Whether it’s a game night, movie marathon or cheering on your favorite football team, snacks are a must. And what better snack is there than cheese and crackers. But is it safe for the four legged family members, like Chow Chows, to indulge in cheesy goodness?
Is Cheese Safe for Chow Chows to Eat?
Cheese is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. While there are some health and training benefits associated with it there are drawbacks as well. For example, cheese has a very high fat content.
Along with a high level of fat, there is also a large amount of lactose found in cheese. Dogs do not have the ability to break down lactose the same way people are able to.
What About Health Benefits
It may be important to keep the amount of cheese your Chow Chow gets to a minimum, but there are some benefits. There is a high level of calcium, Vitamins A and B12 along with fatty acids. While these are beneficial, your Chow Chow won’t get enough of any of these benefits from cheese to make it truly worthwhile.
Ironically, one of the biggest health benefits of cheese is the ability to hide medications in it. If your precious pup is on medication, either short term or life long, cheese can be a great way to hide the medication and make it a good experience for your dog instead of a stressful struggle. Before using cheese to give your dog medications, consult your veterinarian to make sure it is safe for your pup’s specific scenario. The calcium in cheese can interfere with certain antibiotics making them less effective. There are also some health issues that make cheese a poor choice, such as pancreatitis.
Which Cheese is Gouda for Dogs
With there being so many types of cheeses out there it begs the question, are some better than others? Some are less fatty, like cottage cheese and mozzarella, making them better options; they are less likely to cause issues such as pancreatitis. Cottage cheese also has a decreased amount of lactose, making it less likely to cause belly upset due to the dog’s decreased ability to break down the lactose.
Along with the amount of fat, it is also important to look for anything added into the cheese. Some have herbs, garlic and other additives that are actually toxic to dogs and should be avoided.
See also: Do Chow Chows like chicken?
Along with staying away from certain additional ingredients, blue cheeses should also be avoided. The fungus used to make this type of cheese produces a substance that can be dangerous to dogs. This substance, roquefortine C, is also found in moldy food and can lead to not only GI upset, but also hyperthermia and seizures. If not treated appropriately, it can be fatal in dogs.
Cheese Side Effects
As previously stated, certain cheese is high in fat and can lead to secondary issues such as pancreatitis. The amount of lactose can also cause GI upset. All of these concerns can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite and in more severe situations, dehydration. Thankfully Chow Chows are less susceptible to pancreatitis than other breeds.
How Much Cheese is Too Much Cheese
It is all too easy to overdo it when it comes to giving your dog cheese. If you do give your Chow Chow cheese for treats, training or an aid to give medications it is ideal to give the smallest amount you can get away with. Even with keeping it in moderation, if you notice your dog packing on the pounds or having some belly upset it is probably time to choose another treat.
Best Way to Serve Cheese
There are many recipes that can be found to make dog treats using cheese. Since these have additional ingredients they are more likely to have a higher fat content as well, so a little goes a long way with these. Your veterinarian should also be consulted, especially if your Chow Chow has any underlying health issues that may make not only the cheese but the other ingredients a concern for them.
Oftentimes the best way to give your pup a cheesy treat is the simplest way. For example, a great way to give your dog cheese and keep them occupied at the same time is to put cheese into a kong toy for your dog. Spray cheese is a great option for this. Not only is it tasty, but it will also take a while for your dog to get all the cheese. Cubed cheese is another option but this takes much less time for dogs to eat which can easily lead to them getting too much.
Whatever method you use to give your Chow Chow cheese, make sure it is in moderation and monitor them afterwards to make sure their bellies tolerate it without a problem.