it easier to administer the dose.

Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (9)

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Prebiotics for Dogs: What You Need to Know About + 5 Reviews - One Vet (2024)

FAQs

What are the side effects of prebiotics for dogs? ›

Like missing a dose, there are few side effects of your dog taking prebiotics. In some cases, dogs may develop soft stools, diarrhea, or increased bloating.

What do vets say about probiotics for dogs? ›

Taking probiotic supplements is a great way to maintain balance for your companion animal, and we can use them to treat all manner of issues, including: Gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Constipation, bloating, and flatulence. IBS or intestinal inflammation.

Should I give my dog prebiotics? ›

If your dog is generally healthy, you may not need to change course. That said, prebiotics may be helpful for dogs who have the following conditions: Suppressed immune systems. Digestive upset with symptoms such as diarrhea, gas and bloating.

What is the top rated probiotic for dogs? ›

Best overall

One of the best probiotics for dogs is VSL#3, which is also a commonly used probiotic supplement for humans. It has an especially high number of colony-forming units (CFUs).

What are the downsides of prebiotics? ›

Prebiotics are certainly not appropriate for everyone and can actually worsen symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome since rapid fermentation can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation in patients who are sensitive.

How long does it take for prebiotics to work in dogs? ›

It depends on the dog, but improvements to tummy or toilet issues should start to show within a few days of introducing probiotics and prebiotics, and can even cut recovery time in half. If your dog's digestive condition is slightly more severe, pre and probiotics could take around 4-6 weeks to take effect.

What time of day should I give my dog probiotics? ›

Most dogs have the least amount of acid in their stomach first thing in the morning. This is why many experts recommend humans take their probiotics first thing; the less stomach acid, the better the chance the probiotics will have of getting where they need to go.

What are the pros and cons of probiotics for dogs? ›

A veterinarian might recommend probiotics if a dog has a problem with a yeast overgrowth or certain rashes. Although they can present some side effects, probiotic supplements usually aren't dangerous. Such side effects might include digestive discomforts such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas.

What is the best probiotic for dogs in 2024? ›

Our Vet Pick: Best Chew

The Proviable® probiotic is available in tasty chews or a capsule; both can be mixed with food for dogs that are hesitant to take pills. With five billion CFUs of seven probiotics, this offers a potent blend of varied microorganisms.

Is pumpkin a prebiotic for dogs? ›

Prebiotics are essential compounds found in specific foods. Among them are pumpkin and butternut squash. Prebiotics support the presence of important bacteria in the digestive tract. Feeding dogs prebiotic foods is a great way to strengthen their digestive health.

When should you not take prebiotics? ›

If you suffer from digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's, or any form of chronic digestive discomfort, you may need to experiment to avoid taking your prebiotic at a time that could cause discomfort.

Are prebiotics worth it? ›

Research is ongoing into the relationship of the gut microflora to disease. The health benefits of currently available probiotics and prebiotics have not been conclusively proved. However, side effects are rare, and most healthy adults can safely add foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics to their diets.

Should you give senior dogs probiotics? ›

Added Nutrients.

The senior dog's digestive system slows down and becomes less efficient with age. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a probiotic supplement enriched with digestion boosters such as digestive enzymes, prebiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Is Greek yogurt a good probiotic for dogs? ›

Can Dogs Eat GREEK Yogurt? Yes, dogs are able to eat Greek yogurt. In fact, Greek yogurt is considered a good option because it features probiotics, which are not only safe for dogs but healthier too. In terms of protein quantity, Greek yogurt is considered a better option than plain yogurts for dogs.

How do you know if your dog needs a probiotic? ›

If your dog is experiencing regular bouts of diarrhea, constipation, or bloating, it could mean a bigger issue with their gut health. Probiotics can help balance the digestive tract and alleviate these symptoms.

Can dogs have a bad reaction to probiotics? ›

Dogs have allergic reactions to certain substances, including probiotics. Allergies to probiotics are rare in most breeds. A dog has an allergic reaction to probiotics if it shows symptoms such as itching, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis in severe cases.

What is the primary side effect of prebiotic and probiotic use? ›

If the gas, bloating or any other side effects continue for more than a few weeks, stop taking the probiotic and consult a medical professional. Some people experience an increase in gas, bloating, constipation or thirst when they start taking probiotics. These side effects should go away within a few weeks.

How long do prebiotic side effects last? ›

Prebiotics are a food source for probiotic bacteria and so stimulate the growth of good gut bacteria. This is a good thing but can result in some initial bloating and minor discomfort, such as gas or wind, during the first few days of use. These symptoms should disappear and improve after a few days.

Do prebiotics help with allergies in dogs? ›

Probiotics have powerful immune-boosting features. This helps dogs with allergies on a higher level. Namely, they strengthen the immune system and help fight off potential allergens.

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