Do Probiotics for Dogs Really Expire?

Probiotics have gained popularity for their potential health benefits, not only for humans but also for our furry friends. Many dog owners are turning to probiotics as a means to support their pets' overall well-being and digestive health. However, like any other product, it's essential to consider the expiration date when purchasing probiotics for your canine companion. The use-by date plays a crucial role in determining the viability and effectiveness of the beneficial bacteria present in these supplements. Therefore, it’s imperative to pay attention to the use-by date, ensuring that you provide your dog with the most effective and beneficial probiotics available.

Are Probiotics Bad After the Expiration Date?

A recent study delved into the viability of probiotics after their expiration dates, shedding light on whether these products are still safe and effective.

The lack of safety studies conducted on expired probiotics raises concerns about potential risks associated with consuming these products.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the efficacy of probiotics is dependent on the viability and potency of the live microorganisms they contain.

Probiotics have gained significant popularity as a health supplement for both humans and animals. While it’s common knowledge that certain probiotics need to be refrigerated to maintain their potency, such as those found in yogurt or other dairy products, many pet owners may wonder if the same applies to dog probiotics. Just like their human counterparts, veterinary probiotics are sensitive to temperature and should be stored in controlled refrigerated conditions to ensure their effectiveness.

Should Dog Probiotics Be Refrigerated?

Veterinary probiotics, like dog probiotics, are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when ingested by pets. Just as with human probiotics, it’s recommended to store them under controlled refrigerated conditions. Refrigeration helps maintain the viability and stability of the probiotic strains, ensuring that they remain active and effective.

Bacteria thrive and multiply in warm and humid conditions, which can compromise the quality and safety of the probiotics.

The effectiveness of probiotics is highly dependent on the number of live bacterial strains present in each dose. Over time, if not properly stored, the number of viable bacteria can decrease.

These products are formulated using specific strains of bacteria that can survive at room temperature. However, it’s always best to consult the product label or the advice of a veterinary professional regarding the storage requirements of a specific probiotic product.

Storing them under controlled refrigerated conditions helps ensure that the live microorganisms remain active and beneficial for your pets health.

How Do Probiotics Work in a Dog’s Digestive System?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain a healthy digestive system in dogs. They work by improving the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which aids in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, boosts the immune system, and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. The probiotics colonize the dog’s intestines and create an environment that’s more favorable for good bacteria to thrive. This ultimately helps promote better digestion, reduces digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation, and supports overall gastrointestinal health in dogs.

Refrigerated and unrefrigerated probiotics may seem similar, but their storage conditions play a crucial role in maintaining their potency. When probiotics are left on store shelves, their freshness and manufacturing dates become uncertain, raising concerns about diminished strength over time. While both types are still alive, refrigerated probiotics offer an added advantage by ensuring optimal potency, while unrefrigerated ones may have more enzymes than actual probiotics.

What Is the Difference Between Refrigerated and Unrefrigerated Probiotics?

The difference between refrigerated and unrefrigerated probiotics lies in their storage and potency. According to a store employee, when probiotics are placed on the shelf without refrigeration, there’s no way to determine how long they’ve been sitting there or when they were actually manufactured. This can lead to a decrease in their potency over time.

By storing probiotics in the fridge, it helps to keep them cool and stable, which in turn preserves their live cultures.

Source: Are shelf-stable or refrigerated probiotics better?

Refrigerated probiotics play a crucial role in ensuring the efficacy of the natural “good” bacteria in our bodies. Unlike shelf-stable alternatives, which often fail to deliver an adequate number of live cells, refrigeration helps maintain the maximum potency of these probiotics by minimizing cell death.

What Do Refrigerated Probiotics Do?

Refrigerated probiotics play a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance of beneficial bacteria in your body. Unlike many shelf-stable probiotics, which may fall short in delivering a sufficient number of live cells, refrigerated probiotics are specifically designed to provide the optimal quantity of active cultures. By storing these probiotics in cold temperatures, cell death is significantly reduced, ensuring maximum potency and long-term effectiveness.

These bacteria, known as gut microbiota, play a crucial role in various aspects of your health, including digestion, immune function, and nutrient absorption. However, environmental factors like heat, humidity, and air exposure can compromise the viability of these bacteria, rendering them less effective.

The cold temperatures slow down the metabolic processes within these bacteria, minimizing cell death and ensuring a higher number of viable cells reach the intestines upon consumption. This, in turn, allows the probiotics to interact with the existing gut microbiota, promoting a diverse and balanced ecosystem in your digestive system.

It’s important to note that not all probiotics require refrigeration. Different strains and formulations have varying storage requirements, so it’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

How to Properly Store and Handle Refrigerated Probiotics

  • Keep refrigerated probiotics in the refrigerator at a temperature of 35-46 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Ensure that the probiotics are stored upright to maintain their integrity.
  • Avoid storing probiotics near items that emit heat, such as the back of the refrigerator or the refrigerator door.
  • Check the expiration date before consuming or using the probiotics.
  • If the probiotics come in a powder or capsule form, keep them in airtight containers to prevent moisture and humidity.
  • Don’t freeze refrigerated probiotics as it can damage the live bacteria and reduce their effectiveness.
  • If you’re traveling, make sure to pack the probiotics in a cooler bag with ice packs to maintain their temperature.
  • Always follow the storage instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • If you notice any changes in the color, texture, or smell of the probiotics, it’s best to discard them.
  • Remember to take the recommended dosage and don’t exceed the recommended amount without consulting a healthcare professional.


Probiotics that are used after their expiration date may not provide the desired effects. By doing so, they can maximize the potential benefits and support their dog's overall health and well-being.

Scroll to Top