When it comes to pet care, the most important thing is knowing what you can and can’t feed your dog.
Most dogs love cheese, and will gladly have some if they have an opportunity.
But get this:
Just because they love it, doesn’t make it good for them.
Therefore, it is your responsibility as a dog owner to state if your dog can eat cheese and if so, how often you should give it to him. In this article we will explore what kinds of cheese could be acceptable, in what situations it should be given, but also what could be the consequences of an excessive intake.
Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
First of all, you have to know if your dog can handle cheese. Many dogs have problems with lactose intolerance, as they don’t have the digestive enzyme lactase which allows normal lactose digestion.
Therefore, like with any other food that’s never been fed to your dog before, you should start giving your dog cheese in moderation and with caution. If dogs eat too much cheese, they may not be able to process it all at once.
Signs showing that your dog doesn’t tolerate cheese are usually digestive issues, such as diarrhea, flatulence and other bowel complications. You should monitor carefully for any signs of peculiar behavior when your pet eats cheese.
If there are no complications and you see that your dog tolerates cheese, you can use it from time to time as a treat and reward.
In fact, many dog owners use cheese as a reward for good behavior. Rewards are good as long as you are smart about it. If you use one thing too much and too often, it may set a norm and get your dog used to it, which can eventually lead to begging.
Also, if your dog gets used to this type of food, he may become a little bit picky when it comes to normal dog food. Feed small treats of cheese when your dog can’t predict it and keep it unexpected, and it should be fine.
To sum it up:
You can use cheese, as other rewards, occasionally.
You can also use cheese tactically, and use it in order to cover up medications your dog has to take.
In these situations, simply roll the pill/medication in a slice of cheese and your dog won’t probably even notice. Of course, this does not apply only for cheese but for other treats as well.
However, it is important to remember that cheese shouldn’t be used as bate when it comes to certain antibiotics, for example doxycycline, as dairy can reduce the effect of these medications.
Is Cheese Healthy For Dogs?
Cheese is considered to be very healthy for people, but is it equally healthy for dogs?
The truth is that there is no actual need for cheese in a dog’s diet. Even though a treat will definitely be highly appreciated, your dog won’t have an actual use of the protein, the vitamin A, essential fatty acids and other beneficial components that cheese contains.
Having in mind that you can only give your dog a limited amount of cheese because of its high calorie level, there will practically be no benefits from this product.
One slice of cheese usually equals 90 calories, which is far too much for a dog. Treats should take up to about 10% of the total daily food intake, which in this case would be too much for most small and medium sized dogs.
Pet obesity is a big and common problem, so it’s important to count the calories. Although it may seem a bit boring, domesticated dogs only really need high quality dog food and occasional rewards for good behavior.
Having said this, we should still explore what types of cheese are best for dogs. Cottage cheese is on the top of the list, as it’s very rich on calcium and doesn’t contain as much calories.
It can be a good source of protein for dogs that from time to time experience diarrhea. In addition, cottage cheese can provide protein for dogs recovering from an injury or an illness.
Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese?
When it comes to cream cheese, it is in general harmless for dogs, but once again, you should pay attention to extra ingredients that often come with cream cheese, for example garlic.
Can Dogs Eat Parmesan? What About Havarti Cheese, Cheddar or Mozzarella?
Same goes for Havarti cheese, Cheddar, Swiss and Parmesan have less lactose in them compared to Feta and Mozzarella (although their lactose level is low as well), which makes them good for occasional treats.
Lastly, goat cheese is also an alternative for lactose intolerant dogs, as the milk from goats contains less lactose than cow milk.
Since we’re already talking about dogs and diary products, here’s a more in-depth article on if dogs should drink milk and yogurt.
Cheeses To Avoid
On the other side, there are types of cheese that are worse than others and could be bad for your best friend. There are a lot of cheeses with additional ingredients, such as onion, garlic, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocado or grapes. Here’s the list of 33 foods that are bad for dogs.
These additives could be very dangerous, and even toxic, for dogs and therefore should be avoided. Blue cheese, such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and others, is also a cheese to skip, as the coloring in these types of cheese is caused by Penicillium mold cultures.
Mac and cheese is a dish to keep to yourself as it is very high on calories, so it would be very difficult giving it to your dog without overdoing it.
Also, for dogs with a high blood pressure and dogs with heart diseases, such as those with a history of pancreatitis, the salt and the fat in cheese can be very dangerous and it is therefore best to skip cheese all together.
As a conclusion, cheese is a treat that dogs usually love and can be used occasionally, but only after you state that your pet isn’t lactose intolerant and doesn’t have digestion problems. If that’s the case, cheese can be great as a reward or for hiding medications, as long as you don’t make a habit out of it.
And if it’s so that your dog has problems with cheese digestion, don’t worry! Considering that there are no actual nutritive benefits from it, there is no loss for your dog and there are plenty of other treats you can use!