Yes, dogs can eat cheese. In fact, cheese is often a great training tool, especially for puppies. But should dogs eat cheese? While some dogs can eat cheese, and most dogs love it, many dogs can be intolerant of cheese. Even for dogs that are able to tolerate cheese, it is probably best fed in moderation.
Benefits of Cheese
Cheese contains protein, calcium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins. Most dogs love cheese, and trainers often use it for treat-motivated dogs. This snack is also a good way to conceal pills for dogs that require medication.
Feeding Cheese Safely to Your Dog
While cheese can be safe to feed to your dog, there are some things to remember. Cheese is high in fat, and feeding too much to your dog regularly can cause weight gain and lead to obesity. Even more problematic, it could lead to pancreatitis, a serious and potentially fatal illness in dogs. In addition to the problems presented by the high-fat content, some cheeses contain herbs or other products that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic, onions, and chives.
Therefore, it’s better to feed your dog low-fat cheeses, like mozzarella, cottage cheese, or a soft goat cheese. Cottage cheese is lower in fat and sodium than other cheeses, helping reduce the risk of obesity. Cottage cheese is also lower in lactose, thus reducing the likelihood of intestinal upset.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Not all dogs digest cheese well, and while cheese contains little lactose when compared to whole milk, dogs with severe cases of lactose intolerance may have adverse reactions to cheese, even in small quantities. Observe your dog closely for signs of intestinal upset after feeding cheese for the first time, and consult your veterinarian with any questions you may have about adding cheese to your dog’s diet.
Here at the AKC, we field many queries from anxious dog owners about what is and isn’t safe for their canine companions to eat. Questions range from the obvious (“Can dogs eat steak bones?”) to the trendy (“Can dogs eat quinoa?”) Check out more “Can dogs eat…” articles on AKC.org to see what other foods could be harmful to your dog, including cherries, avocados, and onions.