Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes for Dogs

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes for Dogs

Gut health is just as important for your pet as it is for you. When it comes to maintaining a healthy gut, many dog owners consider probiotics and digestive enzymes must-haves for their pets. If you’re unfamiliar with the benefits of probiotics and digestive enzymes for dogs, read on. So, what are they, and what do they do? Essentially, they each play important roles in giving your dog a happy and healthy gut, and help the digestive system to run smoothly. But, there’s much more to them than just that. Let’s take a closer look.


Probiotics, often referred to as the “good” bacteria in the gut, act as a cleanup crew for your dog's gastrointestinal tract. They maintain the right balance of bacteria, which is particularly necessary after a course of antibiotics that can kill off the bacteria in your dog’s GI tract without discriminating. Doses of probiotics can introduce billions of healthy bacteria to the body, and work to support microorganisms and tissues that comprise your dog's GI tract. There are numerous strains of probiotics you can consider for your dog… many with different potential benefits. Below are some common probiotics you might find in supplements or foods for dogs, which you can find in Canidae’s HealthPlus Solutions:


Lactobacillus is a common probiotic that produces lactic acid and has been found to enhance intestinal health and improve immune function in dogs.


Enterococcus provides several benefits to your dog and can aid digestion and maintain a healthy mix of bacteria in the GI tract (which can be helpful when switching diets, or after antibiotic treatment). What Are the Benefits of Probiotics? Supplementing your dog probiotics can have the following benefits:
  • Reducing chronic GI abnormalities, allergy symptoms, and gassiness 
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Alleviating mood and behavior disorders
  • Regulating bowel movements
  • And more
As in humans, changes that cause emotional stress such as pet boarding or moving can result in colitis (inflammation of the gut usually resulting in diarrhea in dogs). Ask your vet if probiotics could be helpful for your healthy dog, if they are prone to developing diarrhea in stressful situations. 

Can I Give My Dog Probiotics?

Probiotic supplements may help to optimize your dog’s gut health, and can be particularly helpful to pets with existing digestive issues. In fact, a 2003 study including over seven hundred kenneled dogs in the UK found that those dogs randomly supplemented with probiotics significantly decreased their incidence of diarrhea - a frequent morbidity that affects many animal shelters.

Can Puppies Take Probiotics?

Yes, probiotics can be very beneficial for puppies, and can help develop the right balance of intestinal bacteria, support a healthy immune system, and reduce the incidence of diarrhea, constipation, and infections of the digestive tract.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzyme supplements are often considered by pet owners when looking for solutions to digestive issues. There main digestive enzymes that dogs need to break down nutrients from food are: 
  • Lipase (for breaking down fats)
  • Protease (for breaking down proteins) 
  • Amylase (for breaking down and digesting starches and carbohydrates)
These enzymes are required in order for dogs to digest and absorb nutrients properly.

What are pancreatic enzymes for dogs, and why are they used?

In healthy dogs, the pancreas produces the necessary digestive enzymes. For dogs that have damage to their pancreas or a disorder called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), supplementation of dietary enzymes is needed. EPI symptoms can include: 
  • Weight loss, despite huge appetite
  • Large amounts of diarrhea (often pale colored)
  • Coprophagia (dog eats his own stools) and/or pica (dog eats other inappropriate substances).
  • Increase in rumbling stomach or gas.
  • Vomiting.
  • Unkempt appearance

If you suspect your pet may be suffering from EPI, we recommend speaking to your vet. A simple blood test (TLI) is available that can determine if supplementation of digestive enzymes is needed. EPI can be successfully treated by adding pancreatic enzyme supplements to your dog’s diet. As always we encourage you to speak to your vet about whether probiotic or digestive enzyme supplements could be beneficial to your pet. Canidae™ has a wide range of nutritious dog foods, made exclusively from quality ingredients, suitable for dogs at all life stages.  Our vet-formulated pet food helps promote long-term gut health by giving dogs the complete and balanced diet they need to lead a healthy life. With a guaranteed 100 million colony-forming units (CFU) of probiotics per pound, your dog will thrive, thanks to the added benefits of probiotics like enterococcus faecium, lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus casei, and lactobacillus plantarum - all to aid digestion and strengthen your pet’s immune system. These are teamed with no filler, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives − just pure, wholesome ingredients. Thinking of making the switch? Check out our handy guide to see how you can gently transition your dog to a Canidae diet today, and start giving them goodness with every bite!