Many dog owners are guilty of sharing ‘human food’ with their beloved pet. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this but you should know that there are certain foods that dogs should never eat and then there are some that it’s okay to share. A popular food with humans is cheese because it comes in all different sizes and flavors so it’s likely that our pets will get a taste eventually.
In this article I’ll answer the question of can dogs eat cheese, what kinds of cheeses are best to feed them, the issue of lactose intolerance in dogs, and some possible side effects of feeding your dog cheese.
Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
The simple answer to the question of can dogs eat cheese is yes they can. However, as with many things in life, the answer is slightly more nuanced than that.
Cheese contains calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin B which can be a good addition to your pup’s diet. Some people even use cheese as a way to get their dog to take medication they wouldn’t otherwise eat. Since cheese is often high in calories it’s important to feed it in moderation as it’s easy to overdo it.
Some dogs are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be fed cheese though. Dogs that suffer from pancreatitis should also not be given cheese because of its high fat content. Even those dogs that don’t suffer from these conditions shouldn’t be fed more than 10% of their daily diet in cheese or any other snack for that matter.
What Kinds of Cheese Can I Feed My Dog?
All cheese should be given to your pet in moderation, but there are certain cheeses that are better than others. Low fat cheeses like mozzarella and cottage cheese are the best, but you can also safely feed them cheddar, cream cheese, swiss, and goat cheese.
It’s always best to feed whole versions of these cheeses. That is, avoid any cheeses that have additional ingredients such as garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes, or raisins. Try to avoid cheeses with high fat or sodium content as these can cause weight gain from the fat or dehydration and vomiting from the sodium.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
There are a number of dogs that are lactose intolerant which means their body is unable to process lactose, a sugar found in milk. The severity of this condition can vary from dog to dog so it’s best to start by feeding your pet a little bit of cheese at a time to see how they react to it.
If their system can’t handle it you’ll know pretty soon after feeding because they may display an allergic reaction, upset stomach, diarrhea, severe gas, or bloating. Again, it’s best to start with a small amount of cheese when feeding it to them for the first time.
Possible Side Effects from Feeding Cheese to Your Dog
Cheese, while edible to most dogs, can come with side effects if you feed too much of it at once. These include diarrhea and constipation at first and can lead to obesity and gastrointestinal issues if fed too much over a long period of time.
Obesity in dogs is a steadily growing problem and many cheeses come with a high calorie content so it’s best to monitor your dog’s consumption of cheese and, again, give them no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake via this food.
Yes, Most Likely You Can Feed Your Dog Some Cheese
Now you know that most dogs can tolerate moderate amounts of cheese in their diets as long as they are not lactose intolerant or suffer from pancreatitis. You also know that mozzarella and cottage cheese are the best ones to feed your pup, what it means for a dog to be lactose intolerant, and some possible side effects of feeding your pup too much cheese.
For more information check out what the American Kennel Club has to say about dogs eating cheese and check out my articles on what foods it’s okay to feed your dog and what foods it’s not okay to feed your dog.
If you have any questions about feeding your dog cheese or any other food please feel free to leave me a comment below! What kind of cheese is your pet’s favorite, if any?