Are Probiotics and Other Supplements Good for Pets?

According to, in 2021 alone, pet owners spent more than $123 billion on their animals, including on vitamins and other health supplements. Despite the effects of inflation, people are still spending on their beloved pets. Where in the U.S. do pet owners spend the most on health supplements?

The Special Reports team at teamed up with Honest Paws, one of the leading manufacturers of premium health products for pets, to find where in the U.S. pet owners spend the most. The first is a no-brainer and likely won’t surprise you at all, but the second state on the list actually might.

Top 10 states where spending is higher than the national average:

1. California – 685%
2. Texas – 245%
3. Florida – 230%
4. New York – 194%
5. Pennsylvania – 136%
6. Illinois – 101%
7. Colorado – 68%
8. Massachusetts – 67%
9. New Jersey – 60%
10. Washington – 57%

dog and cat
Photo: Pixabay/ana_olly

Pet Supplements

Supplements created for pets can be beneficial, depending on what they’re employed for. This is a matter best discussed with your veterinarian.

“It is estimated that more than 11 million dogs, or 1 of out 5, in the U.S. alone, are affected by osteoarthritis. Joint supplements have been well-researched and have been shown to improve pain scores and motion in the joints of dogs treated with them,” notes Dr. Teri Byrd, DVM.

dog and cat
Photo: Pixabay/JACLOU-DL

Probiotics for Dogs

As to the question are probiotics safe for dogs and do they need them, the answer is “yes” on both counts and vets recommend them. Providing probiotics to your canine can help promote healthy bacteria and strengthen their immune system.

Probiotics work better when used together with prebiotics. One of the simplest and best sources of prebiotics for dogs is pumpkin, which is also recommended for settling upset tummies in pets.

In addition to improved gut health and a stronger immune system, among the half a dozen other benefits of providing probiotics to dogs is a decreased risk of intestinal worms. Studies suggest that probiotics for dogs can be used to control hookworm infestations and are currently being studied to examine their effect on other parasites.

The use of pre and probiotics can also improve oral health and result in better breath. That’s right. Certain probiotic strains help prevent common oral issues, and others have proven antimicrobial effects. This leads to better oral hygiene and prevents bad breath.

Photo: Pixabay/

Consistency is Key to Better Health

If you’re going to try adding them, vets say that ideally, you should provide them early in the morning before breakfast.

Most experts feel it’s best to administer them in the a.m. because, at that time, there is the least amount of gastric acid in the dog’s stomach and the bacteria’s journey to the intestines will be safer.

However, veterinarians agree that consistency is more important than following a strict dosing schedule.

Photo: Pixabay/

Human Probiotics for Dogs?

One question that gets asked time and again is whether or not it’s safe to give pets human probiotics. Human probiotics for dogs are not the same as dog probiotics.

The main differences between human and canine probiotics are the type of bacteria and the number of live bacteria. That’s because a dog’s gut bacteria is different than a human’s. While dogs can take human probiotics as long as they don’t contain ingredients considered harmful to them, they are not as effective as dog probiotics.

Ingredients to look out for are things like xylitol, an artificial sweetener toxic to dogs.

If you’re interested in trying supplements or probiotics on your pets but feel you still need to learn more, visit this helpful page outlining the pros and cons.

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