If you’re making a sandwich or packing a lunch, it can be tempting to give your dog a slice of cheese. But is cheese safe for dogs to eat? The short answer is yes, cheese is generally safe for dogs to consume. However, you should always be aware that not all kinds of cheese are safe for dogs to eat, so it’s important to learn what you can and can’t give your pet. Also, just like us humans they can be lactose-intolerant.
Safe cheeses for dogs
There are a few kinds of cheeses that are healthier for dogs than others. According to PetMD, you should opt for cheeses with low or reduced fat content. You should also avoid feeding them large amounts, as most cheeses are high in fat.
Some safe cheeses to give to your dog include:
Mozzarella and cottage cheese are lower in fat than other types of cheeses, making them a good snack for dogs. Swiss cheese is low in lactose, which is easier on your pet’s digestive system. Cheddar is a common household cheese and has a relatively low level of salt, so it is safe in small doses.
Dogs can also have yak cheese - which is made from yak's milk!
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:
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 make them unhealthy for dogs to consume. A high-fat diet can also lead to pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening.
The benefits of (safe!) cheeses for dogs
So, now that we know dogs can eat certain types of cheese, it's important to ask: is cheese good for dogs? Yes. Cheese can carry some benefits for your dog, especially if they are extra motivated for treats. Cheese contains protein, calcium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins. These are all beneficial to your dog’s health, as long as too much isn’t ingested.
Chews that contain cheese
Dog owners will find that if their dog loves cheese, it makes a great treat during training or calming separation anxiety. You can also hide medication in cheese if your dog dislikes taking pills.
There are also some chews that contain cheese that can be a great treat for dogs. Our Yak Cheese Chews are made from yak and cow milk, with the lactose removed. These durable chews contain less salt and fat than regular cheese while still having great cheese flavor. Because they are a chew, they last a long time and promote healthy chewing habits and dental hygiene.
Which dogs should avoid eating cheese?
Cheese doesn’t make the best treat for every pet. Due to its relatively high fat content, dogs that are overweight or obese should not eat it. It can make weight loss difficult and lead to other health problems. Similarly, dogs with kidney problems might have problems with the high salt content in cheese.
If your dog gets an upset stomach easily, cheese may cause sickness or diarrhea. If you are not sure if your dog can handle cheese, try giving them a small amount. If they react poorly, avoid giving them cheese in the future. Some dogs can actually be lactose intolerant and will feel very sick if they eat cheese. If you suspect your dog may have an allergy to lactose, make sure to keep them away from cheese or any other dairy products.
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