The Benefits of Kefir
Acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus) is a common, well known form of healthy bacteria (intestinal flora) that belongs in the digestive tract of every mammal, working with the body to protect it and aid in the digestion of food. These safe, necessary organisms are an important piece of the "total health" puzzle and can even help prevent disease and alleviate illness. There are a lot of phenomenal benefits that come with supplementing our dog or cat with Kefir, but the exceptional boost to their immune system alone is worth making Kefir an addition to your dog or cats nutrition program!
Supplementing your dog or cat's diet with probiotics like Kefir can act as a form of therapeutic treatment for a variety of health problems. It can also be a preventive measure against the bad bacteria overwhelming your dog or cats digestive tract which ultimately makes them sick. Many holistic veterinarians, nutritionists and traditional veterinarians will recommend probiotics to help combat and prevent bacterial infections and digestive disorders. By reinforcing the beneficial bacteria in your dog or cats gut, Kefir is a safe way to keep harmful bacteria under control by allowing the strong beneficial bacteria to compete with the bad bacteria and ultimately prevent the wrong bacteria from flourishing.
Scientific research has been done repeatedly on the benefits of probiotics for dogs and cats, and the findings were great, showing that dogs and cats did in fact receive significant benefits from the supplementation of probiotics both short term and long term. Veterinarians once believed that acidophilus could not survive passage from the dog's acidic stomach to the intestinal tract, but this was proven false. The healthy bacteria are strong and resilient, making it easy for dogs or cats to nourish their intestinal tract with the bacteria designed to help them stay strong and healthy.
So how can Kefir benefit your dog or cat?
You'll be surprised by the many ways a strong and healthy digestive system can combat disease and prevent illness in our furry family members. Supplementing puppies, kittens and young dogs or cats with probiotics has shown to decrease the frequency and severity of allergies, increase healthy weight gain and growth, and decrease the frequency of illness and disease by providing a good foundation towards exceptional immune system health.
Kefir is also ideal for dogs or cats with digestive issues such as inflammatory bowel disease since this supplement promotes a healthy digestive tract. Ultimately Kefir assists in the breakdown of nutrients while aiding in proper digestion by encouraging the production of digestive enzymes. Kefir helps maintain a healthy, well-functioning digestive system, which is of vital, importance in dogs or cats with digestive disorders.
Kefir can also help alleviate symptoms of allergies by strengthening the digestive system and the immune system to prevent allergic symptoms from arising when the dog or cat is exposed to allergens. A stronger immune system means the body is able to better handle the allergens the dog or cat has been exposed to, ultimately soothing symptoms or even potentially eliminating allergies all together. When you remind yourself how allergic reactions work, it will make more sense to you. Allergic reactions occur when the weakened immune system detects something and labels it as foreign or a threat, which in turn creates a variety of symptoms as the body fights to get rid of it. A stronger immune system means better overall immune system function. A strong immune system is not prone to allergies.
Also, Kefir can be very beneficial in helping to treat bacterial infections by safely supporting a distressed intestinal tract. Providing the body with beneficial bacteria will help the good organisms overrun the bad ones, and can help your dog or cat recover faster. Paired with a few homemade bland meals that are easy on the body, you may be able to let nature run its course safely and quickly. If your dog or cat is suffering from a potential bacterial infection and shows no improvement or worsens after 48 hours, please go see your veterinarian immediately for a diagnosis and treatment. Our dogs or cats may need help getting healthy again! Once your dog or cat is healthy again, starting them on regular Kefir supplementation can help prevent more infections of the intestinal tract.
Kefir can also help alleviate bad gas, prevent bad breath and will help make your dog or cats body function better. This occurs as a direct result of proper balance in the digestive system, which is where the very important absorption of nutrients occurs. Any dog or cat of any age can enjoy the benefits of Kefir, so consider adding it to your dogs or cats diet for a stronger, healthier body!
By Lynn Madden
To grow your grains, what you will need:
1 Tsp of Milk Kefir Grains.
1/2 cup milk (can be cow's or goat's)
Breathable cover such as a paper towel, coffee filter etc.
Plastic utensils for straining and stiring
Take 1 tsp of grains and combine with 1/2 cup of milk of your choosing into a glass jar.
Cover to allow breathing and store in a warm (not hot) place.
After approx. 24 hrs strain stir with plastic spoon and sieve. Always use plastic.
As your grains grow, increase your milk. Grains can be put to sleep in a little milk in fridge when they have multiplied too much or you can freeze them or you can feed them!
Kefir can also be frozen in ice cube trays.
To make 4 cups of Kefir use 1 1/3 tablespoons of grains.
6 cups-2 tablspoons
8 cups-2 2/3 tablespoons
10 cups-3 tablespoons
and so on.
For the larger batches you will want to ferment until a whey line appears as pictured below. After you've achieved this whey line..strain and store.
Screenshot and save for easy reference