Are there any adverse effects for giving my dog a supplement containing brewer’s yeast?

Brewer’s yeast is a one-celled fungus scientifically known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a natural source of B-complex vitamins which supports the nervous system and keeps the eyes, skin, hair and liver healthy. It comes in pills, tablets and powdered forms.

Dog owners and breeders often supplement with Brewer’s yeast to aid in many health issues, ranging from itchy skin and shedding to strengthening the immune system.

As long as it comes from a natural source– Saccharomyces cerevisiae—and not some by-product of, say, brewing beer, it can be considered high quality and the risk for side effects will be limited.

There are a few potential side effects, however. These include:

  • Allergy: Your dog may have trouble with any yeast product, but lower quality supplements derived from by-products tend to have increased potential. The risk is also higher in any dog prone to skin allergies.
  • GI Tract problems: Brewer’s yeast increases gas and fermentation in the stomach; additionally, if your dog has a deep (thick) chest, she’ll be prone to bloat. Deep-chested breeds include German shepherd, Labrador retriever; all mastiff breeds, Great Dane, basset hound, St. Bernard, boxer, Irish setter, Doberman pinscher, among others, especially the giant breeds—but smaller ones like the dachshund can also be susceptible.

If you aren’t sure if your dog has a deep or shallow chest, ask your veterinarian.

Bloat is a true medical emergency and potentially fatal. You should contact your veterinarian any the first signs. You may see your dog whining, pacing and trying to sit comfortably. Hemay lick at hisstomach or even try to vomit.

Other signs might include weakness or swelling at the site of the stomach. That means pressure is rising and, eventually, it will surround the organs. If untreated, your dog will go into shock as a result of the restricted blood flow.

  • Palatability: This isn’t really a side effect, but Brewer’s yeast can be bitter and have a strong odor so it’s best to find one that says “de-bittered.”

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