Cheese is a food that in all its varieties always attracts the attention of dogs. But can dogs eat cheese sticks, curds or other similar dairy products? Is cheese a dangerous food for dogs?
In this article we will explain what to keep in mind when offering cheese to our dog. We will also talk about other dairy products because, in order to understand what happens to cheese, we have to manipulate terms like lactose, milk sugar and lactase, the enzyme that digests it, etc. Indeed, there are many dangers and risks in giving cheese or cheese rind to a dog.
Can dogs eat cheese sticks or other dairy products?
In reality, dogs do not need cheese or dairy products in their general diet and while they can provide some benefits, they also have several disadvantages.
However, if you want to use cheese as a treat for your dog, it’s fine as long as it’s used with moderation and ALSO depending on the type of cheese you feed him.
Indeed, as dogs are omnivorous animals and these products may have nutritional qualities, except in cases of lactose intolerance (explained below), we can offer cheese as a reward. In other words, the dog’s diet cannot be based on dairy products, but these can be added as a supplement, in very small amounts, to a balanced diet. We insist, it’s appropriate only if the dog is not intolerant, which we will only discover by making our dog taste cheese.
To do this, we can start by giving him milk with a little or no lactose. Cow’s milk contains more lactose than dairy products like cheese or yogurt and other milks like goat’s milk. If we are talking about cheeses, in general, the most ripened formulas, precisely during the ripening process, will lose lactose, so they will be better digested by the dog, like those that contain lactic ferments. Another interesting fact is that dairy products that contain more fat, generally have less lactose.
Can you give goat cheese to a dog?
The amount of lactose contained in this type of cheese can be well tolerated. However, it is important to read the ingredients on the label and look for the simplest and most natural compositions, because if dairy solids are added, the lactose content also increases.
Can you give grated cheese to a dog?
Grated cheese is usually fatty, so the amount of lactose will be minimal. However, the amount of fat is so important that grated cheese is a dangerous food for your dog.
Can you give soft cheese like Laughing Cow to a dog?
Laughing Cow is a type of cheese that is acceptable due its low lactose content. When considering similar cream cheese types, it’s really important to verify the lactose content, which may vary considerably from one product to another.
Can you give cottage cheese or mozzarella to a dog?
There are several types, all with a fairly low percentage of lactose, so they can be a good choice for disguising the taste of drugs, for example.
Finally, we must keep in mind that the cheese will provide calories which should be taken into account in the daily diet of your dog. This explains experts classify cheese and dairy products in the category of dangerous food for dogs.
Can dogs eat cheese sticks: risks of dairy products
Now that you know the basic reasons why it’s not recommended to give cheese to your dog, let’s walk you through the risks of dairy products in general. To explain in greater details whether dogs can eat chees or not, it is essential to know the importance of lactose and lactase.
Lactose is the sugar naturally present in the milk of mammals. It is part of its composition, that is, it has not been added artificially. The amount of lactose will depend on each animal, as it must adapt to its nutritional needs.
As mammals must biologically feed on this milk during the first stage of their life, they have an enzyme in their digestive tract, lactase, whose function is to break down lactose into simpler substances that the body can better absorb and benefit from, namely glucose and galactose. Once mammals grow up and no longer need milk, lactase production ceases.
Can dogs eat cheese sticks: lactose intolerance
The lactose problem therefore arises at the end of the weaning period. Although in species like humans it appears that part of the population has adapted and is able to digest lactose at adulthood, there is what is called lactose intolerance, which is quite common and important to distinguish from allergies to milk.
In dogs, this lactase intolerance or deficiency can also be observed, which does not affect every animal in the same way. Intolerance makes lactose indigestible because the body is unable to absorb it. It will remain in the intestine, which produces an increase in intestinal motility, which leads to the onset of diarrhea in the dog.
Therefore, like humans, dogs can eat cheese depending on whether or not they are able to digest lactose. We may suspect an intolerance if, after giving milk or other dairy products, gastrointestinal discomfort occurs in our dog. Consequently, these dogs should not eat dairy products.
This intolerance is not always negative, because it allows the milk to be used as a natural laxative in case of constipation, following the recommendations of the veterinarian (in rare cases). This is because the lactose molecule attracts fluid in the intestine, which stimulates its mobility.