Can Dogs Drink Yakult?

By John Martin - February 13, 2022


Humans take probiotics all the time to maintain gut health. With one of those little bottles in your hand, you might be wondering if the same is true for your dog.

Let’s find out.

What Are Probiotics?

According to the World Health Organization’s definition, probiotics are microorganisms that can be good for your health when you get the right dosage. Essentially, they are the good kind of live yeasts and bacteria that are present in supplements and food products that keep the gut healthy.

There are two types of good bacteria: lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

The first one is usually found in fermented food products like beer, cider, wine and cultured milk. The second one is found in dairy products like milk, ice cream, cheese and butter.

The yeast that is present in probiotics is called saccharomyces boulardii which is used to help ease irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. So, it is also good for your gut.

Probiotics also help in digestion which has been proved scientifically. They do so by promoting the good bacteria that are already in our gut and helping them work better.

This is true for dogs too. But don’t go shopping just yet.

Also Read: Can Dogs Drink Oat Milk?

Can Dogs Be Given Probiotics?

Research done by vets is just getting to the specifics of probiotics for dogs. They are looking into how supplements of this kind can help keep dogs healthy.

Just like they work on humans, probiotics can help dogs too in many different ways. They are good when it comes to:

  • Regulating bowel functions
  • Reducing symptoms of allergy
  • Obesity
  • Reducing gas
  • Liver diseases
  • Chronic GI problems
  • Breathing
  • Yeast-related problems

Plus, they are also good for the dog’s coat and skin. So, it is a good idea to give your dogs probiotics if they are experiencing any of the above problems.

Giving your canine a little probiotic supplement is also a good idea provided your vet has signed off on it. You don’t want to do this on your own because some dogs tend to have allergic reactions to probiotics.

This good bacteria is also good for the immune system which makes it even tempting to give them probiotics like Yakult.

Can Dogs Drink Yakult?

Yakult is a commercial product with is fermented with the good bacteria called lactobacillus. It is sweetened and is a milk beverage that has five main ingredients. It has skimmed milk in the powdered form, glucose, some natural flavors and water along with good bacteria.

Yakult also has sugar which keeps the probiotic from going bad while it is sitting on the supermarket shelves.

Yakult is pumped with lactobacillus which, as is the case with human beings, is also good for your dogs.

This is a drink that was first made by the Japanese sometime in the 1930s. But it became popular across the world only by the 1990s.

In terms of taste, it is a little like yogurt and is sold in small bottles that are about 2.7 fluid ounces in the US and in about 0.03 fluid ounces in the UK.

The thing to remember is that the manufacturers sometimes exaggerate the health benefits of this product. Now, this happens with almost every product made by man but since we are dealing with health, let’s take a closer look.

A panel of specialists in the Netherlands did exactly that in 2006 and discovered that drinking one bottle of Yakult every day can help human beings suffering from constipation. That can be true for dogs too when they are experiencing stomach problems.

So, we’re all good on that front. But it is good to remember that when you are giving products made for humans to dogs, you must exercise some caution.

So, give your dog Yakult if you need to but make sure it is in moderate doses and that you have talked to a vet first.

When you give your dog the first bottle of Yakult, expect them to bloat a little because their body will still be adjusting to it. But if they have an upset stomach, it’s not a bad idea to check in with your vet again.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Frozen Yogurt?

How Much To Give and Are There Any Exceptions?

Giving your dog one bottle of Yakult every day might not be a problem because each of these little bottles has approximately 10 billion probiotics.

Depending on the dog, you may even be allowed to give them more than one bottle a day but that’s only if your vet says it’s fine. The decision depends on the dog’s size and obviously, the bigger the dog the higher the body weight and hence the dosage.

You can give Yakult to a regular dog but don’t do it every day for too long since this is mainly a product for humans and not animals.

It’s also not a problem to give Yakult to puppies but the quantity should be moderated because they are much smaller in size.

What you want to do is start with a small dose and see how they react to it. And if they are able to digest it, increase it gradually.

Remember that Yakult has a lot of sugar which is not the best thing to feed a dog. So, keep an eye on the dosage.

It’s also a good idea to be just as careful with pregnant dogs because the product does have its merits. Giving Yakult to a pregnant dog can help reduce bloating, acidity and heartburn.

But once again, you want to make sure that your vet has cleared it and you have both agreed upon the quantity.

Isn’t Dairy Bad for Dogs?

Now, we know that not all dogs do well with dairy products so this is a legitimate concern.

Non-fat Milk

Non-fat milk has a lot less cream and fat content when you compare it with whole milk. However, it is still dairy and if your dog is lactose intolerant, giving them Yakult is not the best idea.

These dogs don’t have the ability to break down the sugar found in these products since they don’t have lactase which is an enzyme that helps break down lactose.

And by the way, if your dog has never tried dairy before, you might start them out with a little Yakult to see how they will react. If your canine is lactose intolerant, you will notice them fart a lot and their stool will be loose once they consume dairy. So, this is a good tester.

But there are plenty of no-dairy options. So, don’t worry.

Glucose Syrup and Sugar

Then there is all that glucose and sugar in Yakult. This is added to keep the product from going bad but they are not meant to be consumed by dogs.

At least not on a daily basis. This is also because sugar does not have nutritional value when it comes to dogs but it certainly increases the calories count which is not good for them.

And if you ignore it, they will have bad oral health, diabetes is a real risk and you walk right into the trap called obesity. And let’s not forget that in serious cases, it can also lead to pancreatitis.

So, if your dog has any of these conditions or is prone to it, you might want to take Yakult off the table entirely. Healthy pups will benefit from it so it’s a choice you make.

Glucose syrup, on the other hand, is not toxic because it doesn’t have as much sugar. But the bar shouldn’t be as low as “not toxic”.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Vanilla Ice Cream?

Parting Thoughts

Yakult is not a bad idea if you have a healthy dog that is not lactose intolerant. You can even give an adult dog a bottle a day if your vet says it’s fine for them.

But you don’t want to do this if your dog is lactose intolerant or diabetic or prone to it. The same is true for dogs that are watching their weight or have sketchy dental hygiene.