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Probiotic Yogurt for Dogs

Updated on January 31, 2010

You're probably familiar with probiotic yogurt for people and the enormous health benefits it has on the body, but you may not realize that probiotic yogurt is just as healthy and beneficial for dogs. Not only will it help digestion and other bodily functions, it can clear up lifelong yeast infections in a matter of days or weeks, depending on the severity of the fungal overgrowth (yeast is a fungus, not a bacteria). So unless your dog has a dairy allergy, I highly recommend reading on to learn more about feeding your dog a bit of probiotic yogurt every day for a healthier him or her.

Probiotic yogurt is healthy for dogs.

Some people worry that giving your dog yogurt containing live probiotic cultures is dangerous -- it isn't (just like it isn't dangerous for you or me). These are "good" bacteria cultures which aid in the digestion of food and other bodily functions so if you're concerned that you're feeding your dog something out of a freshman chem lab, you're not! The probiotic yogurt I use contains Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus acidophilus and both are very healthy ingredients.

Fruit or Diet yogurt is NOT healthy for dogs.

While probiotic yogurt cultures are good for dogs, not all types of yogurt are, so you need to be selective when choosing yogurt for your dog. Most fruit yogurts contain too much sugar for Fido (although if you were to add real fruit bits yourself this would be perfectly healthy as long as Fido wasn't allergic to them) and diet yogurts tend to contain artificial sweeteners which are also unhealthy.

Plain White yogurt is best.

An all natural plain white yogurt with a probiotic culture and no extra additives is the healthiest choice for your dog. Personally, I prefer organic whole milk products in my yogurt and that's what I use -- it's not unhealthy if you're using it in moderation, which is what you should be doing. Most dogs really love the taste of plain white yogurt, even if many people don't, and like I said before, if you want to make it more palatable you can always add a bit of real fruit to it yourself.

How much probiotic yogurt should you feed your dog?

Generally speaking, you should be feeding just enough to coat their dog food. This would vary depending on the size of your dog, obviously, but a good rule of thumb would be 1 tablespoon for small dogs, 2 for medium dogs and 3 for large dogs. You could add a bit more if you wanted to, as long as your dog doesn't have potty issues from it (though BiFi is often used to help treat things like diarrhea so it's unlikely to create a problem unless Fido is lactose intolerant). You could also let them lick your spoon or the container when you're done eating your own plain probiotic yogurt as a special treat!

Probiotic yogurt could cure itchy skin, ears or general licking.

If you've got a dog who scratches their ears relatively often but who doesn't have any sort of infection (ruled out by your vet, obviously), or a dog who licks their paws for no apparent reason, or a dog who scratches a lot for no apparent reason, probiotic yogurt may be able to cure that if the cause is something like a yeast overgrowth. I have seen this myself, but it should be noted that you've got to serve the yogurt every day until cured, which may take a few days or weeks, and you may need to do it for life if your dog is just prone to yeasty skin. But even if they're not, a serving of probiotic yogurt is healthy for so many other reasons that I really can't see why one wouldn't add it to Fido's food regardless (unless, of course, they've got an allergy).

Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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