It can be hard to resist when our canines give us those puppy-dog eyes at the dinner table or while we’re having a snack. Just a small bite of our food won’t hurt them, right? Well, that depends on exactly what you’re feeding your pup. Some of our foods are perfectly safe and even nutritious for our dogs as an occasional treat; others are not.
If you’re a lover of cheese, you might have pondered what kinds of cheese are safe to give your pet. Take brie; can dogs eat brie, or will it make them ill? While our canine companions can technically eat brie, it’s not a healthy choice for them, and there are a few caveats to feeding it to our pups. Here’s what you should know!
Is Brie Safe for Dogs?
If you’re unfamiliar with brie, it’s a soft cheese that consists of 65–75% butterfat. It comes in the shape of a wheel, has a rind on the outside, and is technically safe for dogs to eat. The catch here is that they shouldn’t have it often. Many dogs are lactose intolerant and don’t have the enzyme lactase to help them digest dairy products.
While non-toxic, brie is incredibly high in saturated fat—in fact, it has one of the highest amounts of saturated fat of any cheese! Just like with us, saturated fats aren’t good for our pups. Too much saturated fat can lead to long-term consequences, such as stomach issues, obesity, and pancreatitis. Since you want your dog to live its longest, healthiest life, brie should only be given as a rare treat.
What Other Cheeses Are Unhealthy for Dogs?
While there are plenty of safe cheeses that are alright to give to your dog (in moderation!), there are others, like brie, that aren’t as safe or healthy. When feeding your pup cheese, you’re going to want to avoid cheeses like brie and feta, which are high in saturated fat. You’ll also want to avoid giving them any specialty cheese; it’s not necessarily that specialty cheeses are unhealthy, but many contain ingredients, like garlic or raisins, that are toxic to our dogs. If you want to let your dog have a bit of specialty cheese, you need to check the ingredients carefully.
There are also a few cheeses that are downright deadly to our canines. For example, any blue cheese can contain roquefortine, a toxin. What other cheeses should you avoid? Stilton, Roquefort, and gorgonzola.
What Are Some Safe Cheeses?
Luckily, several kinds of cheese are available that are safe for your pet to eat if you’re simply unable to resist the begging your pup does. Mozzarella and cottage cheese have lower amounts of fat in them than cheeses such as brie. Swiss and cheddar cheese also make good options for a treat. Looking for lower-fat and lower-sodium cheeses that have safe ingredients is your best bet when feeding cheese to your dog.
Does Cheese Offer Nutritional Benefits to Dogs?
It does offer a few! There aren’t many nutritional benefits to feeding cheese to your favorite canine, but there are some. The benefits cheese can provide for your pet include calcium, essential fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, and B-complex vitamins. Of course, your pet doesn’t need to overdo it on the nutritional benefits any more than it does the saturated fat since it should be getting all it needs from its dog food. So, again, moderation is key!
Should Certain Dogs Avoid Cheese?
While there aren’t certain breeds, per se, that you should avoid giving cheese to, there are some pups whose bodies might just not agree with this food.
If your dog is already overweight, cheese should be avoided due to its fat content. And if your dog is lactose-intolerant, you absolutely want to avoid cheese and other dairy. Meanwhile, dogs with kidney issues may have difficulty with cheese due to its salt content.
If you’re unsure how your dog might react to cheese, give them only a minute amount at first. If you see vomiting, diarrhea, or any other issues, avoid cheese in the future. However, if your pet seems fine after eating a small bite of cheese, giving it to them (sparingly!) in the future should be fine.
Brie is not toxic to our dogs, but it isn’t the best cheese to feed them. Due to the high saturated fat content, brie is rather unhealthy for canines. Luckily, many other cheeses are available that are lower in fat and better to feed your pup as a treat. Keep in mind, though, that several cheeses are toxic to canines, so you’ll want to avoid those. Whatever type of cheese you end up letting your dog have, only give it in moderation as an occasional treat!
Featured Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock