What are Colostrum Supplements and How Do They Affect Dogs?

March 5, 2024

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Blue jar with white label of Earth Buddy colostrum supplement. Learn more about colostrum for dogs' gut health symptoms.

Colostrum, the milky fluid containing bioactive compounds from the mammary glands, is the liquid that promotes passive immunity in a mammal’s beginning days. As mammals, both us and our dogs benefit from our mothers’ colostrum. It’s not only beneficial for human consumption or even canine consumption solely as newborns. Colostrum may also be helpful for mammals later in life. But here are the big questions: What are colostrum supplements, how are they administered, and how to find a product that’s right for your dog?

What Are Colostrum Supplements and Why Bovine Colostrum?

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It’s important to note there’s a difference between colostrum and milk. Mammals produce colostrum directly following the birth of their young. This milky fluid, produced immediately following childbirth, is not just ordinary bovine milk.

Colostrum and milk are much different in their nutrient profile. Nutrients derived from colostrum have been shown to help support the growth of muscle, skin, collagen, bone, cartilage and nerve tissue.

The colostrum produced contains components that are crucial for newborns, helping maintain optimal health by providing nutrients for a healthy body. These components from a mother’s colostrum play a vital role in supporting the immune system in these young mammals, besides promoting their growth and helping keep dogs in peak condition from the very start.



The Nutrients in Bovine Colostrum

Our dogs, if born and raised naturally, would have obtained some components from their mother’s colostrum prior to drinking regular breast milk. This introduction of colostrum was critical for the first several weeks of their life and likely provided them with essential nutrients, but there are also benefits to be noted with colostrum supplementation later in life.

When it comes to the health of our dogs, the use of bovine colostrum—that is, colostrum taken from cows—as a dietary supplement enhances the physical and mental well-being of an animal. Bovine colostrum has an abundant amount of nutritional elements. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals that are fundamental to supporting and promoting long-term health.

Colostrum also contains essential fats and carbohydrates, which helps support energy production at a cellular level. It’s packed with proteins that promote the body’s innate resistance to pathogens, along with natural growth hormones that support their physical development. It also contains whey proteins, in the form of whey protein isolate, that help maintain proper body composition. Bovine colostrum also includes digestive enzymes that assist in the digestion and absorption of essential nutrients.

The Main Three Factors in Bovine Colostrum Supplementation

There are three factors that, above all else, make bovine colostrum the most desired to promote and support long term health in dogs, including:

  1. Immunoglobulin content
  2. Gut health
  3. Ability to benefit multiple species

We’ll dig into each of the benefits of this milky fluid individually and discuss how to find the best product for your pup.

Bovine Colostrum Contains High Amounts of IgG

A key attribute of bovine colostrum is its abundance of immunoglobulins, notably IgG. These antibodies are pivotal in promoting the innate resistance to pathogens we discussed above, including supporting the proper balance of normal intestinal flora. By incorporating bovine colostrum into a dog’s diet, it’s possible to support normal detoxification processes, thereby enhancing the immune response.

This supplement is rich in growth factors like insulin-like growth factor-1 and growth hormone, which are instrumental in helping maintain cartilage and connective tissue. Such qualities make bovine colostrum particularly valuable for dogs who could benefit from a product that helps support joint flexibility and mobility.

Bovine Colostrum, Gut Health, and the Digestive Tract

Regarding gastrointestinal well-being, bovine colostrum plays a significant role. It fosters a healthy gut by helping maintain a healthy intestinal tract and nourishing natural gut bacteria. The gut microbiome, a complex ecosystem of microorganisms living in the digestive tract, supports normal bodily functions, including digestion, the immune system, and even mental well-being.

Bovine colostrum contains prebiotics, which serve as food for these beneficial bacteria, supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. This, in turn, supports normal GI health and function and promotes homeostasis, normal inflammatory processes, and supports the immune system.

Supporting Skin and Coat Health with Cow Colostrum

Evidence suggests that bovine colostrum has shown promise in helping maintain normal histamine levels in dogs by enhancing immune responses and promoting normal inflammatory pathways. This means it may soothe skin-related issues associated with seasonal allergies, provide support for animals with sensitive skin, and support coat health.

Cow Colostrum to Help Support Cognitive Function

The benefits of colostrum extend to enhancing your pet’s brain function. Colostrum contains essential fatty acids and nutrients that play a critical role in supporting brain health. These components can support normal nerve conduction and memory recall which may help animals cope with external stresses, maintain a normal and relaxed disposition, and help reduce effects of normally induced environmental stress.

The growth factors in colostrum, like Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), support normal cardiovascular, immune and neurological function. They can support balanced behavior and enhance brain function. That’s part of the reason it’s recommended for dogs seven years or older to support and maintain proper body functions and overall good quality of life.

Colostrum has been found to have a calming effect on nerves, helping animals maintain a normal and relaxed disposition. This is likely due to its rich composition of nutrients and antibodies that help manage normal stress.

Safety Profile of Bovine Colostrum

The safety and tolerability of bovine colostrum further contribute to its appeal as a supplement choice. Being a derivative of bovine milk, it is free from synthetic additives present in some supplements, making it a preferable option for many dog owners.

In addition, this supplement’s efficacy is not limited to a single species, demonstrating beneficial effects across different animals, including dogs. The cross-species applicability of this milky fluid promotes its versatility as a supplement.

How to Provide Colostrum Supplements to Your Dog

Hand scooping Earth Buddy’s Gut Health for dogs with colostrum & border collie behind to improve intestinal cells & gut.

Providing colostrum supplements to your dog involves a few key steps to promote and support overall well-being from the start of supplementation. Begin by consulting with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage based on your dog’s weight, age, and current health status.

Colostrum supplements come in various forms, including powders, capsules, and chewable tablets. If using a powder form, you can mix it directly into your dog’s food, ensuring it is well-incorporated so your dog consumes the entire amount. For capsules, they can either be given directly, if your dog is amenable, or opened to mix the contents with their food.

Chewable tablets are often flavored and can either be given as a treat or crumbled into the food. It’s best to introduce colostrum supplements gradually into your dog’s diet to provide their body with time to adjust. Consistency is key to seeing the benefits of colostrum, so incorporate the supplement into your dog’s regular feeding routine, but do so in a healthy manner.

Mature Milk Versus Colostrum

You may have heard many times before, not to give your dog cow’s milk. Even though they seem to love it, their bodies often can’t handle the lactose found in mature milk. Dogs can benefit from bovine colostrum due to its unique composition, which is distinct from that of regular cow’s milk.

Here’s why dogs can often tolerate bovine colostrum even if they experience stomach upset from the lactose found in regular cow’s milk:

  • Lower lactose content: Bovine colostrum has a lower lactose content than mature cow’s milk. Since lactose intolerance in dogs (and in some humans) is due to the lack of sufficient lactase enzyme to digest lactose properly, the lower lactose levels in colostrum are less likely to cause digestive issues. This makes colostrum a suitable supplement for dogs, even for those with sensitive stomachs.
  • Nutrient-rich profile: Colostrum is packed with nutrients that are beneficial for dogs, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and especially immunoglobulins (antibodies) that support the immune system. These components can offer health benefits without the need for large quantities of the supplement, thereby minimizing the lactose intake further.

Bovine Colostrum is Controversial in the Human Health Space

Although some research has found bovine colostrum to support human health, other researchers argue that the human body is not able to absorb the nutrients properly. The breast milk from cows has been found to be different from the breast milk humans produce. For us, human milk and human colostrum work most effectively.

There are notable differences between human colostrum and bovine colostrum with the most notable including:

  • Immunoglobulins: Bovine colostrum generally has a higher concentration of immunoglobulins, particularly IgG, compared to human colostrum. This high level of immunoglobulins makes bovine colostrum particularly valuable as a supplement for supporting the immune system.
  • Nutrient composition: While both types of colostrum are nutritionally rich, their specific compositions differ to cater to the needs of their respective newborns and body compositions. Human colostrum is higher in lactose and certain vitamins and minerals to meet the specific developmental needs of human infants. Bovine colostrum, on the other hand, has higher protein and fat content to meet the rapid growth demands of calves.

Why It’s Important to Avoid Growth Hormones in Bovine Supplements

Avoiding growth hormones in bovine colostrum is crucial for preserving its purity and safety for canine consumption. By opting for rBGH-free colostrum products, pet owners can ensure that their furry companions receive the full benefits of colostrum without the potential drawbacks associated with growth hormones.

Growth hormones can have detrimental effects on dogs, which is why high quality supplements prioritize hormone-free colostrum supplements to promote and support long term health. The inclusion of growth hormones in colostrum-based products may result in negative effects on our dogs.

Hyperimmune Bovine Colostrum Compared to Other Products

Hyperimmune bovine colostrum is a specially formulated type of colostrum that is derived from cows immunized against specific pathogens. This process involves vaccinating cows with selected antigens to stimulate the production of targeted antibodies. When these cows give birth, their colostrum contains high concentrations of these specific antibodies, making hyperimmune bovine colostrum a potent source of immune support.

Hyperimmune bovine colostrum is used to provide passive immunity, promoting the body’s innate resistance to pathogens, not only in newborn calves but also in other animals and humans. Evidence suggests the antibodies present in hyperimmune colostrum can help support normal detoxification processes and promote a healthy inflammatory response. This product targets the immune system to promote and support long-term health.

Checking the Colostrum Product’s Quality

Black & brown chihuahua with one eye laying on a white jar of Earth Buddy Gut Health for dogs with colostrum powder & CBD

Making the right choice in selecting a high-quality colostrum supplement for your dog is crucial for their overall health and well-being. It’s important to approach this decision with a level of diligence and awareness that ensures you’re providing the best possible care for your pet. To do this, focus on finding supplements that come from reputable sources. These are farms where the welfare of the cows is a priority, ensuring they are fed on natural diets that promote their health without the need for growth hormones or antibiotics.

This careful selection process is vital because the quality of the colostrum directly impacts its effectiveness and safety. Colostrum from cows raised in such ethical and health-conscious environments is more likely to be pure, potent, and beneficial. By choosing such products, you’re not only investing in your dog’s health but also in promoting a more ethical approach to animal husbandry and supplement production.

The Method of Processing Colostrum Matters

The processing technique used for colostrum supplements is a pivotal factor in determining their quality and efficacy. When searching for the right supplement for your dog, it’s essential to consider how the colostrum is processed. Ideally, you should look for products that are processed at low temperatures. This careful approach to processing is crucial because high temperatures can degrade or destroy the delicate bioactive components found in colostrum, like immunoglobulins and growth factors.

Low-temperature processing ensures that these vital nutrients remain intact and active, allowing your dog to receive the full spectrum of benefits colostrum has to offer. Supplements processed in this way are more likely to retain their natural structure and potency, making them more effective in supporting your dog’s health. This method of processing not only preserves the nutritional integrity of the colostrum but also ensures that your dog can effectively absorb and utilize these nutrients.

Look for Organizations with Transparency

Transparency from the manufacturer about the sourcing and production processes is a good sign of reliability and commitment to quality. If you feel the organization is hiding something from you or isn’t willing to answer your questions, it should be a red flag. Companies who take pride in their products will gladly share as much information as possible with the consumer, especially when asked.

Checking the Label When Considering Bovine Colostrum Supplementation

Always check for clear labeling regarding dosage and ingredients. This not only helps in understanding what you’re giving to your dog but also in following dosage instructions from the supplement manufacturers accurately. You can also compare the claimed ingredients to the actual ingredients found in the lab report. In the world of unregulated dietary supplements, checking the lab and the lab results are among the most important steps to finding a quality product.

Reading Lab Results for Bovine Colostrum Supplements

Interpreting lab results is a critical step for pet owners when evaluating the purity, potency, and quality of bovine colostrum supplements for dogs. Key components like immunoglobulin levels, lactoferrin, growth factors, and Proline-Rich-Polypeptides (PRP) in the lab analysis can offer insights into the supplement’s effectiveness.

High levels of these components often indicate a superior quality product capable of supporting a dog’s immune system and overall health. Understanding these lab results allows pet owners to select colostrum supplements that best meet their dogs’ specific health needs, ensuring they choose products that are pure, potent, and beneficial for their furry companions.

Earth Buddy Pet’s Dog Gut Health Product

Earth Buddy Gut Health Colostrum for Dogs and Cats offers significant health advantages for your pet. This colostrum powder for dogs comes from Canadian non-GMO cows, and is collected within 48 hours after milking to maintain its quality. This prompt collection ensures the Immunoglobulin levels are high, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Bovine colostrum for dogs is also packed with vital nutrients.

Additionally, Earth Buddy enriches the dog Gut Health formula with natural Kief CBD to support the gut’s inflammatory response, enhancing the overall gastrointestinal health through their combined effects. For effective use, mix 1/3 to 1/2 scoop of the powder for every 50 pounds of your pet’s weight, once or twice daily, or as needed.

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