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Can Dogs Eat Cheese: Benefits, Risks and Best Types

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As a dog owner, you may be tempted to give your furry friend a serving of your favourite cheese as a treat. But Can Dogs Eat Cheese? While it is true that dogs will enjoy the taste of cheese, there are a few things to keep in mind before you hand over the dairy. First and foremost, it’s essential to consider your pet’s overall health, including weight and digestive health. 

A small amount of cheese can be safe for most dogs, but too much can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even pancreatitis. It’s also important to note that not all types of cheese are safe for dogs. Some varieties, such as blue cheese, contain mould that can be toxic to dogs. 

So next time you’re thinking about giving your dog a cheesy treat, take a moment to consider these factors and choose wisely to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

What Are the Factors to Consider Before Feeding Your Dog Cheese?

 Can Dogs Eat Cheese

#1 Lactose intolerance:

A number of canines, similar to certain individuals, face difficulties in digesting lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. Dogs, like humans, can exhibit varying levels of sensitivity to lactose. If you observe signs of lactose intolerance in your dog, such as a dairy allergy, it is advisable to avoid providing dairy products like milk or cheese. Before giving your dog cheese, it is strongly recommended to conduct a small test by offering a small quantity to determine if any digestive issues arise.

At present, if your dog displays indications of an allergic reaction, it is best to withhold all dairy products until you can ascertain whether the cheese was the trigger. To ensure there are no adverse effects, it would be prudent to visit a veterinarian.

#2 Fat content:

The majority of cheeses contain a significant amount of fat, particularly saturated fat. While some fat can be beneficial for dogs, excessive consumption can result in health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and pancreatitis. It is important to consider both the quantity of cheese you provide to your dog and the fat content of the specific cheese.

#3 Sodium content:

Cheese, in general, possesses a high concentration of salt. While a certain amount of sodium is beneficial for your dog’s health, excessive intake can lead to hypertension and even organ failure. It is advisable to avoid salty cheeses like feta and Parmesan or offer them to your dog only in small portions.

What are the Benefits of Cheese to Dogs?

 #1 High nutrient :

The nutritional content of cheese is highly beneficial and significant. Apart from protein and fat, cheese serves as a rich source of various essential nutrients such as vitamins A, calcium, B-12, zinc, K-2, and phosphorus. Additionally, cheese is a good provider of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for a dog’s diet.

#2 Motivation:

The strong aroma and distinctive taste of cheese are bound to captivate the canine palate and capture their interest. Utilizing low-fat cheese as a reward can effectively stimulate and encourage your dog during training sessions. However, it is important to avoid excessive cheese consumption while using it as a motivational tool.

#3 Concealer:

Due to its appealing flavour and typically pliable texture, cheese can serve as an excellent medium for concealing medications that your dog may be unwilling to consume otherwise. This makes cheese an ideal option for administering medication to your dog discreetly.

What Are the Risks of Dogs Eating Cheese?

 #1 Weight gain :

Cheese possesses a relatively high-fat content, which contributes to its delightful flavour. However, this also leads to a high-calorie count per serving. Therefore, pet owners concerned about their dog’s weight should avoid giving cheese to their furry companions. Weight gain in dogs not only has negative implications on its own but can also lead to various long-term detrimental health effects.

#2 Pancreatitis concerns:

Pancreatitis is a serious digestive condition that poses a risk to any animal’s life and may require hospitalization. It is crucial to consult with your veterinarian to determine if your dog is prone to this condition before incorporating cheese into their diet.

#3 Lactose intolerance:

Similar to other dairy products, cheese can cause gastrointestinal distress in certain individuals who have difficulty fully and properly digesting dairy products, especially cheese. If your dog exhibits signs of lactose intolerance, it is advisable to refrain from giving them cheese.

Can Dogs Eat Cottage Cheese?

Cottage cheese has gained popularity among pet owners as a go-to food for their dogs due to its digestive benefits. The fermentation process involved in its making has made it widely believed to contain low levels of lactose compared to other similar dairy products. However, it is essential to note that some cottage cheese products contain added milk products, so it’s always wise to check the label. With its bland taste and high calcium and protein content, it is an excellent addition to your pet’s diet during recovery.  

Will Dogs Eat Cream Cheese?

For dogs with lactose sensitivities or intolerances, finding suitable treats can be a challenge. However, cream cheese is a viable option for them, thanks to its relatively low lactose level. Moreover, it has lower salt content than other cheeses, making it a healthy choice for our furry friends. However, it is essential to exercise caution while giving cream cheese to dogs as it is still high in fat and may contain harmful ingredients like chocolate, nutmeg, xylitol, garlic, and onion. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid cream cheese that contains any of these additives or has a greasy texture.

Can Dogs Eat String Cheese?

When it comes to cheese, many people assume that they should stay away due to its high lactose and salt content. However, string cheeses may actually be a better choice. Depending on the type and manufacturer, these cheeses can be lower in lactose and salt than other varieties. In particular, low-fat mozzarella string cheese is one of the lowest lactose counts. While this may sound like a great snack for your furry friend, it’s important to note that the stringiness of these cheeses can make it difficult for your puppy to swallow.  

Will Your Dog Eat Mac and Cheese?

As dog owners, it’s hard to resist those begging puppy eyes while we’re enjoying a bowl of mac and cheese. However, feeding this cheesy delight to your furry friend isn’t the best idea. Aside from the obvious lactose intolerance, mac and cheese is loaded with high-fat content that can lead to obesity and other health issues in dogs. Additionally, the high sodium load and abundance of preservatives can wreak havoc on your dog’s system. If you’re looking for a pasta alternative, plain spaghetti is a better option.  

How To Feed Your Dog Cheese Safely

If you wish to incorporate cheese into your dog’s diet, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian regarding the most suitable type and safe quantity for your dog. To ensure a healthy diet for your dog, including treats like cheese that are rich in calcium, it is important to follow these guidelines:

#1 Opt for Low-Fat Cheese:

Consider choosing low-fat options such as cottage cheese and mozzarella. It is best to avoid high-fat cheeses like goat cheese, feta, and brie.

#2 Avoid Spicy Cheese:

Feeding your dog cheese with a lot of spice can lead to various issues. To prevent stomach upset, refrain from offering spiced cheese to your pet. When providing any food other than formulated pet food, ensure it is plain and unflavored.

#3 Start with Small Portions:

If your dog has never consumed cheese before, introduce it gradually by offering a very small quantity to assess their reaction. Cheese can be given to dogs in small amounts and in moderation, as long as it does not cause any adverse effects such as an upset stomach.

Remember, it is essential to prioritize your dog’s overall health and seek professional guidance from a veterinarian to ensure the best dietary choices for your furry friend.

Combine Cheese With Your Dog’s Usual Diet

When it comes to topping off your pup’s meal, a sprinkling of cheese can do wonders. But have you ever considered putting the cheese beneath their usual food? This can encourage them to work for their reward and add a little bit of excitement to their regular routine. And cheese isn’t just a tasty treat – it can also be a helpful tool in promoting your pup’s health. 

For example, cottage cheese blended with cooked white rice in equal portions can be a soothing option for dogs with upset stomachs. Not interested in their prescription food? A little bit of cheese can go a long way in enticing them to eat. In fact, cheese has been used for years as a way to disguise unappealing medication. With its irresistible appeal, it’s no wonder our furry friends can’t resist a good slice of cheese.

FAQs on Can Dogs Eat Cheese

How much cheese can a dog eat?

When it comes to cheese, while it can be a delicious treat for humans, it is important to know that it should only be given to dogs in moderation. Too much cheese can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhoea or vomiting, and can also contribute to obesity and other health problems in the long term. It is recommended that dog owners limit their pet’s cheese intake to a small amount as an occasional treat, and always monitor their dog’s reaction to any new food.

What foods are toxic to dogs?

We often treat them like family members – sharing table scraps and treats. However, not all human foods are safe for our beloved pets, and some can be downright toxic. Garlic and onion, for instance, can damage dogs’ red blood cells, leading to anaemia. Chocolate and caffeine can cause seizures and heart problems, while grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure. It is important to note that not all dogs react the same way to toxic foods, and the severity of the reaction can vary depending on factors like size and breed. 

Can dogs eat butter or cheese?

The answer is not straightforward. Some dogs may experience gastrointestinal issues after eating butter or cheese due to its high fat content. It’s important to consider the amount and frequency consumed, as excessive consumption of these dairy products can lead to obesity and other health issues. That being said, small amounts of butter or cheese are generally safe for most dogs.

Final Words on Can Dogs Eat Cheese

Dogs are always eager to try new foods, and as a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure that your furry friend is consuming safe and nutritious treats. If you’re wondering whether or not cheese is safe for dogs, the answer is yes – but in moderation. While cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese can all be enjoyed by your pup, feeding them too much cheese can lead to unnecessary weight gain and upset stomachs. 

Before treating your dog to some cheesy goodness, make sure they can digest lactose without any issues. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that moderation is key, and feeding your dog a balanced, healthy diet should always be a top priority.

Reference:

Author Profile
Jeevan Kodiyan
Zoologist | Wildlife Conservation at Animals Research

An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

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An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

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