Home-made Kefir: Safe for dogs?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition Home-made Kefir: Safe for dogs?

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  • #23151 Report Abuse

    Hi, I make my own kefir (with 2% milk and kefir grains) and was wondering: is it safe to feed my dog? And, is it safe to feed my cat? Also, would I need to let it ferment longer to make sure there is the least amount of lactose? Any suggestions would be super helpful – thank you!!

    #23157 Report Abuse

    There are a small number of dogs and cats that are lactose intolerant, but if yours are not amoung them, you have no worries. Start with small amounts and see how they take to it.

    #23158 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    If your dogs are sensitive to cow’s milk you can also use goat’s milk, coconut water or coconut milk.

    #23159 Report Abuse

    I first thought I’d order my own kefir grains and make my own… then I started reading about the process ~ that’s a little science project you’ve got going there, huh! : ) Good for you! Have fun!

    #23160 Report Abuse

    Have you ever made one of those Amish friendship cakes? Here they always get pushed into a back corner and forgotten about until I find it 2 weeks later, nasty. I decided buying kefir made more sense for me. I love the idea of making my own, but reality always bites me in the butt.

    #23169 Report Abuse

    Great, thanks for all of the advice! I love this place 😉 I’ve had a lot of success with making the kefir for myself – my boyfriend won’t touch it, but it has totally helped my stomach. I got my kefir grains off Craigslist over a year ago – I just strain them, drink what I’ve strained, pour new milk back over them, and put them back in the cupboard for 24-48 hours. I’m actually severely lactose intolerant and it doesn’t bother me a bit. It has a lot more good-bacterial strains than yogurt, which is what makes me want to give it to my dog and cat. Also (I just looked this up so I could quote it): according to kefir.net, “Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.” I’m nervous about experimenting on the animals, considering I’m in the process of getting them used to their new food (thanks to the help of this site!) but I’m sure they’ll love it. I’m gonna colonize their little intestinal tracts 😉 Patty, I’ve never made the Amish friendship cakes I’ve always wanted to!), but I brew kombucha (fermented tea) – talk about a nasty science experiment!! I started all of this back when I was eating raw – SO hard to do, but I never felt better in my whole life when I wasn’t eating anything cooked. Reading about how people feed their dogs raw food makes so much sense to me. I’d love to get there one day.

    #23172 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    I wanted to make my own because I wanted to use goat’s milk and I thought it might save me some money, but I priced it out and it would be much more expensive to make my own, not to mention the added inconvenience. So I’m sticking with Lifeway – plus I can usually find tons of coupons for Lifeway online. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by Hound Dog Mom.
    #45201 Report Abuse
    Brenda J

    As it has been mentioned above, as long as your dogs aren’t lactose intolerant then I don’t see the problem in feeding it to them. Definitely start the amount off small since kefir can be quite concentrated in good bacteria so giving their stomachs a chance to get used to it is always advisable.

    I started making it myself a good few months ago and also started my dog on it too. He loves it and it does seem to have made a difference despite what my boyfriend says haha!

    I read some articles which may help you based on dogs and kefir and also making kefir in general.

    #82867 Report Abuse
    Dave w

    Brenda J is wrong.. the process for making kefir REMOVES the lactose and the sugars in milk (please do research before posting twice , a false statement)

    she does not seem to even read the above poster stating she has a lactose issue and she DRINKS kefir with no problems.

    Kefir is SAFE for your dogs and cats,
    I have been making kefir DAILY since 2010 yes 6 years, each morning my dog and the 3 cats get a good dose, ( my lab gets at least 1 cup and it is about 2/3 of a cup for the 3 cats to share)

    Also when the grains grow more then I need which is every few weeks they go right into my dogs bowl he loves them.

    use regular milk not 2% if you cant find organic milk.. STAY AWAY from ultra pasteurized as it wont work well.

    #92794 Report Abuse


    #94657 Report Abuse
    Christina C

    The fermentation process makes kefir virtually lactose free, so it should be safe for dogs even if the dog is lacose intolerant.

    If you are going to give it to your dog, I would suggest making it yourself, because the kefir found in grocery stores is loaded with sugar. I’ve found the grains from Fusion Teas in Texas to be quite good. They are organic, healthy looking grains. You can buy them on Amazon. Stay away from dehydrated grains. They are a complete pain because they’ll waste tons of milk trying to get them up to par and they’ll never look quite as good as Fusions’ grains.

    I’ve been giving it to my dogs for about a year now. My Rat Terrier had been on prednisone for years for environmental allergies, and I was finally able to take her off it, because it cleared up almost all of them (but not ragweed). I also found it improved her arthritis symptoms and her GI issues (had problems with frequent diarrhea). She ate it readily. The only reason I do not still give it to her was due to recently euthanizing her for a bladder tumor; she was 16-years old. Tends to happen to terriers more often than not in their later years.

    I still give it to two of my other dogs. One eats it readily, but I have to coax the other one to eat it. I find that putting a little cheese in it is a great incentive. Get one that sticks to the plate and then put a little kefir on top of it. It forces mine to lick ferociously in order to dislodge the cheese, so the kefir gets eaten in the process.

    I will give you this warning: Be careful about giving it to dogs on an immuno-suppressant (e.g. prednisone). It can cause the bacteria to run wild in their system. I gradually weaned mine off of hers, giving her the prednisone every other day and a teaspoon of kefir on the off days. If her bowels got too loose and began to get an ammonia smell (the smell is an indicator of too much), I’d cut it back or didn’t give it too her for a few days. Once I got her off the prednisone, I found it was no longer a problem.

    #104802 Report Abuse
    Pete S

    Dairy based kefir is generally fine for dogs and cats. You can read a little bit more about kefir for dogs and why lactose isn’t an issue with kefir in the article I linked, but basically the beneficial bacteria also breaks down the sugar lactose turning it lactose free. If you are still concerned, there are also water based kefir grains (such as Water Kefir Grains from Cultures of Health on amazon) you can try as well.

    One other thing you should be aware of if you purchase Kefir for your pets, make sure they are unflavored or plain and don’t contain any artificial sweeteners that could be dangerous. The article I linked to above has a simple easy recipe for making homemade kefir so you don’t have to worry about unwanted additives.

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