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Kombucha for your Pooch-a!

Have you ever considered what Kombucha might do for your pets? Well, I had that exact question about my dog, Sydney.  I have to say, the results have been very pleasing for both of us.

Sydney my dog, shortly after she was rescued, still showing bad signs of mange and skin conditions.

When we first got Sydney, she was not in good health. About 6 months old, undernourished, a little runty and with a bad case of mange, Sydney had clearly lived a rough early life like so many other dogs.  However, she was incredibly sweet natured, despite being very nervous, and simply wanted to find a loving home.

The veternarian prescribed a very powerful monthly antibiotic medication that literally knocked this little dog off her feet for days at a time after it was administered.  Her mange started to improve, though the effects of the medication seemed to worsen each month.

Still, I was informed that Sydney would continue to require this treatment. “For how long?”, I asked.  “Forever, or it might come back.”  What?!?! That seemed like a terrible idea, considering how much the medication impacted her activity level.

I headed for my local Co-Op and found a homeopathic medication for her mange, which was basically a probiotic mix for dogs.  Lo and behold, she continued to improve without the heavy duty medication.  Not having to poison her each month was a great relief, and her vitality also improved weekly.

I really feel a bit silly that I hadn’t considered Kombucha at the time. The bacteria and yeasts of Kombucha are healthful not just for humans, but for many other animals as well.  Depending on your dog’s diet (I have a friend who feeds her dogs a strictly brown rice and veggies!), your pet may be subsisting on processed food that may not digest well and can cause issues, just like processed food does to humans.  This can lead to many ailments – halitosis, overweight, skin conditions and more.

Kombucha may help to restore balance to your pet’s digestive system. Especially after being administered anti-biotics, Kombucha can restore a healthy balance of flora to your pet’s gut.  But remember, they aren’t people and the dosage isn’t going to be the same.  For smaller pets, you will want to keep the portion size small (1-2 teaspoons), once a day.

Sydney's coat is looking smoother and more even here, her mange has been reduced, but she's not better yet.

Her fur filled in fairly quickly on doggy probiotics. Kombucha helped finish off the recovery.

I give Sydney Kombucha every morning with her food.  She gets a very small splash from the Continuous Brewer over her wet/dry mix. Though she sometimes snorts at the first smell of the booch, she always finishes her breakfast!

I wouldn’t recommend Kombucha be poured over dry food or it will just clump up and your dog (or cat or bunny or horse…)  might not eat it.  Only wet food or a wet/dry mix.

As an alternative, for those who only serve dry food to their pets, you might try adding the Booch to the water dish, again 1-2 teaspoons for smaller animals, 1-2 ounces for larger ones, once a day.  Some animals sensitive to smell, might hesitate to drink that water at first.  Simply reduce the dosage until they are comfortable with the flavor, then gradually increase.

As a result, her bowel movements are more consistent and much easier for me to clean up.  Her coat, which has improved over time, has grown even shinier and glossier since adding Kombucha to her daily routine.  Plus, I’ve noticed she has fewer fleas in the summer months.

Sydney loves Kombucha and Hannah Crum

In fact, if your pet has any skin ailments or external evidence of fleas on your pets, you can use Kombucha in a spray bottle to apply directly to the affected area.  It should soothe some of the pain as well as drive away fleas as they do not like the pH levels.

Also, if your pets are dirty, grab that same spray bottle, fill it with a Kombucha/water mix (and a drop of tea tree oil if you want – but just 1 small drop!), get yourself a rag and give them a few sprays.  Use the rag to wipe them clean and you will see the dirt come off very nicely.

Not only that, because Kombucha is anti-microbial, it prevents that “wet-dog” odor from taking hold, instead leaving your dog smelling fresh.  And just like human hair, Kombucha will soften your pet’s fur whether you spray it on or feed it to them.

A dried out SCOBY Kombucha Mushroom rests on a plate, ready for other uses.If you want to get really creative, some dogs enjoy a chewie treat made from a dehydrated SCOBY.  Simply dry out an old SCOBY that you were ready to retire anyway, then smear it in peanut butter or some other delicious substance and watch the dog go nuts on it.  The texture of the dried out culture is like pliable leather.  The probiotics work their balancing act.

I guess it should be no surprise that Kombucha can be a healthy addition to your pet’s life.  However, just like with humans, Kombucha is a detoxifier, so keep the servings very small, especially at first, and observe how your pet reacts to the Kombucha treatment.

Do you feed Kombucha to your pets?  Share your story in the comments =)

Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mamma!Hannah Crum is The Kombucha Mamma, founder of Kombucha Kamp, Industry Journalist & Master Brewer, educating others about Kombucha since 2004. Connect with her on Google +