Milk Kefir for Allergies in Dogs (Myth or Miracle?)
If you have never heard of Kefir, then it is a drink similar to yogurt, but it contains more probiotics than yogurt does.
To some people, kefir is regarded as a miracle ‘cure all’ and allergy buster for us humans.
But what about milk kefir for dogs?
Can dogs benefit from lapping-up kefir?
And can allergies in dogs be alleviated simply by drinking some of this apparently miraculous wonder drink?
Hold tight, you are about to find out.
What Does Milk Kefir Contain & How Can It Help Dogs With Allergies?
Kefir contains the following probiotics:
The name of this probiotic gives a subtle clue as to what its function is. Lactobacillus acidophilus produces lactic acid.
That description defies its actual benefits, however. Aside from producing lactic acid, lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Another function of this particular probiotic is to reduce blood sugar.
Dogs with seasonal allergies such as allergies to various grasses can benefit from this probiotic. This probiotic reduces an antibody in the intestines which is involved in the production of seasonal allergies.
Dogs with seasonal allergies such as allergies to various grasses can benefit from this probiotic. This probiotic reduces an antibody in the intestines which is involved in the production of seasonal allergies.Good for Seasonal Allergies
Lactobacillus acidophilus also has very beneficial properties for dogs that suffer from digestive issues (caused by allergies or not).
Because Lactobacillus acidophilus produces lactic acid, this acid lines the intestines and prevents harmful bacteria from producing and potentially over-populating the intestines.
If your dog suffers from digestive issues from his allergy then this probiotic can help in combating the allergies’ effectiveness.
As if the benefits above weren’t enough on their own, there is also evidence that Lactobacillus acidophilus can strengthen your dog’s immune system. This, in turn, can help combat allergic reactions.
This probiotic holds claim to help dogs with allergies affecting the digestive system and senior dogs who may need digestive help due to their older age.
Streptococcus thermophilus has some excellent benefits for dogs with allergies.
If your dog is lactose intolerant or actually suffers from a lactose-based allergy, then this probiotic can improve the digestion of lactose and therefore alleviate the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Another benefit of this probiotic is to stimulate the immune system to work more efficiently. This property can help a dog to fight off allergic symptoms more effectively.
The oral health of your dog may also see benefits from this probiotic. The growth of gingivitis can be slowed down and bad breath can also be reduced by reducing the number of bad bacteria that is the cause of it.
Because many dog allergies cause skin irritation, Streptococcus thermophilus is also reported to be good for increasing the natural barrier of the skin that protects against skin allergies and infections.
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus
This is another probiotic that improves the immune system but also improves heart health, metabolic health, and digestive health.
Another lactose bacteria that supports the natural lactic acid in your dog’s gut.
The digestive health of your dog can be greatly improved by the digestion of this probiotic.
If your dog suffers from digestive symptoms from allergies then this probiotic can stabilize the gut to improve the symptoms.
Anxiety reduction can also be attributed to this probiotic when taken with Bifidobacterium longum. Allergies in dogs can increase canine anxiety as the symptoms cause discomfort and that can increase stress.
Anxiety reduction can also be attributed to this probiotic when taken with Bifidobacterium longum. Allergies in dogs can increase canine anxiety as the symptoms cause discomfort and that can increase stress.Anxiety Reducing.
Calcium metabolism and gut infections can also be improved by this probiotic.
Fungal infections in dogs such as yeast infection can also be reduced by taking this kefir-based probiotic.
Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids Found in Milk Kefir
For the overall health of your dog, she needs vitamins, minerals, and amino acids just as much as we do.
For a dog suffering from allergies, it is vital to ensure that your dog receives as many valuable nutrients as possible. It is often the case that regular dog food does not contain all the required vitamins and minerals that they should.
Vitamins Found in Kefir:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Amino Acids Found in Kefir
Minerals Found in Kefir
At this stage in my post, you may be wondering why you haven’t been giving your dog Kefir all her life. The general health benefits are huge and the beneficial qualities of kefir are excellent for dogs with allergies.
Dosage & Side Effects of Milk Kefir for Dogs With Allergies
Humans and dogs alike can have mild side effects to Kefir at first. But these side effects are temporary rather than permanent.
In dogs, mild digestive upsets are the most common side effects. Belching, constipation or a mild stomach ache are the usual suspects with the introduction of Kefir.
Kefir is not a medicine or a drug, so I can’t really talk about the correct dosage, but I can recommend the ideal amount to give to your dog.
Small Dogs (Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas and Beagles, Etc.)
For the first few days, give small dogs 2 teaspoonfuls of Kefir per day.
After this initial trial period, you can increase that to 1 full Tablespoon per day.
Most dogs will quite happily lap-up Kefir straight from their bowl. If your dog turns up his nose to it, then feel free to mix it into his food. The benefits are still there even if you mix it with some other food.
Medium-Sized Dogs (Collie, Samoyed and Siberian Husky sized dogs)
For the first few days, give medium-sized dogs 2 dessert-spoonfuls of Kefir per day.
After this initial trial period, you can increase that to 2 full Tablespoons per day.
As mentioned above, you can give your dog the Kefir on its own, or mixed in with her regular dog food.
Large Dogs (Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Etc.)
For the first few days, give large dogs 1 Tablespoon of Kefir per day.
After this initial trial period, you can increase that to 3 full Tablespoons per day.
Serve on its own or mixed into his regular dog food.
Kefir is not a medicine or a drug. You can’t overdose on Kefir.
The amounts shown above can be increased, but I have given these quantities as sensible measurements so that you have some idea of how much to give each size of dog.
How to Make Your Own Milk Kefir for Your Allergic Dog
In some countries, kefir is freely available in the dairy refrigerators of supermarkets and it’s usually in the yogurt section.
If you live in a country where kefir is not a common item, then you can very easily make your own at home.
You can make milk kefir from any dairy milk and even non-dairy milk such as almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk.
With dairy milk, avoid the ultra-pasteurized versions as that spoils the kefir-making process.
What You’ll Need to Make Milk Kefir for Your Dog
While it’s possible to make the starter culture at home, doing so adds about 8 days fermenting time and adds a complicated process which most people prefer to avoid.
One Tablespoon of milk kefir grains (purchased from Amazon, see links above)
Two US Cups of dairy milk (a US Cup is 240ml)
- 1/2 gallon sized glass jar (half a gallon is 1.9 liters).
- A rubber band.
- A spoon, a funnel, and a measuring cup.
- Strainer (ideally a plastic mesh)
- Bottles for the finished kefir!
- Add 2 cups of fresh milk to the half-gallon jar.
- Add one tablespoon of your purchased Kefir grains to the milk in the jar.
- Cover the lid of the jar with cheesecloth and secure with the rubber band.
- Allow the jar to sit for 24 hours (no longer), and in a warm place (normal room temperature is fine)
- When the time is up, strain the kefir into bottles using a strainer.
Once you have made your first batch of milk kefir, the grains you strain-out of the finished batch can be reused over and over again. So simply restart the process again once you have filled your first bottles.
In another 24 hours, you’ll have another jar of kefir goodness ready and waiting.
Prefer to Watch a Video Showing How Easy Kefir is to Make? I’ve Got You Covered.
I should also point out at this stage that the milk kefir you make from the method above is not only great for your dog’s allergies, but it’s also great for you and me too!
Milk Kefir contains around 1 billion active bacteria and is more potent than yogurt. If you have already discovered that your dog’s allergies improve with yogurt, then the effectiveness of milk kefir will be even greater relief for your dog.
I wish you and your dog the best of health!