dogs looking at cheese waiting to eat

Can Dogs Eat Cheese? Benefits, Health Concerns, & Tips

Can Dogs Eat Cheese? Benefits, Health Concerns, & Tips

Cheese is frequently cited as one of the most effective specialized food rewards that can be used in the process of positively reinforcing behavior in our canine companions. However, despite the fact that it is frequently utilized for training, many people who own dogs may question whether or not cheese is something that is safe for dogs to eat. So, can dogs eat cheese?

Yes and no. A little bit of cheese as a treat every now and then won't hurt the vast majority of dogs as long as they don't exhibit any signs of being lactose intolerant. However, while there are some cheeses that are not harmful to dogs, there are some cheeses that should not be given to dogs. Read on to learn all about cheese and your dog!

slices of assorted cheese

Benefits Of Cheese For Dogs

It's possible that giving dogs cheese in small amounts as a special treat can be beneficial for them. Cheese is a fantastic resource for a variety of important nutrients. Many varieties of cheese, in addition to the expected amounts of protein and fat, also contain important nutrients such as:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin K2
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The strong aroma and flavor of the cheese is enticing to the dogs because of their sense of smell and taste. You can use a reward like low-fat cheese to help motivate and encourage your dog while you are training him. Take care not to overindulge your dog with cheese when trying to motivate him. Also, dogs enjoy the flavor of cheese, and because its consistency is typically quite malleable, it can be an excellent medium for concealing medicines that your dog may otherwise dislike.

dog with cheese on his snout

Health Concerns Of Cheese For Dogs

Cheese is generally considered to be safe for consumption by dogs, despite adult dogs lacking the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for digesting lactose. Take the following into consideration before including cheese in your dog's diet:

Lactose Intolerance

Just like some people, some dogs cannot properly digest lactose because they do not have the enzyme lactase that is necessary to do so. Lactose is a type of sugar that is found in most dairy products. The ingestion of cheese by a dog that is unable to digest lactose will result in digestive issues.

Fat Content

The majority of cheeses have a high percentage of fat, especially saturated fat. Even though dogs benefit from consuming some fat, excessive consumption of fat can result in health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and pancreatitis. It is imperative that you are aware of the amount of fat that is contained in the cheese that you give your dog and that you monitor the amount of cheese that your dog consumes.


Cheese, in general, is a food that contains a high amount of sodium. While some sodium is necessary for health, excessive consumption of sodium can lead to high blood pressure as well as damage to the organs in dogs. Cheeses like feta and parmesan that are high in sodium should be avoided or their consumption should be limited if given to a dog.

plate of cheese

What Cheeses Can Dogs Eat?

Cheeses that are relatively low in fat and contain less lactose and sodium are generally acceptable for dogs to consume. There are a variety of cheeses available to choose from, including:
  • Ricotta
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Cheddar Cheese

You could also talk to a veterinarian about the different kinds of cheeses that are appropriate for your dog. Cheeses that are high in fat, salt, or lactose are typically not recommended for consumption by canines. In general, you should try to refrain from giving your dog parmesan cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, and blue cheeses. In addition, you should steer clear of giving your dog any cheeses or cheese spreads that contain onions, chives, or garlic because these ingredients can be harmful to dogs.

How To Safely Feed Your Dog Cheese

Before giving your dog any kind of cheese, you should always check with your veterinarian to find out which variety is the healthiest and how much they should be given. Follow these tips to safely feed your furry friend a cheese treat:
  • Pick a cheese that is lower in fat. There are a variety of cheeses available, including mozzarella and cottage cheese. Steer clear of cheeses like goat cheese, feta, and brie that are high in fat content.
  • Steer clear of any cheeses with a spicy flavor. That rules out spicy cheeses like pepper jack, unfortunately. It's possible that spicy cheeses will upset your dog's stomach.
  • If your dog has never eaten cheese before, you should begin by giving them a very small amount to gauge how they will react. Cheese can be given to your dog in small amounts and in moderation as long as it does not cause any adverse effects, such as an upset stomach.

Cheese is not something that should be included in the regular diet of your dog. Keep your dog on a diet that is specifically designed for canines and give them treats that are low in calories and healthy as positive reinforcement when they show behaviors you want them to exhibit.

small dog looking at cheese on the floor

Can Dogs Eat String Cheese?

String cheese is a type of cheese that is made by stretching and twisting the cheese to create long, thin strands. It is a popular cheese for snacking, as it is easy to eat and provides a good source of protein. While string cheese is safe for dogs to eat, it is important to monitor their intake.

Like all cheese, string cheese contains saturated fat and sodium, which can be harmful to dogs in large quantities. Additionally, the stringy texture of the cheese can pose a choking hazard for small dogs. Therefore, it is best to give string cheese to your dog in moderation and supervise them while they are eating it.

Can Dogs Eat Swiss Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat swiss cheese. In fact, many people believe that swiss cheese is good for dogs because it is a source of protein and calcium. However, it is important to note that swiss cheese is also high in fat, so it should be given to dogs in moderation. In addition, swiss cheese contains a substance called lactose, which can cause digestive problems in some dogs. For this reason, it is best to talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog swiss cheese.

Can Dogs Eat American Cheese?

Dogs can safely eat American cheese, although it is not the best choice nutritionally. American cheese is a processed cheese made from cheddar cheese, with other added ingredients including milk, cream, and salt. It has a mild flavor and a creamy texture. While American cheese is not toxic to dogs, it is not as nutritious as other types of cheese such as swiss cheese.

cheddar cheese

Can Dogs Eat Cheddar Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cheddar cheese. In fact, many dog owners use cheese as a way to entice their furry friend to take their medication or to perform a new trick. However, cheese is not a necessary part of a dog's diet and too much can cause gastrointestinal upset. When feeding your dog cheese, opt for a small amount of high-quality cheese such as Swiss. Avoid processed cheeses and those with artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Review: Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Cheese is enjoyed by a large number of people, the majority of whom include their canine companions in their cheese-eating activities. But can dogs eat cheese? The answer to that question is yes, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind before doing so. First, given that cheese is relatively high in fat, it is not the healthiest option for dogs that are already overweight or have the propensity to gain weight quickly.

Second, some dogs are lactose intolerant, which means that they may have difficulty digesting cheese if they eat it. If you are unsure whether or not your dog falls into this category, you can test their reaction to a small amount of cheese by feeding it to them and observing how they behave.

Last but not least, you want to pick a cheese that has a moderate amount of salt and sugar in it. Both an excessive amount of salt and sugar can be detrimental to the health of humans and dogs alike. Cheese should be consumed in moderation if at all possible. If your dog eats any type of cheese and experiences a negative reaction, consult your veterinarian.

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