Benefits of Fermented Foods
In Your Dogs' Diet
Please refer to our dehydrated raw food made with fermented vegetables and tripe plus a variety of protein sources, which is what dogs need, on our store's web site:
Excerpted from, "Fermented Apples: A Healthy Treat for Your Dog," by Dogs Naturally
Fermented fruits and veggies are full of probiotics, which help balance out the intestinal bacteria … and this is a big deal, because your dog’s ability to fight disease is mostly located in his gut … bet you didn’t know that!
And they contain a wider range of friendly bacteria than most of those expensive supplements you buy at the health food store! While most probiotic supplements you’d buy contain about 10 billion units of bacteria, fermented foods can contain 10 trillion units.
That’s a powerful way to restore your dog’s gut bacteria balance, especially after he’s been given antibiotics (although that pizza crust you might have slipped him is also laced with Roundup, which is known to wreak havoc on intestinal bacteria too).
Fermented foods not only protect your dog from disease, they also help him to detox, meaning the heavy metals and toxins that build up in his body over time (from things like lawn pesticides, pollution, cleaning chemicals, vaccines, drugs and even his food and water), can be removed from his body before they cause health issues.
And some animal studies show these probiotics can even prevent cancer.
Fermented foods are also more digestible and your dog gets more nutrition out of them than he would out of the same unfermented apple. As an example, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) contains way more vitamin C than cabbage.
Fermented Foods For Dogs
Holistic Care / By Myndi Brunty
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for anything you can add to your dog’s diet to make him healthier. There are all sorts of prebiotic and probiotic products being marketed for pets, but what if you could feed a whole food that contained natural probiotics, instead of using little capsules and packages? That’s where fermented foods come into play – these amazing foods have many benefits!
Roxanne Stone gave a talk on fermented foods during Raw Roundup 2015. She holds a master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science and worked for more than 12 years in the human food industry before jumping to the pet food industry in 2010. Today, she works with Answers Pet Food and has been a consultant with them for five years. Read on to learn how and why she suggests that you add fermented foods into your dog’s menu.
What are fermented foods?
This is where chemistry meets nutrition. Fermentation occurs as a result of oxidation causing a “release of energy to produce organic acids, gases, and/or alcohol,” or as Stone puts it, the food is already slightly pre-digested and broken down before your dog eats it. This means less work for your dog to digest his food.
There are two main types of fermentation: alcohol fermentation, yielding wine and beer, and lactic acid fermentation, which makes dairy and vegetable products. These are cultured by using bacteria, yeast, molds, or a combination of the three. Don’t worry though … these aren’t the bad bacteria, yeast and molds that come to mind! These are beneficial to the body and ferment, usually with lactose, which is the sugar that is found in milk. These foods are alive and actively fermenting when they’re eaten – not the freeze dried, inactive versions found in supplements.
Where it began . . .
Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years, dating all the way back to 7000 BC when the Babylonians were the first to ferment beer. After that, humans learned to preserve meats and fish and eventually make butter and cheeses using fermentation. Since the 1800s, we’ve used pasteurization as a widespread means of preservation, but fermentation is a much older practice and, more importantly, it doesn’t harm the enzymes and probiotics of the food like pasteurization does.
Don’t cry over sour milk . . .
In more modern times, some of the focus has turned to the health benefits fermented foods have to offer. For instance, Iyla Mechnikov was a Russian zoologist who lived in the late 1800s. He made several great discoveries about immunity, but he was also one of the first to make the connection between fermented foods and longevity. His theory was that aging was caused by too much bad bacteria in the gut flora and that fermented foods could help combat senility by restoring balance. Much of his research was influenced by Bulgarian peasants who had extraordinary life spans, and their diets, which regularly included sour. Stone even mentions two Bulgarian peasants he studied: Baba Vasilka and her son Tudor, aged 126 and 101 years old! Mechnikov even began to drink sour milk daily himself and noted his own health improvements. After his death, others were inspired to continue his research and that led to a lot of our knowledge today.
Nutrition & Psychological Disorders
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is another fascinating researcher; she has developed a revolutionary GAP diet – the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. She has studied how reintroducing balance to the gut’s flora using fermented foods impacts many different diseases – even curing her own son of autism! She initially began as a neurosurgeon, but pursued a secondary degree in human nutrition as she began to learn more about the link between imbalanced gut flora and a plethora of disorders. The entire focus of her approach is to use nutrition – particularly fermented foods and probiotics – to help, or even reverse, many disorders. She has extensively studied the effect of nutrition on psychological disorders and has shown the connection between good gut and brain function.
You can read more about her GAP diet here!
Why is the balance in your dog’s gut so important?
Look at it this way: 70% of the immune system is based in the gut. If your dog’s gut flora is compromised, that means that 70% of his immune system is compromised too. Gut bacteria outnumber body cells by 10 to 1 so it’s vital that a healthy dog’s good bacteria outweigh the bad.
There are many things that can wreak havoc on your dog’s gut. The overuse of antibiotics is a huge issue. Even if you avoid using antibiotics on your dog, it’s in the meats he eats. Unless you’re very scrupulous in sourcing meats that are antibiotic-free, you’re still exposing him to the lingering effects of antibiotics given to livestock. Then factor in how many foods are now genetically modified (GMO), processed and pumped full of synthetic preservatives – all things that can be damaging to gut flora. Stone mentions the detrimental effect of chlorinated and fluoridated water, environmental pesticides and chemicals. Every year, our agricultural industry sprays about 185 million pounds of pesticides on crops. It’s no wonder that our dogs need help maintaining a healthy balance.
So how can we help the good flora outnumber the bad?
Probiotics! They will compete with the bad bacteria for nutrients in the gut. There are also several strains that produce bacteriocins, which kill pathogenic bacteria, and change the pH of foods to create an unwelcoming environment for the pathogens. However, the goal should not be to completely eradicate the pathogenic bacteria. Ideally, Stone says, the gut balance should be about 85% good bacteria to 15% bad bacteria. This is because the 15% will expose your dog to different pathogens and viruses, allowing him to build up resistance to them and further boost the immune system.
Supplements vs Whole Foods
While there are many different supplements available, Stone recommends using fermented foods instead. Whole food is always better than supplements, and fermented foods are no exception. Here, the cultures are alive and thriving on the nutrition offered by the food, and are more likely to survive the stomach and arrive at the intestines intact and ready to colonize. Supplements on the other hand, are less effective because they are freeze-dried and have to become active in the body, then survive passage through the stomach before colonizing in the gut. However, she notes that if you have to use powdered probiotics, you can mix them with the food, then let it sit out for about an hour before feeding, so the probiotics have a chance to activate.
Different options for fermented foods include fish sauce, kombucha, root vegetables, whey, and dairy products like kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, and cheese. Dairy is the most common, but you should always try to use whole, unpasteurized milk products if possible. Also, while meats and fish may be your first choice in feeding dog, be careful to choose a good source. As Stone explains, synthetic nitrates and nitrites are commonly used as curing agents and should be avoided, but you can find some products that use celery juice, which is a natural source, instead of the synthetic alternatives.
As with any food addition, go slowly and introduce small amounts at a time. Stone says that you really can’t overdose on fermented foods, but that you should still add them gradually to avoid a “die off.” This happens when large numbers of bad bacteria die suddenly and the body has to rid itself of the toxins. It isn’t a bad thing, but when this happens all at once, it can cause some detoxification symptoms. Things may briefly get worse before they get better – especially if your dog is experiencing immune or digestive issues, or has always been on a kibble diet.
A Healthier Gut Means A Healthier Pet
You may think that fermented foods will only help your dog if he has some sort of digestive issue, but there are so many more issues it can help with. Because so much of the immune system is located in the gut, you can help a dog that is immunocompromisedy providing fermented foods on a daily basis. Stone provides a list of the health problems that can be helped with the addition of fermented foods to rebalance the gut:
???? IBS (colitis, Crohn’s disease)
???? Leaky gut
???? Heliobacter pylori (stomach ulcers)
???? Lactose intolerance
???? Tooth decay and gum disease
???? Atopic dermatitis
???? Yeast infections
???? Post-surgical infections (like MRSA)
When building up your dog’s gut using fermented foods and probiotics, it’s important to remember that this is an ongoing process. You need to use them regularly. The goal is to create colonies in your dog’s intestines and this is an ongoing process. Also, remember that the stomach is not an easy environment and it’s hard for probiotics to survive into the intestines, so by providing fermented foods regularly, you’re giving them a better chance of reaching the gut where they can colonize. Probiotics in the form of fermented food are already active, so they are more likely to survive than the supplement alternatives. Consistency is key here, so be sure to provide a small amount of fermented foods on a regular or even daily basis and be ready to see your dog thrive!
This information is taken from Roxanne Stone’s presentation of Fermented Foods during the 2015 Raw Roundup.
OUR STORE - Dehydrated, fermented raw food:
Fermented Vegetables for Pets: A Potent Cancer Fighter
Why You and Your Pet Need Fermented Foods
Fermented Foods for Dogs and Cats
NEVER EVER FEED "BALANCE DIET!!!"