Related: The Best Probiotics For Dogs In 2020
As you explore probiotics, check out our always up-to-date list of the best probiotics for dogs. With so many brands on the market, we did our research to make picking the right one for your dog easy!
Probiotics are typically given to dogs suffering GI tract illnesses, chronic diarrhea or diarrhea associated with antibiotic use. However, probiotics are like super vitamins that improve all aspects of a dogs health, ranging from enhancing immune system functioning to supporting intestinal absorption of nutrients necessary for keeping all dogs fit, happy and disease-free.
Taking Probiotics At Night Could Make Them Way More Effective
Probiotics are one of the biggest wellness trends of the moment. Not only can you find supplement versions, but everything from bottled water to tortilla chips are being laced with the friendly microbes.
In case you need a refresher, probiotics are good bacteria thought to boost the health of your microbiome, or the balance of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that lives in your intestines. You can and should get them from foods , but you may also want to throw back some Bac in pill form.
While studies havent proven that probiotic supplements are beneficial for already healthy peeps, they have been shown to help treat a handful of specific conditions, like digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, constipation, and acid reflux.
Theres also evidence that probiotics can help reduce inflammation for people who have ulcerative colitis, can be helpful for people who have a condition called travellers diarrhoea , and can help if you have bad diarrhoea after having taken antibiotics.
You should talk to your doctor to find out which probiotic strain is best for you to take for whichever condition or issue youre dealing with, since not every strain works for every aliment. Once you have a doc-recommended supplement, its also important to consider the timing of when you ingest it.
How often should I take probiotics?
How Long Does Stomach Pain From Antibiotics Last
The pain can last for a few days and rarely for the entire period while taking antibiotics. In case the pain is mild, follow the below measures to cure a stomach ache. If you have severe pain, stop taking the dose and get instant help from your gastroenterologist.
To reduce the side effects of antibiotics and stop stomach pain and other symptoms, its essential to keep your good bacteria safe. Here are some yummy food items that can help you counter stomach problems after antibiotics.
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How To Ensure The Probiotic Will Work
To ensure your probiotic is working, make sure to follow the recommended use instructions on the packaging. Depending on the delivery mechanism, the method of taking your probiotic may differ. For example, some probiotics may need to be dissolved in a liquid, whereas others may need to be taken on an empty stomach.
Certain medications such as antibiotics can have a negative impact on the good bacteria in your gut and in your probiotic supplement, so probiotics are best taken away from other medications.
Check the product label for storage instructions to make sure your probiotic is stored properly. Improper storage can make your probiotic less likely to work.
Lastly, check the expiration date to make sure that the probiotic supplement has not expired.
More Regular Bowel Movements
An imbalance in the composition of good bacteria in your intestine can contribute to irregular bowel movements. For example, frequent diarrhea can be a sign of pathogenic bacteria present in your intestines. A high-quality probiotic will help bring more good bacteria into your gut so that they crowd out the bad bacteria.
Constipation, on the other hand, can be due to low mucus production or low motility of your intestinal muscles. Certain probiotic bacterial strains are known to increase mucus production, which can regulate constipation.
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They Can Increase Infection Risk For Some
Probiotics are safe for the vast majority of the population, but may not be the best fit for everyone.
In rare cases, the bacteria or yeasts found in probiotics can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in susceptible individuals (
Research also suggests that people with severe acute pancreatitis should not take probiotics, as this may increase the risk of death .
People with compromised immune systems, venous catheters, recent surgery, acute pancreatitis or prolonged hospitalizations should avoid taking probiotics.
The Right Probiotics For Your Stomach Problems And More
You’ve probably heard that probioticsthe active cultures in some yogurts, for exampleare good for your health. But not all probiotics are created equal. Here’s what you need to know to boost immunity, soothe itchy skin, quell an upset stomach, and more.
Michelle Klawiter was nine days into a course of antibiotics for a sinus infection when the gut pain hit. Bloody diarrhea quickly followed. The 42-year-old secretary and mother of three in Chandler, Ariz., had developed a nasty intestinal infection, the kind that sometimes occurs when antibiotics kill your bodys good bacteria along with the bad and lower your defenses to other invaders.
Doctors prescribed a series of increasingly potent antibiotics to try to knock out the new bad bug, Clostridium difficile , but nothing worked. Her tummy troubles turned into antibiotic-associated colon inflammation.
And even after three months, sometimes the pain and cramping was so bad I thought I would pass out, Klawiter says. Having lost 20 pounds and feeling unable to cope at her job in a small office with two bathrooms, she quit. RELATED: The Best Foods for an Upset Stomach
The nightmare ended only after Klawiter tried a probiotic that her gastroenterologist had read was effective against C. diff. Klawiter found the over-the-counter product, called Florastor, at her drugstore. Within a week, she recalls, I was eating normally again.
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The Side Effects Of Probiotics
Since probiotic bacteria and yeast already live in and on our bodies, theyre generally safe to use for most people.
Whether you take Probiotics in a supplemental form or you get them from food, they live in your gut and can cause digestive side effects while your body adjusts to the new influx of good microorganisms.
This adjustment period should only last for a few days and can differ depending on if youre taking a bacteria-based supplement or a yeast-based one.
For bacteria-based supplements, side effects include the aforementioned bloating and gas, and for yeast-based supplements, side effects include increased thirst and constipation.
Probiotics may not be safe for people with weakened or compromised immune systems. If that applies to you, check with your doctor before taking any probiotics. If any of these side effects last for more than a few weeks, consult your doctor.
Do Probiotics Cause Side Effects In Dogs
Any substance that contains ingredients capable of effecting changes with a living organism is going to produce side effects of varying degrees. Some of these side effects wont manifest themselves enough to be physically experienced because they occur at the cellular level. Other side effects may extend beyond the cellular level in reaction to the dogs body chemistry, which may be abnormal due to illness, hormonal irregularities or a compromised immune system.
Probiotic supplements are complete safe to give to dogs since they contain nothing but natural ingredients, i.e., probiotic bacteria that already exist in the canine GI tract. If side effects do occur after giving probiotics to a dog, they are usually associated with digestive issues, such as excess gas, constipation or diarrhea . In addition, the dogs health problems may worsen a bit before completely clearing up as the GI tract adjusts to the sudden influx of good probiotic bacteria.
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What Are Probiotics And Probiotic
According to the World Health Organisations technical definition, Probiotics are live microorganisms, typically bacteria or yeast, that give us health benefits when ingested in sufficient amounts. The most common species that we see in our supplement probiotics are strains of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. They typically help maintain or restore a healthy balance of bacteria to our digestive tract and have many proven health benefits, including: > boosting our immune system > preventing and treating UTIs > reducing symptoms of IBS and IBD
And while most people look to a supplement to boost their probiotic intake, there are also food-based sources available. Some of the more common probiotic-rich foods include: > Kefir
Should I Try Probiotics
If you are interested in adding probiotics to your diet, its worth a conversation with your healthcare provider. Many providers may suggest giving them a try to see if they help with your general health. It is important to remember that not all probiotics behave the same way and have the same effects. Each has their own individual benefits. They generally dont cause harm. One easy way to start can be by simply introducing probiotic-rich foods into your diet, like yogurt.
Before you start any supplements, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to point you in the right direction, helping you figure out the best probiotic to take, how much to take and when to take it. A conversation is always worth the time when it concerns your health.
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Some Strains Can Increase Histamine Levels
Some bacterial strains used in probiotic supplements can produce histamine inside the digestive tract of humans .
Histamine is a molecule that is normally produced by your immune system when it detects a threat.
When histamine levels rise, blood vessels dilate to bring more blood to the affected area. The vessels also become more permeable so that immune cells can easily get into the relevant tissue to combat any pathogens .
This process creates redness and swelling in the affected area, and can also trigger allergy symptoms such as itching, watery eyes, runny nose or trouble breathing.
Normally, histamine that is produced in your digestive tract is naturally degraded by an enzyme called diamine oxidase . This enzyme inhibits histamine levels from rising enough to cause symptoms .
However, some people with histamine intolerance have trouble properly breaking down the histamine in their bodies, seeing as they do not produce enough DAO .
The excess histamine is then absorbed through the lining of the intestinal tract and into the bloodstream, causing symptoms similar to an allergic reaction (
Theoretically, they may want to select probiotic supplements that do not contain histamine-producing bacteria, but to date, there has been no research on this specific area.
Some histamine-producing probiotic strains include Lactobacillus buchneri, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus hilgardii and Streptococcus thermophilus .
When Taken In Excess Probiotics Can Be Dangerous
People at higher risk for adverse effects, like infection, of taking too many probiotics are those with serious illnesses or weakened immune systems, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
If you fall into either of those categories, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking probiotics.
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Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
Causes Of An Upset Stomach
Whilst the symptoms are often the same – typically abdominal pain, cramps and diarrhoea – there are a number of different causes for an upset stomach:
Lets now look at ways to help support the body through these kinds of gastrointestinal issues, and consider the potential role for probiotics, as we answer the question Are probiotics good for upset stomach?
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How To Choose A Probiotic Supplement
A reaction to probiotics may be more to do with the specific product you are using and not so much with probiotics in general. Here are three things you need to consider when choosing a good quality probiotic:
> Effectiveness of strains – some strains are more well researched than others so confer with your practitioner on whats right for your condition. Three of the most beneficial strains for IBS-type symptoms to look out for are bifidus infantis, bifidus lactis, and lactobacillus plantarum. These can be taken individually, or in combination.
> Number of strains – diversity is your friend when it comes to a healthy microbiome. For this reason, a probiotic with 10-30 different strains is generally a good place to start, so long er you tolerate them all.
> Higher CFUs – CFU stands for colony forming units and is used as a measure of how many bacteria are in probiotics. I typically recommend products that have at least 15-50 billion CFUs. However, failure to titrate this type of product in slowly may cause symptoms because of the sheer amount of microorganisms introduced.
> Reputable brand – with probiotics not being regulated in many markets, ensuring youre getting what you pay for can be difficult. For this reason, I recommend sticking with reputable brands recommended by your practitioner.
When Should I Talk To A Doctor
If you have consistent stomach pain, talk to your doctor about it. “Probiotics can definitely help ease symptoms of stomach issues like diarrhea and cramping,” Dr. Sonpal told POPSUGAR. “However, probiotic supplements should not replace going to a medical professional for intense abdominal pain or daily stomach problems. If you feel your daily life is being negatively affected by your stomach, it is advised to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.”
I’m now taking five billion CFUs of probiotics a day, which helped my stomach feel much better after only a week. This change drastically improved my quality of life, as I was able to enjoy meals and daily activities again. If you think you’re taking too high of a dose of probiotics, stop and talk to your doctor. You don’t have to live with dreadful stomach pain!
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Signs Your Probiotics Are Working
When you take a high-quality probiotic supplement, you may notice several positive changes in your body, ranging from improved digestion and more energy, to improved mood and clearer skin.
Oftentimes, the first and most immediate change individuals notice is improved digestion.
The probiotic bacteria work to rebalance your gut flora, which can quickly improve things like frequency and regularity of your bowel movements and alleviate bloating or gas. Over time, the positive effects of the probiotic bacteria extend beyond improved digestion.
A well-balanced gut microbiome will strengthen your gut barrier function, which prevents toxins and pathogens, which in todays world you most likely ingest on a daily basis, from entering your body via the gut.
This, in turn, decreases the burden on your immune system and your liver, thus making you less prone to illness and reducing inflammation in your body. Inflammation can manifest in many ways, including skin issues, brain fog, fatigue and lack of concentration. Therefore, reducing inflammation and re-balancing your immune system can bring about a variety of positive effects. Lets explore some of them in more detail:
Most Common Side Effects Of Probiotics
Despite their proven health benefits , for those who dont tolerate them, the most common side effects of probiotics we see in our clients are: > Gas > Looser stools > Abdominal pain
I really want to emphasize that the vast majority of these side effects of probiotics are experienced only temporarily and/or by those with a chronic gut infection or severe dysbiosis, and heres why…
If the side effects of probiotics you are experiencing are actually the result of die-off during a protocol, weve written an entire blog post HERE explaining the mechanism and ways to manage these detox reactions.
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Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
Issues To Be Aware Of
If you’re considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.
Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don’t go through the rigorous testing medicines do.
Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:
- the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
- the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
- the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut
There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.
You may find a particular type of probiotic helps with one problem. But this doesn’t mean it’ll help other problems, or that other types of probiotic will work just as well.
And there’s likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.
Page last reviewed: 27 November 2018 Next review due: 27 November 2021
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