Cheese contains vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, proteins, and essential fatty acids. While cheese may appear to be the ideal dog treat, it should be fed with care. Excessive consumption can result in various health problems, including allergies and stomach distress.
Discover the complete list of health benefits and risks of feeding cheese to dogs.
Can dogs have cheese?
Cheese is not toxic to our canine companions. However, do not go overboard in feeding cheese to your dog. Although cheese has several benefits, it also has disadvantages, especially when served in large amounts.
Here are a few things you should be aware of before including cheese in your dog’s meals.
Some dogs are lactose intolerant. This is caused by the lack of lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose. Dairy products, including cheese, contain lactose.
Fortunately, compared to milk, cheese has a lower lactose content. Some cheeses also undergo the process of fermentation or ripening, which eliminates most of the lactose. As long as you don’t serve cheese in large amounts, your dog will be fine.
Consult your vet if cheese can be included in your dog’s diet. Once approved, only provide your dog with small amounts of cheese.
Monitor him and see if he exhibits signs of lactose intolerance, such as:
- Passing gas
- Abdominal pain
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
These symptoms often occur within 30 minutes to 2 hours of feeding your dog cheese.
Often, the signs are mild and go away on their own. If your pet exhibits these symptoms, stop giving him cheese.
Provide him with fresh water on the side to keep him hydrated. If the symptoms worsen or do not disappear after 24 hours, bring him to the vet.
It is a common misconception that dairy allergy and lactose intolerance are the same. They are not. Intolerance is caused by a lack of enzymes needed to digest certain foods.
On the other hand, dairy allergy is an adverse immune reaction to the milk’s protein. This means your dog’s immune system thinks it is a foreign invader and attacks it.
Since cheese is made from dairy, it can trigger allergies in some dogs. Consult the vet first before adding cheese to your dog’s food. Make sure to serve it in small amounts and look out for dairy allergy symptoms.
Here are the dairy allergy symptoms in dogs:
- Skin infections
- Ear infections
- Reddish and inflamed skin
- Excessive scratching and licking
- Bald patches
Take your dog to the vet for a diagnosis if he exhibits these symptoms.
High in Fat
Cheese has a high-fat content, which can cause constipation, upset stomach, or diarrhea. Excessive consumption of high-fat cheeses also contributes to the development of health problems.
Obesity and pancreatitis are the most common ones. To prevent the onset of these diseases, don’t feed him human food like cheese.
High in Salt
Some cheeses have more sodium content than others. Aged cheese tends to be saltier than regular cheese.
As much as possible, avoid letting your dog eat these types of cheese as they are bad for your dog’s health. It can lead to sodium poisoning if ingested in large amounts.
Avoid feeding high-sodium cheeses to dogs with kidney problems. It can aggravate their condition and may cause serious kidney complications.
In case of accidental over-eating of high sodium cheese, here are the symptoms you should be aware of:
- Lack of appetite
- Increased thirst and/or urination
- Swelling of the tongue
- Increased heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Watery diarrhea
- Kidney failure
If your dog exhibits these signs, bring him to the vet right away for proper diagnosis and treatment. Fatal consequences may happen, such as seizure, kidney failure, and coma, if he is left untreated.
Cheese may contain harmful ingredients.
While some types of cheese are low in fat and sodium, they may contain additional toxic ingredients for dogs (e.g., yeast dough). When choosing cheese for your dog, make sure that it does not contain any of these ingredients:
How much cheese can dogs eat?
Small dogs can have a small nibble of cheese, while large dogs can eat no more than a 1-inch cube of cheese.
Most cheeses contain a hefty amount of calories and sodium. So, it is crucial to use it as an occasional dog treat and serve it in minimal quantities.
Consider using cheese as an occasional high-value reward during training. This is to prevent excessive weight gain and health issues.
Can puppies have cheese?
Some say that puppies can eat cheese as they can process lactose better than adults. This is because their bodies produce lactase to break down their mother’s milk.
Full-grown dogs’ lactose production gradually decreases as they grow older. Thus, puppies are less prone to lactose intolerance. However, puppies have a sensitive digestive system, and eating cheese may cause an upset stomach.
Can dogs eat blue cheese?
Most cheeses from the supermarket shelf are not toxic to dogs. However, blue cheese is not one of them. Never feed your dog blue cheese such as Stilton and Gorgonzola. Molds from these cheeses produce a mycotoxin called Roquefortine C, a poisonous substance for dogs.
Small amounts of blue cheese ingestion will not result in serious consequences, but try to avoid feeding blue cheese to your dog to be safe.
Can dogs eat cottage cheese?
Dogs can eat cottage cheese as it is full of calcium, protein, and vitamins. Since cottage cheese is fermented, it has a lower lactose content. It has a bland flavor, making it an enticing food for dogs suffering from digestive problems.
Cottage cheese also contains probiotics that help in soothing upset stomach in dogs. If you are planning to buy one for your dog, the checklist below will help you narrow down your choices:
- Pick a cottage cheese that is low in fat and sodium.
- Choose a plain one, not one with flavor.
- Check the label and exclude cottage cheese with added milk.
Can dogs eat cream cheese?
Yes, dogs can eat cream cheese but moderately. As it is usually high in fat, choose one of the low-fat varieties. Only give your pooch plain cream cheese since flavored variations may contain herbs, garlic, and onion. These ingredients can upset your dog’s stomach and can even cause poisoning.
Can dogs eat goat’s cheese?
Yes, goat cheese is good for dogs as it is low in lactose and fat. Compared to regular cheese, it has a higher calcium content. Although goat’s cheese is a healthier alternative to cow’s cheese, avoid overfeeding it to your furry companion.
Can dogs eat mozzarella cheese?
Yes, dogs can eat mozzarella, but it might not be suitable for some dogs. Mozzarella is a low-fat cheese but, at the same time, high in lactose. If your dog is highly sensitive to dairy products, mozzarella is not for him.
Can dogs eat feta cheese?
No, feta cheese is not recommended for dogs. Feta cheese is high in lactose, which can trigger adverse side effects on dogs. It is also packed with fat and salt, making it an unhealthy treat for your pet.
Can dogs eat cheddar cheese?
Yes, cheddar cheese is a high-value treat for dogs. It is low in sodium and fat. That said, still, serve it to your dog in moderation to avoid stomach issues.
Can dogs eat string cheese?
String cheese is usually made up of mozzarella, so it is low in fat and high in lactose. While it is okay for most dogs to consume, avoid giving it to lactose-intolerant pooches.
The stringiness of this cheese may cause your pup to choke. Make sure to cut it up into small pieces before serving it to him for safety.
Can dogs eat parmesan cheese?
No, although parmesan cheese is low in lactose, it has high sodium levels. It is especially harmful to dogs with kidney problems.
Home-made Cheesy Dog Treat
Make cheesy dog treats extra special with these two delectable recipes that your pup will enjoy.
Butter Cheese Puffs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- Mix flour and cheese in a small bowl.
- Stir in butter to the dough until well combined.
- Add milk slowly until the dough is moist.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it about 8–10 times.
- Roll the dough into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle and cut it into 3 x 1-inch strips.
- Place the strips on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
- Serve them to your dog. Place leftovers in a resealable bag or airtight container and store them in the fridge.
Chick ‘n Cheese Biscuit
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon curly parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped
- 2 eggs beaten
- 8 ounces ground chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Use a non-stick skillet for cooking the ground chicken over medium heat. Do this for about 10 minutes or until the ground chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
- Mix the ground chicken, cheese, parsley, and flaxseed meal in a medium bowl. Use a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients.
- Add the egg, flour, and oil, and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Place a teaspoonful of batter on a cookie sheet.
- Wet your hands and flatten each ball of dough into a small disc.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool.
- Serve them to your pooch. Store leftovers in an airtight container and put them in the freezer.