Probiotics are good for humans because it is effective in reducing the number of pathogenic bacteria, diabetes, and hypertension as well as enhancing immunity. For this reason, one query that may come to mind is yogurt good for dogs or not?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), yogurt is a fermented dairy product derived from the fermentation of milk by bacterial cultures. Yogurt is a source of nutrients that are lacking in the normal diet. It is a powerhouse of protein; also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium vitamin D and different groups of vitamin B. These substances help to stimulate growth and development, as well as improve gut health in humans. Yogurt can be made from cows’, ewes’, goats’, or buffalo’s milk. A wide variety of yogurts are now available around the world, ranging from very-low-fat fruit yogurts to Greek-style yogurt with a fat content around 8 g per 100 g (1).
Health benefits of yogurt in dogs or How yogurt is good for dogs
1. Treat Chronic enteropathy
Chronic enteropathy is gastrointestinal diseases in dogs with symptoms like chronic vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, loss of appetite or some combination of these signs (2). However, yogurt contains good bacteria (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) which act as an anti-inflammatory agent and decrease the abundance of bad pathogenic bacteria (Fusobacterium and Clostridium hiranonis) thus improve gut health and treat chronic enteropathies in dogs (3).
Side effect of yogurt in dogs
Yogurt contains probiotic organisms that are beneficial in humans while similar benefits have not been seen in dogs. There is the following reason why yogurt is not suitable for dog
1. The gut of a dog is different than human
Most yogurt products contain bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus), neither of these organisms is found in the gut of a dog. Therefore, the bacteria found in yogurt are poorly able to survive in bile environments and are typically unable to colonize the intestinal tract in the dog.
2. Not all types of yogurts contain live probiotic organisms
Some are made from pasteurized milk therefore, does not contain bacteria.
3. Sometimes dogs are unable to tolerate yogurt
Due to the low levels of lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose. For this reason, yogurt may cause digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence/abdominal gas, bloated stomach, lack of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, and discomfort.
4. Unable to stop canine enteric bacteria
Although yogurt contains lactic acid bacteria but unable to stop the growth of Campylobacter jejuni (canine enteric bacteria ) as an antimicrobial agent. This bad bacteria stick and colonize in the dog’s intestine and increase the risk of human infection too. Thus before giving any probiotics to the dog as an antimicrobial agent, precaution should be needed (4).
5. Read the label properly before buying probiotics
Before buying yogurt from the market for your dog, please read the label and ingredients. As today’s commercial pet foods claim to contain probiotics without proper labeling. Therefore precaution should be needed if you want to add probiotics in your dog diets because actual contents were not found in the label descriptions (5).
What kind of yogurt is good for dogs?
Ideally, very little scientific evidence supports the advantage of yogurts in dogs because it doesn’t give any accurate health benefits in the dog. Despite this, if you want to add greek, plain, low or non-fat, full fat, yogurt you can give to your dog. You need to ensure that yogurt does not contain any sweetener (both natural and artificial) like xylitol which is toxic for a dog. If your dogs can not digest the lactose you can give lactose-free yogurt (6).
How much yogurt should I give my dog?
The right serving size of yogurt is depending on dog size, weight, type, etc. The effective dosage of probiotics is 3.5 cups of yogurt per day for the dog however the owner only adds 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt which is too small of a quantity to provide any clinical benefit (7).
There is a lot of controversy over yogurt consumption by the dog. Some research studies suggested that yogurt is good for the digestive system and it helps to treat gastrointestinal disease. Whereas other studies reported that it is just not good for them. Therefore the further study is needed to confirm the use of yogurt as a probiotic.
Is yogurt good for dogs with diarrhea?
A research study done in 2016 showed there may be some potential benefits of yogurt in helping dogs that have diarrhea by restoring the balance of bacteria in the dog’s gut. However, consult your veterinarian to ensure its proper serving size and effect on the dog.
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