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Can Dogs Eat Kefir?

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Can Dogs Eat Kefir?

Yes, dogs can eat Kefir. It is loaded with probiotics that have been scientifically proven to promote skin health and fight dog allergies. Kefir is also rich in a number of vitamins, including B vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and many other essential vitamins for dogs. Thus, it is a great addition to your dog’s diet to promote health.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a natural probiotic. Probiotics are living, good bacteria that promote balance in the intestines. Kefir is a cultured, fermented drink similar to yoghurt but thinner. As a result of the fermentation process, Kefir has a sour taste and is slightly carbonated.

There are two types of kefir – water kefir and milk kefir.

Best Type of Kefir for Dogs

The best kefir for dogs is plain, unsweetened, and ideally homemade to ensure no harmful additives. Milk kefir is commonly used, but water kefir is an excellent alternative for dogs with lactose sensitivity. Milk kefir offers more nutritional benefits due to its higher protein and calcium content, but water kefir is a safer bet for sensitive dogs and still provides essential probiotics.

Always avoid flavoured kefirs, which can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

Kefir Nutritional Information

Here is the nutritional information for 100g of Kefir:

NutrientAmount per 100g
Calories~40 kcal
Protein3-6 grams
Fat1-2 grams
Carbohydrates3-6 grams
Sugars3-6 grams
Fiber0 grams
Calcium120 mg
Vitamin B120.5 µg

Why are Probiotics Important for Dogs?

Probiotics like kefir offer many health benefits for dogs. They help good bacteria thrive, and some probiotics found in kefir can also benefit your dog’s immune system.

Health Benefits of Kefir for Dogs

Studies have shown that Kefir has many health benefits for dogs. Kefir can strengthen your dog’s immune system and promote their general health. On top of this, Kefir can help to fight disease and allergies.

Kefir has a long list of health benefits for dogs, including:

  • Promotes dog skin health
  • Helps prevent allergies in dogs
  • Fights off disease
  • Strengthens your dog’s immune system
  • Helps with irritable bowel and other stomach issues
  • Fights cancer in dogs
  • Acts as an antibiotic for dogs
  • Can help with depression and anxiety in dogs

Potential Risks of Kefir for Dogs

While kefir is generally safe for dogs, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks. The primary concern is lactose intolerance. Some dogs may experience digestive upset due to the lactose in milk-based kefir. Additionally, store-bought kefir can contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. It’s always advisable to introduce kefir slowly into your dog’s diet

Kefir Dose for Dogs

As with all changes to your dog’s diet, introduce kefir gradually.

Regarding doses of kefir, your dog only needs small amounts.

As a guide:

Dog SizeKefir Dosage
Small Dogs1 tablespoon
Medium Dogs2 tablespoons
Large Dogs3 tablespoons

If you do not want to give your dog kefir, there are other ways you can introduce probiotics into your dog’s diet, and these include foods such as:

Below are more probiotic options to add to your dog’s diet.

How to Make Kefir for Dogs?

Water kefir is the easiest and fastest type of kefir to make. It requires little effort or care, making it the perfect option for your dog.

Ingredients needed to make Kefir (per litre of water kefir)

  • 3 tablespoons water kefir nodules
  • 1 litre of  water at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of pure honey
  • Dehydrated fruit (e.g. dates or figs)
  • ½ lemon – juiced

Process of making Kefir

Do not use metal utensils when making kefir. Metal may interfere with the fermentation process of the kefir nodules.

Add all the ingredients in a glass jar and mix until everything is diluted into the water.

Leave the jar open, but to avoid contamination, cover the top of the jar with a piece of fine mesh. This can be secured with an elastic band. You must now leave your mixture for a few days to ferment. The fermentation process should take about 2 to 3 days. 

While your kefir mixture is fermenting, it is important to regulate the temperature. The ideal temperature is between 15 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius, which will allow the kefir nodules to survive.

Kefir Supplements for Dogs

Although making kefir for your dog at home is simple, you may not want to make it yourself. The good news is that kefir is now readily available in all leading supermarkets in the UK and online. In addition, there are many probiotic supplements available for dogs that are easy to find.

Kefir versus other probiotics for dogs

When considering probiotics for your dog, it is important to weigh various options to find what best suits its dietary needs.

Probiotic FoodNutritional ValueSuitability for DogsProbiotic ContentLactose ContentEase of Digestion
KefirHigh (Calcium, B Vitamins)HighVery HighLowHigh
YogurtModerate (Calcium, Protein)ModerateHighModerate-HighVaries
SauerkrautLow (Fiber, Vitamin C)LowModerateNoneModerate
KimchiModerate (Vitamins A and C)LowModerateNoneModerate
Probiotic SupplementsVariesHighVery HighNoneHigh

Other Probiotic Options for Dogs

Along with kefir and probiotic supplements, there are many natural probiotic options for dogs. 

These include:

The above ingredients can be added to your dog’s diet to support your dog’s digestive system.