Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

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It is all in the eyes: our four-legged friends have a method of staring guilt into their owners. Whether making a sandwich or preparing lasagne, your dog will undoubtedly have its eyes fixated on that block of salty, dairy goodness. Before losing your resolve, ask yourself, can dogs eat cheese?

Many dogs seem to be more obsessed with human food than they will have ever been over doggie treats; even though dogs only have 1,700 taste buds!

Before you give in to the puppy-dog eyes, read through our helpful handbook to discover whether dogs can eat cheese.

Cute Dog

Facts About Dogs and Cheese

Yes, most dogs can eat cheese, provided that it is fed in moderation. Most varieties of cheese are safe to consume, so you can use cheese as a high-value reward to promote positive behaviours while maintaining a balanced, healthy diet.

Generally, cheese is not toxic to domestic canines; however, do not feed cheese to dogs who suffer from lactose intolerance or have kidney disorders.

Also, before you introduce cheese into your dog’s diet, it’s always best to speak to your veterinarian first to ensure that there are no safety concerns for your furry friend. 

Is Cheese Good For Dogs?

In moderation, cheese can be good for dogs: after all, it is rich in protein, A & B vitamins, calcium and essential fatty acids whilst also being calorie-dense and having a high-fat content, contributing to satiety, as well as promoting cognitive function.

A low-to-moderate inclusion of cheese in a canine diet must adhered to in order to avoid any ill effects: dogs do not have as large a quantity of lactase in their system as humans do - lactase being the enzyme that break down dairy - which could lead to sickness if cheese is overindulged.

Cheese is not appropriate for dogs who suffer from lactose intolerance.

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Good Cheeses for Dogs to Eat

You will be happy to learn that you can add many varieties of cheese to the list of human food dogs can eat.

Always opt for varieties of cheese that are naturally lower in salt and fat content, ideally being plain with no additives such as chives, garlic or onion.

A few common shop-bought kinds of cheese you can happily share with your buddy are:

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar is one of the most popular cheese varieties in the UK and is a great choice to give to your dog, as it is relatively low in salt and lactose whilst being full of flavour.

Cottage Cheese

Plain cottage cheese is an excellent choice for dogs: bursting with protein and calcium whilst being naturally low in fat and lactose.

Stick with the plain variety, as cottage cheese is commonly sold with additional onions and chives.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a great choice; however, only feed it to your dog in moderation, as a rare treat.

Though cream cheese is calorie-dense and high in fat content, it is full of valuable nutrients.

High in vitamin A and naturally low in lactose, it is a source of antioxidants and probiotics: promoting higher brain function and positive gut health.

When you wish to treat your pet to some cream cheese, only give them the plain variety.

Mozzarella

Naturally low in fat and sodium, mozzarella is a suitable choice as a snack or reward for your dog.

Tasty and diverse whilst high in protein and calcium, mozzarella cheese may be the perfect choice for dogs who want cheese.

Swiss Cheese

Scooby-Doo once angered a mouse by stealing its swiss cheese and Scoob made a great choice! This typically holey type of cheese is naturally lower in lactose, as well as being very tasty, so it is a good variety to share with your dog.

Cheese

What Cheeses Should Dogs Avoid?

Though most types of cheese are safe for dogs to consume, some varieties of cheese should never be fed to dogs.

The older the cheese, the less likely it is to agree with your dog and its stomach: more-old means more mould. Dogs are highly-sensitive to cheese moulds, so please do not give your pooch such things.

Remember this - if it's blue, no-can-do!

Why are blue cheeses such as stilton and gorgonzola unsuitable for canine consumption? The particular type of fungus used in the manufacturing of blue cheeses produces a substance known as roquefortine C, which is toxic to many dogs.

Consumption of roquefortine C can lead to diarrhoea, fever, high body temperature, seizures and vomiting: never allow a moment of guilt to put your pooch through such discomfort.

High-fat cheeses, such as brie and feta, should be avoided entirely due to their high levels of fat and lactose, whilst feta is also extremely high in salt.

Dogs That Should Not Eat Cheese

There are several scenarios where it is advisable not to feed cheese at all:

  • Lactose intolerance: dogs with an allergy to milk and dairy should never be fed cheese.
  • Sensitive stomach: if introducing new things causes upset to a dog, rich food such as cheese can cause sickness.
  • Kidney problems: high fat and salt content is not suitable for any being with kidney disorders, including dogs.
  • Overweight dogs: dogs who are already carrying a high body fat which is not inherent to their breed should not be fed calorie-dense food such as cheese. Instead, Bug Bakes offer nutritionally complete, insect-based dog food alternatives for dogs - try our low-cost, high-value taster pack. We also have a few handy tips for helping your dog lose weight too. 

Behavioural Benefits of Cheese

When you ask the question “can dogs eat cheese?” there may be occasions where you should instead ask yourself “when can (or should) dogs eat cheese?”

You see, like many human foods, most dogs find cheese irresistible: you can use this compulsion to your advantage as your dog's owner - here is how:

  • Training and behavioural conditioning: believe it or not, as most dogs adore cheese - who doesn’t, with its salty and milky goodness - cheese is a great tool to use in training treat-motivated pooches. If you wish to foster or deter certain behaviours in your dog, you can use cheese as a reward to reinforce your desired outcome: the smell alone will cause Fido to stand to attention!

  • Concealing medication: dogs have a habit of locating and discarding medication - thank their extremely powerful noses and the scent of smell for their discernment here! However, a great way to administer necessary medication to a dog is via concealment within a favourite food item. Cheese or bananas are great ways to disguise medication, as the scent is enough to conceal the medicinal smell, whilst being structurally sound enough to hide the tablet as your pup gulps it whole - probably not even touching the sides!
  • Note: Never conceal antibiotics in cheese, as the calcium may make the antibiotics less effective.


  • Distraction: small portions of cheese are an excellent distraction tool to use for distraction. Dogs - irrelevant of the breed - are headstrong creatures: if determined to do something, they will wait for an opportunity to get it done. Think back to our article on wild mushrooms - many wild mushrooms can be fatal when consumed - so, when on a walk with your dog, take little nibs of cheese in a bag to deter curious or adamant pups and steer them away from danger and onto safer pastures. Cheddar or hard mozzarella are great options for this use of cheese.

  • Alone time: one of the hardest things to teach a dog is to be comfortable in being left alone - dogs are social animals, yet we cannot just sit them down to explain. Some dogs have difficulty adapting to alone time simply because they are born in packs, so they are immediately used to the sights, smells and sounds of their littermates, as well as mum and dad: social company. Once taken to their Forever Home, they not only have to get used to new surroundings and people, they may also have to understand that there are times when they will be left alone. An effective way to allow puppies to feel comfortable in their own company is to apply cream cheese into a Kong toy (or similar), freeze it, then give the dog the toy to give them a challenge as you leave them to their own devices. Such a method is proven in allowing a dog to feel more at ease in scenarios where they are on their lonesome.
  • Dog That is Cute

    Feeding Cheese Safely

    Like everything, moderation is key - always follow the 90/10 rule - treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily intake. So, to answer once and for all: yes, dogs can eat cheese but you should only feed your four-legged friend cheese within reasonable limits and after consulting with your vet. Ideally, cheesy treats should be used as a tool to foster positive behaviours or steer your furry buddy from danger.

     

    Did you enjoy our latest guide? We sure hope so! If you found it fun to read and informative, please have a gander at our other handbooks on the relationship between people-food and pooches here:

    Can Dogs Eat Tomato? | Can Dogs Eat Orange? | Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

    Can Dogs Eat Strawberries? | Can Dogs Eat Banana? | Can Dogs Eat Apple? | Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?




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