I tend to stay away from dairy products for dogs but the benefits of kefir are outstanding. What is kefir, why is it one of the best dog supplements you can share and how much should a canine have?
I love real foods I can share with the canine members of my family. And of course non-GMO and organic foods top the list.
Don’t laugh at me but you know how whenever we eat something our dogs beg for it? Well it goes both ways. When I feed my dog something like kefir I think, “What a good idea. I want some too.” Now that’s a win-win and I’ll show you another example at the bottom of the page.
At the risk of embarrassing myself, I had to actually look up what it was. I mean I knew it was good and it was a dairy product but not exactly what the components were and how they got so full of good stuff.
I read the kefir grain had been closely guarded by the people of the Caucasus Mountains, which are bordered by Russia, Iran and Turkey for centuries. I envisioned something wheat-like that was harvested and must only grow in those mountains right?
Wrong. Kefir grains are a strain of complex structures of bacteria and yeasts with proteins, lipids and sugars and look kind of like cauliflower. Inside these "grains" are countless beneficial bacteria that are good for the body. To take care of the grains and keep them alive, they have to be put in milk or a sugary solution so the grains have something to feed on and grow.
The cool part is it doesn't have to be made with dairy milk. It can also be made with almond milk or coconut milk which is better for me.
How is it pronounced? I keep calling it kee-fer with the accent on the first syllable because that’s how it looks like it would be pronounced. However, it is pronounced kah-fear with the accent on the second syllable so I had that wrong too.
Okay, let's get to the crux of the matter and what I really did know about the stuff. A good kefir has more strains of beneficial bacteria than just about anything else.
Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt. In fact there are 30 different strains of bacteria and yeast. The bulk of those grains are a combination of insoluble protein, amino acids, lipids and complex sugars.
comparison, my favorite probiotic which I share with the dog has 11 strains of
beneficial bacteria. I still love it and will continue to use it because of its
long shelf life in the fridge and it never dirties a bowl. If you aren't sure about the benefits of probiotics, check out my page called the 13 reasons to use probiotics.
In addition to all this yummy bacteria, kefir also has beneficial yeasts. If your dog has ever had yeast problems like dog yeast ear infections, you’ll know I stay away from feeding dogs yeast (like brewers yeast because it feeds the problem) but this one is different because the yeast in kefir (such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir) will control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do this by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside.
This makes the body becomes more capable to resist pathogens such as E. coli and intestinal parasites (but I still use an herbal parasite preventative protocol). What are other benefits of kefir? It has antibiotic properties, it’s anti-fungal, relieves gas, aids allergies and just plain heals the body.
Want to run out and get some? Me too!
For one of the best dog supplements, especially if your dog is eating commercial dog food the guideline is as follows. You can even start with half the amount if you have a canine with a finicky stomach. We start small so we don't overwhelm the system with all this new goodness.
You can increase the amount daily if you choose but start here:
Small size dogs or cats – 1 tsp. – 1 tbsp.
Medium size dogs – 1 – 2 tbsp.
Large dogs – 2 – 3 tbsp.
You don't have to serve kefir for dogs on a daily basis long term. While it is a food, I consider it a dog food supplement, a treat and part of a wholesome diet with variety.
Oh, I almost forgot, since much of the benefits of kefir come from probiotics, here's what Lulu thinks of the Probiotics Eleven we share at bedtime. These turned out to be extras since I never remember to video at night, but she didn't mind at all.
Now this is how to pill a dog, don't you think?