Ready to take your dog's gut health to the next level?

In this blog, we’re exploring the science behind pre-, pro- and postbiotics, along with other key active ingredients and their role in fostering a healthy gut microbiome in dogs. The gut microbiome comprises all microorganisms in the intestines, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and their genetic material, known as microbiota or gut flora. It is vital for various bodily functions such as digestion and immune response, and can be influenced by pre-, pro- and postbiotics, similar to what happens in humans.

As a private-label company, we aim to provide our readers with valuable insights into functional ingredients. Our tailer-made supplements are suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds, aiming to contribute to good overall health.

Nutriliq Product Assortment: Supplement Varieties

Nutriliq offers supplements tailored to digestive health, crafted from specific pre- and probiotics along with active ingredients. Beyond just the content, the delivery form of the supplement matters. Ensuring your furry friend correctly and fully absorbs a nutritional supplement into their metabolism might involve testing which form they prefer.

Nutriliq can provide a synbiotic blend in the following forms:

  • Powder (to mix into regular food)
  • Chewable treats (chewing gum)
  • Edible paste

These variations can be supplied in pots of various sizes/contents. Typically, pots of 200-250g are most commonly requested.

Prebiotics: Fuel for Good Bacteria

Prebiotics are short-chain carbohydrates classified as fibers due to their plant origin and the fact that they are not digested by mammalian enzymes. They are selectively fermented by certain gut microbiota. Consuming prebiotics can significantly modulate the gut microbiota by feeding and increasing specific beneficial bacteria, thereby altering the composition of the microbiota (53, 40).

At Nutriliq, we utilize a blend of FOS, inulin, MOS and GOS, which promote the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, propionate and acetate (47, 26). These SCFAs each have their own health benefits for dogs (40).

FOS & inulin

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin are both forms of fructans, consisting of short chains of fructose molecules, often with a glucose molecule at the end (46). Due to the β-2,1 bonds between the fructose molecules, FOS/inulin are not easily digested in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, allowing them to reach the colon where they are broken down by enzymes produced by certain bacteria (60).

FOS are selectively metabolized by beneficial bacteria (62) and serve as an energy source for specific bacterial species such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Bacteroides, thus contributing to a healthy gut flora (81). Research has shown that FOS can effectively alter the gut microbiota, increasing beneficial bacteria and decreasing potentially harmful bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens (82, 87). Additionally, scientific evidence has demonstrated that FOS supplementation can improve the immune health of puppies by influencing the production of immunoglobulins in nursing bitches (1).

Nutriliq utilizes dried chicory root, a rich source of inulin. Research by Kozłowska et al. (2015) (47) indicates that inulin supplementation in the diet of dogs has a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome, resulting in an increase in beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteria. Moreover, inulin promotes gut integrity and has positive effects on nitrogen metabolism in dogs, potentially resulting in reduced unpleasant odor of feces (36, 7).


Yeast cell walls, known as mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS), are indigestible carbohydrates that modulate the immune system and influence microbial populations in the gut. MOS acts as a prebiotic by preventing harmful bacteria from adhering to and colonizing the intestinal wall. This property of MOS contributes to maintaining a stable gut environment (83).

Mannans, the primary components of MOS, increase the levels of immunoglobulin A in the blood of dogs. In adult dogs, MOS promotes gut health by increasing the number of lactobacilli and reducing the number of harmful bacteria in the stool (83).

In potential supplements that Nutriliq can formulate, brewer’s yeast cell walls (100% Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are utilized, containing high levels of β-glucans and mannan-oligosaccharides. It has a positive effect on the microbiome, the immune system and on the binding properties of pathogens and mycotoxins (70). These brewer’s yeast cell walls exhibit significant prebiotic activity and stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, as evidenced by an increase in butyrate, lactate, acetate and propionate. Propionate is one of the main energy sources for the intestinal epithelium (26). Therefore, it significantly contributes to the health and protection of the intestine against inflammatory processes (55, 83).


Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are non-digestible soluble fibers derived from lactose (24). The most common GOS variants, like galactosyllactoses, are naturally found in colostrum and milk from various sources (58).

GOS has a direct effect on the intestinal wall by interacting with epithelial cells, thereby enhancing intestinal integrity and aiding in the defense against inflammatory bowel conditions. Studies suggest that GOS promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteria (17) and Lactobacilli (42). These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (15, 50), serving as an energy source (9), inhibiting potential pathogens (86), boosting immune response (69), promoting intestinal mucosa morphology (19), and facilitating mineral absorption in the colon. Consequently, GOS supports carbohydrate fermentation and contributes positively to gut health by enhancing the gut microbiota composition (24).

Probiotics: Unlocking the Health Benefits of Microorganisms

Probiotics consist of living colonies of microorganisms that, when added to food, benefit the host by modulating the gut microbiota in favor of non-pathogenic microorganisms (34, 16).

These colonies comprise selected strains of beneficial bacterial species, specifically supported by prebiotics. Prebiotics influence the composition of the gut microbiota by serving as substrates for selective microorganisms. Research indicates that probiotics, as a direct source of beneficial microorganisms, effectively modify the microbial environment of the colon. This is because they can survive passage through the stomach and small intestine of the dog (37, 54, 6).

Probiotics can inhibit the development of pathogenic bacteria by competing for nutrients and binding sites in the intestinal epithelium. They stimulate the host’s immune system, produce antimicrobial substances, and acidify the intestines through acid production, particularly lactic acid. Additionally, probiotics synthesize vitamins, enzymes and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), all of which benefit the host (39, 84, 76).

Nutriliq works with three types of probiotics: Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Enterococcus faecium. Each of them has slightly different functions.

Bacillus subtilis C-3102

We utilize a carefully selected Bacillus subtilis C-3102 strain, known for promoting a balanced and resilient gut microflora. This strain offers robust protection against pathogens and supports optimal digestion (79). Bacillus bacteria are advantageous due to their ability to sporulate, rendering them more resilient to environmental stressors and acidic conditions in the gastrointestinal tract (16). Strain C-3102 demonstrates survivability under diverse temperatures (up to 105°C), even amidst varying production conditions (79).

Two studies highlight the beneficial effects of B. subtilis on fecal quality in dogs, showcasing improvements such as reduced instances of chronic diarrhea (65) and enhancements in fecal texture, odor and composition. Furthermore, its usage correlates with decreased ammonia levels, indicating a reduction in intestinal putrefaction processes (34).

Lactobacillus acidophilus CECT 4529

We also incorporate Lactobacillus acidophilus CECT 4529, an anaerobic, non-spore-forming rod-shaped bacterium that produces lactic acid. This contributes to improving stool consistency and fostering a healthy gut flora. Additionally, L. acidophilus positively influences local immune defense and shields the intestinal lining from harmful bacteria (33).

Studies indicate that supplementation with L. acidophilus leads to increased levels of lactobacilli in the stool, which may help protect dogs against infections caused by Clostridia, such as C. difficile and C. perfringens. Furthermore, it aids in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria such as Enterobacteriaceae, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp., thereby promoting an improved balance in gut flora (54, 6).

Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415

Enterococcus faecium is a gram-positive bacterium naturally occurring in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals (93, 3), and belongs to the group of lactic acid bacteria. This group, named for the lactic acid they produce during fermentation, includes various beneficial bacterial species (49). E. faecium is recognized for its probiotic properties and global use due to its resilience and thriving nature in the intestines (93, 3). Studies have shown that even after supplementation cessation, E. faecium can persist in the gut microbiome for up to 19 days (61).

Research indicates that E. faecium can enhance dogs’ immune function without adversely affecting their food intake, weight or blood parameters (8). It boosts the production of IgA and IgG antibodies, particularly following vaccinations like those against canine distemper virus (CDV). Additionally, E. faecium has been found to alleviate stress-related diarrhea in dogs (73, 20).

Nutriliq incorporates a microbial feed additive composed of dehydrated E. faecium cells. Several studies have validated the positive effects of this additive on fecal quality and immune parameters, including IgA concentrations in dogs (31).

Postbiotics: Revealing the Power of Lifeless Microorganisms

Two different definitions exist for postbiotics.
The first, as established by The International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) and outlined in its report by Salminen et al. (2021) (75), defines postbiotics as a formulation of non-living microorganisms and/or their components that confer beneficial effects on the host’s health. Another, more widely accepted definition suggests that postbiotics are non-viable bacterial products or metabolic byproducts of microbiota (43, 68, 85).

Postbiotics emerge from meticulous fermentation processes of raw materials, yielding beneficial metabolites by bacteria and yeasts to bolster health. Postbiotic supplementation, characterized by minimal side effects as it lacks living microorganisms, can aid in resolving disruptions in digestive or gut flora. These disruptions may occur following dietary changes or medication regimens, with the aim of restoring intestinal balance (43, 68, 85, 75).

Nutriliq utilizes a specific type of postbiotics known as Diamond V®, derived from a fermentation process with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This process yields substances like organic acids, enzymes, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and vitamins, generated by beneficial gut bacteria and yeasts. These substances form valuable metabolites that support gut health (43, 68, 85, 75).

Findings from Lin et al. (2019) (48) reveal the potential benefits of supplementing with a fermentation product of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for adult dogs. This supplementation positively influences gut microbiota, enhances immune capacity, and results in reduced presence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Moreover, the feed ingredient boasts high palatability and is well-received by dogs (27).

Other active ingredients

In addition to prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics, there are other beneficial substances that promote optimal digestive system function. Nutriliq incorporates these active ingredients into its supplements specifically aimed at supporting optimal gut health.

Zinc is an essential trace element for various bodily functions in dogs (67). It is absorbed through the intestines but can also be lost through feces, urine, pancreatic juice, hair, skin and nails (11). Nutriliq utilizes zinc glycinate, a chelated form of organic zinc bound to the amino acid glycine. This form is more bioavailable and better absorbed by the body (51, 52).

Clinoptilolite is utilized for its various beneficial effects, including improving gut flora, enhancing immunity, detoxifying the body by adsorbing toxins such as heavy metals like mercury (4), and preventing diarrhea (4, 14). It is a natural form of zeolite, characterized as a fine-grained, microporous clay mineral (14). Clinoptilolite can enhance stool quality, resulting in improved form, reduced volume and increased consistency (66).

Spirulina platensis, a blue-green microalgae (45), strengthens the immune response and stabilizes the gut microbiota by promoting beneficial bacteria and suppressing harmful bacteria (78, 57, 45, 21). Additionally, it acts as a natural detoxifier, aiding the body in eliminating harmful toxins and benefiting overall health and metabolism (57, 74).

Ascophyllum nodosum, a brown algae from the Fucaceae family, is utilized in supplements for its valuable nutritional content, including proteins, minerals, vitamins A, K, C, polyphenols and polysaccharides. It is also rich in fiber (23). Polysaccharides can induce beneficial changes in gut flora (23) and regulate digestive enzymes, which may be interesting for obesity treatment (23, 22). Polysaccharides such as alginates aid the body in detoxifying heavy metals, while fucoidan, ascophyllan and fucoxanthin stimulate the immune response, reduce inflammation, and counteract the development of adipose tissue (92, 38).

Pectins are soluble dietary fibers that can be easily broken down by gut microbiota. This results in the production of short-chain fatty acids that promote a healthy intestinal environment (10, 88, 41, 63). Pectins are also imporant for enhancing gut immunity by promoting the adhesion of beneficial gut bacteria and inhibiting the adhesion of harmful bacteria (91, 64).

L-Glutamine is an alpha-amino acid that is essential for protein synthesis in the body, crucial for cell growth, repair and maintenance (25, 18). During periods of intense stress, the natural production of L-glutamine may decrease, necessitating supplementation. Moreover, L-glutamine energizes intestinal cells, supports the recovery of damaged intestinal tissue, strengthens the intestinal barrier, stimulates an effective immune response, and helps reduce inflammation, such as enteritis (25, 59, 72).

Psyllium husk powder (Plantago psyllium) is included in supplements for its high soluble dietary fiber content, which slowly ferments in the colon and exhibits gel-forming properties. It normalizes food passage and promotes water retention in fecal matter, stimulating stool formation and making chronic constipation manageable (88). A study by Alves et al., 2021 (2), demonstrated relief from chronic diarrhea, reduced stool frequency, and improved stool consistency. These positive effects persisted even after two months without continuous psyllium supplementation. All individuals examined showed signs of weight gain, suggesting that psyllium may assist pets struggling with weight gain.

Acacia gum is a soluble secretion from acacia trees and a nutritious source of soluble dietary fibers, primarily composed of complex polysaccharides (71). Research indicates that acacia gum acts as a prebiotic in the gut, promoting the growth and metabolic activity of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. These bacteria ferment prebiotic compounds like fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), yielding beneficial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids. This leads to improved gut health by lowering pH levels and increasing energy supply to intestinal cells (32).

Quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties, provides protection against cell damage and DNA injury (12). It is known for its antihistamine effects, allowing it to regulate histamine levels. This can aid in reducing itching and inflammation in dogs with allergies (5, 28, 90, 35, 44, 80), as well as in dogs with chronic inflammatory digestive diseases (29).

Colostrum contains immune-enhancing components such as immunoglobulins, which strengthen the immune response at both mucosal and systemic levels (13, 30, 56, 78). This can help reduce allergic reactions that cause itching. The bioactive compounds such as probiotics and growth factors promote digestion and aid in maintaining balanced intestinal function (13, 30, 56, 78).

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