Kombucha is no longer exclusively the eco hydration of hipsters and the health-conscious fitspo crowd.
Today many households are fermenting their own kombucha and it’s not uncommon to find it on supermarket shelves, cafe lunch special boards or school kids’ tuckshop orders.
But, despite the latest thirst for this probiotic liquid in human circles, is kombucha safe for dogs?
What is kombucha?
Essentially kombucha is a fermented drink with probiotic content.
Kombucha is a combination of either a green tea or black tea base with what’s known as a ‘tea fungus’ or SCOBY, the rather affectionate acronym for a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
Once a SCOBY base is established it can be used for many batches of kombucha because it is a living culture.
When kombucha is consumed, this living culture travels to the digestive system and can help to return the balance of bacteria in the gut to a better state.
How kombucha affects dogs
In moderation, dogs too can reap the benefits of probiotic kombucha however they do not need large amounts to feel the effects.
It is recommended you speak to your vet about what is the safe amount for your pooch. For example, no more than one or two teaspoons may be required for some small dog breeds.
Keep in mind, not all kombuchas are created equal with the ingredients, potency and amount of probiotic content varying significantly. Plus, kombucha is not the only source of probiotics on the market and is not tailored to the stomach flora of canines.
However, probiotics are proven to return positive health outcomes for dogs including; digestion and nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, drug metabolism, interaction with cells for gut development and function, and host immune system modulation.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics need prebiotics in order to thrive in your dog’s gut. Being that prebiotics are what probiotic bacteria ‘eat’ while in the digestive system, it is important to also make sure that once the bacteria is added, it is also well fed – just like your dog.
In fact, the more we feed the probiotics living in the gut, the more efficiently these bacteria work. In exchange for somewhere to live and good food, healthy bacteria help us.
Some fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, garlic and onion are natural prebiotics that will feed probiotic bacteria in human digestion however not all prebiotic foods are safe to feed to dogs. For this reason, Dig In is a simple, safe and delicious prebiotic option for your dog.
Dig-In Digestive Gravy Powder is a scientifically-developed recipe designed to be added to your dog’s food to aid with the common symptoms of food allergies, in particular targeting digestive repair, and skin and ear irritations.
How to give kombucha to dogs
While some dogs may simply drink kombucha in its natural state or even be happy with it mixed into dry food, some with more subtle tastes will need some encouragement to consume a full dose of the sour-cider tasting drink.
Try adding the kombucha to your dog’s water dish to dilute the flavour. It may be the case that some dogs may be too smell-sensitive to drink the concoction, however, try a smaller amount initially and slowly add a larger amount over a number of attempts until a resistance has been established.
Just like Scooby Doo loved his treats, your dog can certainly make use of a SCOBY that has made its final batch. Try drying out an old Scoby until it reaches a jerky-like consistency and then giving to your pup as a chew toy.
Gut health is important for your dog’s overall wellbeing and while probiotic bacteria can be added to your dog’s diet, prebiotic additives can equally help to boost good gut flora numbers in your pooch’s digestive system.
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