Probiotics in Dog Food:
What Your Should Know Before You Purchase


There is a difference between probiotic supplements and dog foods claiming to contain probiotics.

While we advocate adding probiotics in dog food immediately prior to serving your dog his meal, there are quality concerns that people should know about dog food brands that claim to already contain these active microorganisms.

Hundreds of people we interviewed that thought they were giving a dog food with probiotics never got results until they added the probiotic in the dog food at the time of feeding. Once they added a probiotic supplement to the dog food, they got amazing results. Why is that?

The difference between dog probiotic supplements and probiotics in dog food:

    • Supplements: Dog probiotics that are manufactured in a certified GMP plant are guaranteed to have exactly what they state on the label.
    • Dog Food: Dog food labeling laws are very weak. The probiotic dog food may have had the probiotics added to the dog food at the time of manufacture, however, during the process or storage, the probiotics may have died off.

What else should I know about probiotics in dog food?

The quote below is from a government study about how most probiotic dog food does not contain the species that they claim, but they rather contain bacteria that are not proven or even listed on the package. Some possibly dangerous. In some cases no live probiotics were found in the food at all!

An excerpt from the government study on probiotic pet food:

"Nineteen diets were tested. Thirteen were for dogs and 6 were for cats. All claimed to contain specific organisms or probiotics. Two products listed 1 or more bacterial species as ingredients, while 12 listed fermentation products of probiotic species, and 5 listed both organisms and fermentation products. One product claimed to contain Streptococcus faecium, which was reclassified as Enterococcus faecium in 1984 (7). Five products misspelled 1 of the listed species. Bacterial growth was present in all products; however, as the purpose of this study was to evaluate the contents of the diets compared with those claimed on the label, no attempt was made to identify organisms that were not included on the list of ingredients. No products contained all of the claimed organisms, while 1 or more of the listed contents were isolated from 10 out of 19 (53%) products (Table 1). Eleven products contained additional, related organisms, including Pediococcus spp, which were isolated from 4 products. Five (26%) products did not contain any relevant growth. Interpretation of these results is confounded somewhat by the questionable labeling of some products. Twelve diets listed only specific bacterial fermentation products (L. acidophilus fermentation product) as ingredients, while 5 diets claimed to contain both specific organisms and fermentation products. Fermentation products of lactic acid bacteria or bacilli are typically included as a source of enzymes. This does not necessarily indicate that live organisms are present and, based on the definition provided above, these would not be considered to be probiotics."

3. How can I get quality probiotics for my dog if probiotics are not available in dog food?

The answer is to supply probiotics in a separate supplement and put the probiotics on the dog food immediately prior to serving to your dog. Be sure to read the identifying features of a quality dog probiotic supplement.

Read our reviews and recommendations of the best probiotics for dogs here »

Dog Probiotics - Probiotic Dog Food

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