Fermented vegetables for dogs – or should we say fur-mented – are a staple in our house.
Fermented veggies are made by adding bacteria to bacteria-free foods. These microbes start to feed off the veggies and grow in numbers, partially digesting proteins and other nutrients in the foods. The bacteria break down cellular walls, making the nutrients more accessible to your dog.
So, why are they a good idea? And, how do you make them?
The Benefits of Fermented Vegetables for Dogs
There are plenty of reasons to love fermented vegetables for dogs, but for us, the number 1 reason is because of how much the gut loooooves them.
And that’s important. Why? Well..
As much as 80% of your dog’s immune system is based in the gut! The gut microbiome is a fascinating system, comprised of trillions of microorganisms — bacteria, viruses, fungi and other life forms. The bacteria in the play a key role in reducing the risk of chronic disease. But it needs to be balanced.
Unfortunately, there are many things in our pets’ lives that can disrupt that balance, including:
- pesticides and chemicals
- too little sleep
- not enough exercise
- processed and high-sugar foods
Combatting these inputs and normalizing beneficial bacterial populations is an ongoing process that can be aided by ingesting prebiotics and probiotics.
Fermented foods provide healthy, natural probiotics for gut health. And, not only are they a source of probiotics, the vegetables also act as prebiotics – feeding the gut’s bacteria population. There’s a ton of research on the benefits of probiotic foods for dogs. Studies show that adding probiotics to your animal’s diet can help with all kinds of things, including:
- Stronger digestive system
- Healthier immune system
- Absorption of nutrients
- Increased metabolism and energy
- Better smelling breath
- Healthier weight
As mentioned, when bacteria breaks down the cellular walls during fermentation, this makes the vegetables easier for your dog to digest, and the nutrients within them more accessible. This way, the body is able to better use those nutrients to their full advantage! So, all those beneficial antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes are more digestible and absorption is better.
NOTE: If your dog is struggling with yeast, perhaps hold off on the fermented veg until you’ve managed to get it under control. The prebiotics found in fermented food can feed the yeast in your dog’s intestines, making the issue worse.
[RELATED] Vegetables are not the only fermented foods you can add to your dog’s food. There are several others, along with other probiotic-rich foods, which help beneficial gut bacteria flourish. Check them out here.
How to Make Fermented Vegetables
Vegetables + water + salt + a few days = a probiotic powerhouse for your pup!
There are tons of vegetables you can ferment. Some of our favorites include:
- collard greens
To make fermented vegetables for dogs, you’ll need:
- vegetables – finely chopped
- 2 cups of water
- 1 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt (don’t use table salt or refined salt; it contains iodine which may negatively affect your ferment)
- 1 quart wide mouth mason jar
- plastic lid (not technically necessary, but if you’re going to do this often, the regular metal lids will corrode from the acid)
- Place your chopped vegetables in the mason jar, filling it right up to the bottom of the neck. Leave about 1 inch of space at the top.
- Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.
- Pour the salt water over the vegetables until it reaches just below the top of the jar. There should be about 1/2 inch of room left.
- Close the lid on the jar tightly and place the jars out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68-75 degrees).
- You’ll start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (in case it leaks/drips), gently loosen the lids to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.
- The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. They get more tangy the longer they sit. Once they’re done, you can put them in the fridge, where they’ll keep for several months!
Add a little to your dog’s regular food each day. It might help to start slowly if your dog isn’t accustomed to them, so a good guide is about 1 tablespoon per 20 lbs of weight.
The Veterinarious team is made up of pet owners, pet lovers, and pet experts from around the globe! We’ve banded together to create a community of like-minded pet people to give you the latest research and health advice for your beloved beast!