Dog Care

Can Dogs Eat Cheese? It’s More Complicated Than You Think!

Can Dogs Eat Cheese? It’s More Complicated Than You Think!

Written By Amica Graber

Mar 21, 2017

Out all the potential controversies for dog lovers to stumble into, who would have thought that cheese would be so controversial?

Most people love cheese. Some are borderline obsessed with it. And dogs aren’t so different; most mutts will go absolutely loopy for a taste of the cheddar. But can dogs eat cheese safely?

Despite years of misinformation spread by the dairy industry, cheese is not the wholesome food it’s often portrayed as — for both humans and dogs. Here are some fast facts about cheese:

But not all cheese is created equally. So, can dogs have cheese?

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Dog owners and dog trainers alike can fall into the cheese trap, as most dogs will suddenly morph from four-legged terrors to obedient little angels if you whip out a cheese stick.

The internet is divided when it comes to feeding Fido cheesy treats. One camp says it’s fine in moderation, and others forbid it altogether. As with any new food, run any questions by your vet ahead of time.

There isn’t an easy answer for this; some dogs will be fine with cheese, and others may be super sensitive to it. Even dog owners who swear by cheesy treats admit that it should be an occasional indulgence, not a regular snack. The fat and calorie content of most commercial cheeses will pile on the pounds, and smaller dogs especially may end up gaining excessive weight.

While some cheese products are better than others, there are certain cheeses that should be avoided altogether.

Like humans, some dogs are lactose intolerant. Any cheese consumption for a lactose-intolerant dog is likely to end up in:

  • Horrible, never-ending streams of diarrhea

  • Farts so foul that your indoor plants will wither and die before your eyes (along with your nasal hairs)

  • Vomiting, Exorcist-style

  • One sad puppy

And yes, I’m one of lucky few who found out my dog was lactose intolerant the hard way! It goes without saying that a lactose-intolerant dog should avoid all dairy products.

Can Dogs Eat Cottage Cheese?

For a non-lactose-intolerant dog, a teaspoon of cottage cheese won’t harm them. Out of all the various types of cheese, cottage cheese is the least harmful as it’s lower in fat than other kinds of cheese, and it can be a good source of protein if you have a dog that suffers from protein-losing enteropathy.

Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese?

If a dollop of cream cheese hits the floor, it’s not going to cause your dog any harm should they lick it up — provided that it doesn’t contain anything potentially toxic, like garlic, onions, or avocados.

That said, most cream cheeses contain preservatives, additives, and other less-than-stellar dining options for doggo, so avoid it when possible. Always check the ingredients, as companies often slip in garlic flavors for extra taste. Garlic is lethal for pets.

Can Dogs Eat String Cheese?

If you’re trying to fatten up a super-skinny pup, the odd portion of string cheese shouldn’t cause any disasters. But if you have a small dog, or a slightly tubby puppy, it’s best to keep the string cheese in the pantry. One stick of string cheese contains 90 calories, which is way too much for a dog in one sitting.

Can Dogs Eat Cheddar Cheese?

Cheddar cheese, while filled with fat, is usually a better option for your dog if you’re determined to give them cheese. Look for organic brands that haven’t been exposed to additives and chemicals. Pet owners often use small chunks of cheddar cheese to slip pills to their stubborn dogs, who won’t take their medicine any other way.

Can Dogs Eat Swiss Cheese?

Cheddar, Swiss, and parmesan cheeses all contain lower levels of lactose than  other cheeses, making them more appropriate for doggy consumption than lactose-heavy varieties.

Can Dogs Eat Havarti Cheese?

If your dog gobbles up your havarti cheese when your back is turned, double-check those ingredients. Havarti is commonly flavored with garlic and onion, which is a big doggy no-no. If your dog has consumed garlic, onion, or other potentially toxic ingredients, take them to the vet pronto.

Can Dogs Eat Mozzarella Cheese?

Mozzarella has a higher lactose content than other cheeses, so keep this one away from curious snouts.

Can Dogs Eat Blue Cheese?

Blue cheeses, like Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort, and other French favorites should be added to your list of no-no foods for Fido. When blue cheese starts to get super-ripe, it can produce roquefortine, a potentially lethal toxin for dogs to consume. There have been documented cases of dogs dying from consuming old blue cheese, so keep it 100% out of your dog’s way.

All cheeses can produce roquefortine if they’re old enough, so if your dog has “rescued” any cheese from the trash and starts to demonstrate any of the following symptoms, take them to the nearest animal hospital at once:

  • Shivering

  • Spasms

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Lethargy

  • Neurological symptoms (i.e. confusion, aggression, etc.)

Can Dogs Eat Feta Cheese?

Like mozzarella, feta cheese can be high in lactose, so it’s not an ideal cheesy choice.

Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese?

Goat cheese is low in lactose as well as fat. If you’re going to slip your dog medication on the sly, think about substituting cow cheese for goat cheese.

Can Dogs Eat Herb Cheese?

Herb cheese often contains hazardous ingredients for pups. These may include:

To err on the side of caution, avoid any additionally flavored cheese altogether.

Can Dogs Eat Macaroni And Cheese?

The fat content of regular cheese is quadrupled in macaroni and cheese and then compounded with through-the-roof carbs. If you drop it, a tiny nibble won’t drastically harm your dog, but never intentionally feed Fido a bowl of mac and cheese.