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Can dogs eat Cheese?

Updated 29 May 2024
Read time: 8 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer
Copywriter
article author
Reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon
Team Vet

yes, dogs can eat cheese but only small pieces and in moderation as a special treat.

Dogs love cheese so lots of dog trainers use it as a yummy treat to incentivise them, and it’s also great for hiding pills or tablets. That said, of course it should be fed in moderation, and some cheeses are off-limits to dogs.

In this article we’ll go into detail over whether dogs can eat cheese, whether cheese has health benefits to dogs, and which cheese is bad for dogs to eat.

Is cheese good for dogs?

Cheese isn’t necessarily a healthy food for dogs as it has a very high fat content, so it’s definitely a treat. When fed in moderation, however, cheese does contain a few health benefits. It’s also really tasty to dogs (most of them love it), so it’s great for hiding things dogs might turn their nose up at, such as tablets or pills.

What are the health benefits?

Cheese offers a few health benefits when fed to a dog every now and then:

Protein is crucial for a dog, great for muscle and tissue maintenance and repair.

Calcium helps keep teeth and bones strong, and is particularly important for puppies and senior pooches.

Fatty acids in cheese containing omega-3 and omega-6 are important for immunity, heart health and a lovely skin and coat condition.

Vitamin A works towards good vision, immunity and skin.

Complex B vitamins are crucial for red blood cell activity, metabolising energy and a healthy nervous system.

Super tasty so encourages pooches to eat, or acts as a great training treat.

Can puppies eat cheese?

Puppies can eat tiny amounts of cheese as a treat, alongside their regular puppy food. As the puppy stage is the perfect time to train a pooch, cheese makes for a very effective training treat. Cheese also contains calcium, which is super important for a dog’s bone and teeth growth at puppy stage.

When is cheese unsafe for dogs?

Cheese can be unsafe for a dog when fed too often, as it’s very high in fat and sodium. Don’t feed a dog cheese every day or as a regular food - it’s a treat. Also be wary of what type of cheese you feed your pooch. Cheddar is a classic choice, but something rogue like a stilton, or very processed like cheese spread should be avoided (more on types of cheese later).

Your dog also may have a lactose intolerance or cheese allergy. If you notice your dog has adverse reactions after eating cheese, definitely don’t feed it to them.

Can dogs be allergic to cheese?

Sure, if they’re lactose intolerant or have a food allergy. If you notice any of the following signs after your pooch has scoffed cheese, don’t feed them cheese any more and chat it over with your vet.

  • Reddening, itchiness, rash of the skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain or bloating
  • Breathing difficulties or wheezing
  • Lethargy, change in behaviour

Can cheese make dogs sick?

Yep, as above - lactose intolerance can make a dog sick after eating cheese, but eating too much cheese can also make a dog vomit. If your pooch has gotten into a whole block of cheese, it’s very likely they’ll be sick.

Certain kinds of cheeses can also cause sickness, specifically blue cheeses with mould running through them. Don’t feed these cheeses to your pooch.

How to safely give cheese to your dog?

Give your dog a small piece of standard cheese (like Cheddar) every now and then as a treat. You could grate a bit of cheese over their regular food if you’re having trouble getting them to eat. Remember, treats for dogs should count for 10% of their diet, so count it alongside any other treats you’re giving them.

Are there any health conditions where a dog shouldn’t eat cheese?

As cheese in all forms is generally fatty, you should avoid feeding to pooch’s with pancreatitis. This could cause further issues and definitely won’t do anything to help the problem!

Dogs that are overweight and obese should also stay clear, as it’s sure to add extra weight which in turn can lead to weight-related health issues.

What kinds of cheese can dogs eat?

There are unbelievable amounts of cheese varieties out there, and they all have different properties. Some are fine for dogs to eat as a treat, others could make them ill. Let’s go into what kinds of cheese dogs can eat, and can’t eat.

Can dogs eat cottage cheese?

Yes. Cottage cheese isn’t the most palatable cheese for dogs but it won’t cause them harm. A small spoonful in their dog bowl to coax them into eating their food could work a treat.

Can dogs eat blue cheese?

No - don’t feed dogs a blue cheese, such as Stilton or Roquefort. The characteristic mould that develops in a blue cheese can give dogs a stomach upset and probably make them sick.

Can dogs eat feta cheese?

Yes, in fact it could be a suitable alternative cheese for dogs who have a lactose intolerance. Feta is made from sheep’s milk, so rather than containing lactose, it has galactose. That said, feta does contain small amounts of lactose, so it could still be risky to give it to a dog who doesn’t handle cheese too well. As with all cheeses, only feed a small amount as a treat.

Can dogs eat cream cheese?

Dogs can eat a tiny bit of cream cheese as a treat, but be sure that the type you choose is plain. No flavoured cream cheeses are suitable for a pooch - particularly ones with onion, chives or garlic flavouring.

Can dogs eat cheese spread?

No, cheese spread in general has less nutritional value than the source cheese, and is usually very high in fat, salt and preservatives, so unsafe for a dog. If your dog likes softer cheeses they could have a small amount of plain cream cheese, or maybe some cottage cheese.

Can dogs eat cauliflower cheese?

Though cauliflower is a nutritious veggie snack for dogs, the cheese sauce that accompanies cauliflower cheese isn’t suitable for a pooch. It has too high a salt content, as well as hydrogenated fats, and has little nutritional value. It’s safer to feed pooches some boiled or steamed cauliflower with a small grating of melted cheddar on it, if you want to improvise.

Can dogs eat parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese is ok for dogs in moderation, but not in the powdered form. It’s quite a hard cheese so your pooch might prefer a softer version as a treat, such as Cheddar.

Can dogs eat brie cheese?

In moderation. Brie is safe if your dog responds well to cheese, but it’s a particularly high fat cheese so should definitely only be given to a dog now and then as a treat. Choose a lower fat cheese if you want to use it for training your pooch.

Can dogs eat Babybel cheese?

No. As it’s a processed cheese, it’s best to avoid feeding your pooch Babybel and choose fresher, more nutritious cheeses instead.

Can dogs eat cheese puffs?

No - avoid feeding your dog salty, artificial snacks such as cheese puffs or cheesy crisps. They don’t contain the nutritious value of cheese and are packed with preservatives.

Can dogs eat cheese biscuits?

No - don’t feed your dog cheese biscuits. If you’re eating cheese and crackers and your pooch comes begging, just feeding them a tiny bit of a plain cheese (like Cheddar) is fine, but avoid letting them munch cheese biscuits or crackers.

Can dogs eat mac and cheese?

No. Mac and cheese is a very rich human food, high in fat and dairy content, and doesn’t have any nutritional benefit to a dog. Pasta, cheeses and white sauce are a great combo for a human comfort meal but none of these ingredients add much value to a dog’s diet, and in fact, could make them very sick.

Can dogs eat vegan cheese?

It’s a rogue choice for dogs but as vegan cheese is made mostly of plant-based oils (such as coconut) and cashew nuts, it shouldn’t technically harm a dog. Try feeding your dog a small amount to see how they respond to the vegan cheese. If they have no adverse effects and seem to like the taste, consider it a treat for your dog, the same as you would dairy cheese.

Can dogs eat halloumi cheese?

No - halloumi has a very high salt content, and isn’t suitable for a dog’s delicate tummy. Consider that squeaky, barbecued halloumi as a human treat.

Conclusion

In summary, we know dogs love a piece of cheese, and feeding it as a treat or training incentive is safe for a dog. That said, stick to a classic cheese such as Cheddar, avoiding the flavoured or overly processed cheeses. Cheesy foods like crisps or pasta should definitely be avoided.

If your dog reacts badly to cheese, they could have a sensitive tum, be lactose intolerant or have a food allergy. Definitely avoid cheese if this applies to your dog.

What other foods can dogs safely eat?

If you like the sound of cheese but you want alternative, healthy treats for your dog, why not try the following?

Peanut butter dental sticks for dogs - dogs love the taste of peanut butter, and chewing a dental stick calms them down while cleaning their teeth.

Meaty probiotic treats for dogs - delicious flavours packed with beneficial probiotics for a healthy gut.

Calming dog treats - tasty dog treats with the natural relaxants of hemp and L-tryptophan.

Try our range of grain-free healthy dog treats - made with tasty, natural ingredients, they’re irresistible to a pooch while being great for their body and mind.

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