You’ve probably read all about how kefir is a wonderful addition to any healthy diet. Did you also know that you can make kefir for dogs as well? Feeding kefir to your dog can ward off or treat a number of conditions, including:
- possible allergies
- skin and coat problems
- irritable bowel syndrome
- other digestive tract problems
- excessive flatulence
- excessive shedding (note that your dog will still shed as much as its breed is supposed to, though)
- stool problems
- weight problems
- bad breath
- a lack of beneficial bacteria and yeasts in the intestines after a course of antibiotics
Sold on kefir yet? Well, let’s give you some more information on why kefir would benefit your dog. In addition to treating or preventing the conditions above, kefir also:
- is rich in various vitamins, such as A, B, and D
- contains many essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus to supplement a diet of dry or wet doggy food
- builds your dog’s immunity system
- contains anti-fungal, anti-cancer, and anti-tumor properties
Hopefully, after reading the past two long lists, you’re now more intrigued about kefir. If you’d like to try it out with your furry friend, you can easily make it at home if you get yourself some kefir grains. Otherwise, it can be found at health foods stores or your local farmers’ market. Pick fresh, GMO-free varieties for the best bang for your buck. Then, when you first start your dog out on it, begin by giving them small doses. Kefir is best used in moderation, although it is very safe.
If you have a small dog, feed them a maximum of one teaspoon to one tablespoon daily, upping it to one to two tablespoons for medium-sized dogs and two to three tablespoons for large dogs. Go slowly, and monitor your dog’s reaction to the change in diet. If he doesn’t seem to be reacting adversely to it (don’t worry, negative reactions are a rare occurrence), you may up the dosage – but still keeping within the maximum recommended daily allowance previously stated.
If you’re using it for treatment rather than preventative or supplementary purposes, such as after a course of antibiotics, then you can double the above dosage (but only after your dog has gotten used to having kefir in his food).
How do you introduce kefir into his diet? Most dogs have a certain degree of lactose intolerance (i.e. they can’t take dairy products), but kefir seems to be a great way to get those probiotics into their system without much side effects. Do test this out, though: certain dogs can take milk and other dairy products just fine, while other dogs will have diarrhoea after just a bit of dairy. Give your dog a small amount at first, and see how he takes it: if it works out fine, you can introduce milk kefir into his diet slowly.
Alternatively, goat’s milk, coconut milk, or coconut water kefir will also work great. Do not, under any circumstances, feed your dog sugar water kefir or kefir with artificial sweeteners; these substances are harmful for your dog and would nullify all the benefits he would have gotten from kefir in the first place.
Have you tried kefir for your dogs? How did it go? Let us know!