The Power Of Probiotics For Dogs And Why You’re Using Them Wrong

The benefits of probiotics is they produce beneficial waste products that are extremely useful for the dog as a function of the microbes thriving in whichever part of the gut they live in...
Probiotic bottle for dogs

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Part 2 of the No Guts, No Glory Series

The Power of Probiotics

In this second installment of the Gut Heath article series, we, at Rogue, want to be very blunt with our readers. We want to bring new foundation level perspective on gut heath and new information based on confirmed science for immediate application to bring positive health changes now! All the while to enable us to later build on this foundation when new information is brought too light.

Writing about pre-biotic and probiotics are fascinating when you include the latest sequencing technology used to conduct deep sequencing reads and biological expression studies, as long as you’re staying above the waist. To really understand the nature of the relationship between microbes and their canine host, topics get real dirty real fast. Some might even say crappy! This is because most research to find any association between probiotic organisms and any benefit deals with fecal samples, usually diarrhea. A lot of it to be exact. Not the most exciting of topics to bring up when people ask what I’m writing about.

“…Increasing gut health through Probiotics is the biggest bang for your buck! ”

– Rogue Pet Science

The Benefits of Probiotics For Dogs

What do dogs actually gain from having these good microbes in them? Is it magic or is it a mystery? The benefits of probiotics is they produce beneficial waste products that are extremely useful for the dog as a function of the microbes thriving in whichever part of the gut they live in. Sounds odd, I know, just stay with me. These microbes produce beneficial byproducts by converting fiber and plant based sugars (FOS, MOS, GOS) pulled from the dog’s diet. These by-products are like gold to your dog’s body. No, it’s not actual gold particles nor can they make you rich, but they enrich your dog’s biochemistry! Such by products are vitamins and short chain fatty acids that your dog does not make on their own. The functional presence of the different microbe byproducts directly and indirectly help in the feedback mechanisms of the body organ systems, cell wall strength, and immune function support; making these metabolic byproducts extremely useful.

The truth is that probiotics positively impact gut health, thus total canine health, in multiple ways we currently know and in many ways we have not discovered yet. If you think I’m attempting to sell you snake oil or puffery science claims, think again! A short science terminology lesson is in order to illustrate how we understand the link of gut microbes and the disease state. When we think about any parameter we wish to track, the establishment of a baseline or “natural state” needs to be determined. In the matter of gut microbe population in which micro-organisms with potential health benefits dominate in number over potentially harmful ones in an animal we call this state ‘normobiosis.’ This normal condition characterizes a composition of the gut ecosystem, in contrast to ‘dysbiosis’, in which one or a few potentially harmful micro-organisms are dominant, thus creating a disease-prone situation. (1)

What the Research Says About Probiotics

We can look to non-canine focused research and information to give us more rollover information. In the case of gut health microbes, we can gain new insights and application since humans have a mono-gastric digestive system (as well as canines, swine and poultry). Plus, there is more money in human and production animal research than in canines. So let’s explore what we do know.

So, what do the well-established studies tell us about the important role of Probiotics?

  • Prevention or alleviation of allergies and atopic diseases
  • Prevention of respiratory tract infections (common cold, influenza) as well as treatment of urogenital infections
  • Reduction of cancer-promoting enzymes and bacteria metabolites in the gut
  • Increased activation of the metabolism, positive effects on fat metabolism, and stimulation of mineral adsorption
  • Prevention and/or reduction in duration from antibiotic-associated diarrhea and lactose intolerance.
  • Beneficial effects in connection with inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (IBR), Leaky Gut Syndrome, EPI, Helicobacter pylori infection and bacterial overgrowth

Major developments in science reveals probiotics have a bigger impact on total health of all animal species:

  1. Early development is proven to be so important to immune system development, that the poultry industry funds a study to measure the effect of pre-& probiotic inoculation into embryos to better understand early animal development to create better food formulas and effects. (3) When have you ever heard of pet food companies putting this much interest into developing puppy dry food formulas?
  2. Infection prevention of Lactobacillus species to prevent infections for human UTI & bladder infections, Campylobacter infection of large intestine, bovine respiratory infection from Mannheima, Salmonella infection in poultry.
  3. Promising oral applications have been studied showing 1.) oral immunization demonstrated 80% protection against E.coli 0157:H7 infection in mice, 2.) a probiotic infused toothpaste increases inhabitation oral infections from yeast, staph and strep strains, and 3.) denture wearers can get relief from oral yeast infestations from mouth washes infused with probiotics.
  4. Researchers has even looked into the feline feces microbes’ impacts on the canine gut health. Maybe we will finally understand if cat poop is bad for dogs!

Lesson 1: Pre-biotics and Probiotics

What to look for:

With the current state of pet care that tells people to feed a highly processed, high-preservative dry kibble as the majority of a pet’s diet, plus highly processed treats, the dog’s gut environment doesn’t stand a chance to fix it. To help catch pet owners up with 22 years of advanced feeding strategies, we created these rules to ensure you’re not wasting time, money or your dog’s health.

5 Rules of Probiotic Inclusion

  1. pH –The food eaten is the largest controlling factor here. pH is a critical factor for the intestine tract where probiotics live. Dry dog food is not your dog’s friend in this case!
  2. Diet – A Dry dog food only diet fails our dogs. Species appropriateness is key! Raw meats, bones and organs set ideal gut environment conditions, as does fermented products (yogurt, vinegar).
  3. Pre-biotic support – Microbes have to eat if you want them to hang around. Feed the bugs!
  4. Bacteria Diversity –Specifically, Lactobacillus strain diversity is key to improving total health
  5. Potency – Numbers are important! Total CFU counts matter as the amount needed to be effective various given the qualifier conditions presented above.

Decoding the Rules for Probiotics Use

pH Role in the Gut Health Complex

A truth that needs to be told, yet few understand, is that probiotics need a favorable environment to work their magic. Optimal environment is required to actually have the intended benefit of why you want to feed probiotics. A much simpler way, is that you’re wasting your money using probiotics if you’re feeding only dry dog food and expect this to address the correct pH needed or have available food for the organisms, IF, they try to grow. So let’s take these two points separately. The stomach is tough place for probiotics due to the acidic conditions. Some will die regardless of what is done. “Kill rate” is the term used to describe this effect. In Figure 1, we can see the range of pH conditions normally encountered in the canine digestive system. These differences in pH of the intestinal tract support different types of microbes, which in turn produces different health outcomes resulting from their presence. A poor diet of highly processed ingredients and preservatives shifts the ranges of pH of the small intestine all the way to the colon. Slight changes in pH mean life and death for microbes. Could a fish out of water survive? Then, how do expect good bugs to survive and thrive?

Diet Focus: Beneficial Partner or Benefit Leaching Blob

This is something that no supplement or pet food company will tell you…. A poor diet will hinder or completely eliminate any benefit from probiotic use. The inclusion of pre- or probiotics is important, but will be wasted if a total gut mindset is not adopted (refer to rules above). So don’t waste your money if you’re feeding a kibble only diet. How is that? Kibble turns into a large non-nutrient mass inside the intestinal tract that traps nutrients, vitamins and medications. If that wasn’t enough, it also shifts pH to favor bad microbes and further promotes growth conditions for potentially harmful pathogenic organisms (E. Cali, Yeast, Campy, etc.). If you need to make a kibble-based diet work, Rogue Pet Science’s Origins 5in1 supplement addresses all 5 of the probiotic rules plus more. More information to come on this topic in Articles 3 and 4.

Pre-biotics – Foundation Fertilizer for Probiotics

“ If you can’t keep Probiotics alive, you can’t keep them around.” 

– Rogue Pet Science

Are you ready for the most advance feeding strategy you will never hear in the dog world? This advanced strategy summed up is, we need to feed the microbes in the gut. Does that sound odd? Yes, in that this has never been talked about except in advanced production animal facilities and some leading research scientists. They too have a nutrition demand need!

Nutrition only focuses on the animals’ nutrient needs and for good reason. Production animal research scientists and producers are looking to raise healthier animals using less antibiotics by managing the total gut microbial population with specific pre-biotic nutrients. If you can’t keep them alive, you can’t keep them around. This is seen in all of the dog research work on probiotics by way of a drop in detection of microbes once supplementation of spiked probiotic(s) was stopped. Environmental pH condition is one factor due to less than ideal food sources for the dogs, let alone the microbes. (8,9).

Below is a chart of prophetic sources and their additional breakdown of their structure categories. I bet you didn’t think there was this much science into this one aspect!

Prebiotic Review of

Probiotics – The Intestinal Rainforest

“Health begins in the gut… increase microbial diversity in the gut and you increase total health”

– Rogue Pet Science

But if we are to leverage the currently known benefits we will need to change our feeding practices. There is enormous promise in the power of these microbes to make a bigger impact on canine health than the discovery of antibiotics themselves!

Gut microbial populations should be like a rainforest. Multiple species of microbes living together and in different regions of the intestinal tract. The more the better. Why is that?

Texas A&M researcher, Jan Suchodolski, presented in his review of canine intestinal microbials that of all the research findings reviewed, that the lack of microbe population density was a factor between sick/disease conditions versus healthy dogs. These findings are echoed across multiple disease conditions. The lack of Lactobacillus species in multiple disease states was of significance. Schmitz and Suchodolski noted that whether these partial changes in the microbe population are a cause or a result of the immune reactions, it is seen in both humans and dogs. (8,9)

If one wanted to only include the most proven of classified probiotics, then the European Food Safety Authority would be the Holy Grail source for that decision. Given the tougher restrictions and higher standards to allow or not allow ingredient usage into finished pet food products, I regularly look to Europe to develop a standard for my own U.S. products. Of all the microbes studied, Lactobacillus strain species, often referred to as LABs, are the most globally researched probiotic strains. Peer review scientific publications number >3,000 for this class of microbe. As seen in Chart 2 below, Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most researched strain for probiotic usage, thus giving EFSA the data their working group committees needed to make a determination call.

European Food Safety Authority Approved Probiotics List.

Taking a broader view of all scientific publications on probiotics, we find a larger number of microbes that could also serve as probiotic species. Chart 3 represents a list of alternative microbes with proven probiotic use. With the new advances in sequencing combined with ever decreasing costs to do such gene expression studies, data linking the microbe presence of beneficial function in the host is becoming a hotbed of activity. Investment in probiotic research and commercialization of products is being developed for both humans and animals. This is an exciting development for proactive health care, in my opinion.

Lesson 2: Probiotic Poisons

What To Avoid:
Our dogs are continually exposed to processed food, toxins and stressors, which kill the good bugs and eliminate the positive probiotic effect. Watch out for these:

  1. Remove substances that can destroy or bind probiotics rendering them useless
    1. Preservatives – most dog treats, dry foods and cooked bones
    2. Unnecessary medication or over the counter drugs
    3. Chemicals – care of liquid supplements for joints and fat supplements
  2. Feed species-appropriate diets to help balance their gut ecosystem to support probiotic survivability
    1. Grain glutens – pet foods, treats, and fillers found in pet supplements

Now that you have the right pre-biotics and probiotics, and have steered clear of toxins, how do you manage this fresh network of nutrients?

Lesson 3: Usage, Dosage and Choices

There are two major ways to modify the probiotic composition of your dog’s gut microbe population.

  1. One way is to take probiotic supplements, or feed fermented foods, which will get you good bacteria from outside. A good example is the feeding of plain yogurt products. As dog owners, we have feed plain yogurt to help with loose stools and other signs of digestive stress.
  2. The other way is to properly feed the microbes (think fertilizer!) with pre-biotics, to encourage probiotics to grow and to thrive for normal activity. The inclusion of prebiotic inclusion is ideal, because it ensures a successful long term plan for healthy probiotic populations. It also allows your dog’s own bacteria to grow normally and promotes biodiversity.

A few words about dog-to-human ratios. Pre-biotics and probiotics are best given together. Follow label instructions when using products made for dogs. When using products made for humans, adjust the dosage based on the size of your dog compared to an adult human (e.g., give about half the human dose to a dog weighing 50 to 60 pounds, or one-quarter the human dose for a dog weighing 25 to 30 pounds). If using a fiber-only supplement, start with low doses and increase gradually. Decrease the amount or switch to a different product if you see signs of gas or diarrhea.

Avoid single-use products. Don’t be fooled with single use products of pre-biotics or probiotics. The costs will be too high. Partly due to them not being the source of the product and being diluted. Additionally, once you stop feeding them the probiotics will disappear from the dog’s body, because they are only transient and do not stay. It takes a strategy to actually address this and Rogue Pet Science has built the answer in their Origins 5in1 supplement to battle this foolish market place to bring meaningful change!

Pre-biotics are not for every dog. For a dog with a seemingly fit digestive tract, probiotics probably won’t do any harm. But many pets today have varying ranges of GI conditions of IBD, IBS, leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) that experience varied or reduced symptomatic issues. Better to bad bacteria ratio in their GI tract is out of whack, and the last thing we want to do is feed a bad situation, specific pathogenic bacteria with probiotics.

The only way to fix the issues of poor gut microbe density and repair the damage our modern world inflects is to eliminate the factors that encourages bad gut environment and start using precision nutrition based actions that include pre-biotic support with proven probiotics to allow them to work their magic as intended.

Origins Canine 5in1 Adds The Pro-biotics & Nutrition That Is Lacking In Commercial Dog Food

Origins Canine 5in1 is designed to add the nutrition lacking in commercial dog food. Includes vitamins, minerals, fish oils and more to support canine hips, joints, skin & coat, allergies, and gut health. We can do this because we believe in being a real solution for all dog owners by putting dog health before money to earn your trust. We invite you to try Origins Canine 5in1 supplement because we truly believe it is the best supplement for dogs on the market. Our products have the first ever 100% No Bull Sh*t Guarantee. The only risk is not seeing your dog thriving at their very best!


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  2. de Vrese M1, Schrezenmeir J. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics. Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2008;111:1-66. doi: 10.1007/10_2008_097.
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  6. European Food Safety Authority.
  7. California Dairy Research Foundation.
  8. International Scientifics Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics.
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  10. Blake and Suchodolski. Importance of gut microbiota for the health and disease of dogs and cats. Animal Frontiers. vol6. no3, July (2016), doi:10.2527/af.2016-0032

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