Can my dog eat cheese?

Have you ever been enjoying a string cheese snack, and noticed your dog staring longingly at your food? Well, that’s because dogs LOVE cheese of all kinds. In fact, trainers will use it as a special treat to motivate dogs. Some veterinarians even recommend cheese to conceal pills if your dog needs to take them. (1)

But SHOULD your dog eat cheese? That’s a more complicated question.

The biggest problem with cheese is the high fat and high salt content. Too much cheese can lead to obesity and other very serious health issues. (Especially if your pup is already carrying a few extra pounds.) So here’s a breakdown of the benefits and risks of sharing this snack with them.

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Should your dog eat cheese?

Cheese that’s made from cow or goat’s milk usually contains protein, calcium, essential fatty acids, and numerous vitamins, which can all be good for your dog. (2)

But not all dogs can digest cheese well. Just like humans, some dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they are incapable of digesting lactose (a sugar found in dairy.) 

Like with humans, lactose intolerance in dogs can be mild to severe. If you see messy poops, gas, or other tummy issues after feeding your dog cheese, then you should avoid cheese and any other type of dairy (like yogurt or doggie ice cream.)

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However, even if your dog handles dairy without a problem, you’ll still need to be careful which cheese you share with them. 


Which Types of Cheese are Bad for Dogs? 

There are a few varieties of cheese you should NEVER let your pooch eat, because these cheeses can be downright toxic to dogs. 

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Blue Cheese or “moldy cheeses” 

These cheeses usually contain a dangerous substance called “roquefortine C” that can cause serious health problems for your dog.


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“Cheese products”

Spray cheese and liquid cheese often contain preservatives that aren’t good for your dog.


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Feta and parmesan cheese

These cheeses are very high in salt and fat. Too much sodium and fat can cause serious issues for your dog, such as dehydration and even pancreatitis. 


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Spiced or herbed cheeses

Some cheese has added ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic, onions, peppers, and chives. Your dog should never eat these. 



Is there a safe way to feed your dog cheese? 

If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, and if you use caution around certain types of cheese, it is possible to safely feed your pup this yummy snack. Cheese is high in fat, and feeding too much to your dog on a regular basis can cause weight gain and lead to obesity. So you’ll want to consider your dog’s size and fitness, as well as their overall diet, before deciding if your dog should eat cheese. 

As a general rule, you shouldn’t feed your dog cheese as part of their regular meal plan or as a frequent treat. That said, the perfect way to serve the occasional “cheese treat” is with a little bit of organic, naturally low-fat cheese, like cottage cheese or mozzarella.

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Quick Recipe: Frozen Cottage Cheese Cubes

Drip a teaspoon-sized dollop of cottage cheese into the wells of an ice tray, and fill the rest of the tray with filtered water. Freeze until solid, and then serve these as a special “frozen cheese” dog treat.



What about yogurt, and other types of dairy? 

If you know your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, a little dairy every now and then can be a special treat. Plain yogurt is a popular ingredient in frozen doggie treats because it’s usually low calorie, low salt, and low sugar. 

Also, it can be a yummy way to add some probiotics to your pooch’s diet. Now, yogurt isn’t something that “rejuvenates” your dog’s stomach… 

(Canine probiotics are the best way to support your dog’s digestive health.) 

But, much like cheese, plain, low-fat, unsweetened yogurt can be a wonderful occasional treat for your furry friend. 


So, should your dog eat cheese

Ultimately, cheese isn’t the healthiest food to feed your dog (even though dogs love it.)

Certain types of cheese do contain some nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamin D, and potassium. However, cheese can also be a problematic snack for your dog because it’s high in salt and fat

So feeding your dog too much cheese can lead to weight gain, which can lead to a host of other health conditions. Not to mention, certain types of cheese can be actually toxic to your dog. So, if you want to share you’ll want to be sure and take a close look at the ingredients. 

Of course, like any decision that affects your dog’s health…  if you’re not sure whether to give your dog an occasional cheese snack, talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to tell you if cheese is appropriate for your dog, and if so, what kind of cheese might be best to share with your furry best friend.  

And regardless of whether you give your dog little bits of cheddar now and then, or you stick to high-protein, dairy free treats… 

It’s important to remember: It’s fun to give your dog the occasional “people food” treat — but too much of any food (even the “good” stuff) can be bad for your dog. 

You want the majority of your dog’s daily caloric intake  — including their treats — to come from balanced meals. Your dog’s food should be at least 80% meat protein and 20% dog-healthy veggies, fruits, and seeds.

That said, as long as you’re responsible and careful not to go overboard with your “cheese purveying” your dog can safely and HAPPILY enjoy a bite of string cheese with you now and then. 

What’s the best treat for dogs? 

For your dog’s daily rewards and “just because I love you” treats, the healthiest option is always going to be real cuts of premium, freeze-dried raw meat. 

Organ meat, in fact, is the most nutrient-dense cut of protein for your dog. And freeze-dried raw treats, like Dr. Marty’s beef liver bites, Tilly’s Treasures, are the easiest way to give your pup this canine superfood every day. 

Plus, unlike other brands, Dr. Marty’s treats contain zero artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, or “fillers” like grains — which are the type of ingredients known to cause digestive issues, skin problems, and other health concerns. 

Dr. Marty’s treats are simply freeze-dried raw to lock in the naturally savory flavor of beef liver. Tilly’s Treasures are so delicious, your dog will be doing their “happy dance” after just one bite. (In fact, there’s a strong chance they’ll like it even more than cheese.)

So whether your pup is a “cheese head,” or not, try these 100% premium beef liver treats. They’re the perfect anytime, anywhere, super-satisfying reward for your dog.