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Can I feed my dog cheese?

Basset Hound in front of plate of cheese advice

Given its high fat content, cheese should be fed sparingly to dogs.

© Shutterstock

Some dogs love cheese and it's the perfect treat for them, while others can be very sick from it.

By Dr. Laura Waring BVetMed MRCVS

Updated on the 12/08/2020, 13:19

Cheese is a food that while most dogs love it some can be really sick from it – depending on the type and how much of it they eat. So read on to get the lowdown on whether cheese could or should enter your dog's diet.

What happens when a dog eats cheese?

Dogs often really enjoy cheese, such as cheddar as a small treat – and cheddar is safe for them to consume. Cheese is a very useful high-value treat, or it can be used to hide medication, if it has to be administered. Cheese is nutritious as it contains protein, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. Having said that, cheese is very high in fat and, therefore, should only be fed in small amounts as a treat alongside a balanced diet. If dogs eat too much, it may upset their digestive tract. If eaten in large amounts, it could lead to a very serious condition called pancreatitis. Some cheeses may contain additives, such as onion or garlic that are unsuitable for dogs, so care must be taken.

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What should I do if my dog has eaten a lot of cheese?

If your dog eats a whole block or a large amount of cheese, keep a close eye on them. They may vomit. It may cause bloating, flatulence or diarrhoea. If any of these symptoms become troubling for your pet, veterinary assistance should be sought.

What should I do if my dog ate blue cheese? 

Blue cheese should not be fed to your dog. The fungus used to make the cheese produces a substance called roquefortine C and dogs can be sensitive to this. This substance can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, high temperatures and, occasionally, seizures. Therefore, if you think your dog has consumed blue cheese, seek help from a vet.

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Can dogs eat Parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese is low in lactose and therefore less likely to cause digestive upsets. Yet it does have a high salt content, so it is not a good choice to give to dogs.

How much cheese is safe for dogs?

Your dog's main diet should consist of a canine-specific diet to ensure its nutritional needs are met. But a small amount of cheese used as a treat will, in most cases, be fine. Having said that, some dogs are very sensitive to the lactose in cheese, and therefore how much cheese an individual dog can consume will vary. It is best to be cautious therefore, the first time you give cheese to your dog.

How much cheese is dangerous for dogs?

Each dog's tolerance for cheese will vary. But given its high fat content, it should be fed very sparingly to avoid causing digestive upsets.

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What kind of cheese is safe for dogs? Is cottage cheese OK for dogs?

Low-fat cheese, such as cottage cheese, is often a better choice to use as a treat. It also lower in salt and therefore less likely to cause any digestive issues. If given regularly as an addition to the diet, a lower fat option will reduce the likelihood of obesity.

Is cheddar cheese good for dogs?

Cheddar cheese is safe for dogs to eat, But it is fattening and should be given sparingly to avoid causing digestive upsets. It is often used as a training aid, as dogs usually enjoy cheese.

When should I see a vet?

If your dog seems to be experiencing any problems that might relate to cheese consumption, you should seek advice from a vet. Concerning symptoms might include vomiting or diarrhoea and, if these are persistent or making your pet very unwell, contact your vet.  

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk
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