It’s true dogs need a varied diet unless they’re wild dogs living off of the land. A good quality dog food covers every nutritional need a dog requires, but it’s still tempting to give your dog some of the foods you personally enjoy. In moderation, a lot of human foods are okay for a dog, so where does cottage cheese fall in regards to safely giving it to your dog?
Is Cottage Cheese Dangerous for Dogs?
It definitely isn’t dangerous for dogs, but it isn’t a necessary addition to their diet, either. Dogs on a high quality food are getting everything they need in their dry food, so anything you give them is simply extra calories and calcium. Some vets recommend giving new mother dogs cottage cheese after they have puppies to boost her calcium intake as she starts to lacatate, but there really aren’t other times where it’s necessary.
Can Dogs Be Lactose Intolerant?
Yes, there are some dogs who are legitimately lactose intolerant–just like humans can be. Some dogs have no issues digesting dairy in any form, but lactose intolerant dogs get a lot of intestinal distress when they ingest dairy. Lactose, found in all dairy products, is a nutrient that some dogs aren’t able to break down and digest without having diarrhea, vomiting, or gas afterward. Lactose is comprised of two sugars that have to be broken down into separate sugars to be digested. The only way the sugars can be split is with a protein called lactase. Some dogs have lactase, but the vast majority don’t possess it.
Lactose intolerant dogs can sometimes digest dairy products with lower levels of lactose. Yogurt has less lactose than something like milk, and some cheeses have very low amounts of lactose. A 1/2 cup of cottage cheese has three grams of lactose versus whole milk which has 11 grams per cup. The fewer milligrams of lactose that are present means the less likely it is your dog is going to wind up with acute intestinal distress.
Signs of Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerant dogs who get a fair amount of lactose aren’t at risk for a veterinarian-worthy call, but until their body clears out the lactose, it’s not going to be a fun time for either of you.
Symptoms of a lactose intolerance only occur after they eat dairy. They include:
- stools that are looser than normal and smell very foul
When You Shouldn’t Serve Cottage Cheese to Dogs
Obviously if your dog is lactose intolerant, giving them cottage cheese is playing a game of GI-roulette. Avoid feeding your dog cottage cheese if:
- they have a history of pancreatitis. Cottage cheese is relatively low in fat, but dogs who have had pancreatitis need to remain on a very strict diet to prevent their pancreas from becoming inflamed again.
- you have a large or giant breed puppy. Large and giant breed puppies grow very rapidly, and there are specially formulated diets for a reason. It’s important to keep their protein and calcium intake well balanced, and excessive calcium could increase their already substantial risk of developing bone growth disorders.
A few small servings of cottage cheese won’t negatively affect your dog if they aren’t overweight and otherwise healthy, but try to minimize how much human food you’re doling out. Your dog’s nutrition is complete with their dog food, and anything extra you give them is completely unnecessary.