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Kefir - Homemade Probiotics for You and Your Pet


Homemade Probiotics - Kefir

Kefir is a process that has been around for 1000's of years. It  was primarily used as a form of preserving food especially milk, way before fridges were ever invented.

Kefir is a fermented milk made from a variety of bacteria and yeasts but importantly, contains a lot of friendly bacteria that helps replace bad intestinal flora in the gut with good intestinal flora. 

The largest immune organ for your pet is the gut which is filled with bacteria both good and bad. Bacteria is the cause of inflammation and Inflammation is the primary cause of most diseases. 

Probiotics are needed for gut health as they help regulate the immune system, help the digestive system, endocrine system, help produce natural antibodies and much more. The great thing about kefir is that it's rich in probiotics, calcium, protein and B-vitamins. It's raw so there are no heating processes breaking down the awesome benefits and it's a super easy probiotic to make at home for both you and your pet to share. Check out our recipes below.

Introducing a form of natural probiotic into your pet's health is essential to eliminate inflammation. Probiotics help keep the balance of good bacteria far outweighing bad bacteria in the gut, and are the bodies first level defense in keeping the immune system working fully and fighting disease.

Probiotics work in conjunction with prebiotics to enable healthy bugs in the gut to thrive, giving your pet optimum digestive health – the bedrock of overall good health. To read more on the importance of prebiotics and probiotics in your cat and dog's health click here.

Kefir is ideal as it's a natural super probiotic containing over 56 different strains of probiotics that actually enter and live in the gut. (A yogurt for example only contains around 2 to 7 but the cultures are generally digested by the gut or only live for upto 24 hours). Why do you want live cultures in the gut? Basically live cultures allow the intestinal flora to grow and remain healthy and you need those live cultures to be active, growing and reproducing good bacteria not bad.

Kefir is so important as a natural probiotic, that recent scientific studies have uncovered that regularly including kefir in your diet hinders tumours, pathogens and funghi. 

Making Kefir with milk for you, your cat and your dog!

When making kefir for the very first time you will need:

Milk kefir grains about 1 teaspoon worth per jar that you're making. (You don't need a lot as you second batch of kefir will be made from the grains growing in your first batch).

A mason jar with a lid (Ideally a jar that holds upto a litre).

You want to choose raw goats milk or sheep's milk ideally from animals naturally raised on grass. Try to stay away from using cow's milk. If there is no alternative, then aim to use raw organic cow's milk.

Place the teaspoon of grains into the jar.

Pour in about 250ml of the raw milk (a rough guide is a tablespoon of grain needs about a cup of milk)

Place the lid on but don't screw it on too tight as it needs a bit of movement for the gases to release

Place your jar in a dark place or cover it with a towel. It needs to be at room temperature for it to start to ferment.

Leave for about 18 hours - 24 hours. (You can occasionally give it a stir to make sure everything is moving around nicely inside)

After 24 hours, what you should have is a yogurt style drink.

When your kefir is ready:

Strain of the liquid/ milk, pop it into a bottle to drink or share it with your pet. See the quantities for cats and dogs below. You need to start slow with cats so make sure you use the right amount.

You'll be left with some cauliflower shaped kefir grains in your strainer. Keep these and pop then into another jar covering them with milk.

The cauliflower type grains are the seeds/plants for your next batch. They multiple like crazy and you want to reuse a combination of the larger and smaller grains in your next batch as it's mixing the new and mature bacteria to make your next fermentation even better and reproduce faster.

The kefir grains are living organisms so they need the milk or food to keep them alive. The only way you can kill off your kefir grains, are if you expose them to heat or don't feed them. To keep them alive just pour milk over them again as above, as they need lactose to survive and keep them strong.

cauliflower type grains created and for use in your next batch.

Second Fermentation

If you may want to do a second fermentation to make your kefir thicker and more like the consistency of yogurt, use the kefir milk you just strained off (without the grains). You don't need to do anything with this other than tighten the lid so the gases stay in the jar and leave it in a dark place for another 24 hours. Because it's a live product it will naturally reproduce and thicken up.

The double ferment is great for those fussy cats, dogs and even yourself if you have an lactose intolerance.

You can get inventive with your flavours by adding in a few blueberries to the second fermentation. Your dog will love it. Cats tend to like their kefir more natural but any flavours you add in make sure they are pet friendly.

If you're kefir begins to separate, so a liquid appears on the top and the milky substance below, mix it together and use it, it's still incredibly beneficial. It just means it has fermented for longer or you've used too many grains to milk ratio, as the grains are reproducing all the time so either take out some of the grains or add more milk. 

Your milk kefir will last in the fridge for a few weeks, so you'll be good to go with a daily dose for a few weeks. You can also pop it in the freezer and use it like frozen yogurt - it'll last for upto a couple of months.

Recommended minimum daily intake of kefir:


Always start by introducing a small amount into your dog's diet building up to the recommended daily amount over the course of a few weeks. 

The natural probiotics created by your homemade kefir are potent so you need to give the body time to adjust to the introduction of the new and healthy bacteria.

Small size dogs or cats - 1 tsp. - 1 tbsp.
Medium size dogs - 1 - 2 tbsp.
Large dogs - 2 - 3 tbsp.


Cats tend to do better on kefir that is produced by goat's milk and is twice fermented.

Start by giving your cat about a 1/8 tsp daily for four or five days. If everything is ok then increase the quantity to 1/2 a teaspoon daily for about three to four weeks. If everything is good then increase the amount to 3/4 of a teaspoon for 5 days and then upto a teaspoon daily. 

If you're cat isn't happy with the increase take the amount back down to where he was eating the kefir without any problems and then super slow, begin increasing again. You ideally want to get to where your cat is eating a teaspoon of kefir everyday.

Kefir recipes for you and your dog 

You can use the kefir like milk or if you're doing the second fermentation you can use it like yogurt. 

Mix kefir with their raw food or you can use kefir as a treat or make smoothies for your and your dog. 

Some flavours to add to your kefir for both you and your dog to enjoy:

Keep to the recommended daily amount as mentioned above.

  • A handful of blueberries added in as part of the second fermentation
  • A few splashes of homemade almond milk
  • A raw egg
  • Some raw coconut or coconut oil (1/2 a teaspoon)
  • Raw honey (1/2 to 1 teaspoon)
  • Banana (1/4 to 1/2 a banana)
  • Bone broth (1 cup)
  • Added in some blended apple (without the skin or pips) or homemade apple sauce. (1/4 cup)
  • Add some of the flavoured kefir into ice cube trays and give on a hot day as a treat

Kefir recipes for you and your cat 

An ideal way to get your cat to start eating kefir is to do the double ferment but without any added flavours. 

If your cat enjoys the first kefir production then great, keep on making kefir and enjoy. If you're cat isn't too keen on the milk then the double ferment process is perfect as it reduces the lactose content further so your cat can eat it without losing any of the great probiotic benefits.

Keep to the recommended daily amount as mentioned above.

Some flavours to add to your kefir for your cat to enjoy. These are more savory recipes than for dogs but you might want to dip in too:

  • Cheese (try a small amount of goats cheese or kefir cheese)
  • Bone broth (1/2 a cup)
  • Raw egg (1/4 to 1/2 a raw egg)
  • Cranberries (blend a small amount in or add in a small amount to the second ferment)
  • Apple cider vinegar (1/2 a teaspoon blended in)
  • Coconut oil (1/2 a teaspoon)

Making kefir with coconut milk

The way to make kefir stays the same the only difference is that you'll substitute your raw goats milk for coconut milk.

It may take the grains longer to ferment and adjust to the coconut as they'll be feeding off the fats but the food that keeps them alive, lactose, doesn't exist in this milk. You may need two or three fermentations to get the desired flavour as it will take a little time for the grains to adjust to the coconut milk.

You'll need to pop your kefir grains into raw milk after producing your batch of coconut kefir, to keep them healthy, alive and reproducing friendly bacteria. Or alternatively always keep a separate batch of grains alive that grow in raw milk and take out the amount of grans you need to produce your coconut kefir.  

Add about 2 cups of coconut milk/water to 1 tablespoon of kefir grains.

You can use fresh coconut milk or supermarket bought. Just make sure to buy sugar free if you can. 

It will look really watery to start with but stir a little throughout the fermenting process and check the taste. You'll probably need two to three days for the kefir to produce a good tangy/sour taste. You'll know it's ready when it starts to look like milk.

Coconut kefir fermentation works better when your room temperature is hotter so this is great if you live in a hotter climate.

Making kefir with water 

If you're struggling to get a hold of milk kefir grains then try making water kefir instead. It will have different strains of bacteria but is still good as a homemade probiotic for you and your pet and great if you're vegan.

You'll need:

Water kefir grains. Your local health food store will probably sell them or you can buy them online. Just make sure you're buying a good batch. 

You might need to get your grains "active" by... 

Adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of grains to 1 cup of room temp water. Add in 2 teaspoons of demerara sugar and tiny drop (no more than 1/2 a teaspoon) of molasses. stir really well and then add in your dry grains. Leave for 48 hours to ferment and activate the grains. 

After two days separate the grains from the water by straining them out. Throw away the water but keep the grains.

Start a new batch of the sugary water and add in your now active grains.  - This will become your first batch of water kefir as the first one was effectively activating the grains for the real production. 

For example for a 2 litre jar put in 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup of  demerara or (raw) sugar (it will ferment in two/three days)

1/2 a teaspoon of molasses or Himalayan salt - for the minerals

Add in your water and stir well (Add in the water to almost the top, leaving room for the gases to move and for you to stir it).

Add in your grains

Pop on your lid loosely, and leave in a dark place for around 48 hours.

Depending on the grains, how long they've been dried and your taste preference you may need to do this a few times until your grains start to give you the flavour of water kefir you want and like. 

You ideally want your water kefir to taste like it has no sweetness at all. The sugar content should be virtually nothing, especially if you're sharing this with your pets. A good visually sign your water kefir is ready is, when you stir it, you should see bubbles appearing on the top.

The grains should look like a jelly like milk colour. This is when you know your grains are active and they'll begin reproducing. You can feed the water kefir to your pets following the recommended daily amount, or add some of the grains into their food as they are pure probiotic.

Try and avoid doing a second ferment with this and adding in fruits etc. until you're experienced at kefir making as it can become alcoholic through the fruit breaking down and you most certainty don't want to give kefir that is has a alcohol content to your pet.

Water kefir with the white grains at the bottom

Benefits of Kefir

  • It's cheap and easy to make at home
  • It's an incredibly natural, raw and a potent probiotic for you and your pet.
  • Kefir iIncreases the healthy microbes in the intestines, while preventing the growth of unhealthy microbes
  • It's a a natural and raw antibacterial and antifungal that can be used to fight disease working with the body from the inside out.
  • Is a natural anti-inflammatory, all the healthy bacteria in the gut helps reduce inflammation, the root cause to disease.
  • Helps with gastrointestional issues such as diarrhea, IBS
  • Helps prevent tumour/cancer growth cells
  • Can help keep/prevent allergies
  • Helps keep the immune system healthy be naturally feeding the body's first level defense system with healthy bacteria

One of the quickest ways to resetting the gut flora for happiness is through healthy eating and the use of both prebiotics and probiotics: gut happy on the inside, person/pet happy on the outside! 

Prebiotics and probiotics should seriously be considered as an essential item in your home pharmacy. They can form the backbone of your pet's preventative medicine strategy and go a long way to helping your pet recover from certain illnesses.

NOW, we'd love to hear your feedback so LEAVE A COMMENT and feel free to share this with people you think will love it.

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Friday, March 31 2023

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