Most dogs love cheese in all its variations so much that not a few dog trainers recommend cheese bites as the ultimate reward. But most dog owners have heard that milk products for dogs are not supposed to be that healthy. What’s right now?
Can dogs eat cheese sticks?
Whether dogs are allowed to eat cheese depends on the individual type of cheese and its lactose content. The cheese itself does not have any nutritional value that would be essential for dogs. Some varieties (see below) are even poisonous for dogs, others can tolerate them well.
However, if you keep a sense of proportion and choose the right variety, you can indulge or motivate your darling with cheese cubes.
Are Dairy Products Healthy For Dogs Or Not?
The problem with milk products for adult dogs is not the milk itself, but the milk sugar (lactose) it contains. After birth, all mammals can digest milk sugar, otherwise, they could not tolerate breast milk.
When mammals grow up, they lose this ability because nature did not necessarily foresee that adults continue to consume (mother) milk. This affects dogs as well as humans. Adults who are lactose intolerant are by no means sick, just completely normal.
It varies greatly from person to person whether an adult person or dog becomes completely intolerant or can still tolerate small amounts of lactose. This also has to do with getting used to it. If your dog has always been allowed to nibble on a little cheese here and there, he is probably not yet completely intolerant, otherwise, you would have noticed.
Depending on the type of cheese, many kinds of cheese also contain little to no lactose. If a dog gets diarrhea from dairy products, it should be clear to every dog owner that it would be better not to feed them.
Because many types of cheese are practically lactose-free, some cheeses are ideal for feeding high-quality milk proteins without burdening the dog with lactose at the same time. Cheese also contains most of the minerals in milk in concentrated form. Therefore, cheese is a good source of calcium.
All varieties with blue mold are poisonous to dogs
All blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or the English Stilton are inoculated with the mold Penicillium roqueforti. This mushroom itself is not yet poisonous. During the ripening process, the living fungus in cheese produces various metabolic waste products.
These are mycotoxins, which can be toxic. One of them is Roquefortin C. Roquefortin C can be easily tolerated by most people. However, in dogs, Roquefortin C is highly toxic.
It is not yet scientifically established why dogs are so much more sensitive to this than humans. In dogs, Roquefortine C works similarly to strychnine.
Therefore, any type of blue cheese is strictly prohibited for dogs. If your four-legged friend accidentally helped himself to your cheese with blue mold, you should take him to the vet immediately to be on the safe side. The best thing to do is to give him charcoal tablets on the way to hopefully bind some of the toxins.
Like strychnine, Roquefortine C triggers cramps in the central nervous system. These cramps can freeze the entire muscular system and prevent the dog from breathing. There is no information about a lethal dose of blue cheese.
The content of Roquefortin C in matured cheese can neither be generally determined nor kept constant so that an indication of an amount of Gorgonzola that is harmless for dogs could never be relied on.
It is clear, however, that especially very small dogs, puppies, or dogs with impaired health should never be left alone with blue cheese. If you suspect your dog may have eaten blue cheese but you are not sure, watch for symptoms such as stiff limbs, tremors, or vomiting.
Hard cheese – little lactose, lots of fat
Hard cheese is generally understood to mean cheese that has matured for a particularly long time and only has very low water content. The most popular hard cheeses include Emmentaler, Cheddar, Gruyere (or Gruyère), Pecorino, Parmesan, Grana Padano, and the Spanish goat cheese Manchego.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with hard cheese for dogs. The longer a cheese has been allowed to mature, the less lactose it contains, as lactose turns into lactic acid during the aging process. Since almost all moisture was removed from the cheese mass during the ripening process, the other nutrients – based on weight – have condensed.
This means that the mineral content is particularly high here. So does the fat content. If a dog can handle a few extra calories, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of hard cheese now and then. Some hard cheeses can be quite salty, such as very old Gouda or Cheddar cheese. B. These strains should only be given in tiny rations to small dogs.
In any case, only a few hard slices of cheese are suitable for taking with you to the dog park, cut into cubes. Most hard cheeses are much easier to break than cut.
Sliced cheese – perfect for small cubes
Sliced cheese has a higher proportion of water than hard cheese. This makes it smoother and makes it easy to slice. That is why fresh Gouda, Edam, Tilsiter, butter cheese, and Italian provolone are particularly popular as cold cuts.
Sliced cheese can be optimally processed into cubes. If you want to prepare a small treat for when you’re on the go, just make sure you dose very fatty varieties such as butter cheese or Tilsiter carefully.
Also, cheese doesn’t have to be salty to be tasty for dogs. Edam, for example, is not very salty and contains hardly any lactose.
Buffalo, sheep, and goat cheese
Cheeses that are not made from cow’s milk are, in principle, well suited to occasionally giving a bite to those who are allergic to cow’s milk.
Since almost all types are made from a mixture of cow’s milk, you should pay close attention to the composition of cheeses such as halloumi, feta, and mozzarella if you have an allergy.
Cheeses that are sold in brine should be consumed with caution anyway because of their salt content. Most of the varieties are also very fatty and therefore not necessarily recommended for dogs.
Fine mold cheese
The question of whether dogs are allowed to eat blue cheese is almost impossible to answer. On the one hand, there is no evidence that dogs would not tolerate cheese with white or red noble mold.
On the other hand, these varieties are often extremely greasy – think z. B. Brie with a fat content of 60%.
In addition, most of the fine blue cheeses like Camembert are quite fresh when they go on sale and still contain a little lactose. A bite of blue cheese won’t seriously harm a dog – but it’s not healthy either.
Processed cheese is not good for dogs
Processed cheese preparations are – as the name suggests – no longer real cheese. Cream cheese or the slices that are supposed to melt on hamburgers contain a lot of salt in addition to the cheese from which they were made.
Its melting salts are what make processed cheese. Many phosphates are rather unhealthy for dogs.
In addition, the list of additives that may be contained in processed cheese is long and confusing. If you also consider the fat content, processed cheese is hardly a recommendation for the diet of dogs.
It is better not to feed the dog with cheese rind
Even if the thought might seem obvious to feed the begging four-legged friend a dry piece of cheese from the edge, you shouldn’t do that. The cheese rind is rarely healthy.
Even if it’s not made of wax or plastic, it can contain residues from the production process that are not good for your dog. Some cheeses are z. B. washed off with antibiotics if their maturation process is to be stopped. Residues of this regularly lead to protests by consumer advocates.
But even a rind that is beyond any doubt in this regard can still contain a great deal of salt or other substances in concentrated form, with which the cheese wheel was rubbed during the ripening process to give it its characteristic flavor.
Can dogs be allergic to cheese?
Your dog may be allergic to cheese. If a dog is allergic to cheese, it is not allergic to cheese, but to a milk protein that was in the cheese.
If your four-legged friend loves cheese, but cannot tolerate cow’s milk products due to an allergy, for example, it is very possible that he can still digest goat or sheep cheese well.
If you try cheeses from other types of milk with your dog, just make sure that they are not mixtures. Often the label “goat cheese” hides a mixture of goat and cow milk.
How about other dairy products?
Sour milk products are generally not harmful to dogs. They also contain a lot of minerals and healthy milk protein, but unfortunately also a lot of lactose. Most types of quark and cream cheese are also very fatty.
Cream cheese or ricotta provides significantly more fat than most dogs can use. Only the lean cottage cheese is good for dogs despite its lactose content. Cottage cheese with rice has been the top recommendation of many dog owners for light stomach foods for decades.
Is there dog food with cheese?
Ready-made dog food with cheese cannot be found in stores. But some cheeses are mad