Probiotics help to prevent gastrointestinal difficulties and immune system health through replenishing beneficial bacteria in the intestines. While human probiotics won't harm your dog, he'll get the most benefit for strains designed especially for canines.
Strains of probiotic bacteria with proven benefits for dogs include Bacillus coagulans and Enterococcus faecalis. Lactobacillus acidophilus can help to regulate stool quality and frequency in dogs with digestive difficulties. Bifidobacterium animalis proves useful in resolving acute canine diarrhea. Some strains of bacteria produce lactic acid, including Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Leuconostoc and Lactococcus species. The acid controls harmful bacteria and helps to reduce diarrhea.
The Problem With Human Products
The problem with using human probiotics for your dog arises because most human probiotics don't contain Enterococcus faecalis. This bacteria is one of the most important for helping your dog to maintain healthy digestive flora and fecal quality. E. faecalis helps promote healthy levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the intestines as well. Products that do contain E. faecalis, such as Dr. Ohirra Probiotics, include fruits and herbs that are potentially toxic to dogs, such as mugwort.
Probiotics in Yogurt
Veterinarians sometimes recommend supplementing your dog's calcium intake with a spoonful of yogurt mixed into their food. Depending on the type of yogurt, this human food may contain probiotics beneficial to your dog. Some types of yogurt -- such Bulgarian yogurt -- get fermented using E. faecalis. Bio yogurts use cultures containing bifidobacteria and lactobacillus acidophilus. You'll find more strains of dog-friendly bacteria in kefir including more than a dozen varieties of lactobacillus, S. thermophilus and several Leuconostoc and Lactococcus species.