Can puppies eat cottage cheese? Is it safe?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Have you ever wondered:

What would happen if I give my puppy cottage cheese?

Chances are, you probably would have stopped right there. But let us tell you that cottage cheese isn’t all that dangerous.

In fact, it can make a great appetizer or treat for your puppy if you feed it to them properly!

So, what is the PROPER way? Read on to find out more about how you can feed your puppy cottage cheese.

Can Puppies Eat Cheese? (Video)

Lactose Intolerance in Puppies

Just like some people, cats and especially dogs don’t respond to lactose too well. Lactose is a type of sugar contained mostly in dairy products such as milk and cheese. This sugar is broken down in the body by the chemical compound, Lactase, which is produced and found in the small intestines.

Each food contains a varying quantity of lactose. Milk, specifically cow’s and goat’s milk contains some of the most lactose amongst the different varieties of whole, unsweetened milk products. Yoghurt is also another dairy product which although contains less lactose than milk, still has a quite high quantity of it. Cheese of all types also has different amounts of lactose with Cottage cheese being the highest and Mozzarella containing the lowest.

If someone is lactose intolerant, this means that their body isn’t producing enough lactase to break down the lactose that a person is consuming from different foods. In humans, this is usually due to either some sort of digestive disease or some sort of trauma to the small intestine, which reduces the production of lactase.

However, in the case of dogs, their bodies naturally produce a very low quantity of lactase, which makes the majority of dogs lactose intolerant. Although, during their weaning stage, the bodies of puppies do produce lactase to break down their mother’s milk. But once they’re past that stage, lactase production slowly declines as they age. So, while adult dogs can barely process lactose, puppies are slightly better at this. Because of this, puppies are a little less likely to suffer the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Feeding Puppies Cottage Cheese

Here’s a more straight-forward answer:

Yes, puppies can eat cottage cheese! If fed in a proper way, cottage cheese can become a healthy addition to your puppy’s diet and will even help solve several dietary issues.

One of the first steps, before you add cottage cheese into your puppy’s diet, is to talk to their vet before anything else. Not only will this help rule out any existing health issues with your pup, but they’ll also be able to advise you about how to properly introduce cottage cheese into their diet.

If you’re done with that step, or simply want to do it on your own, always start by gradually adding cottage cheese to your puppy’s diet. In the beginning, you should test by giving them only a small bite or two and note down their reaction over the next day or two. If in case your puppy is extra sensitive to dairy or lactose, they’ll start exhibiting symptoms like diarrhoea or bloating. But if they seem to be totally fine, you can slowly increase the quantity and add it to each of their meals.

Even then, it’s important to remember that cottage cheese should not consist of more than 10% of your puppy’s diet. No matter how healthy cottage cheese might be, you should still be getting most of their nutrients from their puppy formula diet or any other diet their vet recommends. Cottage cheese should only be used occasionally as a means of treating them with a snack or as a small appetizer to their meals.

Benefits of Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a low-fat, high-fibre cheese and has several health benefits compared to other dairy products. It can be a great low-calorie addition to your diet and will also help provide extra nutrients to your puppy.

Here are some of the benefits of feeding your puppy cottage cheese:

  • Cottage cheese is low in fat and calories: Oftentimes, dairy products have high fat and calorie content, which can make it troublesome to find a good treat for your puppy. Because you have to make sure that most of their calories are coming for their regular diet, there’s usually no space left for other snacks or treats. Cottage cheese acts as a great choice here as it is both low in fat and can easily be incorporated into your pup’s diet without worrying about them gaining too much weight.
  • It’s high in protein: Protein is a crucial part of a puppy’s diet, which provides nourishment to their muscles and helps them grow. Just 100 grams of cottage cheese contains 11 grams of proteins, which will help increase your pup’s protein intake along with their regular diet. However, it would be wrong to assume that cottage cheese can act as a protein supplement, as your puppy will absorb the proteins from meat more effectively.
  • Cottage cheese has a great texture and taste: Sometimes, your puppy will show no interest in eating their food which can be quite worrying. Here’s where cottage cheese can come into use due to its rich texture and taste. You could try spreading a few pieces of cottage cheese over their meal to grab their attention.
  • It’s rich in calcium and other vitamins and minerals: Cottage cheese also acts as a source of calcium which is important for bone development during a puppy’s growth stage. More than that, it also contains vitamin B12, potassium, and selenium, all of which help ensure your puppy gets a well-rounded diet.

Precautions for Feeding Cottage Cheese

While cottage cheese might seem like the perfect snack for your puppy, there are still some precautions you should take into notice before giving it to them. There are some situations where cottage cheese might be unsuitable or even damaging to your pup’s health. Due to this, we recommend that you rule out all of these factors before you feed them this cheese:

  • Puppies with lactose intolerance: If your puppy doesn’t seem to digest dairy properly, it’s best to steer clear of cottage cheese. But if you don’t know if your puppy is lactose intolerant or not, you could preferably get them checked by a vet or try feeding cottage cheese in very tiny proportions to figure it out yourself.
  • Puppies with pancreatitis: Giving your puppy cottage cheese if they’re suffering from pancreatitis wouldn’t be in their best interest. Puppies with pancreatitis usually don’t seem to respond well to new foods and have trouble digesting different foods. Because cottage cheese still has some fat content, it could make your puppy obese in the long-term.
  • High-sodium cottage cheese: Too much sodium can cause damage to your puppy’s health and could lead to digestive issues. Therefore, it’s important to only feed them the purest form of cottage cheese which contains low amounts of sodium.
  • Feeding too much cottage cheese: As mentioned before, one thing you absolutely have to make sure is that cottage cheese doesn’t exceed 10% of your puppy’s diet. Sure, it may have all of its health benefits, but your dog should still get their nutrition from their main diet consisting of whole foods.

Signs of Lactose Intolerance

Before feeding your puppy cottage cheese, you ought to be familiar with the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Any puppy can have lactose intolerance, and symptoms will usually appear within 30 minutes to two hours from feeding your pup any dairy item. Although these symptoms aren’t life-threatening, they can still cause discomfort to your dog. Here are some common symptoms you should keep an eye on:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating and Gas
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Weakness and Weight loss
  • Dehydration and Thirst

Usually, these symptoms are nothing to worry about and will fix themselves on their own. If you start seeing them, immediately remove cottage cheese or the dairy product from your pup’s diet. Feed them some pumpkin to soothe their stomach and keep them hydrated so they can recover faster.

Foods You Should Avoid Feeding Your Puppies

Although it’s okay to feed your puppy cottage cheese, they might not respond well to other foods, whether it be dairy or non-dairy. Often times, dog owners forget that the digestive system of dogs and puppies vary vastly from ours. Therefore, it’s not okay to feed them everything we eat, without first consulting your vet or having knowledge beforehand.

Some dairy and non-dairy items which we consume on a daily basis can cause a lot of trouble for a puppy’s digestion. More than that, daily items that seem harmless, can sometimes be poisonous to dogs and can even put their life at risk. Here’s a list of some of the foods you should avoid feeding your puppy or dog:

  • Chocolate: As harmless as chocolate may seem, it’s poisonous to dogs. All kinds of chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine. Both of these compounds are difficult for dogs to digest and they can speed up their heartbeat and stimulate their nervous system, causing seizures, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea and even death in severe circumstances.
  • Avocadoes: Aside from the choking hazard, the pit of avocadoes pose; they also contain persin which can cause heart congestion, vomiting, and diarrhoea in pups. If your dog has ingested an avocado pit, you should get them to a vet as soon as possible.
  • Cooked bones: Many people throw their puppies some cooked bones from their food, thinking they’re harmless. But cooked bones can easily splinter and choke your puppy. Raw bones are safe, but never give them cooked bones.
  • Coffee and other caffeinated items: Caffeine is poisonous to dogs and can cause mild to severe symptoms. These include vomiting, restlessness, high blood pressure, and pulse rate. In some severe cases, it might also cause seizures and even death.
  • Garlic, Onions, and Chives: Both garlic and onions can destroy your dog’s red blood cells causing anaemia, trouble breathing and weakness in dogs. In some cases, this can also be life-threatening, requiring medical attention.
  • Xylitol: This is an ingredient often used in sugar-based foods as a sugar substitute such as gums and candies. Although it’s harmless to humans, just even a little amount of xylitol can cause seizures, liver failure, low blood sugar, and even death in pups.
  • Raisins and Grapes: Both of these are toxic to dogs and have been known to cause liver failure. This usually begins with vomiting and low energy, which worsens with time, sometimes even causing death if fed in large amounts. Not only this, but grapes also contain pits which might pose a choking hazard.

Conclusion

From what we’ve discussed above, it’s safe to say that you can feed your puppy cottage cheese. Just make sure that you’re perfectly familiar with your pup’s health and any issues they face. If you follow all the steps and precautions correctly, your pup will be able to enjoy cottage cheese without any harm.

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