8 Best Probiotic Dog Foods and Treats for Improved Digestion, According to Our Pet Expert
Your dog's tummy contains both good and bad bacteria, and a probiotic dog food helps keep them balanced and healthy.
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We’re all about feeding our dogs the healthiest foods possible. In addition to cancer-fighting foods for dogs and brands recommended by vets, probiotic dog food is an excellent way to influence your dog’s health on many levels. Dogs normally have a balance of good and bad bacteria and yeast in their intestines. Sometimes the “bad” bugs overpower the good ones, but antibiotics can kill beneficial bacteria, too. Intestinal parasites, illness or stress can also knock out the good bugs and lead to nasty side effects, from diarrhea and bad breath to allergies and obesity.
Probiotics (found in many natural dog foods) are friendly bacteria that help battle infections, strengthen the immune system, synthesize vitamins and nutrients and assist in the digestion process. They reduce gut inflammation that leads to digestive upset, gas and constipation. Plus, they can increase your pup’s energy levels and even improve bad breath.
Although incidents of pet food poisoning are rare, if your dog has recently experienced diarrhea, undergone antibiotic treatment or simply needs an energy and health boost, probiotics may offer a solution. Today, probiotic products are not only available in dog food but also in the form of probiotic bites and toppers. Read on for the best options on the market.
The best probiotic dog foods
- Best overall: Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials
- Best splurge: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food
- Best for small dogs: Solid Gold Mighty Mini Small Breed Dog Food
- Best raw: Instinct Raw Boost Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
- Best budget: Wysong Adult Dry Dog Food
- Best for puppies: Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food
- Best probiotic bites for picky dogs: Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites
- Best probiotic bites for digestion: PetLabCo’s Probiotic Chews
Best overall probiotic dog food
Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials
Formerly known as “Savors,” the Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Formula offers a fantastic overall value for a probiotic dog food. Choose from four protein sources and flavors (salmon, lamb, beef or turkey). The product features a blend of crunchy kibble mixed with shredded, tender protein bits. The ingredients help produce a shiny coat whether your dog has short or long-hair, and the natural prebiotic fiber helps promote digestive health.
- Includes both live probiotics and prebiotics
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Several bag size options
- Money-back guarantee
- More than 13,000 five-star ratings on Amazon
- Some reviewers say the food crumbles can be messy
Best splurge probiotic dog food
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food
Taste of the Wild’s premium dog food includes a grain-free recipe specially crafted to keep canines lean. Choose from several exotic flavors, from alligator and venison to fish and bison. It’s packed with proprietary probiotics, along with antioxidants and prebiotics to help support healthy digestion and immune system health. Real meat tops the list of ingredients, which accounts for the higher cost. Even if your dog isn’t the most expensive dog breed in the world, surely they’re worth it?
- 32% protein
- Includes both live probiotics and prebiotics
- Vitamins sourced from real fruit with Omega-3 fatty acids for skin health
- Formulated for adults or puppies
- Available in both grain or grain-free options
- FDA cautions linking pea/legume ingredients to canine heart disease (check with your vet)
Best probiotic food for small dogs
Solid Gold Mighty Mini Small Breed Dog Food
Solid Gold’s holistic pet food specifically caters to the little dogs in your life. The dry kibble—sized to fit tiny mouths—offers optimal benefits for puppies and petite adult dogs, and asserts itself as the smallest option available on the market. It comes in a variety of flavors, including cage-free chicken, lamb, beef, turkey and salmon. Each recipe is enriched with easily-digestible proteins that promote gut health and provide support for sensitive stomachs.
- Safe for toy and small breeds
- Kibble sized specifically for small mouths
- 90 million patented living probiotics per pound
- Omega fatty acids for improved skin and coat health
- Grain-free and gluten-free
- High calorie content may pack on pounds for less active, senior dogs
- Not suitable for larger or giant dog breeds
Best raw probiotic dog food
Instinct Raw Boost Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
The Instinct Raw Boost grain-free recipe carries a higher price tag compared to many other dog foods, but the inclusion of raw components enhances its probiotic benefits. Since it’s freeze-dried, the risk of spoilage is reduced. The food features freeze-dried, raw chicken meat, duck, beef or salmon as the primary ingredients. It blends grain-free kibble with scattered portions of raw, freeze-dried meat, almost like a built-in organic dog treat. The formula also includes a combination of whole fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition.
- Freeze-dried raw meat promotes strong muscles
- Contains a probiotic boost for digestive health
- Contains whole vegetables and fruits
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- Pricier than competitors because it’s freeze-dried
- A grain-free recipe may not be recommended for your dog (always consult with your vet!)
Best budget probiotic dog food
Wysong Adult Dry Dog Food
The Wysong Adult Canine Formula, which has been nourishing dogs since 1979, has successfully stood the test of time. This veterinarian-designed dog food incorporates both prebiotics and probiotics, using fresh whole ingredients, as well as a blend of fresh, frozen and dried meat sources.
It’s suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, providing a well-balanced nutritional profile at one of the most cost-effective prices. Once your pup’s food is sorted, it’s important not to overlook the significance of water. For those dealing with messy eaters, consider exploring these spill-proof dog water bowls.
- Very affordable
- Organic chicken, turkey meal and brown rice to help with food sensitivities
- Contains prebiotics and probiotics
- Climate Pledge Friendly, sustainably manufactured
- Kibbles are hard to chew for dogs with teeth issues
Best probiotic dog food for puppies
Wellness Complete Health Dry Puppy Food
Looking for an all-natural dog food for pups? Created by nutritionists, veterinarians and animal lovers, Wellness Core Natural features dense, crunchy kibble made from nutrient-rich whole foods. The ingredients are all-natural, including the preservatives. The recipe incorporates apples, carrots and blueberries, which not only provide natural vitamins, but also function as prebiotics.
Remember, there are some foods dogs cannot eat, that’s why this one excludes ingredients that can cause allergic reactions like corn, soy and wheat. This dog food is proudly made in the United States, with a specialized formula designed for puppy development. And if a new furry companion is in your future, plan ahead with these tips on how to adopt a dog.
- Formulated for puppy development
- Proper levels of glucosamine and calcium to support joint health
- Prebiotics and probiotics to aid digestion
- Comes in both grain-free and grain formulas
- Various size options
- Some reviewers say the bag doesn’t reseal well, which may affect freshness
- Pricier than other brands
Best probiotic bites for picky dogs
Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites
If you’re unable or unwilling to switch foods, you have the option to supplement your dog’s regular meals with probiotic bites. There are many probiotic bites designed as treats for dogs, but even the best formulation won’t work unless your dog likes and eats it. Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites addresses this challenge by offering five delectable soft chew flavors that are sure to make your pup’s tail wag.
The product is available in two package sizes, either 90 or 250 count, which is particularly beneficial for large breeds that require two or even three treats daily to obtain optimal results. With a six-strain probiotic blend, these bites support a healthy gut, aid digestion and boost the immune system. Additionally, Zesty Paws makes these viral dog salmon bites, which alleviate dry and itchy skin.
- Multiple flavors for picky pups
- Two size options
- No artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors
- Grain-free formula with no fillers
- Six-strain probiotic blend
- Made in USA
- More than 23,000 five-star ratings on Amazon
- Can become expensive for bigger dogs
- Use with care in small dogs
Best probiotic bites for digestion
PetLabCo’s Probiotic Chews
Before adding another supplement, consult your vet if you are already feeding your dog a food with probiotics. Once you get approval, PetLabCo’s Pork Flavor Probiotic Chews, containing eight strains of beneficial bacteria, present an excellent choice for maintaining your dog’s digestive health to ensure solid potty deposits.
The formulation aids in nutrient absorption and supports the maintenance and improvement of gut health. With a taste and aroma reminiscent of bacon, the pork flavor is highly appealing to even the pickiest of pooches. The healthy soft chews double as pet treats, too.
- Added enzymes and antioxidants for digestive help
- Eight strains of beneficial bacteria
- Appealing pork flavor
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Designed for all life stages and all dog sizes
- Enzymes added for digestibility may not be suitable for all dogs
- Only 30 chews per container
What to look for when buying probiotic dog food
Not all dogs need probiotics, but they still may benefit from them. While you should always check with your vet for dog food and health advice, probiotics are considered safe. You can also safely add probiotics to your dog’s regular food as healthy treats. Foods like unflavored plain yogurt, kefir or raw organ meats contain healthy probiotics. Another option is to offer your dog commercial probiotic supplements, pills or powders like Purina Fortiflora. But probiotic dog food is the easiest and most convenient way to help your dog feel better.
Look for these fancy Latin names of probiotics. Find them alone or in combination toward the end of the food ingredient list on a dog food label:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Enterococcus faecium
- Bifidobacterium lactis
To keep friendly bacteria healthy, foods must also contain plant fiber nutrients called prebiotics to feed and maintain the good bacteria. Look for fruits, vegetables or whole grains on the ingredient list. Most times, you won’t see “apple” or “dandelion greens” listed, though. Instead, look for these prebiotic terms:
- Chicory fiber
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