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Feeding your pet Yoghurt

Updated: Jan 17, 2023


Of all the dairy products available to us today, natural unsweetened Greek yoghurt is a great milky treat for our pets.



Yoghurt is simply fermented milk; the bacterial fermentation process involves the converting of lactose into lactic acid by the lactic acid bacteria present. This makes it an ideal milky treat for our pets who lose the ability to digest the lactose in milk as they mature.


Yoghurt is a growth food, packed with highly digestible protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and probiotics. It's a very useful and tasty addition, in moderation of course, to any pets' diet.


Probiotics, for a healthy gut

Good health relies on a well-functioning digestive system which ultimately relies on a well-balanced flora within the gut. This flora, or microbiome, within the gut is our pets first defence against harmful ingested pathogens.


The colonies of bacteria within the gut which make up the microbiome are relatively stable under normal circumstances but there are many factors which can upset this balance and lead to gastrointestinal dysfunction, a condition known as dysbiosis [3].


Adding a probiotic such as Greek yoghurt can enhance the gut biome, providing an external source of beneficial bacteria which can displace harmful pathogens within the gut [1].


Just as the microbiome protects our pets against harmful bacteria, ingested beneficial bacteria such as those in Greek yoghurt may also not be able to compete with the pre-existing microbiome of the gut. There are however, other benefits worthy of mention. The lactic acid bacteria produce metabolites and antimicrobial peptides which not only influence the microbiome but also interact positively with the immune system with 50% of a pets immunity derived from the gut [2].



Moderation

Milk, and its fermented form yoghurt is a growth formula designed to support rapid growth and development of young mammals. Although nutrient dense it is not a complete food for our pets, therefore should be fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


As a guide, any supplements including Greek yoghurt should form no more than 10% of a balanced diet to avoid creating any imbalances.


For example, for a pet eating 1/2 cup of wet food or 1/4 cup of kibble each day, 1 tsp would be the suggested maximum daily addition of Greek Yoghurt.


Add a little to their regular dish or use in a lickimat or slow feeder to make a little of this super tasty treat go a long way.


Always check the ingredients



When buying 'human safe' products to share with your pet make sure you read the list of ingredients to check for hidden 'extras', those harmful sugars, fillers, flavours & preservatives manufacturers love to put into their products.



Yoghurt is fermented milk, the only ingredients necessary are:

  • milk/cream/milk solids

  • cultures








 


Sources

[1] Deng, P., & Swanson, K. S., 2015. Gut microbiota of humans, dogs and cats: current knowledge and future opportunities and challenges. British journal of Nutrition , 113, S6-S17.


[2] Pilla, R., & Suchodolski, J. S., 2020. The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health and Gastrointestinal Disease. Frontiers in veterinary science , 6, 498-509.


[3] Zeng, M., Inohara, N., & Nunez, G., 2017. Mechanisms of inflammation-driven bacterial dysbiosis in the gut. Mucosal Immunology , 10, 18-26.


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