Why Can’t Dogs Eat Cheese?
It’s not so much that dogs can’t eat cheese, it’s that they shouldn’t eat cheese!
To many dog owners, it might come as a real surprise to hear that dogs shouldn’t have cheese because they’re used to offering their pet this dairy snack and watching it be devoured in a millisecond.
Dogs love cheese, but as we know, just because something is delicious, doesn’t mean it’s good for us. That’s why you should rarely allow your dog to eat cheese.
Cheese Is Unhealthy, but Not Poisonous For Dogs
There are some foods that you should never feed a dog because just the smallest morsel could kill them. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, and onions are some examples. Anything containing the sugar substitute xylitol could also be lethal in tiny doses.
Cheese isn’t like these food items. It won’t cause instant death in your dog. But that doesn’t mean that they should eat cheese at all, or at least not more than once in a blue moon.
This is because cheese contains lactose, which can irritate a dog’s stomach, causing diarrhea and vomiting. Some dogs are intolerant to any amount of lactose, so will always react to cheese. Others can take only small amounts before they begin to feel the effects.
Not only that, but cheese is generally very high in fat. If your dog is carrying a few extra pounds, it’s important that you never give them cheese and instead stick to treats that are low in fat and higher in protein, such as chicken or tuna.
Dogs who suffer from pancreatitis should avoid cheese at all costs. Cheese adds to the fat in their system and a pancreas that’s already compromised can’t handle the extra fat it has to deal with.
An Occasional Treat
If you’re sure that your dog isn’t lactose intolerant and shows no ill effects from eating cheese, then it’s safe to very occasionally give them a small piece of cheese as a treat. It certainly shouldn’t be included as a regular part of a dog’s diet.
One of the reasons you shouldn’t give a dog cheese frequently is that they love it. It’s so easy to spoil our pets by looking into their large eyes and wanting to treat them with a little extra. Before we know it, they’ve eaten several pieces. So, stay on top of the treats!
Admittedly, some dog owners swear by cheese as a way to get their dogs to take medication. A pill pushed into a small amount of cheese can be a sure-fire way to get your dog to take their medication without wrestling with clamping their mouths shut and rubbing their throats until they swallow.
Cheesy treats can also be used as a training tool. Because dogs go nuts for cheese, it’s a good way to make a breakthrough in their training, especially if they’re being particularly stubborn.
The important thing to remember is that cheese should be fed to your dog sparingly. It’s easy for dogs to gain weight and not always easy for them to burn it off.
Some Cheeses are Better than Others
There are certain cheeses that you should always avoid giving your dog, such as those that are rich in fats. Low-fat cheeses like cottage cheese and even mozzarella are better options, but even then, they shouldn’t be fed to your dog often. For an extensive list of what cheese your dogs can eat in moderation see here.
Never feed your dog blue cheese. Blue cheeses such as Stilton and Danish Blue contain a live fungus that humans can stomach, but dogs can’t. Blue cheeses can make dogs very sick indeed.
Check your local pet store for dog-friendly cheese bars, and chews that contain cheesy flavors but that won’t compromise your pet’s health.
For more information on which foods your dogs can and can’t eat please see our guide here.