Probiotics for Puppies: Establishing a Healthy Gut from the Start

Jan 7, 2024

They’re the sweetest things you’ve ever seen, and they have the cutest little bellies! But inside that adorable little puppy tummy is a whole microbiome waiting to grow and develop, and how it does can make a difference in its health and longevity throughout its whole life. Let’s take a look at establishing a healthy puppy gut and, more specifically, what you need to know about probiotics for puppies.

What’s Different About Puppy Health?

A puppy’s microbiome is different from the microbiome of an adult dog. It’s typically based on what Mama gave it when it was born, and what it acquired through Mama’s milk. It’s the basis of their digestive health for life, and it changes pretty dramatically in those early days–especially as they transition from milk to solid food. It’s a really important time to build gut health, as this is where you’re helping your puppy create gut flora that can absorb all the nutrients it needs as well as protect itself against all sorts of possible invaders to its health. Your puppy’s gut microbiota is important for its gut health and overall good health and well-being. Research also suggests that building up a puppy microbiome should start early to help them have the best chances at strong-functioning digestive systems and immune responses throughout life.

Everything that goes in your puppy’s mouth has the potential to help or harm their microbiome, so knowing how to help best is important for your dog’s wellbeing!

How Probiotics Work in the Dog Digestive SystemA man with a beard holds a bunch of adorable husky puppies

Probiotics are live microorganisms, including bacteria and yeasts, which offer health benefits when you have them in the right amounts​​​​. They exist naturally in your dog’s body, contributing to the balance of the gut’s microflora​​​​. Probiotics play a vital role in maintaining gut health by reducing inflammation, boosting immunity against harmful bacteria, preventing infections, and aiding against food tolerances or allergies​​.

They help boost healthy gut bacteria and aid digestion and are a known therapy for diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset. Probiotics also counter urinary tract infections, immune system disorders, and even anxiety. They work by normalizing the conditions in the intestines, changing the local acidity of the digestive tract, and releasing short-chain fatty acids. This is how your dog maintains a good balance of bacteria in their gut, by boosting the population of helpful bacteria and reducing the harmful ones to more tolerable levels. Additionally, about 70% of your dog’s immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract, and by normalizing conditions there, probiotics allow the immune system to function properly. Probiotics are also beneficial for conditions like allergies, anxiety, bad breath, coat quality, immune disorders, intestinal inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, obesity, skin disorders, and urinary tract infections. It’s safe to say probiotics for puppies and dogs in general are super important.

How Probiotics For Puppies Work

Probiotics for puppies work much like they do for adult dogs, and even for us humans.

First, your pup eats something with probiotics – maybe in their food or a supplement. These probiotics are live microorganisms ready to do some good work. But, they need to be up for a challenge, because the real test is surviving the stomach’s acid. It’s a tough environment, and few probiotic strains on the market can make it through those harsh conditions.

Once they do reach the intestines, probiotics are like new neighbors in your puppy’s gut microflora community. This is where they start their main work. They begin to settle in, sticking to the gut lining and multiplying. It’s like they’re building a little colony. Their job includes keeping harmful bacteria at bay. They compete for food and space, making it harder for bad bacteria to take hold.

As this happens, think of probiotics as reinforcing the walls of your pup’s digestive system, helping keep things in order and bad guys from breaking in or out. They support your puppy’s gut barrier (often broken through in Leaky Gut Syndrome) and begin some important communication within the immune system. Together, they work to distinguish between friendly bacteria and harmful, and help keep balance. Some probiotics can even synthesize essential nutrients and help digest and absorb food. In puppies especially, this is important.

What Probiotic Strains Are Good For Puppies?cute pit bull puppies sleep closely together, showing probiotics for puppies are good

When it comes to probiotics for dogs, there are lots of strains out there. When we were creating Bernie’s Perfect Poop, we wanted to find hardy strains that showed strong efficacy in the gut and weren’t just filler. We created our entire product line for our dogs first, so we wanted the best probiotics for dogs.

We specifically chose two strains, Bacillus Coagulans and Bacillus Subtilis, as the main added probiotics in Perfect Poop.

Bacillus coagulans aid in digestion and boost the immune system in dogs. It produces specific acids that prevent harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella from growing. It’s particularly effective in treating conditions like diarrhea and intestinal inflammation, which our Bernie suffered from a lot, and can also help reduce allergic reactions by managing inflammation. When it comes to leaky gut, it’s a superstar.

Research involving dogs fed with Bacillus subtilis shows significant improvement in gut health. This probiotic supports beneficial bacteria and reduces harmful gut processes, leading to healthier digestion. Some benefits include:

  • Improved Fecal Health: Bacillus subtilis has been found to improve the quality of poop, making it less smelly and better in consistency. It does this by reducing certain compounds that contribute to foul odors and that messiness no one wants to pick up.
  • Resilience and Longevity: These bacteria are also known for their ability to form spores, which helps them survive in harsh conditions like the stomach’s acidic environment. They remain effective throughout the digestive process and even after being excreted, and that’s important as not every probiotic strain in dog supplements can say the same.
  • Odor Reduction and Fecal Consistency: Besides improving overall gut health, Bacillus subtilis helps reduce fecal odor and gas formation. It also helps break down organic matter in poop, which can help in reducing that not-so-pleasant smell.
  • Reduction in Harmful Protein Breakdown Products: Including Bacillus subtilis in a dog’s diet has been shown to reduce harmful compounds produced during protein breakdown. That’s better for your dog’s intestinal health, and their overall health too.

Is Bernie’s Perfect Poop Safe For Puppies?

Whenever it comes to puppy care, we always advise you to speak to your veterinarian and create a plan for their wellbeing. That said, probiotics for puppies are generally regarded as safe and effective and even helpful for starting these little nuggets of lovable fur off right. We have many breeders who swear by Perfect Poop for their litters because, in addition to helping add quality probiotics and beneficial bacteria to their puppies’ guts, it also helps with digestive health by adding premium fiber and digestive enzymes too.

Your puppy’s health starts from the inside out. When you’re looking to build that the best you can, talk to your vet about how you can incorporate probiotics!


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