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Cheese is a food that, in any of its varieties, always draws the attention of dogs. Nevertheless, ¿dogs can really eat cheese? ¿Is it healthy for them? In this AnimalWised article we are going to explain what we must take into account when offering cheese to our dog. We will also talk about other dairy products since, to understand what happens with cheese, we have to handle terms such as lactose, milk sugar, and lactase, the enzyme that digests it. ¡Keep reading!You may also be interested: Can hamsters eat cheese? Index
- Lactase and lactose
- What is lactose intolerance?
- Cheese for dogs
- Can dogs eat bread?
- Can dogs eat yogurt?
- What can't dogs eat?
Lactase and lactose
To explain whether dogs can eat cheese it is essential to know the importance of lactose and lactase. The lactose It is the sugar naturally present in mammalian milk. It is part of its composition, that is, it has not been added artificially. The amount of lactose will depend on each animal, as it must be adapted to their nutritional needs.
As biologically mammals must feed on this milk during the first stage of their life, in their digestive tract they have an enzyme, the lactase, whose function is to break down lactose into simpler substances that the body can take advantage of. Are the glucose and the galactose. Once mammals grow and no longer need milk, lactase production disappears.
What is lactose intolerance?
The problem with lactose, therefore, arises when the weaning season is exceeded. Although in species such as humans it seems that part of the population has adapted and is capable of digesting lactose in adulthood, there is what is known as lactose intolerance, what is important to distinguish from milk allergy.
In dogs we can also observe this lactase intolerance or deficiency, which will not affect everyone equally. Intolerance causes lactose indigestible, since the organism is not able to absorb it. It will remain in the intestine and this produces an increase in intestinal motility, which results in the appearance of diarrhea in the dog..
Therefore, as with people, dogs can eat cheese based on whether or not they are able to digest lactose. We can suspect an intolerance if, after giving milk or some other dairy product, gastrointestinal discomfort is triggered. These dogs should eat a dairy-free diet.
This intolerance is not always negative, since it allows the use of milk as a natural laxative in cases of constipation, following the veterinarian's recommendations. This is because the lactose molecule draws fluid into the intestine, which stimulates its motility..
Cheese for dogs
The truth is that dogs do not need to eat cheese or dairy but, as they are omnivorous animals and these products may be of interest to us on a nutritional level, except in cases of intolerance, we can offer it to you as a prize. That is, the canine diet cannot be based on dairy products, but these can be added as a supplement, in small amounts, in a balanced diet. We insist, if the dog is not intolerant, which we can only discover if we try.
For this we can start by giving dairy products with a lower amount of lactose. Cow's milk is going to have more lactose than dairy products like cheese or yogurt and than other milks such as goat milk. If we talk about cheeses, in general, the most cured ones, precisely during the curing process, will lose lactose, so they will be better digested, the same as those that contain lactic ferments. Another interesting fact is that, the more fat, the lower percentage of lactose they will have. Let's look at some examples:
¿Dogs can eat cream cheese?
The amount of lactose in this type of cheese can be well tolerated. In any case, it is important to read the ingredients on the label and look for the simplest and most natural compositions, since, if milk solids are added, the lactose content will also rise.
¿Dogs can eat fresh cheese?
Being fresh, the lactose percentage will have something highest than that of cured cheeses. In any case, they are still comparable figures.
¿Dogs can eat grated cheese?
In this case, the important thing is what type of cheese it is and it must be taken into account that, sometimes, more than one variety is offered in the same container. They are usually fatty, so the amount of lactose will be minimal.
¿Dogs can eat cottage cheese or cottage cheese?
There are several types, all with a percentage of lactose quite low, so they can be a good option to camouflage pills.
Finally, we must bear in mind that the cheese will provide calories that we must deduct from the daily amount of dog food. This is especially important in those dogs that are obese or overweight. Everything we give him outside of his ration must be deducted from this.
Can dogs eat bread?
In addition to cheese, you are probably wondering if dogs can eat bread. We must know that Yes, although it is recommended that it be as natural as possible and without sugar or salt. Like dairy, it can be offered occasionally. We mention it in this article because if the cheese is accompanied by other foods, such as bread, it will be better digested, the same as if small portions are offered several times a day.
Can dogs eat yogurt?
Many of the considerations that we have made to explain whether dogs can eat cheese also apply in the case of yogurt, as it is dairy. The process that milk undergoes to become yogurt removes a significant amount of lactase, making this product can be consumed even if the dog is intolerant. The problem is that in the market we are going to find yogurts that in their composition have milk solids, cream, etc. that will increase the percentage of lactose.
As in the case of cheese, it is convenient to offer a small quantity and see if the dog tolerates it well. We will always opt for the most natural yogurt possible. If the dog does not feel good even this does not have to worry, since dogs do not need to consume dairy.
What can't dogs eat?
There are some foods that, although they will not always be deadly or extremely harmful for dogs, it is not advisable to add to their diet. Therefore, in AnimalWised we have prepared a list with 10 forbidden foods for dogs according to scientific studies, but there are more, such as the following:
- Macadamia nuts
- Cooked bones
If you have questions or want to know more about proper nutrition for your dog, do not hesitate to consult with your trusted veterinarian, who will advise you correctly so that your dog's diet is always complete, safe and of quality. Do not forget to leave your comments and share your questions or advice.