Yogurt is yummy and many people enjoy it every day. It is loaded with probiotics and is considered good for you. However, is it similarly good for our pooches? What happens if you were to feed your dog some yogurt. Are there any real benefits of feeding your dog yogurt or are there more drawbacks?
We will answer your questions resolving yogurt and your dog and highlight whether it is considered good to feed your dog yogurt or if it is something you should look to avoid.
Though plain yogurt contains natural probiotics which are healthy for the gut, these probiotics would be of no use if your pooch is unable to digest the yogurt. It is the question of digestion that brings about the question of whether yogurt is good for your dog. After all, if your pooch can’t digest it, you shouldn’t feed it yogurt.
Let’s take a deeper look and try to understand if yogurt is safe for dogs and whether you should be feeding your dog yogurt.
Is Yogurt Bad for a Dog?
Generally, dogs can eat yoghurt. It is non-toxic and is considered safe for consumption. That being the case, some dogs do have a hard time digesting it. This is because the lactose in yogurt becomes difficult to digest for your dog. Though, in general, feeding dogs yogurt isn’t an issue, if your dog is lactose intolerant, you should really not feed it yogurt which obviously contains lactose.
Yogurt isn’t bad for your dog and can even have various benefits. Though yogurt, in general, is fine for your pooch, you don’t want to feed it too much yogurt. Feeding too much yogurt in one sitting could lead your dog to develop digestive issues and can lead to problems.
Yogurt can be a great way to increase the number of good bacteria in your dog’s gut. This helps with digestion and with keeping the digestive tract healthy. The good bacteria in the gut works to fight the effects of the disease-causing bad bacteria. Hence, in many ways, feeding your dog yogurt has benefits as opposed to problems.
That being the case, a dog’s gut is simply not used to digesting lactose after puppyhood. Hence, yogurt which obviously contains lactose could cause gas, diarrhoea and vomiting in some. If you notice that your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is best to not feed it yogurt.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Yogurt
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics and calcium. The calcium in yogurt is great for your dog’s bones and teeth and will work to keep them stronger in the long run. The older your dog is, the more they have to gain from a good amount of calcium in their diet.
The probiotics are especially beneficial for your pooch’s gut. Probiotics are the good types of bacteria that dwell within the gut. Much like humans, dogs have bad bacteria in their gut which cause a host of health issues including bloating and gas. They even cause more complicated issues such as abdominal pains and nausea. The good bacteria work to fight the effects of bad bacteria in the gut, thereby preventing issues brought about by the bad bacteria. It works to balance the gut and optimise the health of the digestive tract, enabling better digestion and the better absorption of nutrients.
Yogurt is also high in protein which means your pup will more likely stay full for a longer period of time. The only downside is, yogurt contains lactose which may not be digestible in your dog’s gut. To sidestep this, you can consider plant-based alternatives to dairy-based yogurt, which does not contain lactose.
Though the lactose in yogurt can cause diarrhoea, yogurt can be used to treat diarrhoea. When trying to treat diarrhoea, you want to try feeding your dog a small amount of yogurt to try to settle the stomach. The probiotics in yogurt will work to balance the gut and restore it, thereby treating diarrhoea.
Side Effects of Feeding Your Dog Yogurt
Yogurt is typically considered safe for dogs. However, the lactose in dairy-based yogurt can cause digestive issues in dogs. Your pooch is simply not equipped to digest lactose and may have a hard time reaping the benefits of yogurt if they cannot digest it properly.
Due to digestive issues of lactose, dogs may experience gas, diarrhoea and vomiting when you feed them yogurt. Upset stomachs and vomiting are common side effects of feeding your dog yogurt.
As mentioned, you can easily sidestep these side effects by feeding your dog non-fat yogurt that doesn’t contain lactose. Plant-based yogurts provide equal nutritional value and can be easier for your dog to digest.
It is the fat content of yogurt which is worrying for many dog owners. If you feed your dog too much fat, it could lead to an upset stomach or more serious conditions such as pancreatitis, which is a serious and potentially fatal illness. Hence, you should always measure the amount of yogurt you are feeding your dog and ensure that you don’t overfeed it. If possible, opt for a non-fat brand of yogurt.
At the end of the day, yogurt is packed with nutrients and can be great for your pup. If you notice any side effects of feeding your dog yogurt, you should switch to a non-lactose based yogurt and consider feeding your dog that.
What Kind of Yogurt Can Dogs Eat?
Plain yogurt works the best for dogs. You can also consider non-fat options since these are the easiest for your dog to digest. That being the case, even plain and non-fat dairy-based yogurt contain lactose which is difficult for your dog to digest.
If your dog is reacting to the lactose in yogurt, you would benefit from feeding it something that doesn’t contain lactose. There are plenty of plant-based yogurts in the market. These yogurts are great for your health and are similarly good for your pup too.
When you are feeding your dog lactose based yogurt, you want to ensure that you maintain moderation. Overfeeding your dog lactose is the main reason for seeing side effects. Usually, a small amount will not be an issue. It is when you feed your dog a large amount of lactose based yogurt that side effects of the lactose may begin to appear.
As long as your dog can tolerate lactose, you can even feed it Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains essential probiotics which are great for gut health. That being the case, you want to ensure that you feed it in moderation and may want to be sure that your dog can tolerate lactose first.
When it comes to flavoured yogurt such as vanilla yogurt or strawberry yogurt, a little won’t actually bother your pup. However plain or Greek yogurt is considered the far better option. There is a high concentration of sugar in flavoured yogurts which can undercut the benefits.
When choosing sweetened yogurt, you want to be careful. The artificial sweeteners that some brands of yogurt use can be dangerous for your pup. For instance, yogurts that contain Xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs. Hence, it is best to stick to dairy-based or plant-based plain yogurt.
How Much Yogurt Can I Give My Dog?
The amount of yogurt that you can safely feed your dog will depend on the size of the dog. If you have a small dog, you should stick to about 1 tablespoon of yogurt per day. If you have a large dog, then you can safely feed it 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt every day.
If you have never fed your dog yogurt, you want to start off with a small amount. You want to test the waters and ensure that your dog is able to digest the yogurt without issues. When we speak of issues, we mean things like gas, vomiting, diarrhoea and upset stomachs.
Give your dog a small amount at first and slowly increase the amount each day, until you reach the recommended amount.
Remember, while yogurt is non-toxic to dogs, the fact that it contains lactose means your dog might have trouble digesting it. This means you shouldn’t overfeed your dog yogurt and always ensure that your dog is happy and not showing signs and symptoms of lactose indigestion.
Yogurt can be a nutritionally rich addition to your dog’s meal. A tablespoon or two could provide your dog with a helpful amount of probiotics, protein and calcium. So long as your pup is not lactose intolerant, you can feed your dog plain yogurt and not worry about it.
It is better to choose a non-fat yogurt since too much fat in your dog’s diet can be unhealthy. If your dog is showing signs of lactose intolerance, plant-based alternatives for dairy-based yogurt work well to provide a good nutrient fix without the lactose.
All in all, yohurt is a great non-toxic addition to your dog’s meal. Just be careful of those flavoured and artificially sweetened yogurts, since they may contain ingredients such as Xylitol, which can be very dangerous for dogs. Always opt for plain, non-fat yoghurt and if possible, choose a plant-based kind.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better feed your dog.