If you're thinking of giving your pooch a supplement to boost his general health, or you want a natural way of keeping him flea-free, then some vets suggest a daily dose of brewer's yeast. Rich in B vitamins and important minerals, this supplement puts a spring in his step.
What's in Brewer's Yeast?
As its name suggests, brewer's yeast is traditionally used for making beer. It's rich in minerals, particularly chromium, which plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels, and the antioxidant selenium, which protects cell health. It contains all the B vitamins with the exception of vitamin B12. The Bs as a group most importantly convert food into energy. They also maintain the digestive system, support the nervous system, boost liver function and keep your pooch's eyes, skin, mouth and coat in tip-top condition.
You probably give your buddy a regular flea treatment, but brewer's yeast boosts his protection. Researchers don't know exactly why giving your pooch a daily dose of brewer's yeast keeps fleas away from him, plus ticks, mosquitoes and other flying, biting insects. According to VetInfo, these insects are either repelled by the strong smell of brewer's yeast coming from your pup -- don't worry, you won't smell it -- or the supplement gives your pup's blood a taste that a biting insect can't stand.
Glossy Coat and Calm Nerves
Show dog owners use brewer's yeast to keep the coat looking thick and glossy. As a bonus, not only will your pooch look better, the antioxidants in brewer's yeast also protect him from itchy, dry skin disorders. Owners of dogs that shed a lot may be delighted to know that brewer's yeast helps reduce that problem. The B vitamins in the supplement are great stress reducers. When your dog is in a stressful situation he rapidly burns up B vitamins. The brain reacts to low levels of B vitamins by releasing stress hormones, such as adrenalin, which give your pooch feelings of anxiety. If your pooch is particularly stress-prone, a daily dose of brewer's yeast should keep him calm.
You'll find brewer's yeast supplements for your buddy at pet stores. In general, one tablet or 1 teaspoon per day is sufficient. VetInfo recommends taking your dog's weight into account and reading the guidelines on the packaging. Some pets have an allergic reaction, so watch out for dry, itchy skin. Stop giving him the supplement and see if the rash clears up. If it does, you'll know he's allergic to brewer's yeast; if it doesn't, then something else has caused the rash and you need to see you vet.
Some brewer's yeast supplements for dogs are sold with garlic added. Although garlic is toxic to dogs, VetInfo says that it is safe in a dose of 1 gram (0.035 ounces) for every 10 pounds your dog weighs. Garlic's benefits include boosting the immune system and protecting the liver.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.