Is cheese bad for dogs, and should dogs eat cheese?
Many dog owners follow their vet’s recommendations for their dog’s diet, but still would like to spoil their dogs with cheese. Or maybe a fellow dog owner has told you that putting medication in cheese is an easy way to get your dog to take his or her pills. But you still wonder, can my dog eat cheese without any problems? If you find yourself asking this question, then we have an answer.
Yes. Dogs can eat cheese. However, it gets a little more complex as we advance, as dogs can only eat certain types of cheese that are good for their health, and just like with humans, you must regulate portions. Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about your dog, cheese, and portions.
Can Dogs Eat Cheese and How Much Cheese is Okay for Dogs?
Yes. Dogs can indulge in cheese. In many cases, dog owners and trainers use it as a training tool, especially when they are still pups. However, you cannot give your dog just any cheese, and some dogs cannot eat it because they are intolerant to cheese. But what exactly determines whether your dog should eat cheese or not and how much? Should you give it as part of dog food, or should it remain a treat?
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Some dogs are not able to digest cheese as they are lactose intolerant. Therefore, if you feed them cheese, they can experience various gastrointestinal symptoms, with some experiencing mild symptoms and others more severe ones.
If it is your first time feeding your dog cheese, you need to exercise caution as you do not know whether their bodies will reject it. Start by feeding them a small amount of cheese and then see how they react to it. If they seem to have an adverse reaction, do not feed them cheese again until you are sure that the cheese triggered the reaction. You can also consult your vet to ensure that there aren’t any further adverse reactions as a result.
For Dogs that Can Eat Cheese
Cheese is protein-packed with nutrients including essential fatty acids, calcium, Vitamin A, and B complex. However, cheese is also calorie-packed. Therefore, you should strive to avoid overfeeding your pooch on cheese and vary the treats you offer them. Even if they want more, it is best to avoid feeding them too much cheese as cheese also contains high-fat amounts that may lead to weight gain and obesity. Furthermore, excess cheese in your dog’s diet may lead to stomach upset and even pancreatitis, which is a serious and fatal canine illness. Therefore, you should not give it regularly.
Lastly, as you feed your dog cheese, ensure that you check the ingredients as some brands may contain herbs and other products which may be toxic and detrimental to your dog’s health. Some common herbs to look out for include onions, garlic, and chives.
Tip: The piece of advice mentioned earlier is a good one! If your dog has problems taking their pills, you can camouflage them in cheese. You can do this for all medications except antibiotics. As many dogs cannot resist cheese, they are likely to gulp down the cheese together with the medicine. However, if the doctor requires strict compliance for the medicine to work on your dog, you should avoid cheese. Ask your vet and see what they say about using cheese with your furry friend’s medication.
Types of Cheese That Are Safe for Dogs
Now that you know that some dogs eat cheese and others are lactose intolerant, you may still question whether they can eat all types of cheese.
Even if your dog is lactose tolerant, they cannot just gobble down any cheese. Some types of cheese are good for your dog, while some are not. Below, we tell you the good and bad ones.
Good Cheese that Your Dog Can Eat
Dogs eat cream cheese, soft goat cheese, soft goat cheese, and plain cheddar cheese. Also, dogs eat cottage cheese, Swiss, and Parmesan cheese. These types of cheese have little lactose in them. You can also feed your dog Mozarella cheese. However, this cheese also has a high-fat content and should be fed to your dog in moderation. Cottage cheese and plain cream cheese are highly recommended for dogs that love cheese and can be cooked with rice if your dog is experiencing signs of an upset stomach.
If you are unsure about feeding your dog cheese, you can ask your vet if the dog can handle cheese.
Below, we highlight some tips to keep in mind when your dog eats cheese:
Focus on Portions
This tip is especially crucial if you are feeding your dog cheese for the first time or not used to eating cheese, as it minimizes the chances of stomach upset. Feeding smaller portions will also help control weight gain. They should be given occasionally as treats.
Avoid Cheese When Your Dog is on Antibiotics
Any vet would tell you that it is not advisable to give your pet any lactose products on antibiotics. Dairy products are not recommended because they contain calcium which can interfere with antibiotic absorption in the dog’s body. You can talk to the vet to see if cheese options will not affect antibiotic absorption.
- Choose Low Fat Varieties
High-fat cheese is not good for your dog’s consumption as they can pack up weight quickly and run the risk of developing pancreatitis. However, dogs can tolerate different amounts of cheese depending on their weight, age, and the ingredients in the cheese, such as the fat content, salt, and lactose levels.
Cheese that is Not Good for Your Dog
Do dogs eat blue cheese?
While dogs can eat this type of cheese, you should avoid it altogether. For starters, this type of cheese and Roquefort have a high-fat content that is unsuitable for dogs. Furthermore, they produce roquefortine, which is lethal when consumed by dogs when they are super ripe.
As mentioned earlier, cheese with herbs like garlic and onions should not be part of your dog’s diet.