20100721

The Benefits of Feeding Yogurt

July 21, 2010

You've probably heard about the health benefits associated with humans eating yogurt, but did you know that your dog can benefit, as well? It's true. Yogurt not only improves the digestive health of your canine friend, but 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon per day can also help ward off infections in the body due to high yeast, such as ear and skin infections. Additionally, feeding yogurt helps to build a strong immunity and can ease the negative effects associated with taking antibiotics.

You can buy yogurt from your local market (our dogs prefer vanilla, rather than plain), but be sure to get the fat-free variety. If you want to stretch your dollar to make a little go along way, here is a recipe:

1) Preheat oven to its lowest setting, then turn the oven off, leaving the door closed.

2) In a heavy pot or double boiler, heat 1 gallon of milk (low-fat) to almost a boil, then remove from heat source and let it cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (about the temperature of a baby's bottle).

3) Stir a small amount of the warmed milk into 8 ounces of yogurt (be sure it contains live cultures) until blended. Gradually continue to stir in small amounts of milk until the mixture becomes thin, then pour the mixture into the remainder of the warm milk and stir until blended.

4) Pour the milk-yogurt mixture into plastic containers and cover with lids. If you prefer, leave the mixture in a covered pot, then transfer it to containers later.

5) Place in the warmed oven overnight. Leave the oven light on to provide warmth (if necessary, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon to keep the light on).

6) Refrigerate the finished yogurt in the morning. This yogurt can be used to start the next batch.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of yogurt. My old Labrador, BlackJacks, suffered with severe, chronic ear infections for 7 years. After a strong round of antibiotics, we started giving him a tablespoon of yogurt every day. BlackJacks lived for 8 more years without another ear infection.

Many dogs can be prone to sensitive stomachs. With our dogs, I have found that a bit of yogurt helps with their digestive issues, by providing beneficial bacteria called probiotics.

So, grab a couple of spoons and share a tasty yogurt treat. Not only will your furry best friend be healthier, but I'm willing to bet he'll be a tad bit happier, too!

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