Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
Very few dogs turn up their noses at an offering of cheese, but should we indulge their taste for dairy? It depends on a couple of factors. The short answer to the question “can dogs eat cheese?” is usually, if they’re not lactose intolerant. Very few dogs are, but it’s always a good idea to test your dog with a small amount of cheese first.
Cheese contains protein, calcium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins, all of which play an important role in canine nutrition, but too much cheese can cause problems.
A small piece of cheese can also provide the perfect camouflage for medications that your dog may need to take, so it can be helpful to offer your dog occasional treats of cheese, but only if his body can handle it.
What Types of Cheese Should I Avoid Feeding My Dog?
Not all dogs digest cheese well. Fatty, rich cheeses, and cheeses that contain herbs or food items, such as onions, garlic, raisins, macadamia nuts, grapes or avocado, are harmful to dogs. All of those ingredients can be poisonous to dogs. Another cheese it might be wise to have your dog skip is blue cheese, including Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton and others. The coloring in blue cheese is caused by Penicillium mold cultures. And while cheese contains little lactose when compared to whole milk, dogs with severe cases of lactose intolerance may have adverse reactions to cheese, even in small quantities. Observe your dog closely for signs of intestinal upset after feeding her cheese for the first time, and consult your vet with any questions you may have about adding cheese to your dog’s diet.
What Types of Cheese Are Okay to Feed My Dog?
Some cheeses are better for dogs than others. Low-fat cheeses, such as mozzarella, low/nonfat plain cream cheese and cottage cheese, are healthier for your pet than cheeses with higher fat contents. When looking for cheese for your dog, seek out cottage cheeses and mozzarella cheeses that are low in sodium. Choosing lower fat and lower sodium cheeses can help reduce the risk of obesity and intestinal upset.
And then there’s goat cheese, made from goat’s milk, which contains less lactose than cow’s milk. For a lactose-sensitive dog, goat cheese can provide another low-lactose option.
How Much Cheese Is Safe to Feed My Dog?
Cheese is safe for dogs in small-to-moderate quantities and can be a valuable training tool for treat-motivated dogs. As you should when you consider feeding your dog any human food, talk to your vet about any risks associated with feeding cheese to your dog and about how cheese can affect your dog’s pre-existing health conditions.
Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians. The above is information based on our own research and questions we’ve asked our own vet.
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