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Can I give my dog a probiotic drink?

(Q) My dog has been suffering with stomach problems, which the vet has investigated but he can’t find anything wrong. However, I gave my dog some of my probiotic drink and it seemed to help him. Is it OK to give him this?

(A) Vet John Burns says: I doubt if there will be any harmful effects from giving your dog a probiotic drink. 

Most digestive problems can be resolved by the correct diet so it would be better to look at that rather than giving him a supplement.

You don’t supply much information about his diet or the nature of the complaint so I can’t give specific recommendations.

In general, a highly digestible hypo-allergenic diet would be best. These are available from specialist pet suppliers and vet’s.

As your dog is sensitive, it is important to feed a little below the manufacturer’s recommended feeding amounts.

(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: Probiotics may assist a dog with digestive problems but I would recommend the use of a veterinary product designed for dogs, such as Protexin Synbiotic DC, as this would be more appropriate than a human probiotic. 

Also, human probiotics often contain milk proteins, and dogs may have intolerances to these.

Dogs with digestive disorders may also do well on a low-allergy diet, such as one based on poultry or fish and rice. However, in order to assess the most effective treatment for a digestive disorder properly, a diagnosis is important; blood and faecal tests may be needed, and ultrasound or X-rays may be helpful too.

If you do pursue giving a probiotic supplement, consider a bland diet for your dog and make sure he is up to date with his worming treatments. If no improvement is seen, then you should consider prompt further investigation with your vet.

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