Can dogs eat parmesan cheese: golden retriever looking at block of parmesan cheese

Many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means feeding them dairy products could result in intestinal upset.

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Can dogs eat parmesan cheese?

By Greta Inglis Dog Behaviourist | Animal Behaviourist

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Parmesan cheese is a firm favourite with us humans, but is it safe for dogs to eat? Here we take a look at all you need to know.  

Many dogs love cheese, but this doesn't necessarily mean it's good for them. 

Cheese is high in sodium and fat, which can contribute to weight gain and even obesity if fed in excess. Some dogs are also lactose intolerant, which can result in bloating, gas and diarrhea. 

Parmesan cheese is known to have a lower lactose content than other cheeses, but does this make it safe for your four-legged friend? 

What are the risks of a dog eating parmesan cheese? 

Adult dogs may be able to enjoy parmesan cheese as an occasional treat, but you will need to carefully monitor for signs of lactose intolerance. 

Dogs suffering from this condition lack the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose found in dairy products.

As an aged cheese, parmesan is particularly high in salt. Excessive quantities of salt can cause salt toxicity, or hypernatremia, which leads to electrolyte imbalances. Signs of salt toxicity include vomiting, lethargy and seizures. In severe cases, the condition can be fatal. 

You should avoid feeding your dog parmesan cheese if they have any kind of heart or kidney condition.

What are the benefits of feeding your dog parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese offers calcium, which helps with the formation of strong bones, and vitamins A and B12, which promote skin health. 

Nevertheless, quantity is always an important consideration, and much like with any cheese, parmesan should only be fed to adult dogs, in small amounts and as an occasional treat.

What should I do if my dog stole parmesan cheese? 

You will need to observe your dog closely if you suspect they might have secretly eaten some parmesan, as dogs vary greatly in their reaction to dairy products.

Large quantities of parmesan may cause your dog to vomit, or experience other symptoms of gastrointestinal upset. Your dog's tolerance will also depend on their size, health and ability to process lactose. 

Try to work out how much they have eaten, and contact your veterinarian for advice if you feel concerned

Can I sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on my dog's food? 

For healthy adult dogs, parmesan can make a tasty treat. Sprinkling a small amount of cheese on top of their regular food may help keep it interesting. Moderation is key, however, and it's best to avoid offering dairy products to your dog on a daily basis.

With lots of other wonderful options out there, you may find there are better choices for your canine companion.


Carrots make a particularly good snack for adult dogs and puppies alike, boosting the immune system and supporting bone growth. 

Low in calories, they work perfectly when it comes to adding a bit of flavour to your dog's daily meal. Cooked carrot is best for puppies and small breed dogs, while adult, large breed dogs may prefer to eat the vegetable raw. 


Pumpkin is a firm favourite for many dogs, offering lots of fibre which in turn helps to support digestion


Blueberries contain fibre, vitamins and antioxidants, which all offer nutritional benefits for your dog


Strawberries are packed full of nutrients, including folic acid and magnesium, in addition to the antioxidant polyphenol. This can help reduce inflammation. 

Can dogs eat other types of cheese? 

When choosing the right cheese for your dog, it's important to consider the fat, sodium and lactose content. 

Cottage cheese is usually lower in lactose, making it one of the more suitable cheeses you can offer your dog. As a high-protein food, rich in calcium, it offers health benefits when fed in the right quantities.

Relatively low in fat and salt, mozzarella is also a popular choice among dog owners. With its mild flavour and delicate texture, your dog can enjoy this as an occasional treat. 

Blue cheese should always be avoided, as it contains roquefortine C, which dogs are very sensitive to. The same goes for any cheese that has been enhanced with onion or garlic, as these are toxic for our furry friends. 

If you're considering adding cheese to your dog's diet, it's always best to speak with your veterinarian before making any changes. They will advise on how to introduce new foods and monitor your dog for any signs of adverse reactions. 

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