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Pet Food & Ingredients

Is Yogurt Good for Dogs? 9 Dog Dairy Facts You Need to Know

November 28, 2023 - 5 minute read by The Team at Dr. Harvey's

Two Dogs With Bowl

Yes, yogurt is good for dogs—as long as it’s unflavored and unsweetened. There are a lot of health benefits that come from eating yogurt. This doesn’t mean you should replace meals with yogurt. Instead, add it as a sweet treat to your dog’s diet.

If you have more questions about other dairy products, like “Can dogs eat Greek yogurt?” or “What happens if my dog has dairy?”—this is the article for you.

9 Facts about Dogs and Dairy

Read on for answers to some of the most common questions about dogs and dairy.

1. Are Dogs Lactose Intolerant?

Yes…for the most part. Not all dogs are lactose intolerant, but a majority are. As puppies, they can handle their mother’s milk, but as they age, they lose the ability to digest lactose—a main component in dairy products.

Here are signs of lactose intolerance:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting

2. Are there Risks to Feeding Dairy to Your Dog?

Yes, there are risks to giving any dairy products to your dog. As mentioned above, most dogs are lactose intolerant, and some could even be allergic to dairy. There are different symptoms if they’re having an allergic reaction—which you can learn about in our food allergy blog post.

Also, if your furry friend has been struggling with food allergies, look at our specifically designed food for dogs with allergies.

3. Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?

As mentioned before, yogurt is good for dogs in small amounts. Just make sure there aren’t any added sweeteners, fruits, or flavors because they can be toxic for dogs. Also, don’t feed your dog any yogurt that has xylitol, since it can be fatal.

Different types of yogurt that are safe for dogs are:

  • Almond
  • Kefir
  • Lactose-free
  • Plain
  • Soy

4. Is Greek Yogurt Good for Dogs?

Absolutely! Dogs can have Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt offers a variety of health benefits. Some people believe it’s healthier than plain yogurt since it’s strained more, which means it has more proteins and less sugar and carbs.

5. Are There Health Benefits of Dogs Eating Yogurt?

There are many health benefits of feeding your companion yogurt (as long as it’s done in moderation). Here are just a handful of those benefits:

  • Calcium: Helps with bone health, vision, wound healing, and heartbeat rhythm
  • Potassium: Helps with muscle movement, absorbs nutrients, and prevents dehydration
  • Probiotics: Adds more good bacteria to the digestive system and makes digestion and the absorption of nutrients easier
  • Protein: Strengthens muscles (Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt)

6. How Much Yogurt Can Dogs Eat?

That’s going to depend on your dog’s size and weight. As a general suggestion, a small dog could have one spoon of yogurt a day, a medium dog could have two spoons, and a large dog could have three.

Yogurt is meant to be more of a treat or meal topper than anything substantial. Some dog parents like to freeze yogurt in the summer for their companions as a tasty way to cool down.

7. Can Dogs Have Cheese?

Yes, in small amounts. Cheese has less lactose than milk because of how it's processed. But you can still get the same health benefits, like calcium, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.

Additionally, cottage cheese is one of the healthiest dairy options for your dog—though it still should be given in moderation. It’s full of calcium, phosphorus, protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients while having a small amount of lactose.

Avoid hard, veined, or aged cheese because it contains high sodium.

8. Can Dogs Have Ice Cream?

Not unless it’s made specifically for dogs. While stealing a lick or two won’t harm your furry friend, ice cream is full of sweeteners that can make your dog sick.

9. Can Dogs Have Whipped Cream?

As an occasional treat—yes—but it is high in calories and fat.

Regular whipped cream has the same risks other dairy products do, but you have to be even more careful that it doesn’t contain xylitol. If you want more dog-friendly options, you can try vegan, coconut, oat, or sugar-free cream.

It’s Best to Keep Things Simple

When giving your dog any new food, make sure to start with a small amount to assess their reaction. This will prevent a lot of stress for you and your companion. As long as you treat any dairy product as a treat, things should be okay for your dog—unless they have any allergies.

Want to learn more about dog nutrition? Make sure to check out our blog. If you’re looking for an easy and tasty way to keep your dog healthy—take a look at the variety of dog health products we offer.