Yogurt is a healthy treat for dogs. This dietary snack has high probiotic content that fosters a healthy digestive tract, making it less susceptible to uncomfortable tummy troubles.
Let us look at other health benefits your furry pal can gain from this dairy product; discover what types of yogurt are safe for dogs and what types of yogurt should be avoided.
What Health Benefits Does Yogurt Have for Dogs?
Creating yogurt requires using live and active bacterial cultures as ingredients. The most common bacterial strains in yogurt are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus thermophilus. These are good live bacteria that enhance a healthy gut microbiome.
It simply means that they aid in maintaining your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Yogurt can alleviate digestive problems, including diarrhea and inflamed bowels.
Probiotics (live microorganisms) prevent yeast infections, aside from improving your dog’s gut health. They strengthen the immune system and enhance nutrient absorption.
Yogurt is rich in calcium, magnesium, and zinc as well. These minerals work together to ensure your furry friend has healthy bone development. They play a big role in keeping his coat glossy and skin free from infections.
Yogurt has a good amount of protein too. It helps in making your dog feel full while eating less. This dairy snack is great for dogs that need to lose weight.
Did you know that yogurt comprises more than 88% water? Thus, it adds hydration to your dog’s body and cools him down, especially during hot weather. However, always remember that it is not an alternative to fresh water.
What Kinds of Yogurt Are Bad for Dogs?
Not all yogurt variants are safe for dogs. Some contain ingredients that can negatively affect a dog’s health. Below are some types of yogurt you should definitely avoid sharing with Fido:
Can Dogs Eat Flavored Yogurt?
No, while flavored yogurt is a delicious snack, it usually contains artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and additives. These put your dog at risk of many health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and dental problems.
For the same reasons, sweetened yogurt should also be avoided.
Chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine, which can cause toxicity. Thus, never feed your dog chocolate-flavored food.
Can Dogs Eat Yogurt that is sugar-free?
Many sugar-free yogurts have sweeteners that often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener commonly used as a sugar substitute.
This ingredient is highly toxic to dogs. It can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure and even lead to fatalities.
So always check the yogurt’s list of ingredients. Ensure that it does not contain xylitol before sharing it with your dog.
Can Dogs Eat High-Fat Yogurt?
Do not feed high-fat yogurt to your dog as it can lead to many health issues, including weight gain.
In mild cases, they can cause digestive problems such as an upset stomach. Severe health issues may arise from excessive consumption, such as pancreatitis.
Warning: Yogurt Can Trigger Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Apart from unhealthy and toxic ingredients in yogurt, you should also keep watch for lactose intolerance.
Many adult dogs do not produce enough lactase. It is an enzyme that helps the digestive system metabolize dairy products such as yogurt.
Dogs with lactase deficiency cannot digest lactose properly. This leads their GI tract to react negatively when breaking down milk. The following are the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance:
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive scratching
Note that these symptoms are quite similar to those of food poisoning. Always keep yogurt properly refrigerated. Do not forget to check the expiry dates as well. If your dog shows the symptoms stated above, take him to the vet immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Kind of Yogurt Can I Give My Dog?
Plain, non-fat, and xylitol-free yogurt with no added sugars is the most suitable choice for dogs. If you are wondering, “Can dogs eat Greek yogurt?” the answer is yes. Greek yogurt contains good amounts of live cultures that provide dogs with wonderful probiotic benefits.
Greek yogurt also contains less whey lactose and lactose than regular yogurt. That’s because it undergoes a straining process. Thus, this type of yogurt is less likely to trigger lactose intolerance in dogs. It is also high in calcium and protein and low in sugar and sodium.
If you opt for Greek yogurt, the non-fat one will be the best choice. Otherwise, it will contain less calcium but have more saturated fats. It is not a good choice for obese or overweight dogs.
If your furry friend is severely lactose intolerant, Kefir is a good alternative to yogurt. This is a cultured, fermented milk drink. While kefir can be made out of dairy, it has other variations as well. Some kefirs consist of water, coconut milk, or almond milk.
Much like yogurt, kefir packs a lot of probiotics. It is also rich in biotin, calcium, and phosphorus.
Can Dogs Have Coconut Yogurt?
There is still this lingering question from pet parents: Can dogs have yogurt that contains coconut? It is still debatable whether coconut yogurt is safe for dogs to eat. Proponents of the food claim that it contains several health benefits. These include coconut’s antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
Conversely, critics of the food say it can cause digestive problems, including stomach upset and diarrhea. It also contains potassium, which can cause health issues if consumed in large amounts.
Speak to your vet first before making coconut yogurt a part of your dog’s diet.
How Much Yogurt Should I Give My Dog?
A teaspoon of yogurt per day is enough for small dogs, while larger dogs can have one tablespoon. However, no other treats should be given for the rest of the day.
Before you feed yogurt to your dog, check with the vet first. Get their opinion if this food fits his dietary needs or not.
Your dog’s health conditions should also be taken into consideration. If your dog is under medication, the probiotics of the yogurt may counteract the drug. So talk this through with the vet.
If the vet allows you to incorporate yogurt in your pet’s meals, make sure to restrict servings to small mounts. You may mix yogurt with his regular dog food.
A dog’s stomach is quite sensitive to sudden diet changes. To avoid stomach upset, feed your dog yogurt in small amounts if it is his first time eating it.
Can Dogs Eat Yogurt Every Day?
Pet parents can feed yogurt to their dogs daily, according to Dr. Maryanne Murphy, who is a clinical assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee. However, since it is served in small quantities, canines may not obtain a sufficient amount of probiotics.
She added that pet parents should not solely rely on yogurt. Instead, consider getting canine probiotic supplements for your dog. Since it is specifically made for dogs, it works more effectively in keeping their digestive system healthy.
Find the appropriate probiotic supplement for your dog by consulting the vet.
Home-made Yogurt Dog Treat
Follow this recipe to create a refreshing frozen yogurt dog treat for Fido:
Peanut Butter Yogurt Pupsicle
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter, unsalted and unsweetened
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 cups yogurt (plain, non-fat if needed)
- Melt peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
- Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a silicone mold or ice cube tray.
- Place it in the freezer overnight.
- Remove the pupsicles from the mold and serve them to your dog.