Did you know that Americans consume more than 300,000 tonnes of yogurt yearly?
If you are part of this statistic and you love this tangy tasting snack, you might have wondered if your pet dog can eat some of this goodness.
Well, this page is all about providing you with all the information you need for your furry best friend’s health. So tune in!
Can Dogs Safely Eat Yogurt?
First, the most important thing to ask is “what kind of yogurt” are we talking about?
If it is the plain, unflavored non or low-fat yogurt, yes go ahead!
Make sure also to double-check the ingredients in the packaging. Always be wary of harmful contents that may harm your canine to your canine like artificial sweetener, xylitol, any flavorings or anything that is chocolate flavors.
Yogurt Fun Facts
Here are some cool fun facts that you can share with your tail-wagging best friend while sharing some of it:
- Did you know that as far back as 3,000 BCE, Turkish shepherds have been turning milk into yogurt?
- Cow’s milk is often used for yogurt since it is widely available; where it takes 1 pound of whole milk to create 1 pound of yogurt! The bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are used to make yogurt cultures. When fermented, the concoction produces lactic acid that gives yogurt its flavor.
- In the US in 1946, it was Danon Yogurt was the first one to add fruits in commercially available yogurt.
- Celebrate National Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6th while National Greek Yogurt Day on November 9th.
- So what makes a Greek yogurt? Yogurt makers further strain its liquid and what’s left is the Greek version that is lesser in sodium and half the carbohydrates only compared to regular yogurt.
- Apart from being a healthy snack, the lactic acid in it promotes glowing skin. In ancient India also, yogurt has been used as a natural moisturizer.
Health Benefits of Yogurt for Dogs
Yogurt is healthy, that is why it is loved by many. Here are some of the health benefits of this snack:
Protein – dogs need at least 18 to 29% protein in their diet. Protein allows your dog’s body to function at its optimum.
Calcium – yes, calcium is great for your dog’s bone health.
Magnesium – canines need 150mg of magnesium daily thus it is an important macromineral in their body. Magnesium helps your dog in essential bodily functions such as maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, aids in a healthy immune system and keeps the bone strong.
Probiotics – Yogurts are big in probiotics! According to Dr. Sean Delaney, it contributes to a healthy gut microbiome that regulates the digestive system. Apart from keeping the GI tract healthy, here are also some of the benefits of probiotics:
- Restores growth of good bacteria in your dog’s body
- Shields the body against bacteria and viruses
- Promotes proper immune function and prevents heart disease and even osteoporosis
- Allows the dog’s body to absorb calcium, magnesium, iron and other essential nutrients
- Keeps your dog away from dental diseases
- Produces B vitamins
- Supports healthy brain function
- Aids in weight control (for as long as you choose the right yogurt)
Yogurt is indeed very healthy but prebiotics benefit will not last long unless you feed your dog this snack regularly.
Risks of Eating Yogurt for Dogs
If yogurts are a pack of nutrients, are there also risks involved for dogs who will consume it? Well, here are some of the things you need to keep in mind about yogurt.
Lactose Intolerant Dogs
Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products like yogurt. When dogs are weaned, they go out of the phase where their bodies can easily digest lactose. Just in for some humans, some dogs also find it difficult to break down lactose. If it is not broken down as usual, it stays in the small intestine where it feeds bad bacteria that cause indigestion and gas. Common symptoms of dogs that are lactose intolerant are:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Itching/ excessive scratching
- Lack of appetite
- Loose stools
- Too much gas
Extra Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
The plain ones are good but others are just with too much sugar and that can pose a problem for the health of your dog. In the long run, if sugar is not curbed in your dog’s body, it may lead to the following chronic issues:
- Dental issues
If your yogurt is sugar-free, you may think it is a better option for your dog but not so fast! It could even be more dangerous especially when the sugar substitute is xylitol. Even just a small amount of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia to your dogs and even liver failure. Take note that xylitol accumulates in the liver tissue! So never give food with this artificial sweetener in even a morsel!
Again, this depends also on the yogurt that you choose. Regular yogurts are high in fat content. You know that fat is not good for both you and your dog. In the long run, apart from obesity, it can lead to pancreatitis.
In www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com, the article pointed to pasteurization, or the process of heating foods at a very high temperature, as an issue. If the temperature is not high enough, it is not enough to kill the dangerous bacteria. Meanwhile, if it is heated too high, it destroys the reasons why milk is good for your dog.
If you wish, you can talk to your vet about this to clear this up if you think this is a real concern.
Bad Yogurt for Dogs
Again, stick to plain, unflavored and low-fat yogurt for your canine. Avoid these unhealthy yogurts for your dog:
- Those with xylitol, an artificial sweetener
- With flavorings
- With fruits that are not fresh
- Chocolate flavored yogurts
- Full-fat yogurts
Can Dogs Have Plain Yogurt?
Absolutely! The best kind of yogurt to share with your dog is plain or non-fat plain. To be sure, always do a cross-check of other ingredients that may be bad for your dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Yogurt?
The question is, what kind of frozen yogurt is that? Is it the plain, unflavored, low-fat yogurt without any harmful pup ingredient? Then go ahead and treat your dog with some nutritious fun!
Can Dogs Have Greek Yogurt?
If your dog is lactose intolerant but you want it to experience the goodness of yogurt, go for Greek! Since the Greek version is strained more than the regular yogurt, it has less lactose and therefore will more likely not upset your dog’s stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Vanilla Yogurt?
Most people think that vanilla is a plain flavor but that is not the case. Vanilla is not plain; it is still a flavor although a mild one at that. Sure, a little vanilla yogurt might not bother your dog but it still has more sugar than the regular ones.
If you want vanilla, better go Greek.
Can Dogs Have Strawberry Yogurt?
First, you should ask yourself if the strawberry in question is a real fruit or just an artificial flavoring. If it is the latter, then forget about it. Better stick with plain, unflavored, non-fat yogurt but make it more exciting with freshly sliced strawberries on top!
Just make sure that the fruit is bite-sized. Better yet, puree the fruit, add yogurt and freeze to make a popsicle!
Yes, you can also try other fresh fruits that your dogs love like blueberries, carrots, kale or pumpkin!
How Can I Feed Dogs Yogurt?
Now that you know which yogurt is the best, how do you feed it to your Fido?
Introducing Yogurt for Dogs
If it is your pet’s first time to eat yogurt, introduce this snack in small amounts only. This is to check if your dog’s tummy will gladly accept it. If it does, you may gradually increase serving to the recommended values.
Yogurt Serving Ideas for Dogs
To serve your dog’s yogurt, you can simply add it on top of their dry kibble. Or if you are into cooking them homemade meals, add it as an ingredient.
But you can also make it exciting by making a popsicle! As mentioned earlier, choose a healthy fruit for your dog, puree it, add the yogurt and freeze in an ice cube tray! You can also go with the savory route by adding pieces of meat!
Make your yogurt popsicle fun!
How Many Yogurts Can Dogs Eat?
Always feed your dog in moderation no matter how healthy that food or snack in question is. Yes, the same rules apply to yogurts. As an occasional treat, it should be 10% of their total diet only. The right serving will also depend on the size, weight, activity level and current health status of your dog.
A safe serving size for your dog is two teaspoons up to a tablespoon only.
Should I Give My Dogs Yogurt?
Yogurt is beneficial for your dog. But then again, unless your dog is given yogurt daily, the probiotic does not last long.
How do you solve that? Introducing a prebiotic supplement for your dog!
Probiotic Supplement for Dogs
Most veterinarians would agree that a probiotic supplement specifically made for dogs is far more beneficial than feeding yogurt itself?
Why? Apart from the fact shared above, your dog is only recommended to eat moderate amounts of yogurt that won’t really make a dent on its health. Exceeding the recommended amount will just cause tummy upset or other health concerns.
Really, a probiotic supplement will help solve that issue. Talk to your vet about the perfect supplement for your dog. Offhand, you may want to select a probiotic that contains more than just one strain of bacteria and has a minimum of 200 billion CFUs (colony forming units).
Conclusion: Go or No for Yogurt?
Yes, plain, unflavored and less fat yogurt should be your choice for your dogs. Treat your dog to the max of 1 tablespoon of yogurt only. Better also to go for Greek yogurt is choosing between the plain.
But, if you really want your dog to enjoy the probiotic effects, try a supplement form as recommended by your vet.
Make eating fun and healthy with your furry best friend!