Is Kefir Good For Dogs With Diarrhea? The Decisive Answer

Stomach upsets are a common phenomenon in canines. Every dog will go through at least a few stomach problems at some point in their life.

I mean, have you seen the things that they like to eat?!

Thankfully, most of these tummy upsets are minor and clear up by themselves in a few days.

Sometimes the stomach upsets may persist with constant diarrhea and vomiting. Of course, the first thing you want to do in these scenarios is to consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

One of the more naturally-minded solutions that your vet may suggest to get your pet’s stomach on the mend is to use probiotics.

A diet rich in probiotic foods can bring with it a lot of benefits for the overall health of a dog. Both commercial and natural probiotics are excellent in supporting the dog’s gut flora.

At this point you may be wondering, “Is kefir good for dogs with diarrhea then?”

The answer is: Yes, absolutely!

Kefir is rich in natural probiotics which is excellent in alleviating the symptoms of gastrointestinal tract discomfort in dogs. The primary components of kefir include yeast, milk, proteins, lipids, sugar, and kefir grains. Natural probiotics are available in both sweet and unsweetened states.

Dog parents should always consider an unsweetened version if their canine friend is suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. This helps to prevent the growth of bad bacteria cultures in the canine tract.

Also make sure to choose kefir that is not made with cow’s milk! This is because most dogs are lactose-intolerant, meaning that their stomachs will not be able to handle the ingredient.

There are numerous suitable alternative options when it comes to kefir, such as those made with goat, coconut, or almond milks. All of these will be absolutely fine for your pup.

Research shows that providing dogs with probiotic supplements helps to improve their intestinal flora. These beneficial bacteria subsequently help to boost the immune system and aids in the digestive process.

One thing to keep in mind is that some dogs can experience excessive gas formation and diarrhea after using commercial probiotic supplements. However, natural probiotics like kefir do not usually have any negative side effects on dogs.

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Is Kefir Milk Safe For Dogs?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel laps kefir from bowl


However, you should make sure that the kefir you use is not made with cow’s milk.

As mentioned above, cow’s milk contains lactose which, unfortunately, most dogs are intolerant to. If eaten, they may experience further symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea– the last thing we want!

Kefir is also beneficial to pups that have just been on a course of antibiotic medication.

Antibiotics are known for destroying both good and bad bacteria in the stomach and intestines, and probiotics such as kefir are great for rebuilding good gut flora due partly to the yeast content.

The fermented milk drink comes with over 30 different strains of good bacteria, and it can help to battle allergies, promote healthy skin, get rid of yeast infections, and regulate the functions of the kidney and liver.

Besides those benefits, milk-based kefir is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, biotin, and a variety of vitamins. These ingredients are all essential for the well-being of a dog.

Even when you use kefir that is not bovine-based you need to be extra careful when first introducing it to your furry friend. Always start slowly to allow the digestive system of your dog to adjust.

Sudden introduction of any unfamiliar ingredients can cause stomach upsets in dogs, usually marked by ensuing vomiting and diarrhea.

Serving the dog with small quantities of kefir made from goat or plant-based milks will reduce this likelihood, but it’s always good to be on the safe side.

You can either make milk kefir at home or buy it directly from a store. Though it is readily available in a lot of commercial locations, I do recommend homemade milk kefir since it does not contain preservatives that may upset the belly of your canine best friend.

Despite its general safety for use, always consult your vet first before giving your dog any type of probiotic supplements. This is the best way of preventing the occurrence of allergic and other reactions.

What Kind Of Kefir Can I Give My Dog?

Kefir liquid and solid

As already explored above, kefir exists in many different types- for example, milk or water-based kefir. It is dependent on the dog owner to choose a product that suits his pet the most.

Milk kefir contains kefir grains mixed with either raw goat’s milk or cow’s milk. On the other hand, water kefir is made from plain water, coconut water, or fruit juice. You will be happy to learn that both water and milk kefirs are beneficial to your dog’s digestive health system.

For milk-based kefirs, goat’s milk is always the recommended option when it comes to canines unless you know specifically that they are not lactose-intolerant.

Kefir can also be made from plant milks. Some common types of plant milk kefirs are almond milk kefir and coconut milk kefir. These probiotic products are an excellent choice for those dogs that are lactose intolerant.

I always recommend plain kefir for any dog breed. Plain fermented milk products don’t contain potentially burdensome ingredients such as salt, sugar, and other artificial flavors.

Though not particularly dangerous unless eaten in large amounts, they just aren’t necessary for a dog’s health either. It is also advisable to avoid sweetened kefir that contains xylitol. This common chemical compound is toxic to dogs and can result in life-threatening consequences.

As responsible dog owners, we have the responsibility of checking the ingredients on the package label of foods before feeding them to our pets. Doing so each time can save your pooch from unnecessary allergic and toxic reactions that cause vomiting, diarrhea, or worse.

An exciting thing that you can consider when feeding your dog kefir is to add pieces of bananas or berries! Not only will your dog love the taste even more, the treat will also foster a healthier digestive environment in your dog due to the added fiber and potassium content.

How Much Kefir Should I Give My Dog?

Kefir curd on spoon

While we have established that plain kefir is generally safe for dogs to consume, the question that remains is just how much of the probiotic we should be giving to our pups.

The amount of kefir to be given will depend on different factors, such as the individual dog’s size, overall diet and its particular health requirements.

Despite the fact that there is a lot of information online suggesting an exact amount to give your pooch, these opinions usually aren’t tested or verified.

It is extremely important to be careful- especially when you first start your dog on kefir- as you do not want to shock its body with an overload of foreign food. Checking with your vet regarding the amount is always a good call.

Personally, I have owned my Cardigan corgi Gogi for six years now, and he has struggled with persistent digestive problems for almost as long!

Two years ago I started giving him kefir after reading about its effects in dogs and am happy to say that I have seen awesome changes in his gut health, poop status (yes, it’s a dog owner thing), and overall well-being ever since.

Throughout the years, I have thoroughly researched and honed in on the suitable amount of kefir to give differently-sized dogs. Rest assured that this information has been tested and has proven to be effective!

Below are the correct and effective ratios to follow when feeding a dog kefir:

  • Small dogs: One tablespoon given with meals, daily.
  • Medium dogs: Two tablespoons given with meals, daily.
  • Large to giant dog breeds: Three to four tablespoons given with meals, daily.

Be sure to start very slowly when first introducing kefir into your dog’s diet. This gradual implementation will help the dog’s belly to adjust and cope up with the new ingredients.

Abrupt changes in the diet of a dog tend to come with very noticeable consequences. Some dogs will experience severe stomach upsets characterized by diarrhea and vomiting. While rare, this can become serious if prolonged, resulting in weight loss, dehydration, and shock.

Therefore, begin with half the above recommended amount for the first two days to make sure that your dog is not experiencing any symptoms of digestive discomfort.

Kefir For Dogs: Other Benefits

Healthy beagle walking on grass

In addition to its digestive health benefits, here are a few other advantages of kefir for dogs supported by scientific research:

Potent Antibiotic Properties

Kefir contains Lactobacillus, a bacteria which can help to protect a dog against infection.

Research has shown that the Lactobacillus bacteria can restrict the growth of harmful bacteria in the GI tract of canines. The antibacterial properties are what make kefir are a real gem when it comes to curing the stomach ailments of dogs that eat everything that crosses their path.

Improved Bone Health

Old and large dogs suffer the most from deterioration of bone mass and density.

These dogs are more prone to fractures (such as broken legs) since the weakened bones cannot support their body weight during exercise or sudden movements. It may also be more difficult for a dog to recover quickly even after a fracture has healed.

Full-fat kefir will provide your canine with the calcium and vitamin K that it needs to have optimal bone health as it ages.

Proactive Against Cancer

Cancer is one of the most feared diseases in both humans and dogs. It is among the leading causes of death in canines, as the American Veterinary Society estimates that 1 in 4 dogs will develop cancer at some point in their lives.

Kefir probiotics help to boost the immune system, and subsequently can inhibit the growth of tumors. This protective role happens to be one of the main reasons behind the high demand for kefir in pet stores.

Easy Digestibility

Regular probiotic products such as yoghurt are usually made with cow milk and contain natural lactose sugars which are hard for dogs to digest. It naturally follows that these types of probiotics are not ideal!

However, kefir is a probiotic that can be tolerated by dogs with lactose intolerance- as long as the right one is chosen. These products can be lactose-free since many are made from coconut water or fruit juice.

Suppression Of Allergic Reactions

Many dogs suffer from an allergic reaction after eating certain types of food. This condition occurs due to an inflammatory response against the specific food or ingredient.

Kefir is ideal for those dogs with an over-sensitive immune system that is prone to allergies, as it has the ability to suppress these inflammatory-related symptoms.

What Is The Best Probiotic For Dogs With Diarrhea?

Pet Naturals of Vermont - Daily Probiotic for Dogs, Digestive Health Supplement, 160 Bite Sized Chews

The most common cause of diarrhea in dogs is the consumption of foods or objects that are not well-suited for a canine stomach. Thankfully, most of these gastrointestinal issues are not life-threatening.

While going for kefir will help to relieve loose stool and diarrhea, there are a lot of other probiotic supplements on the market. Choosing the very best probiotic for your pup can be a daunting experience.

The best thing to do when choosing a suitable probiotic for your pooch is to look at the list of ingredients. Look for products that contain specific bacterial species and strains- namely Lactobacillus acidophilus and kefiri.

Another crucial factor to consider is the expiry date and storage recommendations. This will help to ensure that your dog receives probiotics that are still effective!

Some of the best probiotic products for dogs are:

These products are usually available in Amazon and many online pet stores, though their popularity means that they run out quite often!

How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work In Dogs?

Every dog is different.

Some dogs will respond faster, while others might need to take the probiotics for several days or weeks before any positive results start showing.

So, how long does it take for probiotics to work in dogs? Truthfully, anywhere from one day to six weeks! However, this is normally heavily dependent on the dog breed and the type of probiotic used.

It is recommended that you consult your vet if the probiotic supplements are not working for your canine pal after this time period.

If you do choose to use kefir, you will be glad to hear that it is known to be more effective when compared to regular probiotic supplements!

In Summary

So, is kefir good for dogs with diarrhea?

Under the assumption that you give your dog a goat milk, plant milk, or water-based kefir (and not a cow milk-based one)- then Yes! Kefir is an excellent option to give to your pup with the runs.

As a probiotic-rich food, kefir has the ability to rebalance your dog’s intestinal flora by populating the environment with good bacteria. It provides other benefits too, such as boosting immunity, improving bone strength, and suppressing allergic symptoms.

If you do choose to give kefir to your dog, make sure to start slowly! The last thing you want to do is to shock your dog’s digestive system into further diarrhea production.

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