Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Read time: 4 mins

03 Dec 2020

By Team Butternut Box

There’s something so simple and satisfying about a piece of cheese. It's especially delicious with a glass of wine or melted on toast with some pickle. Because it's one of our favourite things to eat, it might feel tempting to slip your pooch a cube or two. But can dogs eat cheese? The short answer is yes, but it does depend on the pooch. Each pup is unique, with different preferences, nutritional requirements and health issues. Some adore our Beef It Up recipe, others prefer Wham Bam Lamb. Cocker Spaniels and Labs? They're quite happy with either. Whether or not your dog enjoys eating cheese is a matter of personal taste; whether or not they can digest it comes down to their digestive health and tolerance of dairy. So if you're wondering to cheese or not to cheese, read on to brie enlightened.

High value, high fat

Some dogs go mad for cheese, which makes it a perfect high-value treat. The Blue Cross even uses small cubes in their rehoming centres to help train rescued pups. It’s a motivating reward that certainly helps them come back when you call, but it does have some drawbacks. As with any snack, cheese should be given in moderation alongside a balanced and complete diet, such as Butternut Box meals. Our recipes are nutritionally complete, packed with protein and veg and portioned to suit your dog's requirements. Giving a treat or two to a healthy dog in additional to their daily diet is fine. But since cheese is pretty high in fat, there are certain furry friends who shouldn't have it. Even if they give you The Look. If your four-legged family member is overweight, a calorie-controlled diet that’s low in fat to help them drop a few pounds is in order. Cheese will certainly be off the menu, but why not try carrots instead? As well as being healthy, tasty and temptingly sweet, they can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean and fend off diabolical dog breath.

Don’t risk it, have a biscuit

Another reason your pooch might need to steer clear of cheese is found deep down in their gut. After puppyhood, most dogs lose their ability to process lactose. As adults, some can digest it without a problem but others can have an adverse reaction. Not only can it result in eye-watering farts, but it can also mean loose stools, tummy pain and even vomiting. If your dog is known to have a sensitive tummy, it's probably wise to avoid cheese, even if they seem keen. There’s no point risking an adverse reaction when there are safer treat options like chicken cubes or gummy chews.

Step away from the Stilton

So, we know that cheese is fine in moderation and that certain dogs shouldn’t eat any at all, but the world of cheese is vast and varied, and not all types are created equal. Blue cheeses like Stilton are made with fungus and produce something called roquefortine C. Dogs are highly sensitive to this substance and it can cause all manner of upsets, from diarrhoea to vomiting and – in extreme cases – seizures. It’s best to avoid it completely, but if your pup does snag some and displays any of these symptoms, call your vet ASAP. You should also avoid very high-fat and creamy cheeses. A gut that's used to a balanced diet can be overwhelmed by the introduction of really fatty food and the results can be, well, explosive. If your dog pinches the Camembert from the buffet, you'll just have to let nature run its course. Giving your furry friend a little cheesy treat from time to time could well be fine. But remember, while their taste buds may say yes, their tummies might not be so keen.

So, is there nothing Gouda-bout* cheese?

Actually, there is one type of cheese that’s a bit of an exception to the other cheeses of the world. Unlike other soft cheeses, cottage cheese or fresh cheese is fermented, which means that it is low in lactose and rich in calcium and protein. Protein contains essential amino acids that contribute to a whole host of body functions benefits, such as skin and coat health, muscle development and tissue repair. Us humans will know that calcium helps to support and maintain strong bones, nails and teeth. It also plays a role in reducing muscle contractions and blood clotting. Cheese Louise, that's impressive. 

*Awful pun. We can’t Brie-lieve we said that.