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Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

When it comes to dogs and cheese, its not all gouda!

 If you’re wondering, “can my dog eat cheese,” we have good news.

Most cheeses are safe for healthy dogs to eat with some exceptions, and only when given in moderation. Other cheeses are toxic and could send your dog to the emergency vet.

Is Cheese Good or Bad for Dogs?

There’s no need to add cheese as a staple to your dog’s complete and balanced meals, but the right type of cheese in moderation is okay as a treat for dogs.

Some types of cheese even provide important nutrients and vitamins for dogs:

  • Protein for energy
  • Calcium for muscle and bone health
  • Vitamin A for healthy vision, teeth, skin, and coat
  • Vitamin B for healthy skin, heart, and digestive system
  • Fatty acids for healthy skin and immune function

For picky eaters or a pup that needs extra motivation to take a pill, cheese can be a yummy solution.

But feeding your dogs too much cheese, or the wrong kind of cheese could mean trouble.

Are Dogs Lactose Intolerant?

Yes, most dogs are lactose intolerant.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk. Some types of milk have more lactose than others—with cow’s milk containing the highest amount of lactose when compared to goat’s milk or dog’s milk.

To break down lactose, the body needs to produce an enzyme called lactase.

Puppies are born with enough lactase enzymes to break down lactose in their mom’s milk. But as they age, the production of the enzyme decreases—resulting in many lactose intolerant dogs.

Too much cheese and your dog could experience digestive upset including vomiting and diarrhea.

If lactose and your dog seem to get along, experts say not to go crazy with the number of cheese snacks.

Certain types of cheese are high in fat, contributing to weight gain. Feeding too much cheese to dogs could lead to obesity-related conditions like pancreatitis.

What Kind of Cheese Can Dogs Eat?

If you want to share a bite of cheese with your dog, hard and aged cheeses (not moldy) are a safe bet.

The longer a cheese ages, the less amount of lactose it contains.

While moderation is key, your dog can enjoy a low-fat, low-sodium, and/or low-lactose cheese:

Cottage Cheese

Want to give your dog a special treat or hide a pill? Cottage cheese is a good choice. It’s low in lactose, plus it’s high in calcium and protein. When considering cottage cheese as a snack for dogs, reach for a low-fat cottage cheese option to keep your dog from gaining excess weight.

Cheddar Cheese

A popular cheese choice among humans, cheddar cheese will likely be a hit with your dog too. Selecting an aged cheddar is the best bet for reducing gas or diarrhea, as it’s lower in lactose than fresh cheeses.

Swiss Cheese

Wondering if you can share a slice of Swiss cheese with your dog?

Swiss is another safe cheese option to give your pup since it's lower in lactose than some other cheeses.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese is lower in fat and sodium than many cheese kinds of cheese, making it a dog-safe snack. Great for training as well.

As for mozzarella pizza? That’s best served to two-legged, not four-legged friends.

Provolone Cheese

Dogs can eat provolone, basically an aged cheese, which is low in lactose but can be high in sodium and fat so give in small amounts or avoid if your dog is overweight or has any health issues. Oh and stay away from any smoked or seasoned provolone.

What Kind of Cheese Shouldn’t Dogs Eat?

From Gorgonzola to Feta, not all cheese is safe for your dog to eat. 

Here are the types of cheese dogs shouldn’t eat:

Blue Cheeses

Any cheese in the blue cheese family, also known as the blue-veined cheeses, is a no-go for dogs.

That’s because blue cheese is ripened with a fungus that produces a toxic mycotoxin, called roquefortine. While Roquefort, Danish Blue, Stilton, Gorgonzola, and other moldy cheeses are safe for human consumption, they’re downright toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of roquefortine poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Paddling
  • Hyperesthesia
  • Seizures 

Without treatment, death from roquefortine ingestion can occur within a few hours to a few days. If you believe your dog has ingested a blue-veined cheese, seek medical care right away. Depending on how much blue cheese was ingested and how much time has passed, your vet may induce vomiting, pump your dog's stomach, and manage neurological symptoms with medications.

Cheese With Added Ingredients

As a general rule, steer clear of any cheeses with added ingredients. Common ingredients added to cheese that are toxic to dogs include:

  • Onions
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Grapes in any form (including raisins)
  • Tarragon

Spicy Cheeses

Dogs don’t have a great sense of taste, thanks to having about one-sixth of the number of taste buds that we do. So, dogs might not be able to taste the spice of cheeses like pepper jack and spicy cheddar, but they’ll feel the spice in their gut. Spicy foods and cheeses are considered non-toxic to dogs, but they could irritate their mouth and cause GI upset like gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Processed Cheeses

Processed cheeses like Velveeta, string cheese, and American cheese aren’t likely to send your dog to the emergency vet—but they can wreak havoc on your dog’s stomach.

Highly processed cheeses are typically higher in lactose than other cheeses.

Depending on the amount ingested, your dog could experience a mild tummy ache to severe gas, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Feta Cheese

High in sodium, fat, and lactose, feta cheese shouldn’t be a go-to snack for your pup.

This high-fat cheese doesn’t just put your pup at risk for adding on the pounds—eating foods high in sodium could lead to severe dehydration.


Rich, fatty, and packed full of lactose, brie cheese is likely to give your pooch an upset stomach. It’s best to hold the cheese when it comes to serving brie to your dog.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is high in fat and calories, making it an unhealthy snack for dogs.

Plus, many types of cream cheese have dangerous ingredients like chives, smoked salmon, and garlic.

This means that tasty cream-cheese-based desserts like cheesecake are also a no-go for dogs.

How Much Cheese is OK for Dogs to Eat?

Of course, no amount of blue cheese or any cheeses made with an onion relative is safe for your dog to eat. When it comes to hard and soft cheeses, experts say it’s all about moderation.

If you’re trying to figure out how much cheese your dog can eat, your healthy dog shouldn’t get more than a few bites of cheese a day. If your dog is overweight or obese, it’s probably a good idea to pass on the cheese snack altogether. Of course, the amount of cheese your dog can eat also depends on their tolerance to lactose and body size.

When choosing the type and amount of any treat to give your dog, remember that treats shouldn’t make up more than ten percent of their daily calorie intake.

Can All Dogs Eat Cheese?

Not all dogs should eat cheese.

Dogs that are overweight or obese should stick to a vet-recommended diet and low-fat treats. Additionally, if your dog is at risk of developing or has been diagnosed with kidney disease or pancreatitis, consult your vet before feeding your dog cheese.

Lastly, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, cheese likely isn’t a good snack for them.

If you’re wondering what foods are safe to introduce to your dog’s diet, it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet first.

When introducing any new food to your dog, start with small amounts and see how they react.

If they have any signs of gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea—your dog probably shouldn’t eat cheese.


Cheese like cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese can be a safe snack for dogs when given in moderation.

They can be heavy in calories, so too much cheese could put your pup at risk of gaining weight—not to mention digestive upset.

While it boasts some nutritional value, cheeses shouldn’t be a staple in your dog’s diet, they’ll get all the nutrition they need from complete and balanced dog food.

If you’re hoping to hide a medication or are looking for a good motivator for training, cheese can be a good option.

But if you’re looking for a tasty, protein-packed treat that will keep your dog occupied, there are better options for your pooch.

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