Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
Dogs love cheese, and it’s often a popular snack for pups during training or as a treat. While it’s a tasty option for your pet, it’s best to offer cheese in moderation due to a lack of tolerance many dogs have for dairy products.
When you feed your dog cheese, it’s best to choose a quality brand and treat your pet in small portions to avoid intestinal upset or the effects of lactose intolerance. The type of formulas and dog treats you choose for your dog’s diet is vital in providing a balanced, healthy life, which should be high in protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals and free of artificial sweeteners.
While human food offers exceptional benefits for your pet’s health, it’s important to limit certain foods, including cheese and dairy products.
The Advantages of Cheese
Cheese offers significant benefits when fed to your dog in a small quantity, as a snack, or occasional treat. Most dogs enjoy the rich flavor of cheese, which makes it the ideal motivator for obedience training or as a reward. It’s also an excellent option for pet owners to conceal medication when their pet may resist taking a pill or tablet with their regular dog food.
You’ll find a wealth of nutrients in cheese, including essential fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, vitamins A and K-2, calcium, and protein. Fats are also a significant ingredient in cheese, though this varies considerably from one type of cheese to another.
For example, cottage cheese, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese contain lower fat levels, whereas brie and cheddar cheese contain higher fat content. If your pet follows a modified diet for weight control, there are plenty of great low fat and lactose-free options to reduce indigestion and allergic reactions.
Cheese quickly satisfies hunger, which is great if your dog needs a quick snack between regular meals. A small portion, such as a cheese stick, spoonful of soft goat cheese, or slice of provolone cheese, is ideal for a healthy, convenient snack.
Which Types of Cheese Are Best for Dogs?
Like other dairy foods, including ice cream and yogurt, cheese is available in various textures, ages, and flavors. It’s crucial to choose cheese products that are safe for your dog, contain high protein and nutrients, are low or moderate in fat, are low in lactose, and do not contain any additives or artificial sweeteners.
The following cheeses make excellent treats for your dog.
Mozzarella cheese is mild in flavor and is one of the most popular options in your local grocery store. It’s low in fat and sodium and ideal for your pet’s diet.
While cheddar cheese contains a higher fat content, it’s low in lactose and provides a robust and tasty flavor that many dogs enjoy in small portions. It’s a good choice for dogs with lactose intolerance.
Cottage cheese is high in calcium and protein and low in fat and sodium, a healthy option for dogs.
Other cheeses that are low in fat and high in flavor include Swiss cheese, low-fat cream cheese, vegan cheese, and feta cheese. While these options are ideal as an occasional part of your dog’s diet, it’s essential to limit the portions and note any reaction that may result from lactose intolerance, allergies, or digestion issues.
Which Cheese Products Should Be Avoided?
Dogs can safely consume many human-grade foods, though many foods can be harmful or unhealthy for your pet, such as onions, herbs, garlic, and other ingredients often found in artisan cheese products. It’s crucial to avoid soft herbed cheeses, such as marinated feta or goat cheese, cheese balls, and flavored cheddars or other blends that may also be high in sodium or contain sweeteners.
Cheeses that contain molds, such as blue cheese and old or well-aged cheeses, should generally be avoided, as they can be toxic to dogs and cause more severe reactions, including vomiting and seizures. If a type of cheese contains herbs, vegetables, or dried fruits, there is a greater chance that one or more of the ingredients may be harmful to your pet and should be avoided.
Brie, feta, and goat cheese are high in fat and lactose and should be avoided. These cheeses are not dangerous in tiny portions, though they are best to skip or replace with a low-fat option.
Your dog’s size and age are also important to consider, as large breed dogs can handle a more significant portion of cheese, and smaller breeds, including puppies, should only ingest a minimal serving.
Dogs love cheese and flavorful foods, which can make a great snack, motivation during training, or an occasional treat. While choosing a quality, low-fat, and nutrient-rich cheese for your pet is crucial, it’s generally best to limit the amount and how often you feed them. There are many great alternatives, including peanut butter, plain yogurt, and sliced apples.
When feeding cheese to your dog, it’s key to monitor their health and ensure that the portion is appropriate for their age and size and doesn’t cause adverse effects. Your veterinarian can advise whether cheese is a good option for your pet and which types are best.