Kefir For Dogs
February 28, 2023 | 3 min read
Updated February 28, 2023
By Sarah Milton
Published: February 28, 2023
Summary: “Is kefir good for dogs?” In this blog, learn whether dogs can have kefir and if it has any benefits for dogs like it does for humans...
Kefir is a slightly sour, and at times fizzy, fermented milk beverage that’s made by combining milk (either cow, sheep, or goat milk) with cauliflower-like grains of kefir. These are essentially a collection of good, probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens and other beneficial microorganisms!
While the kefir ferments, the bacteria produces and emits carbon dioxide and breaks the milk’s lactose into lactic acid which means it actually ends up having a relatively low amount of lactose in it when compared to milk and yogurt. And, with dogs being mostly lactose intolerant, it poses the question for many health-conscious pet parents: “can dogs have kefir?”
Kefir is also more watery than yogurt and it is now consumed around the world (but actually originates from the Northern Caucasus region of Russia). It’s loved because of its high calcium and probiotic load. And, yes... Dogs can have kefir!
Is Kefir Good For Dogs?
So, yes dogs can eat kefir and it’s arguably good for them! It benefits their gut health, just like it does ours, and a healthy gut is known to lead to better immunity, skin and coat condition, and digestive functioning. Dogs with sensitive stomachs or those more susceptible to physical stress responses may benefit even more so from small amounts of daily kefir!
Even though kefir is much lower in lactose than milk or yogurt, if you know your dog is particularly sensitive to dairy then it may be worth sourcing kefir for your dog from specifically goat’s milk or coconut or rice milk to avoid it completely.
Kefir is good for dogs because not only is it an excellent source of probiotics (some can contain as many as 61 strains of good gut bacteria!), it’s also high in protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins K, B12, and B2.
Kefir For Dogs
To prevent this, kefir should be introduced gradually over several days so the body can adjust to the high probiotic load. You should only feed your dog plain, unflavoured kefir and you can either serve it over their daily food or on its own.
Start with ¼ teaspoon on day one, then ½ on day two, and so on. If your dog seems to tolerate it well then you can then continue to feed them plain kefir up to the following maximum amounts dependent on your dog’s weight:
16-32lbs bodyweight – 1-2 teaspoons per day
32-48lbs bodyweight – 2 teaspoons per day
48-64lbs bodyweight – 2-3 teaspoons per day
64-80lbs bodyweight – 3 teaspoons per day
80-100lbs bodyweight – 3-4 teaspoons per day
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: Kefir can be particularly useful for dogs who are on or finishing a round of antibiotics. Kefir can help restore their gut’s essential bacteria levels, as antibiotics tend to kill off all the bacteria present in the gut whilst they destroy the problem infection.
If your dog doesn’t take to kefir – either their tummy struggles to adjust, or they simply don’t want to eat it – you could look to doggy-specific probiotic supplements instead to help reap the rewards of boosted gut health!
As with all foods you are considering introducing to your dog’s diet, it’s always worth consulting with their vet before implementation.
Author Parks, Shoshi “Can My Dogs Eat Kefir?” The Dog People, Powered by Rover https://www.rover.com/blog/can-dogs-eat-kefir/
Author McNally, Darby “Can Dogs Drink Kefir? Is Kefir Safe For Dogs?” Dog Time https://dogtime.com/dog-health/dog-food-dog-nutrition/96981-can-dogs-drink-kefir-safe
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!