Today’s question: can dogs eat yogurt? Is yogurt good or bad for dogs? Scroll down for detailed answers.
Yogurt is a good example of a food that can be enjoyed by most anyone, most anywhere. While yogurt does need to be refrigerated, yogurt is still incredibly portable compared to other foods. Simply add a freezer cold pack to your tote and be on your way! Yogurt comes in a little bowl with a lid, a push pop, or a squeeze tube, and may be enjoyed inside, outside, and in some cases, upside down.
Yogurt comes in a wide array of flavors and textures, can be eaten with or without added sugar, and can be enjoyed frozen or cool. Yogurt can be eaten as-is, or mixed with your favorite fruits or granola. Yogurt can be freeze dried into capsule, added as a topping to other foods, or eaten like ice cream. The versatility of yogurt adds to its popularity and also to its reputation of be an enjoyable healthy food.
Yogurt is loved by most people around the world. Even children enjoy yogurt! Do animals like yogurt? Can we feed yogurt to our dogs? While usually there is a consensus on whether or not dogs can consume a certain kind of food, there are also categories that are up for debate. Yogurt remains in the middle. Some dogs may take to yogurt while others show sign of stomach upset. Some dogs may snatch foods that have yogurt as a topping and show no side effect, whereas another dog may eat just a bite and have complications.
Different dogs have different tastes, needs, allergies, digestive systems, etc. What is good for one pooch can be dangerous for another one. So it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which foods are universally okay and which are not. Yogurt sits on the fence between beneficial and harmful, depending on who you listen to. So, what is the bottom line, here? Can dogs eat yogurt? Let’s look into the issue.
Is Dairy Good for Dogs?
Dairy has been excellent food for many years, both for humans and for animals. Dairy products are tasty, dairy foods offer a high content of calcium, and calcium in dairy products helps to strengthen our bones. What more do you want? However, it has become increasingly obvious that more and more people are suffering from various forms of lactose intolerance, which makes dairy a very problematic food group. What does this have to do with dogs? Simply put, our canine friends suffer from the same problem. Believe it or not, cats do, too.
Dogs are not tolerant of lactose. Dogs drink milk from their mothers after they are born, but dogs are not meant to enjoy milk or dairy products. The digestive system of a dog varies from that of humans. Humans have difficulty digesting products with lactose as it is, dogs have an even more difficult time with lactose given that their little digestive systems are not made to pass milk. Yogurt is a dairy product, largely made up of milk. Offering your dog a milk product will only offer a wide array of complications depending upon the size, breed, and temperament of your dog. A small and sensitive dog is liable to make a large mess and have serious discomfort from ingesting yogurt. A larger and stronger dog with a good disposition may not as inclined to stomach upset from yogurt, but avoiding the food is a good way to ensure you avoid a sick dog.
While humans and dogs are not particularly suited for digestion of milk, there are aspects of dairy foods that are beneficial to dogs. We all need dairy and calcium in our diets, which offer a lot of benefits to our overall health. Calcium may be found in other foods or offered as supplement, but calcium from the dairy source itself may offer some the very most of the vitamin. Not to mention how tasty dairy products are, why skip the tastiness of a milk based food suck as ice cream or yogurt simply to ingest a vitamin?
There are people and dogs that do not have any problem consuming these dairy products that contain lactose. Some digestive systems are better at digesting the lactose than others, but determining whether your dog has as strong enough system to tolerate lactose may be a bit trickier. How do you decide whether or not to feed yogurt to your pooch? Is there a consensus on whether or not dogs can safely consume dairy? Unfortunately, there is not. Tolerances of dogs vary greatly, so there is not a simple answer or determination to whether your particular dog is able to ingest yogurt.
When in doubt, always check with your vet to ensure a certain food is safe for your individual dog to ingest. Research food types and ingredients to ensure harmful and deadly toxins are not disguised within a particular food you are wishing to share with your dog. If you decide to offer your dog a bit of yogurt, do so slowly. Offer just a bit of yogurt and watch your dog for any potential side effects or stomach upset. If your pup likes the yogurt and does not show symptoms of upset, you may increase the serving size a bit and offer occasionally. In the event your pup does not react well to yogurt, monitor his/her symptoms and watch for any unusual behavior. Report any symptoms to your vet right way to ensure your pup’s health.
Can Dogs Eat Yogurt or Not?
So to answer this question, there is no clear definite “yes” or “no” on this issue. Some say that eating yogurt is fine for dogs; others say that you should keep your dog away from all dairy products. It is recommended that if your pooch has never consumed dairy and you do not know how s/he will react to it, you should not experiment with it. But if to your knowledge, the dog is fine with eating dairy and seems eager to lick your glass of yogurt, you may give him a little bit.
The answer, ultimately, is to treat the situation on a case by case basis. Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Then maybe skip the dairy (yogurt included) in order to avoid stomach issues. If your dog is known to eat pretty much anything without problems, go ahead and allow him to have a bit of yogurt. Always start small with offering yogurt, possibly offering a few freeze dried bits of yogurt first, and then working up to the yogurt in liquid form or frozen yogurt.
If you decide to feed yogurt to your pooch, feed him/her only one spoonful at first in order to gauge his/her reaction. If your dog did not have any issues after 24 hours of ingestion, you can go ahead and feed him/her more yogurts, but only occasionally, and in small quantities.
Yogurt should only be offered as an occasional treat. Dogs do not need the added calcium and supplements that human’s need, as their dog food is full of vitamins and minerals formulated for their doggie needs. Added calcium can be given to strengthen and protect the bones of older dogs, but only after approved by a local vet. Dogs technically do not need to be fed human food to sustain their life. Human food and yogurt is only a treat that is used to offset their dog food and offer a bit of variety or a reward. Yogurt may be mixed in with kibble to add flavor and fun to your dog’s day, or given as a training treat in freeze dried pellet form.
Possible Benefits of Yogurt
The benefits of yogurt for canines are mainly the same as they are for humans. Yogurt is an excellent source of zinc and calcium, but mainly it is known for its benefits to the digestive system. It also contains magnesium and potassium. The magnesium in yogurt helps to aid the body’s absorption of important vitamins and nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, sodium, vitamins E and C and phosphorus. Potassium helps to regulate functions of enzymes and sustain healthy muscles and nerves. Yogurt also aids in your dog’s heart function. If your pet suffers from digestive issues, such as diarrhea, bacterial overgrowth, inflamed bowel or infections, yogurt can act as a soothing and healing agent for these conditions. In some cases yogurt may worsen symptoms, so be sure to check with your vet.
What Kind of Yogurt Should I Feed my Dog?
If you do decide to give yogurt to your dog, don’t feed him fruity, flavored or sweetened kinds, as they will do more harm than good. Simple, unflavored, nonfat, plain yogurt with live bacterial cultures is the type you can try and the one that will allow your pet to enjoy the benefits of it. Plain Greek yogurt is another great option since it is more concentrated than regular yogurts and contains more probiotics. Just read the label before buying and remember that the fewer ingredients it has listed the better.
You want to choose a natural brand over a synthetic, sweetened one that presents zero benefits. Many yogurts carry additives and sugars that are not safe for the dog’s diet. Some yogurts contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, which is actually harmful for dogs. It may lead to a quick blood sugar drop, which potentially can cause seizures that may be fatal.
Yogurt and dairy in general, are much debated over when it comes to giving them the green light for canine’s consumption. While some dogs will get sick from yogurt and other dairy products, others will not. When considering whether or not to feed yogurt to your dog, it is best to take into consideration your pet’s general health, his history, and possible dietary sensitivities. As long as your pooch is not lactose intolerant, yogurt can serve as a valuable tool for treating his digestive issues since it contains probiotics. Probiotics strengthen your pet’s gastrointestinal health. However, instead of yogurt, veterinarians usually recommend giving dogs probiotics that are specifically formulated for the canine digestive system. Here is the best veterinarians recommended [easyazon_link identifier=”B001650NNW” locale=”US” tag=”frtp-20″]probiotics supplement for dogs[/easyazon_link].