Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...



Posted by Under the Weather on

Prebiotics and probiotics

The buzz about prebiotics and probiotics is nothing new, but you may still have questions as to their actual functions and whether they would be good for your dog. If so, read on!

The most common reason prebiotics and probiotics are recommended is for regulation of the intestinal tract. This “irregularity” generally refers to diarrhea and constipation but may also include flatulence. These symptoms are associated with, and sometimes caused by, changes in your dog’s gastrointestinal bacteria. So, what exactly are these bacteria-modulating products and are they right for your dog?

How They Help

Prebiotics and probiotics are as timeless as our ancestor’s use of soured goat’s milk, yet they are a relatively new field of study for veterinary nutritionists. Much research has taken place to fully understand the impact of the microorganisms that live symbiotically within us.

We know that they help maintain the intestinal immune system, influence the proliferation of intestinal cells, and keep our body from using too much energy to extract the nutrients from the food we eat. We also know that the bacteria in our gut have the potential to help or harm our health by aiding in the many chemical reactions that take place in our intestines.

For these reasons, many veterinarians are in favor of influencing these bacteria by offering simple prebiotic and probiotic supplements to improve a dog’s overall health. These products are usually formulated as oral supplements such as tasty chews, powdered formulas or dog foods labeled “for intestinal health.”

How They Differ

Prebiotics are fibrous, nondigestible food additives that are used by the beneficial bacteria that live in the large intestines. Two major classes of prebiotics have been shown to be effective in treating infectious and non-infectious gastrointestinal diseases in dogs:

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) contain the sugar fructose which is a preferred energy source for the beneficial bacteria known as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Bacteriodes. On the other hand, fructose isn’t favored by the bad bacteria such as E. coli, Clostridium and Salmonella, among others. Therefore, FOS compounds offer a reproductive boost for the good bacteria.
  • Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) contain a sugar mannose, which limits the ability of bad bacterial to attach to the intestinal wall, thereby allowing the harmful bacteria to be passed through the intestines without causing damage.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that stimulate the production of more beneficial bacteria. When given in adequate amounts, these microorganisms are shown to have specific health benefits when the intestinal flora reaches an optimal balance of beneficial bacteria.

Why Vets Recommend Them

Veterinarians recommend prebiotics and probiotics for dogs with intestinal symptoms because they’re safe to use, they can replace riskier therapeutic options and dog owners love them. Their dogs respond well, they come in flavorful treat formulas and they avoid the side effects of prescription drugs. For optimal health, many dog owners make a probiotic part of their daily routine.

This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, makers of a line of vet-formulated functional soft chew treats for dogs. Our chicken liver flavored Probiotic treats help dogs maintain the right balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, shown to promote overall well-being. Manufactured at our facility in Vermont.

Under the Weather is also an avid participant in the pet overpopulation cause. A portion of every sale is channeled to the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund which finances the transportation of pets from overpopulated shelters around the U.S.A. to Vermont for adoption. The fund also covers the cost of spaying and neutering these animals. To date, we have helped save the lives of over 2,000 pets. Get to know more about Ruffy and the inspiration for our company.

View Our Products

Visit Our Blog Library


Some cats are frightened of almost everything new, including other cats, people, sounds or environments. They tend to hide away from new visitors, animals or anything that is unfamiliar to them, and their lives are happier when they live with few people or other animals.Fear by itself is a natural and necessary response we all have, but an excessive fearfulness [...]

Read More »


Feeling nauseous is very unpleasant and impairs us from functioning at our best. Luckily for us, we can reach for products or homemade solutions that can relieve our upset stomachs. But our dogs can’t voice their discomfort, so it’s important for us to watch for the signs to help them out quickly.Nausea can be brought on by many possible reasons [...]

Read More »


You can’t help but see the surge in popularity of CBC oil for humans, and now it’s for pets as well. It can be rather confusing hearing these new terms – hemp, CBD, THC – so we’ll try to clear things up for you.What is CBD?Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the flowers and buds of cannabis plants, but CBD [...]

Read More »


Cat hairballs can be shocking and disgusting, especially the first time you experience one. Helping your cat prevent them and understanding how to deal with them can make all the difference.What Are Hairballs?Hearing your cat retch and eventually upchuck a hairball can be very distressing. The end product is a blob of undigested wet cat hair that’s been lurking in [...]

Read More »


Cats are built to eat several small meals each day. If your cat starts missing those meals, it can cause physiological problems, so this is not a situation that can be ignored hoping it will return to normal.If you suspect this non-eating is due to a health issue, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. [...]

Read More »


When your dog has diarrhea, the only thing on your mind is finding a way to make it stop. You feel bad for your dog, your dog feels like he is doing something wrong but cannot control himself and your surroundings are getting riddled with stains. Ugh!!Related: Why Does Your Dog Get Diarrhea?The first step is to assess [...]

Read More »


Bone broth has been all the rage the past few years for human health, but is it also beneficial for our dogs? Absolutely! Bone broth has been shown to: support joint healthhelp detox the liversupport digestive health and soothe a compromised gutprovide nutrients for a sick doghelp boost the immune systemoffer relief from food and environmental allergiesbenefit an [...]

Read More »


Do you trust your dog food manufacturer? As a dog owner, we’d like to believe we are feeding our dogs the best food we can give them. And, sometimes the flashy commercials and ads can give us the impression that a certain brand has our dog’s best interest at heart. But often, those large companies with the deep pockets [...]

Read More »


When you think about a dog going to the emergency room, you might envision a dog that’s been hit by a car, bit by another dog or suffering from a broken bone. But the leading cause of dog visits to the ER is actually vomiting. Understanding possible causes, knowing what to look for and being prepared to act is [...]

Read More »