By Andrew Fischer
Can Labradors eat cheese?
The short answer to this question is “Yes!” Labs can eat cheese, but you should avoid feeding your Labrador large quantities of cheese, since all dairy products are difficult for dogs to digest.
You should also avoid offering cheese that is high in sodium, lactose and fat.
You must be careful which cheeses you offer to your dog. Some types should be avoided completely, others are quite safe.
You shouldn’t give cheese to Labradors that are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk.
Cheese can act as a great treat for your lab. Using cheese to hide a pill is another appropriate way to incorporate cheese into your Lab’s diet. As for training treats specifically, tiny cubes of cheese work really great.
Keep in mind the number of cubes you give to your dog. You should have a safe set quantity and not go over that.
What kind of cheese should Labradors avoid completely?
Keep in mind that not all types of cheese are created equally suitable for your four-legged friend. Labradors should avoid some cheeses completely, while other types are much more suitable for them.
Certain cheeses have too high lactose content. Lactose makes it hard for dogs to digest. Some types of cheeses may also contain high amounts sodium which may be equally dangerous to your dog.
Below we have listed the most dangerous types of cheese that your Labrador should always avoid:
1. Parmesan cheese – has too high amounts of sodium
2. Cream cheese – has very high amount of lactose content
3. Blue cheese – has high amounts of toxins and fat
4. Feta cheese – has high amounts of fat
5. American cheese – has high mounts of sodium
6. Pimento cheese – contains high amounts of sodium
7. Roquefort – has high amounts of sodium
What types of cheese can Labradors eat?
Always look at the nutritional facts labels that the cheese product comes with to avoid feeding your Labrador any ingredients that could be harmful to it altogether.
Note that some cheese additives can be toxic for dogs. Avoid any cheese with added ingredients like chives, garlic, macadamia nuts or onion.
When you are looking for cheese to feed to your Labrador then you need to look for cheeses that are A) Low in fat B) Low in sodium C) Lower in Lactose.
Cheeses that meet these three criteria are:
- Cottage cheese
- Soft goat cheese
- Swiss cheese
- String cheese
Can Labradors Eat Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese seems to be especially suitable because it’s lower in fat and sodium than the majority of other cheeses. Its great benefit is that it’s also lower in lactose so it reduces the likelihood of digestive problems and obesity.
Normal cottage cheese is quite safe in smaller amounts. However, some types of cottage cheese may contain added milk. Such cheese contains considerably more lactose and could upset your dog’s stomach.
Labrador cheese safety
Keep in mind that when it comes to diary products, Labs have a sensitive stomach.
If cheese is consumed in bulk, this can lead vomiting and diarrhea.
Cheese is high in fat. Feeding too much to your dog can lead to weight gain and obesity. In worst case it could also lead to pancreatitis (inflammation in the pancreas), which is a serious illness in dogs.
The main allergic reaction that can happen to your dog when it eats cheese is if he’s lactose intolerant.
Lactose is a sugar that occurs in dairy products. Dogs need to produce an enzyme called lactase, that enables them to digest lactose. Unfortunately, many adult dogs don’t produce much lactase and therefore can become lactose intolerant.
Without lactase (enzyme essential to the complete digestion of dairy products), your dog will not be able to digest cheese. There is no medicine that can treat it so if your dog is lactose intolerant you will need to make sure to offer him only lactose-free dairy products.
Some dogs may also be allergic to the proteins in dairy products. This may also cause an allergic reaction to cheese.
How to know if my Lab has eaten too much cheese
Even if your dog is healthy and can digest lactose easily, cheese can still become a problem if your pup eats too much of it. Eating too much cheese can lead to diarrhea, constipation, excessive flatulence and vomiting.
If you observe any of these symptoms you should eliminate cheese from your dog’s diet.
In the long term, Labradors that eat too much cheese can easily become overweight and develop pancreatitis.
Introducing cheese to your Labrador
If you have decided to feed your dog some cheese, remember to introduce it gradually. It’s best to introduce cheese slowly. If your dog reacts well and doesn’t have any digestive problems, there’s no reason not to give him some cheese from time to time.
However, if your dog does react badly even to a low-fat, low-sodium and low-lactose cheese, stop feeding him cheese and talk with your vet about his reaction.
Also, don’t feed your pup too much cheese at once, because that will be too difficult for it to digest.
You should offer your Lab only a couple of small pieces max every second day.
If your dog is showing any symptoms of lactose intolerance, then you should avoid feeding him cheese altogether.
How to tell whether your Lab is lactose intolerant
Sometimes it’s relatively easy to tell whether your dog is lactose intolerant or not.
If your Labrador is lactose intolerant, he will give you clear signs. These may include:
- Excessive flatulence
- Loose stool
- Lack of appetite
- Skin redness
You should know that it’s possible for your Labrador to develop lactose intolerance later on in its life. Just because your dog isn’t lactose intolerant at a young age it doesn’t mean it won’t be as he gets older.
Cheese provides nutritional benefits
Most dogs love cheese. It’s also a great training treat and snack to conceal pills for sick dogs.
Despite the fact that some cheeses are not suitable for every Labrador, they provide valuable nutritional benefits to dogs.
Cheese contains essential fatty acids, calcium, vitamin A and B-complex, phosphorus, zinc and protein. All of these nutrients are important to your Lab’s health. They need calcium for their bones and teeth.
Cheese also contains sodium, which is also important to your dog’s health, but some cheeses are too salty. Just like in humans, excessive amounts of sodium lead to high blood pressure in Labradors. So before serving any cheese to your pup you should check the nutrition label for sodium content and choose a cheese with low sodium content.