Many human foods are also fantastic treats for our furry friends. However, before you share that bite with your poodle, it is important to know if it’s good for them and any concerns there may be – poodles have a different digestive system after all. In this article, let’s consider cheese.
Poodles can eat cheese. Cheese is not only delicious for poodles but it provides incredible nutritional value for your poodle. However, there are some poodles that lactose intolerant, and when they eat cheese it can also cause obesity, stomach upset, and pancreatitis when offered in excess.
Benefits of feeding cheese to poodles
The following are some of the reasons why serving a little cheese once in a while is a good idea:
Cheese has tons of nutrients, for instance, calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, zinc, and phosphorus. The high-fat content in cheese can be ideal if you want your super-skinny poodle to add some pounds.
A good training reward
Dog trainers may term cheese as a ‘high-value reward.’ A high-value reward is one for which a dog works very hard to get because of the immense value he places on the reward.
Most dogs go crazy over cheese! – And poodles are no different. However, it is important to serve the cheese in tiny bits and not often enough that your poodle becomes used to it.
A good appetizer
Cheese can actually serve as a good appetizer if you’re trying to train your poodle to eat at certain times of the day. In this case, doling out small cheese pieces may entice your poodle’s appetite.
Generally, cheese is good human food for poodles. But what are the things to watch out for? Let’s go over that.
When cheese can be bad for poodles
Although cheese works well for poodles, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Some Poodles could be lactose intolerant
Yes, folks. Lactose intolerance is a problem for poodles as well. Like human beings, poodles with severe reactions to lactose have digestive systems that cannot produce enough lactase to break down lactose.
The tricky thing about poodles’ digestive systems is that their bodies naturally do not produce high amounts of lactase.
Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your poodle’s reactions to dairy products. Lactose intolerance, just as in human beings, can present with mild or severe symptoms.
Watch out for signs of lactose intolerance in the next 24 hours of your poodle eating the cheese.
You’ll see signs of a severe reaction if he develops an upset stomach after eating the cheese. This includes persistent diarrhea, vomiting, and passing gas.
Keep in mind that the amount of lactose you feed your poodle could result in an upset stomach.
Cheese typically contains lesser amounts of lactose than other dairy products, but it can still cause a severe reaction if eaten in huge amounts. So, once again I repeat: serve small bits of cheese.
Building up weight
As you may have guessed, cheese contains substantial amounts of fat. Therefore, it is important to observe moderation when serving it to your poodle.
Too much cheese and your poodle may start building up weight – which may lead to some health challenges later on.
For instance, a serious health condition that can plague your poodle if you serve cheese regularly in large amounts is pancreatitis. This illness is potentially fatal.
Some kinds of cheese have high levels of sodium and this is a problem for poodles. High salt foods can make your poodle more susceptible to kidney problems.
Typically, hard and old cheese will usually contain high salt content. Even though your poodle may drink enough freshwater to neutralize all this sodium, it’s best to be safe. Dogs don’t know any better.
Signs that your poodle has consumed a highly salted cheese include extreme thirst, lethargy, watery diarrhea, a lack of appetite, and vomiting. If you note these symptoms, take your poodle to the vet for a check-up immediately.
Now that we’ve covered the bases on poodles’ general relationship with cheese, we can go into some specifics. There are many varieties of cheese with different effects on poodles. Let’s cover them below.
Cottage Cheese for Poodles – Out of the choices of cheese discusses here, cottage cheese wins the award for the least harmful cheese for poodles. This is because it has lesser amounts of fat and calories as compared to the other types of cheese. Meanwhile, it has high protein content.
You can mix a bit of cottage cheese with some cooked white rice for your poodle if he has an upset stomach – this mix has been said to alleviate a stomach upset.
However, it’s still wise to avoid it for lactose intolerant poodles. In addition, for poodles who are not lactose intolerant, check to ensure that the cottage cheese does not have added milk: added milk increases the lactose content of the cheese significantly. In that case, you may want to reconsider that brand of cottage cheese.
Cream Cheese for Poodles – If you’re considering buying cream cheese for your poodle, be sure to check on the packet for ingredients used in making the product.
Some manufacturers include some garlic flavors in an attempt to make the cheese taste livelier for pets – and garlic is dangerous for pets.
In addition, the preservatives and other additives pose additional risks for your poodle. Personally, I would keep off cream cheese.
Harvati Cheese for Poodles – Just like cream cheese, manufacturers often ‘spice up’ this type of cheese with garlic and onion. Therefore, check out the packaging and if you note it there, avoid serving it to your pet.
If your pet gulps a piece of Havarti cheese when you’re not looking, you may want to visit the vet to make sure it doesn’t harm your poodle – garlic, onions, and herbs are toxic for dogs.
String Cheese for Poodles – The issue with string cheese for poodles is the fat content in them. One stick of string cheese has 90 calories – a significant quantity for your poodle to have in one sitting.
Therefore, string cheese is not such a bad idea if your goal is to fatten up a very skinny poodle.
Meanwhile, string cheese has one of the lesser lactose content of the kinds of cheese discussed here; which makes it recommendable for poodles in some cases.
When you serve string cheese to your poodle, be sure to cut it into small chunks. Serving them ‘stringed’ as they are could potentially choke your poodle.
Cheddar Cheese for Poodles – Cheddar cheese is a better option as compared to string cheese because of its lower lactose content.
Most pet owners use cheddar cheese to feed pills (medicine) to pets who will not take them any other way.
You may want to skip the standard variety and opt for the organic kind in order to avoid the additives and chemicals that companies may place in cheddar cheese.
Blue Cheese for Poodles – This type of cheese is not recommended for dogs in general – and for good reason. When blue cheese ripens up (ferments), it creates roquefortine – a particularly toxic chemical for dogs.
Goat Cheese for Poodles – Goat cheese contains lesser levels of lactose as compared to cow cheese. However, goat cheese still has higher saturated fat levels as compared to other kinds of cheese. Therefore, it is not the best option out there.
Swiss cheese for Poodles – Swiss cheese usually has fewer amounts of lactose as compared to other kinds of cheese. Therefore, if you’re trying to determine whether your poodle has severe lactose intolerance and are not sure how small to go with portions, this kind of cheese is a good choice.
Mozzarella Cheese for Poodles – Mozzarella cheese has high amounts of lactose. If you insist on serving it to your poodle, dole it out in small bits.
Feta Cheese for Poodles – Feta cheese is an absolute treat for us. However, it contains substantial amounts of lactose that makes it unsafe for your poodle.
Therefore, of all the choices of cheese, cottage cheese is the best option for your poodle.
However, if you don’t have cottage cheese in your home, soft cheese choices such as young Cheddar, string, and Mozzarella are still okay granted you serve them in moderation.
Word of caution:
All types of cheese produce roquefortine when they age, not just blue cheese. Therefore, it is important to avoid leaving left-over cheese lying around for your poodle to find.
Symptoms that your poodle may have ingested old cheese with roquefortine include spasms, shivering, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, confusion, and aggression. If you notice these symptoms, rush your poodle to the vet immediately.
Cheese is one of the types of human food that you can share with your poodle. However, you should be mindful of your poodle’s reactions to the lactose and the high-fat content of cheese. It goes without saying that cheese is not recommended for lactose intolerant poodles.
Of all the varieties you can consider, cottage cheese is recommended. Above all, serve the cheese in small amounts and avoiding making it a daily treat or whenever you’re training your poodle. Just as is recommended with any other sweet thing, moderation is key.