Yogurt is high in probiotics (good bacteria), which are good for the digestive system. But does yogurt have the same effect on dogs that it has on humans? And is it safe to feed yogurt to your dog?
The Problem With Yogurt for Dogs
Although yogurt is not toxic to dogs, many canines will have trouble digesting it. Dogs' bodies were not really designed to digest lactose after they are weaned off their mothers' milk. Yogurt has less lactose than milk, because it has been fermented, so some dogs may be able to digest it easily. But if you want to try giving your dog yogurt, you should be aware that it could cause gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.
If your dog has none of the above symptoms after eating yogurt, it's fine to feed him yogurt as a treat once in a while.
What Type of Yogurt Is Best for Dogs?
If you are going to give your dog yogurt, it should be free of any added sweeteners, both natural and artificial. Added sugars are not healthy for dogs or humans, and some artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, are toxic for dogs. A comprehensive list of products is available here. VCA Hospitals reports that xylitol is 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate.
You should also look for a yogurt that has lots of live cultures (bacteria), because they help digest the lactose in the yogurt.
Can Yogurt Benefit Dogs?
Do the probiotics in yogurt benefit a dog's digestive system the way they benefit a human's digestive system? While it is possible for a dog to get this benefit from yogurt, there are better sources of probiotics for canines.
Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets FortiFlora® is a probiotic supplement designed for dogs and cats, which is frequently recommended by veterinarians. FortiFlora® provides the good bacteria that can help improve your dog's intestinal health, without the lactose that may be difficult for him to digest.
Should You Give Your Dog Yogurt?
For some dogs, yogurt is fine to eat once in a while, but many dogs cannot digest it. If you want to give your dog a special treat, you are better off choosing foods that are easier on his digestive system, like these fruits and veggies.
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