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Dietary supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, the main ingredient in yogurt for dogs, supply probiotics for the digestive system. These beneficial bacteria keep the intestinal tract balanced, especially when antibiotics are used to treat infection. Antibiotic drugs might kill harmful bacteria and healthy bacteria in the gut.
Some dogs using antibiotics suffer bouts of diarrhea. Yogurt for dogs might replenish good bacteria and stop diarrhea. Dogs, especially small breeds, can quickly become dehydrated if diarrhea continues more than a day or two.
Yogurt for dogs also provides a good source of calcium, magnesium, and protein, without excessive calories. It contains more protein than milk, and the culturing process makes this protein easier to digest and helps the absorption of B vitamins. Yogurt for dogs consists of milk and live cultures as the sole ingredients when plain yogurt is chosen. Dog owners should read labels to ensure sugar or other substances have not been added.
Calcium in yogurt might also promote a healthy colon and aid in the prevention of colon cancer. Studies show the calcium in yogurt attaches to bile, which might decrease irritation to the lining of the colon. This dairy product might also work to strengthen the immune system by stimulating white blood cells, which are important in fighting infection.
Some pet owners use yogurt for dogs in homemade recipes. They might add yogurt to dog biscuits used as a treat or as a reward in training. Others add a few tablespoons of yogurt to the daily meal to ensure a healthy digestive tract. Yogurt might also be useful for yeast infections that arise when bacteria levels become unbalanced. Frozen yogurt can be offered to pets on a hot day as a cool snack.
Myths abound about feeding yogurt or cottage cheese to dogs because of lactose intolerance problems. Yogurt for dogs actually contains only a small amount of lactose and is generally well tolerated. Both yogurt and cottage cheese contain less lactose than milk, and the culturing process breaks lactose down into an easily digestible form of sugar.