It’s typically best to avoid feeding your dog table scraps for several reasons. Feeding your dog people food at the wrong time can lead to unwanted begging. In addition, digestive tracts and nutrition needs vary from one animal to the next. And just like humans, caloric needs can vary depending on metabolism and physical activity demands.
Another important thing to note when you are thinking of feeding your dog a food that you eat is that not all foods are tolerated by man’s best friend. Some foods can be downright toxic if ingested by your dog.
However, there are a few foods we eat every day that are relatively harmless and can benefit our dog’s behavior and health. If you do give treats to your dog be sure to do so in moderation alongside a healthy canine diet.
MMMM… Cheese. Can Dogs Eat It?
Cheese was originally created to extend the life of milk without spoiling. It has become a staple in household across the globe. From soft Brie to hard and pungent Parmesan, cheeses are an indulgent and rich delicacy. Of course, we want to share it with our loved ones! But what about Fido?
Is Cheese Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Yes, in general, cheese is safe for dogs to eat. It has nutritional benefits, including protein, calcium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins. However, dogs who may be lactose intolerant should not eat cheese.
You may not know if your dog is lactose intolerant, so the best way to find out is to try and feed a little cheese or dairy to find out. If a dog is lactose intolerant, any amount of milk, cheese, or other dairy product can cause gastrointestinal problems and that may lead to diarrhea.
The lactose level can vary between cheeses. There are some cheeses that have lower lactose levels available in the marketplace. These cheeses include cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Cottage cheese is very bland and is a good way to give your dog some extra protein and calcium.
Are any Cheeses Unsafe?
There are hundreds of other types of cheese. A lot of varieties of cheese have added herbs, spices, and flavorings that aren’t suitable for your pet and are best avoided. Common cheese additives, such as garlic, onions, and chives are all toxic to dogs.
Blue cheese should not be given to your pet. The process of making blue cheese uses a fungus called roquefortine C, which has been known to cause irritation in dogs. This substance can lead to elevated temperatures, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and death.
Cheese is also the main ingredient in cheesecake, but don’t make the mistake and feed your dog a piece. There is too much sugar in this treat that can upset your dog’s tummy, not to mention all the calories.
Another disorder that can be negatively affected by eating cheese is kidney disorder. These pups should not have a lot of cheese. Cheese typically has a high sodium content and high sodium foods can cause an increase in blood pressure and worsen kidney damage.
Cheese and Puppies
Cheese is also a popular choice of reward people use when training their pup. It’s easy to break off small pieces and dogs love the smell and taste. Puppies do have sensitive guts so introduce them slowly to new types of foods and treats.
Fat is an important part of a puppy’s balanced diet. Cheese can provide added fat that helps with the absorptions of vitamins and keeps your dog’s skin and coat nice and healthy.
Cheese and Medicine
Administering medicine in pill form can sometimes be challenging for dog owners. Cheese can be used as a vessel to hide pills so dogs can get the medicines they need with little difficulty. Most dogs won’t turn down this tasty treat.
Be sure that your dog does not have a heart condition or another ailment that might require a low sodium diet. In this case, cheese may not be the best choice to administer medication. A pet-piller device might be a better option to give your dog the pills he needs to feel better.
Can a Dog Eat too Much Cheese?
A dog can eat too much cheese just like humans. Typically, when a dog has eaten too much cheese it can cause an upset stomach. If your dog has eaten an excessive amount of cheese and he seems to have lost his appetite and/or appears to be in pain, contact your veterinarian.
Cheese can sometimes get a bad reputation because it’s considered high in fat. If your pup is active a little bit of fat won’t cause too many problems, but if your pup is constantly eating high-fat cheese it could eventually lead to weight gain. When a dog struggles with obesity due to a high-fat diet, it can lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal. If your pet has already been diagnosed with pancreatitis, do not feed your dog cheese.
Cheese as Snacks
Cheese makes a good snack, however, there are many fruits and vegetables that might be a better choice at snack time as they are typically lower in calories and less likely to cause gastrointestinal problems.
Some alternative snacks include carrots, apples, bananas, blueberries, asparagus, watermelons, sweet potatoes, and green beans. These all provide lots of vitamins and minerals, with lower caloric intake.
As you can see, cheese may not be the best treatment for every dog so be sure to visit your veterinarian with regular checkups to ensure the health of your dog. If your dog is healthy and you want to introduce him to the taste of cheese, start slowly to see how your dog reacts. Remember to avoid all Blue Cheese varieties as they can be toxic. Look for low fat and low lactose cheeses in the beginning to minimize any discomfort you pup might experience. Lastly, treats given to you pooch should not exceed 10% of their diet. Be cautious, that the addition of snacks does not disrupt your dog’s balanced diet.