Most dog owners know their pets shouldn't eat too much "people food". High-quality dog food and healthy treats are the best options for dogs' health, but small amounts of meat, cheese, or peanut butter can come in handy. Occasions like training, administering medications, or just a special indulgence for a beloved pet are some reasons we share human food.
When it comes to cheese, many dogs love it and it's a convenient treat. The fat and flavor in cheese make it a "high-value" treat, meaning a dog who struggles in training might respond to cheese when other treats have failed. The same goes for giving pills - a dog who rejects medicine in their food might gobble it up if it's hidden in a piece of cheese or a blob of peanut butter.
But is cheese a safe food for dogs? The short answer is: probably, in moderation. There are many factors to consider, so here are some tips for deciding if and how much cheese to give your dog.
Different Dogs, Different Bellies
Most dogs can tolerate the small amount of lactose in cheese, but some can't (just like people!). If your dog hasn't had cheese before, it’s best to watch them closely after giving them a small taste. If they have any negative reactions like vomiting or diarrhea, it's best to be on the safe side and avoid cheese in the future. Even if your dog tolerates cheese well, be aware that after a treat-heavy training session, they may be pretty gassy!
*Note: If your dog has accidentally gotten into a large amount of cheese, be sure to consult your vet.
Watch the Fat
Cheese in general is high in fat, and too much fat can cause health problems in dogs. It's best to limit the overall amount of cheese you give your dog and choose cheese that's lower in fat, such as reduced-fat mozzarella or cottage cheese. Remember that a little goes a long way! If you're using it as a training tool, you can use small bits and your pup will still respond.
Things to Avoid
Experts advise staying away from blue cheese completely, since it may contain a compound that can make dogs sick. Also be aware that some cheeses may be flavored with other ingredients that dogs shouldn't have, like onions or garlic. Read the ingredient list thoroughly. Again, plain low-fat mozzarella is a good choice.
If your dog is overweight, has a sensitive stomach, or needs to avoid salt due to kidney problems, cheese isn't a great choice as a treat or training food. Instead, try a lower fat alternative like chicken or sweet potato.
If your training sessions take a lot out of your pup, try adding some Solid Gold Bone Broth to their water or kibble! 100% human grade and a great source of collagen, your dog will get an added nutrition boost within a tasty treat. If you're looking to get creative with your treats, try whipping up some Peanut Butter PUPcakes or Pumpkin Yogurt Treats !
As important as it is to be safe when giving dogs food like cheese, the most critical element of their health is the dog food they eat regularly. Cheap kibble can contain fillers and other substances that don't help dogs' health and might even be harmful. It's not much use to avoid fatty treats but feed low-quality food at every meal.
A good dog food avoids fillers, and a great dog food uses ingredients that truly boost a dog's health and lifespan. A brand like Solid Gold , which packs its dog food with superfoods, probiotics and omegas is one option to provide a great diet for your dog to provide gut health and overall immune support!