Probiotics are getting attention for their health benefits, not just for humans but also for dogs.
These beneficial bacteria are often hailed for their role in promoting gut health and aiding digestion. However, as responsible pet owners, it's important to understand and approach any dietary supplement, including probiotics, with caution and awareness.
One concern you may have is whether or not probiotics can cause constipation in dogs. In this blog, we will delve into this topic to help you make informed decisions about your dog's health.
Understanding Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics contain a variety of live microorganisms that can provide health benefits and relief from common gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. In the context of dogs and other pets, probiotics are often recommended to help restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
They can be particularly beneficial in cases of digestive issues, stress and anxiety, allergies, coat and skin issues, changes in diet, and more.
The Potential for Constipation
While probiotics are generally considered safe for dogs, there have been cases where adding probiotics has led to constipation.
Constipation occurs when a dog has difficulty passing stools, and the feces become hard and dry. This can lead to discomfort and strain during defecation.
The potential for probiotics to cause constipation might stem from a few factors:
Many pet probiotics on the market have multiple added ingredients — usually for flavor, appearance/color, or shelf stability. Unfortunately, these additives may cause additional digestive issues with your dog, such as constipation, and potentially interfere with other medications or supplements.
Not all probiotic strains are the same. Some strains might have different effects on gut motility and transit time, potentially slowing down the movement of food through the digestive tract.
Some dogs get stressed or anxious when taking medications or supplements, particularly in capsule form. Many are too smart for their own good and can detect it through treats or in their food, causing them to get anxious or frustrated.
When they are anxious and not sure why there’s been a change to routine, that can trigger gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, as they attempt to adapt to the situation.
Other external factors — such as their humans being gone for an extended period, storms, and fireworks — can also trigger anxiety. In these types of cases, it may not be the probiotic causing the constipation at all.
Like any supplement, the dosage of probiotics matters. Giving your dog an excessive amount of probiotics could potentially disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria and lead to digestive issues, including constipation or diarrhea.
Lack of exercise
Exercise is key to overall health for your pet. A good exercise session helps keep everything moving through the gut properly, helping to avoid digestive issues like constipation.
If your dog is lethargic or doesn’t get time to walk or run around, things can easily get backed up. Be sure to incorporate running, walking, or playing fetch into their routine, especially when giving your dog a probiotic, to avoid issues with constipation.
Go Beyond Pet Probiotics with Maya Pet
We know how much your pets mean to you and want to help them be as happy and healthy as possible. That’s why the humans at Priority IAC created Maya Pet — the world’s first anthrobiotic for dogs and cats.
We use modern-day science and centuries of natural remedies and wisdom to go beyond a typical probiotic to provide a better, more effective gut health solution and reduce potential complications or side effects like constipation. Here’s how:
Targeted StrainsWe use targeted Smart StrainsTM of bacteria, each specifically chosen to help regulate your dog’s digestive tract and immune system.
The 10 strains of bacteria in Maya Pet are separated into four categories:
- Enhancers: Elevate your dog’s gut microbiome and boost digestion.
- Managers: Improve gut acid, which helps move food through your dog’s digestive tract.
- Inhibitors: Block unwanted environmental pathogens and bad bacteria.
- Communicators: Help your dog’s digestive system, nervous system, and brain work together efficiently.
Many common pet probiotics on the market use fewer strains — and are probably more general or less targeted to help improve overall health.
Maya Pet is all natural — and we take pride in adding as few “extra” ingredients as possible.
Maya Pet contains organic sprouted whole wheat as a prebiotic, but other than that, it is free of the most common additives and allergens that can cause constipation. This helps minimize side effects and potential complications with other medications or supplements your dog may be on.
- Nut free
Easy to Consume
Maya Pet comes in a powder form, making it easy to mix in with your pup’s normal food kibble. Sprinkle it on for a little flavor boost or add a bit of water or milk for extra hydration.
Powders are a great option for those dogs who put up a fight when taking pills or capsules or spit them out. It’s also a great option for senior dogs or other pups with dental issues who may not be able to handle any type of treat or chew option.
It tastes great and is served with their normal food, so there’s no extra anxiety, resistance, or issues when taking it.
Bonus Gut Health Tips
If you're considering adding a gut health supplement to your dog's diet or if you suspect that their current probiotics might be causing constipation, here are some additional notes and things to keep in mind.
Monitor Your Dog
Keep a close eye on your dog's behavior and digestion. Since dogs can’t talk, observation is key to catching and addressing gut health problems and determining if the probiotic or supplement you’re using is working.
If you notice any signs of constipation, such as straining during defecation or a decrease in bowel movements, you may need to make some adjustments to dosage or diet.
While it may seem weird, keeping notes in your phone or a notebook can help you document issues and improvements over time. Notes are especially helpful for dogs with chronic, ongoing issues where there’s lots to keep track of.
Keep Others Informed
While your dog probably spends the majority of time with you, they may also spend time with other pet lovers and professionals, including groomers, doggy daycare or boarding staff, dog walkers, roommates or other household members, and your vet.
If your dog has been on a new gut health supplement or struggling with constipation, be sure to let folks know. Keeping them in the loop with what’s going on can help you manage your dog's health and alert you to issues when your pup is not in your care. They can help fill in any blanks and even suggest other gut health remedies.
Get More Exercise
As noted above, exercise can have a major impact on gut health and digestive issues such as constipation. If your dog is struggling, make it a point to get some physical activity each day to get their digestive system moving.
Outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, or visits to the dog park can be a great option when the weather cooperates. If you’re stuck indoors, consider doing a few trips up and down the stairs, tossing a toy around inside, or setting up an indoor obstacle course with your pup.
If work and other obligations keep you from exercising your dog regularly, consider sending them to a doggy daycare or hiring a dog walker to give them some extra stimulation.
Be sure your dog has access to plenty of cold, clean water. Extra hydration can help push things through their digestive system, reducing potential constipation issues.
Refilling the bowl with fresh water a few times a day can help encourage your dog to drink more. As noted, you can also mix a bit of water into their food or try a wet food option to increase fluids.
You may also want to try a few different bowl or container options to see what your pup prefers. Some dogs like deep bowls, while others prefer shallow options. Pet water fountains that move the water around and keep it from getting stagnant are another potential option.
Consistency is Key
With Maya Pet anthrobiotics, consistency is going to be key to overall success. Making it a part of your pet’s daily routine — even when they’re not experiencing any health issues — will help promote a balance of good bacteria. When the gut is aligned, you’ll minimize flare ups and prevent issues like constipation, diarrhea, and gas.
Focus on Your Dog’s Gut Health
Probiotics can offer numerous benefits for your dog's gut health, but it's important to approach their use thoughtfully and with vigilance. While constipation is a potential side effect, it's not a common occurrence with proper adherence to the instructions and a close watch on the ingredients.
By staying informed and attentive, you can make the best decisions for your furry friend's digestive health and overall happiness. If you’re curious about Maya Pet, contact us to learn more about how we can support your dog's overall health.