Nutritional yeast – affectionately referred to as “nooch” – is a popular health food amongst vegans, but it’s not just good for people; dogs also love it, and can benefit from a small amount added to their diet. Scroll down to learn more…
What Is Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is primarily used as a health supplement and food flavoring. Vegans love nutritional yeast because it has flavor similar to parmesan cheese, which makes it a great substitute for cheese; and the fortified kind is an excellent source of vitamin B-12.
It has a yellow color, and is normally sold as flakes or a powder. Nutritional yeast can easily be found at health food and supplement shops. It can also be purchased online, and there’s even a chance you might be able to spot it at your regular supermarket.
Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast for Dogs
Nutritional yeast can offer dogs many health benefits, including the following:
Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor and aroma that dogs love. If your dog is a picky eater, or just doesn’t have much of an appetite, sprinkling a small spoonful of nooch on their food can entice them to their meals. Think of it like adding salt to your food to make it more palatable – by the way, don’t ever add salt to your dog’s food.
Vitamins and Minerals
Nutritional yeast is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of complex B vitamins, as well as selenium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nutritional yeast also contains antioxidants, which can protect your pup from degenerative diseases.
Nutritional yeast can add a little extra protein to your dog’s diet. Technically speaking, on a per calorie basis, nooch is one of the most protein-rich foods known to man; however, don’t expect your dog to get most of their protein from it, since you are only going to give them a small amount. Just think of it as a supplement.
The high amount of B vitamins in nutritional yeast may also reduce your dog’s anxiety.
Fortified vs. Unfortified
There are two types of nutritional yeast: fortified and unfortified. Fortified, of course, has added nutrients; whereas unfortified is just nutritional yeast in its pure, natural form.
If you want your dog to get the maximum nutritive benefits of nooch, you should by the fortified kind, as it contains B-12, selenium, and zinc; none of which are found naturally in unfortified nooch.
How to Feed Your Dog Nutritional Yeast
The best way to feed your dog nutritional yeast is to sprinkle a small amount – about 1 tsp – over the dry or wet food you normally feed them, as if you’re seasoning their meal. It’s important that you do not give them too much, as nooch is only meant to be a supplement.
Suggested Serving Size Per Day
The easiest way to calculate the exact serving size per day that is optimal for your dog is to multiple 0.09g by your dog’s bodyweight in pounds. For example, if your dog weighs 50 lb – 0.09 x 50 – the appropriate serving size per day is 4.5g, which is about 1 tsp.
Nutritional Yeast vs. Other Yeasts
One of the most important differences between nutritional yeast and other yeasts is that nutritional yeast is inactive. You should never feed your dog an active yeast, like the kind you bake with.
That said, another type of inactive yeast that’s beneficial to dogs, and similar to nutritional yeast, is brewer’s yeast. However, don’t confuse brewer’s yeast with beer yeast – the yeast that’s actually used for making beer. You should also know that brewer’s yeast has a bitter flavor your dog probably won’t like.
Consult Your Vet First
While it’s unlikely your dog should experience any negative effects from a small amount of nutritional yeast, you should still consult with your dog’s vet before giving it to them to ensure it won’t interfere with any medications they may be on, or any special conditions they might have.
Jolinda Hackett (November 15, 2019). What is Nutritional Yeast and How Is it Used? Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-nutritional-yeast-3376833
Spunky Tails (July 12, 2019). Nutritional Yeast for Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.spunkytails.com/nutritional-yeast-for-dogs/
Hanie Elfenbein, DVM. Brewer’s Yeast for Dogs: Understanding the Benefits and Risks. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/brewers-yeast-dogs-understanding-benefits-and-risks