Can Dogs Eat Cheese? When it is or isn’t an Emergency
No, dogs shouldn’t eat cheese. There are a number of health problems cheese can introduce to dogs, even if most varieties of cheese itself aren’t considered toxic to dogs.
Why cheese is bad for dogs
Toxicity isn’t the primary health concern (with the exception of certain types including blue cheese and moldy cheese). One important reason to not let your dog eat cheese is due to lactose intolerance. A dog’s body doesn’t contain a lot of lactase, an enzyme that helps break down lactose in dairy products. Many varieties of cheese will contain a level of lactose which dogs might not be able to tolerate. As a result, ingesting dairy products like cheese can lead to symptoms like diarrhea and stomach upsets.
Cheese, in general, also contains a lot of fat. Too much fat intake can exacerbate digestion issues in the dog’s body. Dogs that are fed a high-fat diet are also at risk of developing long-term health disorders like pancreatitis and obesity.
There are also risks that come from additives and flavorings. American cheese and parmesan, for example, contains a relatively large amount of sodium, which is bad for dogs if consumed too regularly. These days, you also have cheese that comes in a variety of flavors. Some of these flavors may come from ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic and onion.
What kind of cheese is safe for dogs?
Some dogs may be able to tolerate certain types of cheese as long as they are eating them in tiny, infrequent amounts. For example, cottage cheese might make a safe snack for dogs because it has a relatively low amount of fat. Swiss cheese might also work in small doses because of its low lactose content.
How much cheese is safe for dogs?
This will depend on a number of different factors like the dog’s weight and the type of cheese. As a general rule of thumb, we wouldn’t let your dog have more than two small bites as long as the cheese falls under the safe category for pets. Don’t let your dog eat cheese if you already know they don’t have a lot of tolerance for dairy products or if they are affected by any existing health disorders like pancreatitis.