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Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Yes, most dogs can eat cheese, but moderation is key. Cheese can be an excellent source of protein and essential fats, but it’s important to consider factors such as lactose content, different types of cheese and the individual dog’s health. Certain health conditions may restrict a dog’s cheese intake, and some dogs might be lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the necessary enzymes to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products.

Different Types of Cheese

Not all types of cheese are suitable for dogs due to reasons such as high fat content, the presence of harmful additives, and lactose intolerance. For instance, blue cheese is particularly risky because it contains roquefortine C, a substance produced by the mould used to create these cheeses, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large amounts. Additionally, cheeses high in fat can lead to obesity and pancreatitis in dogs. Many dogs also have difficulty digesting lactose, leading to gastrointestinal upset. Therefore, it’s important to be cautious and selective when offering cheese to dogs, ensuring it is safe and given in moderation.

  1. Cream Cheese: This is lower in lactose and can be a good option for many dogs. Be sure to use plain cream cheese and avoid flavoured variants, which might contain ingredients harmful to dogs. 
  2. Feta Cheese: It’s a brined cheese that’s lower in fat and calories compared to other cheeses but high in sodium. Its salty flavour should be considered and given sparingly. 
  3. Cottage Cheese: This cheese is high in protein and calcium, and low in fat and calories, making it a better choice for dogs. 
  4. Ricotta Cheese: It’s low in fat and lactose, but high in protein. However, it’s also high in calcium, which can be an issue for some dogs.  
  5. Brie Cheese: This is a soft cheese with a high-fat content, which can contribute to obesity and pancreatitis in dogs if overfed. 
  6. Cheddar Cheese: It’s high in fat and should be given sparingly. Cheddar also contains less lactose than some other cheeses. 
  7. Goat Cheese: This cheese has less lactose and may be easier for some dogs to digest. It’s also high in protein and calcium. 
  8. Parmesan Cheese: It’s high in sodium and calories, so it should be given sparingly. 
  9. Soft Cheese: This category, including cheeses like Brie and Camembert, are often higher in fat and should be used sparingly. 
  10. Blue Cheese: These should be avoided as they contain Roquefortine C, a substance that can be toxic to dogs. 
  11. Moldy Cheese: Never give this to dogs. The moulds in these cheeses can contain toxins that are dangerous for dogs. 
  12. Mozzarella Cheese: It’s a lower-fat cheese, but it’s also high in lactose, so some dogs may not tolerate it well. 

Is Cheese Good For Dogs / Nutritional Benefits?

Cheese contains several nutrients beneficial for dogs, including high-quality protein, calcium, essential fats, and vitamins A and B-12. Protein supports muscle growth and repair, calcium aids in bone development, and essential fats contribute to a shiny coat and healthy skin. Vitamins A and B-12 are important for nerve function and maintaining good vision.

Are Some Dogs Allergic to Cheese?

Yes, some dogs can develop allergies to cheese, which can cause symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe health problems. Symptoms may include itching, hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea, and even difficulty breathing. Always monitor your dog after introducing a new food, including cheese, into their diet.

Possible Side Effects of Feeding Cheese to Dogs

While cheese can be beneficial, potential side effects can arise, especially if cheese is given in large quantities or to dogs with specific health conditions. Dogs may experience upset stomach or diarrhoea, particularly if they’re lactose intolerant. High-fat cheeses can contribute to obesity and related health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes, if fed excessively. Additionally, feeding too much cheese can lead to pancreatitis, a serious condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas.

Can Puppies Eat Cheese?

Puppies can eat cheese, but it should be introduced slowly and in small quantities to monitor for any adverse reactions. Puppies have sensitive stomachs, and their bodies might not produce enough lactase to break down the lactose in cheese effectively.

Best Way to Safely Prepare Cheese for Your Dog

When choosing the right type of cheese for your dog, consider its lactose content and fat level. Lower lactose cheeses, like cheddar or cream cheese, might be easier on your dog’s stomach. Additionally, lower fat cheeses are a healthier option for dogs prone to weight gain. Always serve cheese in moderation, as part of a balanced diet. Be careful to avoid certain cheeses, such as blue cheese, mouldy cheese or any cheese with added flavourings, as these can be harmful to dogs.

While most dogs can eat cheese in moderation, it’s essential to consider factors like the type of cheese, the dog’s health status, and the quantity consumed. Cheese should always be served as a treat, not a main part of a dog’s diet.

Can ALL Breeds Eat Cheese?

See below for detailed answers on specific breeds.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?