You might love yogurt for its delicious tang and gut-healthy probiotic boost, but what about as a treat to share with your best friend! We looked at all the reasons you might consider adding this delicious treat to your dog’s diet. Learn more about when and how you can share this cool, creamy treat.
Is yogurt is beneficial for dogs?
Yes, yogurt can be very beneficial for your dog. It is high in protein, which can help your pup feel full. It also is a good source of calcium which keeps your pup’s bones healthy. And finally, it is full of probiotics which are great for your dog’s digestive system. Even if yogurt is not a regular part of your dog’s diet, you might want to consider adding it if your dog has had surgery recently or is taking antibiotics. Since antibiotics kill bacteria, yogurt can help your pup get back (or maintain) some of the good bacteria in their gut.
Another benefit of yogurt is that it can be used to hide medication. If your dog is hiding from a pill, consider mixing it into some yogurt. Your pup may eat the pill in the yogurt so that you don’t have to keep chasing them around the house begging them to take their medicine (we know you do it and we know they don’t care)!
4 Tips for feeding your dog yogurt
1. Use plain yogurt
Flavored yogurts can be high in sugar which can lead to weight gain or obesity. You might be wondering if greek yogurt is okay to share - and it should be just fine for your pup to enjoy.
To avoid extra sugar, choose plain yogurt (regular or greek) without any flavors or sweetener. You can always add your own if your pup is put off by the tart flavor. Consider using honey or fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries if the plain yogurt is unappealing to your dog. While a lick from your carton of flavored yogurt once in a while won’t be a problem, don’t ever offer your dog chocolate yogurt as you should never share chocolate with your dog.
2. Avoid low fat or diet yogurts
Try to use yogurt that is plain and as minimally processed as possible. Low fat or diet yogurts sometimes contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame or xylitol which are toxic to dogs. If you do use low-fat yogurt, ensure it is free from any artificial sweeteners before you share it with your pup.
3. Start slowly
If your pup has never had yogurt before, start with a small taste and work up from there. This will allow you to watch for lactose intolerance or any other allergic reaction your dog might have. Some pups also just have sensitive stomachs and any change in their diets, no matter how delicious can cause some stress and an upset stomach.
4. Use yogurt to make a delicious treat
While sharing some plain yogurt with your pup can be a delicious treat by itself. You can also blend the yogurt with fruit and/or peanut butter and freeze it into a pupsicle. Your pup may love the added flavor boost as well as a cold treat on a warm day. Consider purchasing some fun molds in the shape of a heart, bone or paw print for an extra special treat!
How can I tell if my pup is lactose intolerant?
Since your pup can’t tell you they’re having trouble with the lactose in yogurt, you will need to watch for some symptoms. If you see that your pups has diarrhea, vomiting or gas after eating yogurt, that is probably a pretty good sign they aren’t tolerating lactose. It could also be your pup’s way of showing that they have simply had too much yogurt or that the yogurt you gave them was bad. The signs and symptoms of mild food poisoning can be very similar to those of lactose intolerance. If your dog generally tolerates small amounts of dairy and they get sick one time, it could be food poisoning instead of lactose intolerance. Follow food safety guidelines and keep yogurt refrigerated as directed. Be mindful of expiration dates. Also, watch for any cross-contamination with other foods in your kitchen. Keep yourself and your pet safe as food poisoning is no fun for anyone - no one likes cleaning up vomit or diarrhea or watching their pet not feel well. You may have to give your pup yogurt a few times to tell if it is lactose intolerance or something else.
Before you share yogurt with your pup, it is a good idea to consult your vet to determine how much your pup can eat in a single serving. You can start slowly and work up to the ideal serving over the course of 3-7 days. If your pup has any adverse reaction to yogurt, stop feeding it and consult your vet again. Your vet may suggest you stop feeding yogurt and consider other sources of calcium, probiotics, and protein.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.