Unlike ultra-processed or sugary foods, humans don’t see cheese and other dairy products as significant health “villains.” As long as we eat it in moderation, it can be part of our diet without any problems, which leads many owners to ask themselves: can dogs eat cheese too?
To find out the risks, benefits, and precautions regarding the consumption of this type of food, we talked to Dr. Mariana Porsani, a veterinary specialist in animal nutrition. Check if dogs can eat cheese!
Can dogs eat cheese or not?
As explained by Dr. Mariana, to know if dogs can eat cheese, it is necessary to understand that the consumption of dairy products has consequences that vary from individual to individual. “Cheese can contain lactose, and some dogs are lactose intolerant,” says the veterinarian.
Like what happens to us, intolerance can cause several unpleasant gastrointestinal discomforts, such as diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain.
Even for dogs that are not lactose intolerant, pet parents must be careful. According to the specialist, excess consumption can add many calories to the animal’s diet, contributing to weight gain and related health problems.
Avoid giving cheese to dogs, and prefer other less fatty and caloric snacks, such as some fruits. However, remember that these should also be consumed in moderation since they are rich in fructose despite their low fat.
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The human factor: a primary risk for pet food
Some foods, such as grapes, avocados, chocolate, and star fruit, are toxic to dogs and should never be offered. Others, such as cheese, are not toxic and, in theory, would not be so harmful to dogs. It is true, of course, as long as the pet does not have lactose intolerance and you serve cheese in minimal amounts and sporadically.
The big problem with this equation is our tendency to have a hard time resisting the dog’s pleading looks. “Once a pet tries something different and likes it, it will always ask for it,” says Dr. Ana Paula Sanches Barcelos. “You will eat, and he will be by your side with a pleading look. Then, we have to be firm so as not to fall into the temptation of giving everything to the dog”, she guides.
But that’s not what happens most of the time. In general, when we start to share different foods with the dog, it becomes more and more insistent, so the tendency is for the owner to end up giving more and more snacks, in greater and greater quantities, which is very bad for the health. of the dog.
So, now you know what dogs cannot eat, and the best thing to do is to avoid giving your pet cheese and other foods of this type. Remember that quality dog food already contains all the nutrients it needs.
After all, what can dogs eat? Of course, snacks are ideal, but remember that they shouldn’t exceed 10% of your daily recommended total calories. If in doubt, consult a veterinarian.
Lactose intolerance in dogs
Some dogs may have problems with dairy products and show characteristic signs such as:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
In addition, some dogs can be allergic to cheese or some substances contained in it, presenting excessive itching, pain, and abdominal discomfort.
Read also: Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
In these cases, immediately suspend cheese from your pet’s diet and consult a veterinarian. If your dog has a sensitive digestive system, opt for wet food, sachets, and cans, which help maintain healthy digestion.
In addition to the lactose issue, another problem with dog cheese is its high-fat content. If you feed your dog regularly, fatty foods can lead to them gaining a harmful amount of weight and even cause obesity. Large amounts of fat can also favor the development of pancreatitis, a severe disease that can be fatal and commonly affects Schnauzers.
Be aware of your dog’s symptoms when introducing some food into its diet for the first time. A previous conversation with your veterinarian or zootechnician can help you in the best choice of a treat for him.
When can cheese be used?
As a snack, try to prefer safer and less fatty foods, such as fruits allowed for dogs or even cookies and steaks suitable for dogs. For dogs that are not lactose intolerant, there is one case where the dog can eat cheese: by giving your furry friend medication.
Unfortunately, not all remedies can be palatable. In these cases, wrapping the medicine prescribed by the veterinarian in a bit of cheese can “fool” the dog and facilitate ingestion.
However, it is still essential to choose the ideal cheese. Dr. Mariana recommends low-fat foods, such as cottage cheese, with that in mind. So now you know that dogs can eat white cheese, mozzarella, and many others!