As dog owners, we are constantly searching for things to use and to avoid in order for our family friends to stay healthy. What food to use, what shampoo to buy, what ingredients to avoid in pet products. It can be a confusing minefield for most pet owners to walk through and manufactures do not always make these product choices easier with marketing messages aimed more at product sales and less on providing good information.
One of the more common questions about dog supplements is the use of Brewer's Yeast. With so many canine ailments related to yeast overgrowth, the difference between beneficial and harmful yeast can sometimes be overlooked. This misconception about yeast differences can often cause owners to avoid anything with the word "yeast" in it and deprive their dogs of something that would greatly contribute to overall good health.
So what is yeast? It is a living microorganism with over 1,500 known species that are typically single celled and play a valuable role in the animal kingdom. We use yeast for baking, brewing, and other commercial applications which capitalize on the natural yeast process of eating one compound and producing another (an example is converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide). The yeast used in these processes are active and beneficial.
Harmful yeast occur in nature and can be very destructive to both humans and animals. Most common among these yeast is the Candida variety which colonize in the reproductive system of both dogs and humans and can affect may body systems when overgrowth occurs. Conditions like thrush, ear infections and immune system disorders can be caused by Candida yeast as well as the depletion of "good bacteria" in the digestive tract.
Brewer's yeast is a "deactivated" form of beneficial yeast that is no longer alive or able to reproduce. This inactive form of yeast if often referred to as nutritional yeast and provides a number of health benefits without any harmful side effects. Nutritional Yeast is a great source of natural B vitamins, Omega fatty acids and minerals like Chromium which is important because it is one of the few bioavailable forms which are easily absorbed. One of the more amazing benefits of feeding brewer's yeast to your dog is the natural insect repelling properties when used every day. Studies have shown that biting insects like mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are repelled from an odor and taste difference on the surface of the skin which is undetectable by humans but very effective against these insects.
Veterinarians have known about the substantial benefits of including brewer's yeast in the canine diet for decades and are now working hard to educate dog owners on the differences between the harmful yeast which causes so many canine health issues and the beneficial nutritional yeast we should all be giving our dogs. Many canine care professional are prescribing a one-two punch against the yeast misconception by recommending brewer's yeast for overall health benefit and a probiotic like Canine PRO6 to counter candida yeast overgrowth.
As a community, we dog owners owe it to our beloved family friends to do our own research and spread the word about the difference between beneficial and harmful yeast and raise the bar for how healthy our dogs can be. Our dogs deserve nothing less.