Cheese is a food that most people love. Whether it is on a pizza, burger, melted between bread, or just enjoyed on its own, cheese makes up a big part of our diet! With cheese in and on so many different foods, it can be tempting to want to share with your pup from time to time.
So, can your dog enjoy some of your favorite cheese for a special treat? In short, yes, dogs can indeed have cheese. However, you will want to limit the amount they eat and should avoid certain cheeses.
Signs of a Dog Liking Cheese
Cheese does not necessarily have many health benefits for your dog, but that doesn't mean it is not a treat that they can't enjoy occasionally. Just as humans should not indulge in copious amounts of cheese on a daily basis, neither should dogs. Most dogs will love the taste of cheese and will eat it plain without any hesitation. All dogs are different though and some may not like the taste of the texture of the cheese. If this is the case, simply refrain from giving your dog any cheese, since there are not enough health benefits to make it worth their while.
If you want to treat your dog to cheese, it will generally be ok and will not pose any significant risks to your dog's health. If your dog has a particularly sensitive tummy, it may upset their stomach a little, but that will likely be the only side effect. If your dog is lactose intolerant, you should avoid giving them cheese as it can give them bloating, gas, abdominal pain, loose stools, and can make them vomit.
If your dog does enjoy the taste of cheese and likes to eat it as a snack, you will be able to tell right away. They will eat the cheese without hesitation, wag their tail, raise their ears and look alert, beg for more, paw at your, drool, and they may even whine or bark at you for more if they see you have more cheese!
The History of Cheese and Dogs
The history of cheese making dates back to about 4,000 years ago. The origins of cheese are still a mystery and it is unlikely we will every surely know where and when cheese made its first appearance, but there are some theories about where it all began.
It is thought that some travelers from Asia first brought the art of making cheese to Europe. There is evidence that cheese was made in the Roman Empire and then some years later the Romans introduced cheese to England. Cheese then found its way to the Americas and was actually included on the Mayflower by Pilgrims where it first made its trip across the Atlantic.
In the Americas, cheese remained a local, small, and often family-owned business and we did not see mass cheese production until the 19th century. in 1851, the first cheese production facility was open in New York where cheese was produced in large amounts for people to purchase easily.
Today, cheese has only become more and more popular and it is available everywhere. In fact, more than 1/3 of the dairy produced in the United States goes towards cheese making. This number is only going to increase and sheese consumption continues to rise.
Science Behind Dogs and Cheese
Cheese is generally considered safe for dogs to consume unless they are lactose intolerant. You will want to avoid cheese with other ingredients in it like onions, garlic, raisins, and other things, as these foods can be toxic to dogs. You will also want to avoid sharing super-rich, creamy, and high-fat cheeses as these are not good for your dog and can cause an upset stomach. High-fat cheeses include cream cheese, brie, and goat cheese.
You will want to stick to cheeses like cheddar, part-skim mozzarella, string cheese, low-fat and light cheese options, or even try to find cheeses that are low in salt. Colby, Monterey Jack, cottage cheese, and Swiss cheese are some of the best cheese options you can share with your dog.
Cheese has some protein and calcium that is beneficial for dogs bones and strength. Although, they would need to eat quite a bit of cheese to really reap these benefits and that would likely be an ill-advised amount to feed your dog.
Training Dogs with Cheese
One of the best ways to treat your dog to some cheese, especially their favorite kind, is to use small pieces as training treats. If your dog really loves cheese, these can be used as their high-value rewards when you are training them.
If you give them cheese in this fashion, make sure the pieces are small and choose a cheese that is lower in fat and calories, We recommend sticking to low-fat cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, or Colby.
You can also use cheese to help your dog take any medications they may be on. Cheese is soft and pliable, so you can easily cut a cube of cheese, slice an opening into the center, and hide their pill in the middle. Your dog will scarf down the piece of cheese with the pill inside and won't be the wiser.
Cottage cheese is one of the healthiest cheeses you can give your dog. Cottage cheese is low in sodium, fat, and calories and has a higher amount of protein, which can be beneficial for your dog. You can include cottage cheese in homemade dog treats, in the meals, or you can even give it to them plain as a snack.
You can also include other healthy and dog-friendly foods with the cottage cheese like blueberries, apple chunks, freshly roasted chicken, bone broth, or any other of their favorite healthy snacks. It can really add a nutritional boost to your dog's diet or help them eat their breakfast or dinner if they seem to get picky with eating their kibble or regular diet from time to time.
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 03/19/2018, edited: 04/06/2020