As a fur parent, you may be asking if it is safe to share some of your food with your adorable dog, especially if it starts to beg. Honestly, there are two sides of the coin, some prefer not to because it can result in an upset stomach. But, others who believe that the nutritional values in human food won’t do any harm to their fido. One of those is yogurt. How safe is this dairy product and is yogurt good for dogs? We shall discover in this article…
What’s in a Yogurt?
Yogurt is one of the healthy dairy products that are readily available in your local supermarket. It is produced through the process of bacterial fermentation of milk.
How is this done? The milk is mixed with fresh bacteria like Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria and allowed to ferment in a container. After a few days, the milk thickens and becomes a delicious, healthy, and sour tasting probiotic product known as yogurt.
The three main benefits of consuming yogurt are added protein, calcium, and healthy gut bacteria. With all those lovely benefits, you know that yogurt is good for your health. You may also be wondering is yogurt good for dogs, too?
Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?
Without batting an eyelash, YES, yogurt is good for your fido. Here’s why:
1. Yogurt Is Good for Healthy Digestion
A dairy product that combats the bad bacteria in your fido’s tummy. This is because yogurt is loaded with good bacteria and as the saying goes “the good always wins”. As a result, yogurt promotes good digestion by killing those bad bacteria that cause tummy discomforts like constipation.
And since yogurt promotes healthy digestion, it follows that the nutrients from the dog’s food are better absorbed making your fido healthier and tougher to combat diseases and infections.
2. Probiotic Yogurt for Dogs With Diarrhea
Sometimes your dog may have some sudden bouts of mild diarrhea. Whenever you are not looking, your fido may be eating something bad for its tummy. Some of the leading causes of diarrhea are bad bacteria and parasites.
If left untreated, diarrhea is dangerous as it can lead to dehydration. This is where the healthy goodness of yogurt comes into the picture. Being probiotic, the microorganisms found in yogurt allows for the release of hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid that destroy the bad bacteria in your dog’s tummy, thereby treating its mild form of diarrhea.
3. Yogurt Is a Delicious Source of Calcium and Potassium
Since milk is one of the major ingredients in yogurt, it is then an awesome treat for the promotion of healthy bones and teeth of your canine pal.
Yogurt is also rich in potassium, an essential mineral that assists in regulating the enzyme function for healthy nerves and muscles. Plus, potassium also plays a role in the healthy functioning of your fido’s heart.
And, not to forget that this probiotic is also a source of magnesium which aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
4. Yogurt Helps in Treating Yeast Infections in Dogs
Do you notice any of the following symptoms in your fido? Itchiness, bald spots, flaky skin, or maybe a nasty smell? If yes, your dog may be suffering from a yeast infection.
The culprit is the fungus Malassezia, a yeast dermatitis that causes the symptoms we mentioned above. The same fungus can also cause ear infections among long and floppy-eared dogs like the Poodle.
Aside from vet prescribed meds, did you know that yogurt also helps treat the yeast infection in dogs? The live bacteria found in yogurt inhibits the yeast from multiplying. So, can dogs eat yogurt as part of the treatment plan for yeast infection? Yes, yogurt does help in managing yeast infections.
You just have to increase its yogurt intake. 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup for small to medium-sized dogs and 1/4 to 1/2 cup yogurt for large dogs.
5. Yogurt as a Prophylactic Measure for Antibiotic Side Effects
Just like you, your fido may also show signs of antibiotic side effects like diarrhea. This is because antibiotics not only kill the bad ones but the good ones as well. Thus, it is pretty much common to see dogs go through some issues with a yeast infection and upset tummy during or after the course of antibiotic treatment.
By giving your fido a healthy amount of yogurt, you provide your dog with an ample supply of good bacteria to ward off the side effects of antibiotics.
As you have seen, yogurt has many health benefits for your pet. Having said that, you may now ask, ‘what should I look for in a yogurt?’.
What Kind of Yogurt Should You Buy for Your Dog?
If you will compare the many brands of yogurt, you’d notice some come with fruits, low in fat, Greek yogurt, among others. To make it easier for you, here’s what you must keep in mind when choosing the right kind of yogurt for your fido:
It won’t help if you will add more sugar to your dog’s diet. Not only does too much sugar lead to added pounds but sweetened yogurt is bad for your dog’s dental health.
Be mindful too that the yogurt contains artificial sweeteners like xylitol because these are toxic for your pet.
Those yogurt that contains fruits like berries are rich in sugar, so stay away from those.
Is yogurt good for dogs? Yes, but read the label closely and choose the unsweetened yogurt and plain yogurt.
Choose Low-Fat Yogurt
Fat is needed by your dog’s system but too much leads to various health problems. Our advice to you is to aim for the low-fat or even better is the non-fat Greek yogurt.
Look for a Yogurt That Has Live and Active Cultures
Not all yogurt contains live bacteria. Others have cooked bacteria cultures. Maybe you didn’t know but these cooked bacteria pose more danger to your dog than the lactose itself. Why? Because the yogurt that contains cooked bacteria are already devoid of good bacteria that are essential for healthy digestion. This only results in a yeast infection, digestive problems, and the possible recurrence of previous infections.
What you have to look for are the yogurts that have live L. acidophilus bacteria.
Which Is Better – Plain or Greek Yogurt for Dogs?
If your dog is not lactose intolerant, any brand of plain yogurt is good. However, if given a choice, Greek yogurt is better. This is because of the straining process that goes through during the making of Greek yogurt.
Is Greek yogurt good for dogs? Yes, because straining removes more lactose and whey, thereby, there is more protein, less sugar, and salt in Greek yogurt.
But if you intend to increase the calcium intake of your dog, go for the plain yogurt.
If no label indicates whether it is plain or Greek yogurt, the best way to know is through consistency. Plain yogurt is runnier while Greek is thicker in consistency and has a stronger tangy taste.
What If Your Dog Is Lactose Intolerant?
As we have learned, yogurt is good for dogs. But, then, not all dogs can take lactose because they do not have the correct amount of enzymes to digest milk.
In case you gave your dog yogurt and you see any of the symptoms below, it’s a sign of lactose intolerance:
- Stomach cramps
Some dog lovers claim that Greek yogurt is a good alternative for lactose-intolerant dogs. This is because this type of yogurt has less amount of lactose and a higher concentration of protein. If unsure, we highly advise getting the go-signal from a vet doctor.
What About Puppies, Can They Eat Yogurt?
Always practice caution when feeding something new to your puppy. At that stage, you are not sure yet whether your pup is lactose intolerant or not. Even if Greek yogurt is low in lactose, still it can upset the stomach of a puppy with a sensitive stomach.
Begin by giving the puppy a few licks of the yogurt and then observe how its body will respond.
How Much of Yogurt Can I Feed My Dog Per Day?
Depending on the size of your fido, 1 to 3 teaspoons of yogurt is enough. Keep in mind that yogurt falls under the category of dog treats, thus, the 10% rule applies. By this, it means that yogurt should not go beyond 10% of the calories required of your dog each day.
For instance, for a Maltese dog breed, 1 teaspoon of yogurt is enough. For medium breeds like a Pug, give 2 teaspoons while for large breed dogs like a Golden Retriever, 3 teaspoons of yogurt are sufficient.
Is yogurt good for dogs? Yes, but in the right amount only. Otherwise, too much of the good thing may cause damage. For instance, a high amount of calcium may cause abnormalities in a dog’s skeletal system.
In case your fido is on antibiotics, you may increase the amount of yogurt to maintain a healthy stomach environment.
What Are The Danger Signs of Over-Feeding Your Dog Yogurt?
- Some yogurt contains high levels of sugar (e.g. flavored yogurt). Too much sugar can result in a bacterial imbalance in the digestive system. This is because bacteria thrive well in an environment that is high in sugar. In case your dog has too much-sweetened yogurt, expect digestive discomfort.
- As discussed earlier, dogs that are lactose intolerant will manifest symptoms of flatulence, stomach discomfort, bloating, and in worse cases scenario, pancreatitis.
- Bacteria overload or buildup disrupts the digestive system that causes dehydration. This will lead to extreme thirst that can affect the level of the dog’s blood sodium level.
Don’t get us wrong, it is not our intention to scare you. What we want is for dog lovers like you to feed your fido with human food in the recommended amounts only, lest, there are consequences.
Allow us now to share with you some recipes that you can concoct at home for your dog.
How Do You Serve Yogurt to Your Dog?
Of course, you want to make it exciting for your pet. Yes, you may allow your dog to lick the yogurt, but there are other tail-wagging ways to serve yogurt in the right amount:
- Try making some yogurt melts. You need plain or Greek yogurt, foil, squeezable bottle, and tray. Place the yogurt inside the bottle to make small dollops onto a tray that is covered with foil. Freeze. You can give your fido one dollop as a cold treat. You can also use ice cube trays.
- Another recipe worth trying is Greek yogurt biscuits. You need 1 cup oatmeal, 3/4 cup cornmeal, 2 small beef cubes, diced into small pieces, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 1 egg, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the oats, beef, cornmeal, and water. Form into a ball and let stand for 10 minutes.
Then add the yogurt, egg, and cheese, and flour. Add a bit more water to form a rollable dough. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Cut into small pieces. Place the cookies in a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Unless your fido is lactose intolerant, yogurt gives your dog numerous health benefits only if given in moderation. Like other food, too much of this delicious dairy product can produce negative effects.
Prioritizing your dog’s health is important but keep in mind that for each new food that you give, you should carefully check to keep your fido safe and healthy. However, choose well by getting the unsweetened plain or Greek yogurt made with live bacteria so your fido will get most of the benefits from this delicious treat.