Can dogs eat cheese?

Cheese is a widely loved food, not only by people but by dogs as well. Its ability to stimulate an appetite in any canine has made it quite irresistible. Despite this, the concern if it is safe to feed to your dog still remains.

The amount of lactose, a sugar found in milk, that mammals produce can vary. In order for it to be digested properly, certain enzymes must be present in the animal’s gut. If these enzymes are absent, then lactose consumption can cause gastrointestinal issues. Babies depend on milk for their nourishment during infancy and are equipped with the enzyme lactase to digest it. After they grow into adulthood, milk is no longer a necessity and so the production of lactase stops.

Once the weaning period has passed, dogs can develop a lactose intolerance issue. Milk intake can cause issues for dogs that are not able to digest lactose. Those who don’t have a lactose intolerance are able to digest lactose even in adulthood. It is important to note that not all milk contains lactose; some do and others do not.

Canines that suffer from allergies generally have a sensitivity to lactose or lack the capability of digesting it properly, since their body doesn’t absorb it. Differences among dogs exist in terms of how much lactose they can put up with. The sugar remains in the gut, thus increasing its activity and leading to diarrhea. Dogs that do not have dairy products as part of their diet should never be given cheese.

Although not necessary in their diet, because canines are omnivorous they might take pleasure in certain dairy items as a reward. Should they not be intolerant to dairy, we could start by giving them dairy goods that have reduced lactose. Cow milk-based dairy products are usually higher in lactose compared to goat’s milk items. On the other hand, cheeses and other goat’s milk-made dairy products usually contain less lactose since they go through curing which reduces some of the amounts of lactose present.

Milks that are made by the lactic acid fermentation process are generally better due to less lactose content. This is especially true for milk sourced from animals that have higher fat content, as they naturally have lesser lactose. Different varieties of cheese are available, particularly cream cheese, which can be consumed without issues. Nevertheless, it is essential to read the list of ingredients on the label and search for simpler recipes with fewer components. If more dairy solids are added to the recipe, the amount of lactose present will rise accordingly. Cheeses that are fresh possess a higher lactose content than those which have been cured, and no cheese should contain more lactose than what a dog can safely process. With regards to grated cheese, it is essential to identify the kind of cheese no matter how high the solids percentage may be in certain situations. Cottage cheese and ricotta are two types of cheese with a low percentage of lactose, making them ideal for dogs. Although other kinds of cheese can be fatty, these two should have minimal amounts. Therefore, it is recommended to give the dog cottage cheese or ricotta.

When providing cheese to our dogs, we must be aware of its caloric content, as it can add to their daily consumption. This is especially true for overweight and obese canines, as each treat we offer must be taken into account when evaluating their dietary plan.

By keeping an eye on their diet and controlling how much they eat, even when it comes to treats, we can avoid a lot of health issues with our dogs.