by Emily Dickson Collaborator

How to Choose a Probiotic

How to Choose a Probiotic

If you:

  • Feel like the supplement industry is similar to the Wild West (are there any regulations for probiotics??)
  • Are confused about how to pick a probiotic 
  • Are wondering how you know if a probiotic is working

...keep reading! This one’s for you. 

FDA Supplement Regulation

Here’s something interesting. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does require all human supplements to be correctly labeled as “dietary supplements,” they do not require these supplements to be tested for safety before being sold on the market.1 

In animals, it’s a similar story, but even a little bit more ambiguous. The FDA views products for animals as either a “food” or a “drug.” There is no “dietary supplement” classification for animals. The major FDA regulations have to do with correct labeling, including a guaranteed analysis and no specific health claims.2

I think you can see how the waters get murky very quickly. 

I mean, your neighbor's grandma could decide tomorrow morning that she wants to create a new supplement and she would be able to sell this on the market fairly quickly. 

Not to say that anything is wrong with your neighbor’s grandma. In fact, I’m sure that she is a lovely woman! What I’m saying is that not all supplements are created equal. And this especially goes for probiotics. 

How to Pick a Probiotic: Which is best for my pets’ gut health?

The point of this article is not to freak you out. There’s many reputable supplements for animals on the market that are scientifically validated. But you must do your due diligence as a consumer and start reading labels:

  • What are the active ingredients? 
  • What are the inactive ingredients? 
  • What types of fillers, additives, or chemicals are added? 
  • How much do you have to feed? 
  • What concentration of active ingredients is present in one dose? 
  • For probiotic supplements in particular, how many colony forming units are available?

These are important questions you must ask. 

In terms of probiotic supplements, it gets a little more complicated because probiotics are, by definition, living microorganisms or bacteria, so the proper techniques have to be applied in processing, packaging, and bringing them to your animal’s body. 

This is where FullBucket really shines. All FullBucket probiotics are microencapsulated and lab-tested. Not only do they contain the optimal strain of probiotics for animals in the correct concentrations to be effective, but they also ONLY contain high-quality inactive ingredients. There’s really no better option on the market for supporting your companion’s gut microbiome

Remember, the gut is the source of all health and wellbeing at every age and stage of development

How Do You Know if a Probiotic is Working?

There are some obvious language barriers between us and our animals. I wish we could just ask them how they are feeling or doing each day, but that’s not an option, so we have to continually refine our animal husbandry and communication skills.

For starters, realize that one of the best signs that a probiotic is working is the ABSENCE of certain clinical conditions. Beneficial bacteria means better digestive health for your pets. And this means they won’t experience colic, gas, diarrhea, or worse. Be ok with knowing that what DOES NOT occur is one of the best signs you’ll “see.”

In humans, consistent and long-term probiotic supplementation is associated with better mood, increased cognitive performance, improved immunity, better stress responses, increased energy, and more. 

These are things to watch for in your animals too. While you may not be able to visually see the benefits of good gut bacteria (unlike a wound that is healing, for instance), it’s the subtleties that matter. What are their eyes telling you? Are they more relaxed? Do they seem more willing to exercise? Is their digestion improved? 

Tune in. Your animal will tell you what you need to know if you listen. 

Keep in mind that it’s important to give the probiotics a chance to work and produce desired health benefits. These are living organisms that need time to affect the gut bacteria population. Stick with using a probiotic for at least 90 days before deciding whether or not it is making a difference for your pet. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what good bacteria can do for your horse, dog, and cat


Read more about FDA Supplement Regulations:

1https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements

2https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-food-feeds/product-regulation



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