Nowadays, we do whatever we can to boost our body’s defenses against infection. And since the nutrients we get from our food seem lacking, many opt to fill in the gap by taking dietary supplements.
One of the many is brewer’s yeast. Given brewer’s yeasts’ nutritional benefits, pet parents can’t help but wonder: What is brewer's yeast for dogs?
Yes, the term brewer’s yeast might ring a bell to some since this is an ingredient commonly added to pet food. Some pet care providers have also been adding brewer’s yeast supplement to their dog’s food for various reasons – all of which will be discussed here.
So, if you’re itching to know what good your dog can get from brewer’s yeast and if this is worth adding to your dog’s diet, read on.
Here, you will not only know all the potential benefits of brewer’s yeast to your dog’s health but also its possible side effects and more.
What Is Brewer’s Yeast?
If you’re a big beer fan, then you might have heard about brewer’s yeast. After all, these dried-up cells derived from the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae are a by-product of brewing beer.
Unlike your “live,” one-celled fungus active baker’s yeast that is often used to make bread dough rise, the brewer’s yeast that’s usually sold in the market (think supplements) is the “worn out” version of the yeast cells, which are non-fermentative and inactive.
Brewer’s Yeast Vs. Nutritional Yeast
Dairy-free and protein-rich, some vegans went ahead to add nutritional yeast to their diet. And since health stores offer this alongside brewer’s yeast, others would like to know if these two are one and the same.
Both come from the same type of yeast used to make beer and bread – Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The main differences lie in their nutrient profile, flavor, and origin.
Nutritional yeast is grown from sugar beet molasses or sugar cane, while brewer’s yeast is a beer-making offshoot. When it comes to flavor, nutritional yeast tastes nutty, while brewer’s yeast is known for its bitterness.
Nutrition-wise, the former is often taken when someone requires a vitamin B-12 boost, while the latter is taken for its chromium content.
What Is Brewer’s Yeast For Dogs?
In the human world, brewers yeast is often used as a nutritional supplement because of its chromium content, which helps in diabetes control. Chromium assists in enhancing the person’s glucose tolerance and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Apart from using it for human consumption, brewer’s yeast can also be pretty helpful for dogs. As mentioned, brewer’s yeast is a common ingredient in dog food. It’s also used as a nutritional supplement.
This is because of all the nutrients this humble fungus provides. Apart from protein, brewer’s yeast also contains B-complex vitamins. Here’s a list of all the B vitamins your dog can get from brewer’s yeast:
- Vitamin B1 or thiamine
- Vitamin B2 or riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 or niacin
- Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine
- Vitamin B7 or biotin
- Vitamin B9 or folic acid
Besides being a rich source of B-complex vitamins, brewer’s yeast also contains the following:
Health Benefits Of Brewer’s Yeast For Dogs
Given its nutrient profile, many pet parents opt to give their dogs brewer’s yeast and use it as a dietary supplement (despite the lack of scientific evidence to back up its efficacy). Here are most (if not all) of the potential benefits of brewer’s yeast for your dog:
Makes Food More Appetizing
Despite its bitter taste, this inactive organism is capable of improving the palatability of your pet’s food. So, if you have a picky eater, you might want to try giving your dog foods with brewer’s yeast or sprinkling some brewer’s yeast supplements on top of it.
Strengthens The Immune System
Brewers yeast contains selenium and beta-glucans. Both are known for their antioxidant properties, which play a crucial role in boosting the immune system and building up the defenses of your dog against infection.
Supports Healthy Digestion
Does your dog have diarrhea or an upset stomach? Then, you might want to consider adding some brewer’s yeast to your dog’s diet.
Known for its prebiotic characteristics and dietary fiber content, brewer’s yeast is also given to help regulate dogs’ bowel movement and improve their overall digestive health.
Promotes Healthy Skin & Coat
Having itchy skin is never easy, but adding brewer’s yeast to your pet’s diet might help improve your pet’s skin condition. Brimming with beta-glucans, essential amino acids, and protein, brewer’s yeast has hydrating and wound healing properties that can help minimize excess shedding, make your dog’s skin healthier, and improve your dog’s coat health.
Can Reduce Anxiety & Stress
Since anti-anxiety medications can have serious side effects, pet care providers often turn to natural remedies to calm their dog’s nerves. If this is you, you might want to consider giving your dog brewer’s yeast.
Brewer’s yeast may help reduce stress and anxiety since it’s packed with B vitamins. B vitamins help regulate the body’s norepinephrine and serotonin levels – both of which aid in stress management and mental stability.
Build Up Lean Muscle Mass
Dogs that need to build some muscle and reduce muscle fatigue might benefit from eating brewers’ yeast. Apart from protein, natural pet brewer’s yeast is also an excellent source of vital amino acids that plays a key role in lean muscle mass building.
Repel Biting Insects Like Fleas & Ticks
While none of the nutrients in brewer’s yeast repel ticks and other insects, some think that the added beneficial ingredients in other brewer’s yeast dietary supplements help with flea and tick control. This includes garlic flavoring and omega 3 oils – both are known for their tick and flea preventive or repellent effects.
Potential Risks Of Brewer’s Yeast For Dogs
Brewer’s yeast can indeed improve your dogs’ overall health, given all the benefits it offers. However, there are instances wherein something healthy can have ill effects. Since dogs have different nutritional needs, what’s beneficial to one dog might be harmful or ineffective to another.
Read on if you wish to know if your dog is better off taking some other supplement. Below, we will discuss the possible dangers of brewer’s yeast for dogs.
Despite brewer’s yeast prebiotic properties, which help with tummy problems, some dogs can’t tolerate it. In addition, having too much can also lead to GI problems. The most common include gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Yeast Infections Or Yeast Allergies
Although yeast is not a common allergen for most dogs, it’s still possible for your dog to be allergic. If your dog starts scratching after giving your dog brewer’s yeast, stop giving your dog brewer’s yeast immediately.
According to CarbsManager, two tablespoons of brewer’s yeast contain 60 calories. Since too many calories can lead to weight gain and other health problems, it’s a good idea for you to consider brewer’s yeast’s calorie count and ensure that it does not go beyond your dog’s recommended daily calorie intake.
May Contain Harmful Ingredients
Brewer’s yeast is not made equal. Some have garlic in them, which can be dangerous to dogs. Although pet supplement manufacturers often include small doses of garlic in the mix (which can be considered harmless to dogs), it’s always good to err on the side of caution.
After all, too much garlic can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause garlic toxicity characterized by hemolytic anemia. Cases like this often require immediate medical attention.
Other Reasons Why Brewer’s Yeast Might Be Bad For Your Dog
Case in point, brewer’s yeast is not made for all dogs. While brewer’s yeast works great in improving the overall health of some dogs, others may just find its nutrient load a bit too much.
Because of its high supply of B vitamins (making it a high purine diet) and lack of probiotic effects, brewer’s yeast may NOT be considered suitable for your dog’s consumption if:
- your dog is immunocompromised
- your dog’s breed is susceptible to urinary problems
- your pet has inflammatory bowel disease and colitis
Tips On Giving Dogs Brewer’s Yeast
Yes, the benefits that brewers yeast offers for dogs are tempting. However, we can’t ignore the fact that the same ingredient can adversely affect your pup’s health. So, just what should you do to ensure that the risks are reduced to “0” and the rewards are maximized? Check out below.
Seek expert advice. Before introducing any type of food or supplement to your dog, it’s always wise to seek your vet’s expert guidance. At the end of the day, it’s your local vet who knows what your dog needs nutrition-wise.
Read the label carefully. Brewer’s yeast comes in different sizes, shapes, and flavors. You’ll find them in powder and tablet form. There are those with added garlic and some with added omega 3. Others are fortified with other nutrients, and there is also the de-bittered brewer’s yeast, which contains less chromium.
Whatever type you choose, make sure to read the label carefully and watch out for ingredients that might be harmful to your dog.
Choose high-quality brewer’s yeast. Since we’re talking about your pet’s health, it’s always a good idea to buy products from known brands like Thomas Labs and Only Natural Pet. Thomas Labs and Only Natural Pet have been around for over a decade.
Otherwise, you can check if the brand adheres to CGMP or Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations and if it carries a quality seal.
Always follow the dosing instructions. The right amount of brewer’s yeast depends on your pet’s weight; talking to your vet would help determine the exact dosage your dog requires based on your dog’s body weight.
Supplements like brewer’s yeast can only be beneficial for your dog if your dog requires it. In some cases, adding this to your pup’s diet may not be necessary. If you still think your furry pal needs it, we highly suggest that you get your vet’s approval.
Otherwise, it’s best to give your dog a diet that provides complete and balanced nutrition. After all, your dog’s food should already be enough to provide them with all the proteins, vitamin C, and B vitamins they need for the day.
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