Monday, January 11, 2016

Can Your Pets Eat Cheese?

Anyone with a pet knows that not all “human food” is safe for pets to eat, with the classic example being chocolate. The good news, however, is that if you have a dog or a cat, it may be safe to occasionally give them a small piece of cheese. Most experts agree that as long as you do it correctly, it will be perfectly safe.

The Warnings

The biggest reason that you will sometimes find cheese on the list of banned foods for dogs and cats is that it contains milk, fatty components, and sugars which your furry friends can’t digest. The idea is that our pets simply don’t know how to digest milk and dairy products after they reach a certain age, making it unsafe to give them cheese. The reality, however, is that even if your dog eats too much cheese, he will probably just have gas, diarrhea, or vomiting and no life-threatening symptoms.

Lactose Intolerance

If cheese is safe for cats and dogs, you may be wondering why so many animal experts say it is on the banned list. That is because some pets, but not all, suffer from lactose intolerance. This means the same thing for dogs as it does for humans: that they lack the protein required to digest the lactose found in dairy products. This means that if you opt for a cheese with less lactose (like cheddar), your dog is less likely to have a reaction.

Cheeses To Try

There are two methods to follow when offering your dog cheese. You can either select a cheese that is extremely low in lactose or one that is easy for them to eat. Cheddar is commonly suggested because even an ounce has almost no lactose. Another popular suggestion is cottage cheese and although it has three grams of lactose in half a cup, it isn’t high in fat and still contains significantly less lactose than whole milk.

Serving The Cheese

When you are planning to give your dog some cheese, you can pick from a few options, just be sure not to ever give a pet cheese on a regular basis as the large amount of dairy can be harmful. You can give your furry friend a little bit of cheese as an occasional treat or a bribe for training. Cheese is also a great way to trick your pet into taking their medicine. Just put their pill in a spoonful of cream cheese or squish it into a cheese cube.

Things To Remember

Although cheese is safe for your pets, you do need to keep a few things in mind. Always give a small amount the first time and watch carefully for lactose intolerance or an allergic reaction so you know your dog or cat can handle the cheese. Also try to avoid cheeses with a high fat content for health reasons.

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