Dogs enjoy eating new things, especially food which their owners often indulge in front of them. This goes doubly so if the food in question smells like it might taste nice. Consequently, cheese is a popular food that dogs like to eat, but not everything dogs want to eat is good for them.
We have spoken before how dogs have difficulty digesting lactose, but this is not the only ingredient of cheese which can upset your dog’s diet and health. However, we understand owners want to treat their pets occasionally. Fortunately, there are lactose-free equivalent snacks that your dog will enjoy just as much as a chunk of cheese.
Can dogs eat cheese?
The main ingredient of cheese is lactose. Unfortunately, dogs are unable to break lactose down in their digestive systems, meaning they suffer lactose intolerance and, so, eating cheese will often leave your dog feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and possibly vomiting or experiencing diarrhoea or constipation.
Some dogs are better able to cope with lactose than others and experience fewer symptoms of lactose intolerance. However, you should still avoid giving your dog cheese, even as an occasional snack. Most cheeses are high in salt and fat,—and can cause stomach upsets, dizziness, dehydration and vomiting as well as obesity, which can then result in other serious health problems.
Certain types of cheese are even more poisonous to dogs, including any which contain some form of fungus, such as stilton or blue cheese.
What is a good substitute for cheese?
While our lovingly crafted dog food recipes are sufficient to give a dog everything he or she needs to live a healthy lifestyle, we realise that everyone, including dogs, want to enjoy a treat now and then.
Therefore, while cheese should be avoided, there are a number of delicious lactose-free snacks that your dog will happily gobble up instead. We recommend our own series of treats for dogs, Crackerjacks and Minijacks, which come in a range of delicious flavours, are great for rewarding your dog when training, and are hypoallergenic—meaning they are highly unlikely to cause even sensitive dogs to have an allergic reaction.
However, while these dog snacks are a healthy substitute for cheese, no treat should make up more than 15% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Be careful not to overdo it, so you don’t disrupt your dog’s diet. The best way to keep your dog happy and to avoid long-term medical issues is to ensure they consistently eat age and size-appropriate dog food which supports their delicate nutritional needs.