Health & Wellness
You are deciding between string cheese or a Swiss deli slice for a midnight snack when you spot your dog begging for a bite. You don’t have the energy to resist, so you decide to let your dog have the first nibble — and that is OK because cheese is safe for pups.
(Even though cheese is generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)
Before giving your pup cheese, ask your vet if your dog is lactose intolerant. If there are no underlying health issues, cheese is a great snack for your pup because it is packed with several nutrients. While the following benefits are great to incorporate into your pup's diet, just know that the occasional slices here and there aren't enough to drastically improve their well-being:
• Protein: boosts energy
• Calcium: supports muscle and bone health
• Vitamin A: encourages vision, dental, skin and coat health
• Vitamin B: helps with nerve and muscle function
• Fatty acids: promotes healthy skin and immune function
Keep in mind that cheese is somewhat unhealthy because it is high in fat and sodium. Foods high in fat can cause weight gain, obesity and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). Pancreatitis usually occurs when a dog consumes food they don’t normally eat, especially if it contains a lot of fat. It can trigger an upset stomach and abdominal pain.
If you think your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, take them to the vet and look out for these signs:
• Upset stomach
• Abdominal pain
Also, if your dog is lactose intolerant and eats cheese, it may trigger an upset stomach and gas. Avoid aged cheeses, which may interfere with certain medications and blue cheese as there is a risk of mold toxicity.
RELATED: Can dogs eat eggs?
Moderation is the key when sharing cheese with your pup — this could help your best friend avoid an upset stomach. However, when you are creating your dog’s very own barkuterie board, stick to low-fat and fat-free versions of cheeses like mozzarella, cottage cheese or soft, plain goat cheese. These cheeses are low in salt, fat, and calories, meaning they are less likely to lead to weight gain or an upset stomach.
Cheese is great to use as positive reinforcement while training. It also can be used to trick your dog into eating a prescribed pill. Just remember, treats including cheese should not exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Your vet can help you determine the best serving size for your pup.
Every now and then, your dog is free to indulge in some cheese with you. As you safely share cheese with your pup, it’ll be interesting to learn which kind of cheese they prefer.
We’re confident that cheese isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.