Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? Is Yogurt Bad for a Dog

Yogurt is one of many human foods that can be questionable when it comes to sharing it with our beloved pets. Yogurt is very healthy for humans, as it’s high in probiotics, which are good bacteria; probiotics are essential for a healthy digestive system. But does yogurt have the same effect on dogs, as it does humans? Is it completely safe to feed yogurt to your dog?

Overall, yogurt is fine to eat once in a while for many dogs. However, some dogs cannot digest it, if they are lactose intolerant. This is the most important thing to keep in mind, and before feeding your dog yogurt, you should check in with your vet about your dog’s medical history. If they are lactose intolerant, you are better off avoiding feeding them yogurt or only giving them certain kinds.

For most dogs, yogurt will be a healthy and tasty treat. It can even offer many health benefits for the animal. Always check in with your vet, and take note of how your dog responds to the human food before you give them any more. Also ensure that you only ever give your dog small amounts of yogurt; large quantities may be harmful, and it should never replace their regular meals of dog food.

Can Dogs Benefit from Yogurt?

Fortunately, dogs can indeed eat yogurt. In addition to being a delicious treat, yogurt offers a variety of health benefits that dogs can take in. This includes protein, calcium, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, on top of the probiotics that yogurt is so well known for. Many pet owners give yogurt occasionally to their dogs to maintain and improve gastrointestinal health, and you can rest well knowing this is a very healthy snack.

While dogs do process probiotics in the same way that humans do, and they can get this benefit for their digestive systems from yogurt, there may be better sources of probiotics for canines. These include supplements that are specifically designed for dogs and cats and that are frequently recommended from veterinarians. These supplements will provide the good bacteria that improve your dog’s intestinal health, without the lactose that may be difficult to digest.  

The Problem with Yogurt for Dogs

Although yogurt is not toxic for your pet, many canines will have trouble digesting it. Dog’s bodies are not really designed to digest lactose once they are weaned off of their mother’s milk. Yogurt has less lactose than milk because it has been fermented, which is why some dogs can still digest it easily. However, you should be aware that if your dog is lactose intolerant and cannot digest it easily, they may exhibit certain symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Some dogs have a harder time digesting dairy than others. An important thing to consider when giving your dog yogurt is to ask yourself whether they have an issue with lactose. You will know if your dog is lactose intolerant; symptoms of a dog having a reaction to dairy include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Flatulence/abdominal gas
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Poor body condition
  • Itching/excessive scratching

If you think your dog is lactose intolerant, you should refrain from giving them yogurt all together. However, if your vet has said it’s safe to give them a small amount, you can try giving them Greek yogurt, as this style tends to have less lactose.

What Type of Yogurt is Best for Dogs?

As mentioned, Greek yogurt is great if you’re worried about the lactose. You should also give your dog completely plain yogurt that is free of any added sweeteners, both natural and artificial. Just as added sugars are not healthy for humans, they’re very unhealthy for dogs as well. Some artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, are actually very toxic for dogs. Certain additions or flavors, such as chocolate, will also be dangerous for your pet.

You should also look for a yogurt that has a lot of live cultures (bacteria), because these will help your dog digest the lactose in yogurt. Also pick non- or low-fat yogurt. Choose the brand carefully.

In general, avoid feeding your dog:

  • Full fat yogurts
  • Anything that is chocolate flavored or contains pieces of chocolate
  • Yogurt with flavoring components
  • Yogurt containing “fruit on the bottom”
  • Yogurt with artificial sweeteners, especially Xylitol

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt Conclusion

Overall, yogurt is safe for your dog, as long as you take care to feed it only in small amounts and take care to pick a right brand that won’t pose any health threats to your pet. You can supplement your dog’s diet with yogurt by adding it to their meals or make it an extra special treat that you give them every once in a while.

A great way to give yogurt to your dog is to freeze it with pieces of meat mixed in. You can pour fat-free yogurt into an ice cube tray and add small amounts of meat. Then, when your dog earns this extra special treat, pop one out and feed it to them. Dogs will love yogurt given to them in this way.

Many dogs don’t digest lactose very well, and they may have problems with yogurt. Greek yogurt can help you combat this problem, but keep in mind that your dog might just not go well with this food. It is completely natural for dogs to not be able to digest lactose as easily as humans can, so do not be concerned if your pet is unable to do so. If they exhibit any symptoms after eating yogurts, such as having diarrhea or vomiting, contact your vet immediately and stop feeding them yogurt right away.

As always, check in with your vet, and speak with them about whether yogurt is a good idea, before incorporating the human food into the dog’s diet. As their owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your dog has a healthy life. Rest assured that yogurt is one of the human foods that is completely safe to share with your pet, as long as you take precautions.

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?
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