What is Yeast Culture in Dog Food? (It’s Not Good)

2 dogs sitting in grass

The nutritional value of yeast in dog food is quite confusing because there are different types of yeast, some healthier than others. Dog parents might want to note that the most positive articles are those published by dog food manufacturers. They describe the health benefits of other types of higher-quality yeast, like nutritional yeast, which is not what they add to their dog food recipes.

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What is yeast culture?

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, yeast culture has several names. Some refer to it as yeast hydrolysate, fermented yeast, yeast extract, or scrap yeast; all of them refer to fermentation results on various media. Manufacturers use the growth media and the yeast produced by the fermentation process to ensure the preservation of the fermenting activity in the yeast. The dried yeast culture they add to dog food contains dead cells, live cells, broken cells and their contents, components of the cell walls, and the substances and media they used to grow the yeast.

Why is yeast culture not good for your canine companion?

The media on which they grew the yeast and all the different cells are not identified on dog food labels. By merely stating yeast culture adds a risk of potential allergic reactions in your pup. Researchers say yeast culture does not contain all the nutritional benefits present in other higher quality yeast types. Yeast culture is no more than an unnecessary ingredient added to dog food to improve the taste of inexpensive, low quality dog food.

According to FeedVision, yeast culture does not meet the required standards to be feed additives. Instead, it qualifies as no more than feed materials without the nutritional benefits of live yeast.

Yeast culture vs. Brewer’s yeast

FeedVision says brewer’s yeast is also a yeast culture. It is a by-product of brewing ale and beer. Labels on dog food might indicate it only as yeast content, which could be Brewer’s yeast. It promotes healthy liver function and also healthy eyes, hair and skin. However, although it is rich in antioxidants and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, and B9, it is not necessarily a healthy ingredient in dog food. According to ResearchGate, brewer’s yeast in pet food is rarely linked to health benefits.

Is brewer’s yeast in dog foods safe?

You would be wise to consult with your vet before giving your lovable hound food containing brewer’s yeast because there are several risks linked to it:

  • If your best bud is a large dog, he would need large amounts of brewer’s yeast to have any health effect. However, such large quantities could cause intestinal and stomach upsets. The primary side effect reported in dogs of all sizes is excessive gas.
  • If your pup is on any type of antidepressant or anti-anxiety meds, it could adversely interact with brewer’s yeast.
  • Dogs prone to yeast allergies or yeast infections, or those who are immuno-compromised should not ingest brewer’s yeast.
  • Brewer’s yeast is not safe for doggies with bowel diseases like colitis.
  • The calorie content of brewer’s yeast is high, and could easily exceed your pup daily limit.

To wrap it up

Study the ingredients on your canine companion’s food labels and discuss anything that concerns you with your vet. 

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.