Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
If you've ever scarfed down a slice of cheese pizza while your dog gives you an innocent look for a piece of the pie, you might have been curious, “Can dogs eat cheese?”
Although, there isn't a certain yes or no answer as to whether dogs can eat cheese. For most dogs, they may be fine after eating a little bit, but as long as they don't show signs of being lactose intolerance–a chunk of cheese here and there as a treat won't harm them.
However, even though, cheese is not toxic to dogs, it's still vital to consult with your vet before you share any human foods with your pooch. So hold the cheese knife–there are a couple of things to consider first, including the content of cheese, the type of cheese, and your dog's general health, such as digestive health and weight.
- Contents of Cheese You Should Be Concerned About
- Types of Cheese Harmful for Dogs
- Types of Cheese Safe for Dogs
- Frequently Asked Questions
Contents of Cheese You Should Be Concerned About
Before we answer your “Can a dog eat cheese?” question, let's first understand the common contents of cheese you should be concerned about.
Most cheeses are high in fat. Because of its relatively high-fat content, a dog that is overweight or needs to cut down a few pounds should definitely not eat cheese treats. It can make weight loss hard to achieve plus a high-fat food can lead to pancreatitis, which can be dangerous for your pooch.
Hard aged cheeses contain a very high salt content, which can be life-threatening and lead to sodium poisoning if your dog eats too much. Your dog may drink enough fresh water to dilute the salt he consumed, but it's still best to be cautious.
Common symptoms of sodium poisoning are extreme thirst, vomiting, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and watery diarrhea. Another associated risk with a high amount of salt is kidney problems for dogs.
Most cheese can have less lactose than some other dairy products like whole milk. However, your dog can still experience adverse effects from cheese if he is highly lactose intolerant. If you've never fed your dog cheese or dog milk, you still need to be careful.
Try feeding your dog with a very small amount of cheese first. Observe him for the next 24 hours for any signs of the upset belly, or negative bathroom changes. If you notice your dog is lactose intolerant, then you could try a very-low lactose option or you should skip the cheese altogether .
Other Harmful Ingredients
Some common additions to cheese are herbs, garlic, chives, onions, raisins, which are all toxic for dogs and can cause serious health problems.
Types of Cheese Harmful for Dogs
Now, if you're wondering, “Is cheese bad for dogs?” Well, cheese itself isn't toxic or poisonous to dogs. However, the following are not the type of cheese for dogs.
Blue Cheese (Roquefort, Stilton, and Gorgonzola) and Ripe ‘Moldy’ Cheeses
Do not give your dog blue cheese. When blue cheese is ripening, the fungus included in making blue cheeses like Stilton can produce a mycotoxin called Roquefortine C, which is toxic for dogs.
If eaten in large amounts, it can cause excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, high temperature, lethargy, seizure, and even tachycardia, the rapid beating of the dog's heart.
In case your dog accidentally ingested blue cheese in small amounts, they will probably be fine. But you still need to keep a close eye on your dog and check if there are any signs of symptoms mentioned above. If so, call the vet immediately.
Garlic, Onion, Chives, and Other Added Flavors
Many cheese products contain herbs, such as garlic, onion, chives, or even raisin which are potentially lethal for dogs and should be avoided. They can cause serious health issues.
Goat Cheese, Feta, and Brie
These ingredients all have high levels of saturated fat, which makes them unhealthy for your dog to consume.
Types of Cheese Safe for Dogs
There are a few types of cheeses that are healthier for canines than others. According to experts, dog owners should opt for cheeses with reduced or low-fat content and avoid feeding them large amounts.
So aside from asking, “Can dogs eat cheese?”, others would probably want to know, “Is cheese ok for dogs? If so, what type of cheese can dogs eat?” Here are some safe cheeses to give to your pooch:
Soft Cheese (Mozzarella, Young Cheddar, String Cheese)
Most other soft cheeses that are commonly found in the house are safe for dogs to eat but should be given in moderation. Mozzarella is low-fat, making them a good treat for your dog. Similarly, young cheddar cheese also has a relatively low level of salt. So if given in small doses, then it's safe for your pooch.
Low-Sodium Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in sodium and fat than many other types of cheeses. Thus, it's one of the better choices to give your dog as an occasional snack and those who are concerned with weight. A slice of high-quality cottage cheese has a good level of calcium, protein, and vitamins. It also contains probiotics which can be helpful for calming a pet's upset stomach.
Swiss cheese has a low level of lactose, which is easier on the digestive system of your dog.
Plain, Low-Fat Cream Cheese
You can feed your dog cream cheese, but only in infrequent and small amounts. Cream cheese is fatty, rich, and high in calorie content so ideally should be of the low-fat variety and should be fed with care. Choose plain, low-fat cream cheese instead of flavored since some can have ingredients such as onions or garlic, which are toxic to dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens When A Dog Eats Cheese?
When a dog eats cheese like cottage cheese as an occasional treat, he will really enjoy it. Not only are some cheeses safe to consume, but they can also be used to hide medication or a very useful high-value treat.
However, these foods should only be fed in a small amount as a snack alongside a balanced diet. If eaten in large amounts, though, it could lead to serious health issues.
How Much Cheese Can A Dog Eat?
The amount of how much cheese your dog can eat depends on his size, how well he can handle cheese, and his overall diet.
However, cheeses like cottage cheese should only be given in a very small portion as an occasional high reward training treat. When feeding your dog dairy products, make sure to always practice moderation.
What Are The Benefits Of Feeding My Dog Cheese?
Cheese can bring some benefits for your dog, particularly when he is extra motivated for treats. Cheese contains protein, calcium, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, and B-complex vitamins–as long as too much isn't ingested.
Moreover, for dog owners who notice that their dog enjoys eating cheese, it makes a great treat for calming separation anxiety or during training. If your dog dislikes taking pills, you can also hide medication in cheese.
Now you know the answer to the question, ‘Can dogs eat cheese?' or ‘Can dogs have cheese?'. In most cases, dogs can eat cheese. But cheese is not particularly good for dogs.
Cheese contains nutritional values that are beneficial for dogs, yet these are only the ingredients your dog will be receiving from his regular, complete diet–meaning there's no nutritional need to add cheese to his foods.
Remember to avoid cheeses that have a high salt content that isn't actually good for dogs with kidney disease. Stick to low-fat cheeses and make sure your pet isn't lactose intolerant before you begin giving cheese as treats.
Monitor your dog for the next few hours after consumption, if you notice any symptoms, call your vet straight away. Practically, as long as you are responsible in purveying cheese for your pup, you'll be good as gold.