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Kombucha is one of my favorite drinks. I started drinking it regularly after hearing so many people talking about it. I haven't started brewing it myself, although everyone tells me that it's super easy. My goal is to start brewing Kombucha at home next year because it's expensive at the store at $3 per bottle.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made with black tea and sugar. During the fermentation process, a big blob develops that is called a SCOBY and can be used to start a new batch and share with friends so they can start brewing Kombucha as well.
This is a drink that has been around for thousands of years and it came back into popularity over the past few years with new brands popping up at the store. My favorites are:
- GT's Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha
- Humm (lots of great flavors)
And there is a local company in Arlington, WA that makes a delicious, spicy Kombucha. If you live in the area, check out Glory Bucha and ask to try the Mojito Millie. So good.
What are the Benefits of Kombucha?
I drink Kombucha almost daily which is why I need to start brewing it at home. On the days when I don't have Kombucha, I make a tea with apple cider vinegar (ACV, tea, and hot water).
I began drinking Kombucha to support gut health. At first, I was taking probiotic supplements, but as I began learning more about the benefits of whole foods over supplements for my dogs, I started to make the change for myself. I don't drink goat's milk or kefir, but I do love fermented vegetables, Kim-chi, and Kombucha.
It is believed that the bacteria in Kombucha can improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. There are some people that think drinking Kombucha daily can also help you lose weight, however, there have been mixed results reported by people who go on the Kombucha Diet.
Other benefits of Kombucha include:
- Supports heart, lung, and liver health.
- Acts as a natural detox.
- Clears up foggy brain.
Can I Give My Dog Kombucha?
The short answer is YES! You can give a healthy dog Kombucha. But there are some things you should know before you start pouring the fizzy drink into their water bowl.
- My dogs aren't interested in drinking Kombucha directly, so when I do add it to their diet, I pour it into a raw blend when doing meal prep. I alternate Kombucha with fermented fish stock by Answers Pet Food.
- I do not give my dogs the flavored Kombucha, I stick with original (or ginger) and I add Kombucha that I get from friends or sourced from a local shop that specializes in Kombucha. I avoid the flavors because I worry about the additional sugar. Although the bacteria eat the sugar, caffeine, and alcohol that occurs in the fermentation process, I'd rather keep it simple for my dogs.
- I'll say this again because I saw that some people are concerned about the safety of Kombucha. The sugar and caffeine that may cause concern are reduced significantly during the fermentation. Similar to fermenting vegetables where the bacteria eat the salt. This is why I prefer DIY to store-bought for my dogs.
I drink Kombucha when I feel like I'm coming down with something and I think it can be a great food to help reset a dog's gut after a round of antibiotics.
How Often I Give My Dogs Kombucha
I don't add Kombucha to my dogs' diet that often because they already get other fermented foods (vegetables, seeds, fish stock) and there's no need. The only time I will add Kombucha to the mix is when it's all that I have. It's been a great alternative for my dogs.
I mix 4 ounces of plain Kombucha (purchased locally from a Kombucha brewery or homemade by friends) into four 8-quart bowls of raw dog food. Or I'll mix one light tablespoon into each of my dogs' meals a couple of times a week.
Answers Pet Food Uses Kombucha
Not convinced that Kombucha is safe for dogs? Don't trust me, do your homework, starting with Answers Pet Food, a raw food company that provides fermented foods for pets.
Unlike any other raw diet, Answers Pet Food enhances the nutritional value of raw food through the process of fermentation. By utilizing kombucha (fermented organic decaffeinated green tea), raw cultured whey, cultured raw goat’s milk and kefir, we created our own category and became the first and only fermented raw pet food supplier in the industry.Answers Pet Food – Why Fermentation?
I'm not trying to mimic products formulated and sold by Answers Pet Food. Instead, I'm trying to add foods that promote gut health in my dogs.
Kombucha Flea & Tick Spray / Coat Freshener
Some people use a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water as a flea repellent and coat freshener. You can do the same with Kombucha. I'm not sure how effective it is, because I haven't tried this yet. But I plan to in the future. Living with five dogs in the Pacific Northwest has made us intimately familiar with the wet dog smell and I prefer not to give weekly baths.
- Spray bottle
- 50/50 Kombucha and water
- 1 drop of the essential oil of your choice (I like lavender or lemongrass)
SCOBY Dog Treats / Chews Recipe
I've heard several times that people will dehydrate the SCOBY that is ready to be retired and give it to their dogs as a treat or chew. It's a natural treat that supports gut health. Win-Win.
- Cut the SCOBY into strips.
- Dehydrate at 95 degrees F until dry.
- Store in a Rubbermaid container until the dogs devour their treats.
When I finally make SCOBY treats for my dogs, I think I'll soak the strips overnight in sardines; canned sardines in olive oil sounds like it would make them very flavorful. My dogs love sardines.
My boyfriend hates fishy treats, which inspires me to make at least one batch just to see the look on his face. #wickedlaugh
Warning About Giving Dogs Kombucha
Before you run out and buy Kombucha for your dog, make sure that it's something that your dog can enjoy safely. If you have a dog with acid re-flux or any other health issue that is aggravated by fermented foods, you may want to avoid Kombucha.
And when shopping for Kombucha, avoid flavors and added ingredients/sugars. Whenever something becomes popular, it doesn't take long for inferior products to flood the market.
Please speak to your veterinarian if you have questions about whether your dog can have Kombucha.