Yogurt is a pretty common snack for a lot of humans, but with so many variations, it can seem not very easy to let dogs consume. There are some human food options out there that make sense for dogs, but does yogurt fall in that category? Can dogs eat yogurt?
Yes, all dogs not lactose intolerant can eat yogurt occasionally. The best options will be plain yogurts with little to no sweeteners or flavors. If they are low fat or fat-free, it makes it even healthier for the dog to eat on a more regular basis.
What are the main health benefits of yogurt for dogs? People have been feeding dogs yogurt for quite a long time, as there are many health benefits with the right option. In fact, there are some dog owners providing yogurt to dogs if they have an allergy towards certain meats. They can get a lot of the same health benefits from yogurt, and it is much softer for dogs that might have problems with their teeth.
Yogurt is very high in calcium, which is going to strengthen their teeth and bones. It is one of the essential minerals for dogs, as it also helps with the functioning of muscles, blood clotting, and more. Dogs get a fair amount of calcium in their regular dog food, but getting a little bit with a snack helps out.
Dogs are carnivores, and they need protein to live a healthy life. It helps to keep their body functioning correctly all the time, as it is filled with essential amino acids to keep everything as healthy as possible. Protein keeps a dog’s hair and skin healthy, improves muscle development, repairs tissue, and so much more. There are a lot of snacks out there for dogs packed with protein, but yogurt is a natural way to get it just the same.
If a dog has problems with their digestive system, yogurt might act as an excellent probiotic solution. Of course, it is crucial to make sure that they do not have any problems consuming lactose, as it can be counterproductive. The reason why it acts as a probiotic is that it attacks harmful bacteria and restores the growth of good bacteria. A dog’s immune system now functions correctly, and they stay as healthy as possible.
What is the proper amount of yogurt for a dog?
While introducing any new food to a dog, it is crucial to keep everything under control. That means starting with one or two tablespoons of yogurt for dogs, and then going from there. At most, a dog should only have a handful of tablespoons per serving so that they do not depend on yogurt too much. This is assuming that a dog is also eating a regular diet and getting the calories that way.
Pay close attention to how the dog reacts when they start consuming yogurt for the first time. Monitor their behavior for the next 24 hours and see if they have any bad reactions. Once it seems clear that they are free to eat yogurt, incorporating it a few times a week is perfectly fine.
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In certain situations, dogs will start consuming yogurt every single day. That is to get some of the health benefits from yogurt that most get from meats. Allergies might cause some dogs to go on a non-meat, or limited meat, diet.
What is the best way to serve dog yogurt?
There is no reason to make yogurt any more special than it has to be. Dogs are going to eat it up if they enjoy it, and some people will give them a spoonful, just like how humans consume it. Make sure to provide them with a proper portion instead of leaving a big container out in the open for them, or they will likely finish it all before leaving.
Some dog owners will also add yogurt to the top of food or mix it in with traditional dog food. This comes down to how a dog reacts because some will not want to mess with their regular eating habits.
To offer them something that resembles ice cream, there is a way to freeze plain yogurt in ice cube trays and feed it to a dog. This is an excellent way to cool them down a bit, and it solidifies the yogurt, so it is a little less messy.
What are the disadvantages of yogurt for dogs?
While most dogs will be just fine with yogurt, those lactose intolerant will suffer the most. They should have a diet free of any dairy products. Also, yogurt is safe, but the wrong sweeteners can turn the snack into something deadly.
How to tell if a dog is lactose intolerant
Dogs at an early age will begin to try different foods and see what their body processes. Pay close attention to any food that they might consume that has lactose in it to see how their body reacts. Early signs, even with very minimal amounts of lactose, include diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and more. They are also likely to have a loss of appetite, which can go on for a while until it passes through their system.
The good news is that most dogs suffering from being lactose intolerant are still going to be able to consume some milk products here and there occasionally. They might have some general discomfort for a short amount of time, but they will make a full recovery. It is best to stay away from lactose as much as possible, but it is not as toxic as other food options out there.
Why should yogurt for dogs be free of sweeteners and flavors?
A little bit of flavor and sweetener usually does not do too much harm, but dogs do not react well to certain sweeteners found in human food. One sweetener, in particular, to look out for is xylitol. It is something that even in small amounts can create high blood pressure and seizures for dogs. If they consume too much, there is even a risk of death.
Artificial sweeteners used in place of sugar like Stevia and aspartame are non-toxic, but they are not particularly suitable for dogs either. They are not going to suffer from any substantial health problems, but their body may not react that well. These products metabolize into methanol, which causes an upset stomach in dogs and a lazy feel overall.
Is Greek yogurt better or worse for dogs?
All types of plain yogurt are solid options for dogs, but Greek yogurt might be the best. That is because it has more probiotics to help with digestion. Most people are going to see an increase in fighting off the harmful bacteria and keeping a gut as balanced as possible.
Humans usually have a preference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt, but dogs are going to react pretty much the same way to both. Make sure to look for a low-fat version of plain Greek yogurt, especially if the dog is fighting any weight issues. The goal is to keep calories low with any snack. Even if the yogurt seems a little too plain and flavorless for human consumption, it is going to be sufficient for the dog.
Can other foods be added to yogurt?
Healthy food options for dogs can be added to any yogurt to enhance the flavor naturally. It is important to pay close attention to what goes into the yogurt, but the majority of people are going to find this to be another solid variation.
Some common additions to yogurt that are safe for dogs include the flesh of berries, granola, small and healthy seeds, and more. There does not need to be much inside the yogurt, but it adds a little bit of extra flavor and texture for dogs to enjoy.
A solution like this is also a healthy compromise for humans who might be eating yogurt at the same time. The majority of people do not care for yogurt that is entirely plain, but adding something healthy to the mix gives it some flavor.
Should dogs have other dairy products?
The general recommendation for dogs is not to consume too much dairy on a regular basis. Yogurt is one of the exceptions because it helps with digestive systems, but too much lactose is going to make a dog sick. Not all dogs are lactose intolerant, but a lot of them have some sensitivity to lactose.
Try to stay away from giving them any other dairy products other than yogurt. It is fine if they sneak a few tastes here and there of other foods, but making it a habit is potentially setting them up for some health issues.
A final look at yogurt for dogs
Dogs rarely say no to getting a snack, and almost every dog will react positively to yogurt. It is an inexpensive, tasty snack for dogs to have once in a while. The health benefits help as well, making it a snack option worth giving a try to switch things up a bit for any dog litter out there.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.