Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Julia Henriques
can dogs eat cheese

Do you love cheese? Does your furry friend wag her tail when she sees you with a piece? You're not alone! 

But many dog owners wonder if cheese is safe for their pups to eat. 

We’ll explore the risks and benefits of cheese for dogs and help you determine if it's safe for you to share this favorite snack.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese Safely? 

Yes, many dogs can eat cheese, but there are some risks involved. 

Cheese is high in fat and calories, which can lead to obesity and digestive issues. Also, many dogs are lactose intolerant.

This means they don’t produce enough of an enzyme called lactase that breaks down the sugar in milk (lactose). This can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Raw dairy products have natural lactase, but most dairy products are pasteurized, which destroys the enzymes. 

If your dog is lactose intolerant, or gets digestive upset after eating cheese, it’s best not to give her any more cheese in the future. However, you can also lower the risk of feeding your dog cheese by opting for healthier cheeses, which we’ll get into below.  

What Happens When A Dog Eats Cheese? 

When a dog eats cheese, she should be fine as long as she’s not lactose intolerant. Good cheese fed in moderation is unlikely to cause a problem. 

If you give your dog a lot of cheese, it could lead to weight gain and other health issues. But the occasional bite shouldn’t be a problem.

When a lactose intolerant dog eats cheese, it may cause digestive problems like diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is severely lactose intolerant, she may experience even worse symptoms.

RELATED: Read more about lactose intolerance in dogs ... 

Benefits Of Cheese For Dogs 

While it's important to be cautious with how much cheese you give your dog, there are some benefits to incorporating this dairy product into her diet.

First and foremost, cheese is a great source of protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissue in your dog's body, and it also helps to support a healthy immune system. Depending on the type of cheese you choose, it can contain anywhere from 5 to 10 grams of protein per ounce.

Another benefit of cheese is that it's high in calcium. Calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, which is especially important for puppies and senior dogs. 

Some types of cheese, such as cheddar or mozzarella, are also high in vitamin B12. This vitamin helps to support a healthy nervous system and can even help to prevent anemia.

In addition to these nutritional benefits, cheese can also be a tasty way to hide medication or supplements that your dog may need to take. If your dog is a picky eater or doesn't like the taste of her medication, wrapping it up in a piece of cheese can be a quick and easy way to get him to take it. 

If your dog loves cheese, small pieces of cheese can make great high value training treats. But again, don’t overdo the amount, because of the high fat content. Save cheese training treats when you really need a powerful reward!

Risks Of Cheese For Dogs 

As mentioned earlier, the high fat and calorie content of cheese could lead to obesity and other health issues. And if your dog is lactose intolerant, she may experience digestive issues, such as diarrhea or vomiting. 

Some types of cheese, like blue cheese or cheese with added ingredients, can also be harmful to dogs. Ripe, moldy cheese like Roquefort, for example, contain mycotoxins that are known to be toxic for dogs. 

Herbs, spices, fruit, and other ingredients are often added to cheese. While some of these ingredients are fine for dogs, many of  them are not. So if the cheese you’re considering giving your dog has added colors or ingredients, it’s best to avoid it. 

RELATED: Why milk products can be bad for dogs ... 

What’s The Best Cheese For Dogs? 

If you're going to give your dog cheese, some types are better than others. In general, you should opt for lower fat, unprocessed cheese that isn’t too high in sodium. 

Here are our top three picks:

Raw Milk Cheese

Raw milk cheese is made from unpasteurized milk, which means it hasn't been heated to kill off bacteria. While this might sound concerning at first, raw milk cheese can actually be beneficial for dogs. The natural bacteria in it can help improve a dog's digestive system by increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut. 

Raw milk cheese is also lower in lactose than pasteurized cheese, making it easier for many dogs to digest. Also, it often contains higher levels of vitamins and minerals compared to pasteurized cheese.

Low Fat Cheese

Opt for low fat cheese for your dog to avoid the risks that come with high fat cheeses. .

Mozzarella is a popular low-fat cheese, and it clocks in at about half the fat of Cheddar cheese. It also has a high protein content, making it a great addition to your dog's diet in moderation. 

Cottage cheese is another low-fat cheese high in protein and calcium. It’s also lower in lactose, so it may be easier for your dog to digest. However, cottage cheese can also have added ingredients that aren’t good for dogs …and some brands are quite high in sodium. 

Unprocessed Cheese

Finally, when in doubt, raw unprocessed cheese is almost always better for your dog than processed cheese. Highly processed cheese like sliced cheese, spreads, or cheese sprays offer little nutrition and often have a ton of added ingredients. 

When selecting unprocessed cheese, just be sure to check the ingredients list and avoid any cheeses with added ingredients like herbs or spices that might be harmful to dogs.


Here are some of the other common questions we get from dog owners about cheese…

Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese? 

Yes, dogs can eat goat cheese but only in moderation. Always check for added ingredients like herbs or spices.

Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat Parmesan cheese but only in moderation. Always check for added ingredients like herbs or spices.

Can Dogs Eat Cottage Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cottage cheese, but make sure to check for added sugars or flavors, as well as the sodium level.

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