Brown Labrador with vet taking probiotics

Some probiotics can take up to a month to work.

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How long does it take for probiotics to work in dogs?

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

There are different probiotics for different types of problems in your dog, so it's no wonder how long they take to work can vary.

If your dog needs probiotics, it's best if a vet decides this. But what type should be taken and how long will it take to work for a particular problem? Read on to learn all about them.

What should I expect if my dog is on probiotics?

When your dog is prescribed probiotics by a vet, the length of time it takes to see a benefit will depend on why they are being given. With gastrointestinal upset, you want to see an improvement within a few days and you should contact the vet, if your pet’s health is not improving or their symptoms are worsening. There are some proposed benefits of probiotics to the immune system that are likely to take longer, probably closer to a month.

The vet will advise you what dose of probiotic to give your pet. Usually this will be treatment once or twice a day, and is often given with their meal. Probiotics can come in different forms – pastes, powders and tablets – and some pets will have a preference or aversion to each of these.

Do probiotics only work for sick dogs?

There is some evidence that probiotics may have health benefits in dogs that are thought to be well. There is some research suggesting that probiotics might assist with supporting a healthy immune system or help anxious dogs. There is also some evidence that poor quality probiotics can disrupt an otherwise healthy gut biome, but again this requires further study. If your pet is in good health, it is probably unnecessary to supplement them with a probiotic product. But if you are keen to try it out, speak with a vet first for their opinion on whether this is suitable for your pet.

What's the taste of probiotics for my dog?

This will obviously depend on the product that your dog is given, but often they are meaty-flavoured and designed to be palatable to your pet.

Can probiotics be mixed with other medications?

You should always check with a vet whether a supplement (such as a probiotic) is safe to be given with your pet’s other medication. Yet probiotics should be OK to give alongside most other treatments.

How long does it take for probiotics to help my dog with diarrhoea?

This depends on the underlying cause of your pet’s diarrhoea. You would normally expect to see an improvement within a few days, even if the diarrhoea is not fully resolved by then. If the diarrhoea has not improved, is becoming worse, or your pet is showing other symptoms, you should get back in touch with the vet for advice.

When should I talk to a vet?

When a vet recommends a treatment plan, they will usually give you advice on when to get back in touch. For example, they will often say to contact them after a certain number of days, if you have not noticed an improvement in your pet’s health – or sooner if things worsen. But if you are concerned about your pet, you should get in touch with the vet even if this is sooner than they advised.

How should I address this issue with a vet?

If you want to discuss probiotics with a vet, this may be possible over the phone, but often an appointment will be necessary. You can ask the vet any questions you may have, including their advice about whether a product would be suitable for your pet.

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