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Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

January 24th, 2013 12:09:35 pm

Can dogs eat cheese? It depends on the dog.

To know if your dog should or should not eat cheese, consider these three factors:

Lactose Intolerance

Why: According to the ASPCA, many dogs, especially adults, don’t have enough of the enzyme needed to break down lactose. Dogs with lactose intolerance have a difficult time digesting dairy products, including cheese.

What To Do: Watch your dog’s bowel movements. If he has an upset stomach after eating cheese, avoid giving him dairy products. If your dog acts normal and has normal bowel movements, he’s probably digesting it just fine. Cheese has less lactose in it than other dairy products like plain milk, so some dogs are able to tolerate cheese’s lactose levels.

Weight Issues

Why: Cheese is typically high in fat. This can cause your dog to gain weight, especially if the cheese is very fatty, fed in large amounts, or given too frequently.

What To Do: Only use low-fat cheese as treats, and limit the amount and frequency. Cheddar made with 2% milk and low-fat string cheese are good examples of low-fat cheese. If your dog already has weight issues, opt for non-cheesy treats such as steamed green beans. They're low-fat, low-calorie, and sweet to a dog's taste buds.

Your Vet Said So

Why: Cheese is a good source of protein and is a suitable alternate to chicken, beef, and other proteins for some specific health issues.

What To Do: Talk with your veterinarian. If your veterinarian has recommended a low protein diet for your dog, ask if any kinds of low-fat cheese are a good substitute or supplement. For example, my dog’s liver cirrhosis makes it difficult for her to process beef and many other proteins. Her veterinarian prescribed a cheese that is low in fat and high in protein, and instructed just how much is safe for her needs.

Can dogs eat cheese? Some can and some cannot. If you are concerned about how cheese fits in your dog’s diet or if you think your dog may have a lactose intolerance, be sure to ask your veterinarian.

 

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