Yes, dogs can eat cheese. In fact, cheese is often a great training tool, especially for puppies. But should dogs eat cheese?
While some dogs can eat cheese, and most dogs love it, many dogs can be intolerant of cheese. Even for dogs that are able to tolerate cheese, it is probably best fed in moderation.
Don’t worry cheese is not toxic and is completely fine for most pups. However, some dogs can be lactose intolerant, meaning their body does not react well to dairy products.
But even if your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, it’s still a good idea to keep their cheese consumption to a minimum. Here’s everything you need to know if you let your dog eat cheese.
Which cheeses are unsafe for dogs?
It’s best to stay on the safe side and keep your pet away from blue cheeses such as stilton. The fungus used to make these cheeses produces a substance called roquefortine C, which dogs can be sensitive to. This substance can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high temperatures, and even seizures.
The risk of these symptoms is higher if your dog eats a large amount of cheese. If you notice any of these signs after your dog eats blue cheese, call your vet urgently.
High-fat cheeses can cause vomiting and diarrhea, especially if your pet eats a lot of them. Call your vet if you are worried.
How to Feed Cheese to Your Dog
You should always consult with your vet before feeding cheese to your dog to determine the safest kind and appropriate portion size. Even a calcium-packed treat like cheese should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet. Dr. Ahn says pet parents should:
- Choose a low-fat cheese. Cottage cheese and mozzarella are good options. Avoid cheese with high-fat content like goat cheese, feta, and brie.
- Avoid spicy cheeses. That means no pepper jack cheese or spicy siracha cheddar! Spicy cheeses may cause an upset stomach.
- Start small. If your dog has never had cheese before, start with a small amount to see how they react. If they don’t have any side effects like an upset stomach, you can continue feeding cheese to your dog in small quantities and in moderation.
- Mix the cheese in with your dog’s regular food. A sprinkle of cheese makes a nice food topper. Or try hiding the cheese under your dog’s regular food to make it work for the special treat.
The Benefits of Cheese for Your Dog
Cheese is packed with nutrients, including calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and B12. However, these are nutritional benefits for humans; what’s good for you won’t necessarily serve your dog’s nutritional needs.
However, this doesn’t mean that cheese doesn’t have its benefits. One advantage of cheese for dogs is that it can be used as a handy training tool. Also, a tasty morsel of cheese can help mask medicine that you’re struggling to get your pup to take.
Cheese Types that Dogs Can Eat
Cheese is a delicious treat that can be given to dogs; however, it is essential to select the appropriate kinds of cheese for your dog in order to guarantee that it is both safe and beneficial for their health.
The following are some varieties of cheese that are safe for pups to consume:
Cheddar cheese is a well-known kind of cheese that is occasionally recommended for canine consumption in a small amount of quantities.
It has a minimal amount of lactose and a significant quantity of protein and calcium, all of which are necessary to develop healthy and strong bones and muscles.
Another delicious alternative that’s perfect for dogs is mozzarella cheese. It has a relatively low amount of lactose and a subtle taste that many dogs find appealing. In addition to that, it is an excellent provider of calcium and protein.
Cottage cheese is a mild, creamy cheese that is simple for dogs to stomach due to its consistency. Because it is low in lactose yet has a high protein high fat content too, it is an excellent option for dogs.
Dogs eat cottage cheese as a source of protein and other essential nutrients, but it should be given in moderation and without any added sugars or flavors.
A dog could enjoy the creamy texture and sharp flavor of goat cheese. It has a moderate amount of lactose and is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Also, dogs digest cheese of this type way more easily than cow’s milk cheese.
Cheeses to avoid giving your dog
Luckily, the cheeses to avoid giving your dog tend to make sense because they are also the sharper flavors or those featuring mold. Some cheeses should be avoided when it comes to giving your dog a treat. This includes:
- Blue cheeses, like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton
- Cheeses with herbs, garlic, raisins, or other add-ins dogs cannot consume
- Goat cheese
You should avoid feeding your dog these types of cheeses for various reasons. Blue cheeses including Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton can produce roquefortine, which is a toxin potentially lethal to dogs.
It can cause lethargy, excessive panting, and even tachycardia, the rapid beating of the heart, if eaten in large enough amounts. According to ScienceDirect, fatal canine poisoning because of roquefortine is possible, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Cheeses that have herbs, garlic, raisins, or other added flavors should also be avoided. Garlic and raisins are some of the most toxic foods for dogs and can cause serious health issues.
Goat cheese, brie, and feta all have high levels of saturated fat, which makes them unhealthy for dogs to consume. A high-fat diet can also lead to pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening.