Soil Based Organisms (SBOs) – Probiotics For Our Pets

By Dr. Jeannie (Jeanette) Thomason

Soil based organisims as Probiotics SBOs For Pets

Let Them Eat Dirt…



What Are Soil-Based Organisms (SBO’s)?

On the simplest level, SBO’s are the term for friendly microorganisms that have their origins in healthy, natural soil.

As an animal naturopath, whenever I come across a thought-provoking natural health question, I always start by asking: “How does this work in nature?” In this case, looking at nature is key to understanding the various types of bacteria both our companion animals and ourselves come into contact with, and how they impact health.

Dirt Is Our Dog’s Friend

Nowhere in nature/life, is the good/bad bacteria balance more important than in the soil. Dirt or soil is the foundation for the entire plant world—and therefore all living things. The soil is what provides plants with their nutrients, to than nourish all other life.

When the soil has the nutrients it needs, along with the right balance of bacteria—it’s able grow the healthiest, most robust plants that are strong, resistant to disease and full of vitality. However, when there’s an imbalance—often due to the presence of unfriendly bacteria such as yeasts, molds and other pathogens—the plants often become weak, tending to then rot and decay.

Do you see how soil-based organisms are nature’s first line of defense? They help keep pathogenic, unfriendly bacteria in check, while providing the necessary terrain or environment for friendly bacteria to grow and thrive.

I am sure you have seen your dog eating grass, digging and eating the dirt or maybe even pulling up whole clumps of grass – roots and all and eating it.  Here is the connection, interaction and consumption of soil-based microorganisms in action.  These microorganisms are a part of our animals. They always have been, since the dawn of time.  Think of the wolves, big cats, feral cats and wild horses.  They all eat off the ground and in so doing consume some of the soil with their meal.

So it really should not surprising to us at all that SBO’s play a similar role in our domesticated, companion animals. When ingested—which would have and did occur all the time in nature—these friendly microbes would protect them against pathogens, keeping their overall bacteria balance in harmony.

SBO’s, are known as spore-forming bacteria that have the ability to “seed” the digestive tract with bacteria which will flourish and support a balanced microbiome, the term used for the mini-ecology of microorganisms such as bacteria that inhabit the human body and perform vital functions such as immune support and digestion.

Some characteristics which are unique to SBO probiotics include:

  • The structure of soil-based organisms is naturally resistant to the harsh environment of the upper digestive tract and stomach.
  • Unlike other probiotics not derived from soil, probiotics containing SBOs are very stable and don’t need any special coatings or preservatives to ensure a clinically relevant amount reaches the appropriate areas of the gut.

This is due to a natural shell that preserves the probiotic spore against harm — whether in the terrestrial environment, or in the acidic environments in our carnivore companions stomach.  Like a seed, warm temperatures and moisture stimulate germination. Soil-based probiotics are well-adapted to the environment of the gut, and have been shown to remain in the digestive tract where they can provide long-term benefit.

Digestive tract microorganisms  plays a vital roll in over all health.

Probiotics are absolutely necessary to aid the body to:
1. Manufacture B group vitamins, biotin and folic acid.
2. Reduce blood cholesterol levels.
3. Produce natural antibiotics, which can protect against harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E.Coli and shigella.
4. Regulate and stimulate many aspects of the immune system.
5. Improve lactose intolerance.
6. Display significant anti-oxidant activity.
7. Inhibit the growth of some yeast (eg. Candida Albicans).
8. Detoxify harmful chemicals and carcinogens from the body via the intestinal system.
9. Increase energy levels.
10. Regulate and increase hormone levels.
11. Remove toxins ingested through foods (eg. Pesticides and Herbicides).
12. Absorb nutrients, antioxidants and iron from your diet.
13. Removal of toxins as waste products of digestion.
14. Reduce food intolerance (eg. Lactose and Gluten).
15. Reduce inflammation.
16. Digestion of food.

The Royal Society of Medicine of Great Britain reported that 90% of chronic diseases are caused from an unhealthy intestinal system primarily the colon.

Research has shown that there is a connection between imbalance in the intestines and the following dis-eases: Arthritis, Candida/Yeast infections, Asthma, Food Allergies, Eczema, Irritable Bowel, Indigestion, Constipation and possibly to  auto immune disorders due to a weak immune System.

In reality, there are quite a few things that affect the intestinal bacterial balance in a dogs’s gut in addition to antibiotics, vaccines and chemical based pesticides:
poor diet
prescription drugs
treated water
environmental changes
chemical fertilizers
soil sterilizers (in agriculture which damage the soil ecosystem and the natural flow of bacteria found in the food chain).

This destruction of the good/friendly bacteria allows harmful bacteria to multiply and produce large amounts of toxins and carcinogenic agents. These toxins inhibit the normal function of the digestive system and increase the demands placed on the liver and kidneys. Consequently, this speeds up the aging process and leads to various diseases and digestion problems.

So, If we wish our companion animals to maintain a healthy immune system, we need to avoid antibiotics, chemical exposure, undue stress and things known to destroy the probiotics/friendly flora/microorganisms in the intestines as much as possible, While we support and maintain large quantities of friendly flora in the gut. This is easily done by supplementing with species appropriate, soil based probiotics.

Let Them Eat Dirt

Some thirty years ago, laboratory research scientists began investigating why animals eat dirt and grass. It was only when they examined organic soils and grasses, that they found them to be teaming with microflora and bacteria that were in turn found to be protecting and nourishing the grasses and plants. These same microflora and bacteria proved to have a profound probiotic effect in the animal’s intestinal tract.

Totally unlike today’s chemically treated soils and grasses, organic soil is teeming with soil-based organisms (SBOs) that live right around the grass roots.

Think about this: Dirt and its SBOs have always been a natural part of our animal’s flora. When wild or feral dogs, wolves, (even horses and birds) eat from the ground they are naturally getting soil based organisms on whatever they are eating on the ground. And of course they have constant access to wild grown (organic), pesticide free dirt and grass in the wild when ever they want or need it. The old farm dogs of only 80 – 100 years ago did not eat out of a dish,  they were tossed scraps of raw meat and bones from the farmer.  They ate off the ground.

SBOs have been scientifically proven to quickly resolve GI disorders and are essential to maintain intestinal balance.

While It may seem like the simple solution to just let your dog eat grass and dirt in your yard, sadly, most of our companion animals live in environments that do not provide these essential digestive aids.  Most lawns, and dog parks are treated with inorganic pesticides, fertilizers, and watered with municipal water which contains chlorine and fluoride. These chemicals kill the SBOs!

Even most horses are kept in stalls and only allowed very little grass grazing if any. Compare this to wild horses that graze constantly grasses grown on naturally clean dirt.

SBO probiotics best and work fastest.

Microbes or bacteria grown on dairy products and/or grains and  plants  can take months to years  to build up the beneficial bacteria/flora in the gut even taken regularly. It has been found that just a few doses of SBOs will quickly take hold in the gut and multiply quickly to dispatch most cases of minor GI upsets. Often,  more quickly than before you could ever have your pet seen by a veterinarian.

Milk is for infant animals

Despite what the dairy industry has deceived us into believing, common sense and science tells us that milk is not healthy for mature humans, dogs, cats, horses or rabbits, etc. to consume. In fact, the regular eating (or drinking) of dairy products can often lead to many serious dis-eases.  The majority of  probiotics available at this time are cultured or grown on or in dairy products.

God designed soil based organisms to nourish and protect the immune system of plants and animals alike; they are the perfect probiotic for our animals and even ourselves.

If our pets are to maintain a healthy immune system, it goes without say that they need large quantities of friendly bacteria. Begin with a raw, species specific diet and supplement the diet with SBO probiotic to give your pet the health that he most certainly deserves.

Dr. Jeannie uses a SBO probiotic for her own animals, she uses:  Pet Flora by Vitality Science 

*Pet Flora now contains Humic/Fulvic Acid!   

Buy Vitaliy Science Pet Flora HERE 


Testimonials of Pet Flora:

I just had to let you know that after 8 weeks of soft to totally liquid stools, sometimes bloody, multiple dietary trials and 3 sets of negative stool cultures, on just 4 days of Pet Flora,  our 9 pound stray toy poodle puppy is having NORMAL STOOLS!!!! We cannot thank you enough for sharing with us about SBOs and Pet Flora! What a relief for all of us!

Judy, Jim and Sarah Hibel and Beal, the 9 pound wonder dog:)


I was desperate for some help and I found The Whole Dog and then your article on SBOs through a Google search. My 10 year old Golden Retriever (Bogey) has been getting chemo treatments for GI lymphoma since late August and has experienced severe diarrhea for the past two weeks straight. Monday we were advised that after 4 chemo treatments she did not go into remission and the diarrhea will more than likely continue because of the location of the cancer. This was devastating news because the diarrhea was causing her to lose weight (20 pounds so far) and she would eventually become so weak due to a lack of nutrients in her system that we would have to put her down. We showed the Oncologist your article  and she advised us to give it a shot because the prescription drugs and Imodium have not worked. We started on Pet Flora and on Tuesday (9/26) and this morning Bogey had her first normal bowel movement in 16 days!!! We are thrilled to say the least. If this continues, your article and Pet Flora will be solely responsible for extending her life.

Thank you, Scott Miller


My 18 yr old dachshund was put on a course of a combination antihistamine/steriod tablet for a cough she developed. Testing revealed the steriod had totally destroyed her good gut flora. She developed IBS type symptoms which led to daily multiple very foul, loose stools. We tried revisions to her diet and even a “veterinarian” recommended probiotic. Internet research led me to your website and requesting a consultation (which was highly educational and eye opening). The concept of a soil based probiotic just made sense as being a “as nature intended it” product to help in healing dogs with intestinal problems. Another benefit noted is the absence of fillers, dyes, etc. found in the product purchased at the Vet’s office. We were amazed at how fast Pet Flora and a raw diet has turned her around!  Stomach issues were totally resolved by the 3rd day. She’s been getting it sprinkled on her ground Raw Paws Pet Food for a few weeks now and is thriving! I will definitely be keeping her on both for the rest of her life!

Susan Miller

I have made every effort towards the goal of accuracy in anything on this website and in my articles. I, nor anyone associated with this website in any way take responsibility for any results positive or negative that may occur from reliance on the information contained herein. When one is dealing with a living, breathing organism, there are dynamics that come into play that cannot logically be covered in any one website or publication. Thus, the information provided here is for educational purposes only and it is the reader’s ultimate responsibility to make any decisions regarding the care of their  animals and themselves.

These statements made herein not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease in humans or any animal.  Always consult your health care professional or veterinarian about any serious disease or injury for yourself or your animal(s).  Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe any natural substances, including essential oils, for serious health conditions that require professional attention. 

A consultation is recommended before beginning on the natural health journey for your dog(s)

Scientific Studies and Resources

“Research from California has concluded that a deficiency of medicinal ‘superbugs’ known as Soil Based Organisms (SBO) from our soil and food chain may be responsible for intestinal illnesses and diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, colitis, candidiasis, and colon cancer. Therefore, including SBOs in one’s diet, either in supplement form may aid in healing from chronic fatigue, frequent diarrhea, intestinal gas, frequent constipation, poor immune response, bladder infections, chronic vaginal infections, candida, allergies, skin fungus, dairy product sensitivities, menstrual complaints or chronic bad breath which are all indicators of a possible imbalance.  Soil probiotics such as SBOs may help provide the healthy balance the body needs.”

Probiotics affect immune system Dogs from the Journal of Nutrition

Broad Spectrum SBO Probiotics

Bittner, A.C., Croffut, R.M. & Stranahan, M.C. (2005) Probiotic-Prebiotic Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Randomized, placebo-Controlled, Double-blind Clinical Study. Clinical Therapeutics, 27(6):755-761.

Smith, C. Open Label Clinical Study for Diverse Chronic Conditions of the GI Tract (Report CS-01-05). Ft. Benton, MT: Safer Medical, Inc.

Gibbons, J.D. (1988). Sign Tests. In: Encyclopedia of Statistical Sciences, Vol 8:471-475. New York, NY: Wiley & Sons.

Alvah C. Bittner, Ph.D., CPE is a Research Team Leader with Bittner & Associates, Kent WA & Professor, affiliated with Department of Environmental Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Jeff M. Smith is Owner, Rocky Mountain Retrievers, Missoula, MT & President, North American Hunting Retriever Association, Fredericksburg, VA

Group, E.F. (Unknown). Probiotic Bacteria and Your Health. Natural Health and Organic Living. Global Healing Center.

The Journal of Nutrition “Nutritional Immunology“ Supplementation of Food with Enterococcus faecium (SF68) Stimulates Immune Functions in Young Dogs Jalil Benyacoub, Gail L. Czarnecki-Maulden,* Christoph Cavadini, The´re` se Sauthier, Rachel E. Anderson,* Eduardo J. Schiffrin and Thierry von der Weid



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