Yogurt is an all-time favorite nutrient-dense food that has been consumed by humans for ages, both as a standalone snack and as an ingredient to another dish.
It is loaded with nutrients such as calcium and protein, as well as probiotics that help promote healthy digestion. But, is yogurt safe for dogs? Can dogs eat yogurt?
This tasty human food is also believed to offer plenty of health and nutritional benefits from promoting heart health, boosting one’s immune system, and supporting weight control.
As dog owners, it would somewhat be devastating if yogurt is toxic to dogs considering its many potential benefits.
Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?
Yes, you can give yogurt to your canine companions. While it is made for human consumption, yogurt is not toxic to dogs.
So, as long as you observe certain precautions, such as watching out for toxic ingredients like artificial sweeteners and only giving it in moderation, then, your dog can safely enjoy it from time to time.
And just like with other human foods that you add to your dog’s diet, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first. You should also introduce it gradually and watch out if your dog displays untoward reactions after eating even a small amount of yogurt.
If your dog develops stomach upset, stop giving him yogurt immediately.
Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?
Yogurt offers a multitude of health benefits for humans, and these can also extend to our pets if we give them a small amount from time to time.
However, veterinarians also argue that not just because yogurt is safe for dogs means that it’s the best healthy option for every dog.
Yogurt is primarily known for being an excellent source of probiotics, which are good bacteria that offer digestive benefits, and help promote gastrointestinal health both in humans and dogs.
However, a lot of veterinarians argue that it is best to give your dog a probiotic supplement that is specially formulated for canines.
At the end of the day, the amount of yogurt that is recommended for dogs won’t bring about enough beneficial bacteria that could provide significant health benefits.
Hence, giving your pup a probiotic supplement, instead of yogurt, would be a better option to support your dog’s gut and overall health.
Is Yogurt Safe for Dogs?
Not all yogurts are created equal; so, while some are safe for dogs in moderation, some can be harmful to your pup even in small amounts.
Generally, you should stick to plain yogurt if you are planning to give this dairy treat to your canine companion. You should also avoid those variants that contain added sugars, both natural and artificial sweetener. Added sugar in yogurts is unhealthy to your pooch, and some, such as xylitol or birch sugar are toxic to dogs.
Hence, by all means, stay away from xylitol sweetened yogurt, as well as those flavored yogurts or the kind that has ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
Additionally, plain Greek style yogurt can be a better option since it is rich in live cultures, and it has lower levels of lactose than regular yogurt. So yah, if you are wondering if can dogs eat Greek yogurt, then it's a YES.
As we know, lactose intolerance is expected in adult dogs, so it’s best to offer them foods that contain less lactose, if not totally free of this ingredient.
Hazards of Adding Yogurt to Your Dog’s Diet
Yogurts, as well as other dairy products, are not toxic to dogs, but as pet owners, these are not the healthiest and wisest food options that we can give to our dogs.
And despite having a good reputation for us humans, yogurt is far from being your best bet in promoting your dog’s health through complete and balanced nutrition.
While milk can be pretty much harmless for us humans, it’s not the same with adult dogs. Their bodies are not designed to effectively digest lactose.
And this is primarily because after they are weaned from their mothers, most puppies stop producing the enzyme lactase, which is needed in breaking down lactose. Hence, most, if not all, adult dogs become lactose intolerant.
So, if your dog consumes yogurt or other food that contains lactose, there’s a high chance that he will experience vomiting, diarrhea, and gas.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to consult your veterinarian right away so that prompt treatment can be started before things get worse.
Moreover, the fat content in yogurts is another health concern that should not be undermined. Too much fat in your dog’s food and treats won’t only cause digestive upset, but it can also lead to more serious complications such as pancreatitis.
In addition, foods that contain too much sugar are not good for dogs for obvious reasons. And some, if not all yogurt and dairy products have high sugar content. Hence, take time to read the label every time you are buying yogurt for your dog.
And as mentioned earlier, one of the most important reminders when feeding yogurt to your pup is to stick to the xylitol free variants.
Most often, xylitol is present in “low-fat/low-calorie” yogurts, as well as in any type of mix ins or yogurts that are flavored with fruits. So, it’s best to just stay away from these varieties.
When your dog eats even a small amount of flavored yogurt with xylitol, he may experience extremely low blood sugar, liver failure, and even death.
How Much Yogurt Can Dogs Eat?
Don't give too much yogurt! Generally speaking, if your vet approves it and your dog loves and tolerates yogurt, you can add one tablespoon of plain yogurt (without xylitol) to his food, or give it as a treat. You can even make a frozen yogurt treat with banana or berries using your ice cube tray.
Other factors that should be considered when considering the right serving of yogurt for your dog include the kind of yogurt, your dog’s size and weight, his daily caloric intake, neuter status, activity level, and underlying health condition.
Taking all of these things into consideration, it would help to consult your vet first in case you really want to add yogurt to your dog’s diet. And chances are, he may even have a better and healthier alternative for your pup.
So, before your vet visit, it might help to ask yourself, “Why do I want to give yogurt to my dog?” Your response to this question can help your veterinarian come up with an answer that is best suitable for your dog.