Brewer's yeast is a one-celled fungus used by beer brewers to turn grain sugars into alcohol. The form used as medicine is a by-product of brewing; the yeast has been dried and sterilized. The tiny yeast cells are packed with vitamins and minerals that could be beneficial to your dog's health. The B vitamins are touted as good for the dog's skin and coat. Brewer's yeast for dogs is often packaged together with either ginseng or garlic--ginseng for energy and joint health, garlic as a flea repellent.
Side effects of brewer's yeast for dogs may include bloating, gas and indigestion.
Bloating is a serious health concern for dogs. Bloating and torsion of the stomach or intestines can lead to death in as little as six hours.
Start with small doses and work up to the amount listed in the package directions. Do not exceed the recommended dosage by weight.
Check with your veterinarian before beginning a brewer's yeast regimen. Diabetic dogs should not take brewer's yeast; it can interfere with the insulin cycle.
Sellers of brewer's yeast products for dogs claim the yeast will ease flea problems, but little evidence exists to support this. Side effects of bloating can be more negative than the flea issue. Some vets recommend simply rubbing it onto the coat externally rather than feeding it to the dog.