Whether or not yogurt for dogs is a good idea has been discussed for a long time. After all, dog owners always want the best for their furry friend, and it’s best not to risk the health of your precious pup.
The overwhelming amount of information online also makes it hard to decide what’s right. We know yogurt is terrific for humans, but is it suitable for our dogs, too?
We’ll try and show you why and how yogurt benefits our canine buddies, so read till the end. You’ll also find answers on the following topics:
- How Is Yogurt Made?
- Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?
- Is It Safe?
- What Are the Benefits of Yogurt?
- What’s the Best Yogurt for Your Dog?
- How Much Yogurt Should Your Pooch Eat?
- Serving Ideas
- What to Do if Your Pup Is Lactose Intolerant
What Is Yogurt and How Is It Made?
So can dogs eat yogurt? To answer this question, we need to first understand what exactly yogurt is. In short, it’s a dairy product made with milk fermentation by lactic bacteria.
It first appeared around 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. There, herders used to store milk in sheep stomachs. The naturally present gut bacteria fermented the milk and made it thicker by converting the lactose into lactic acid. This conversion increased yogurt’s acidity, making it less prone to spoilage than regular milk.
Yogurt also has probiotic qualities. Probiotics are the microorganisms that live inside our intestines and aid digestion, immunity, and nutrient absorption. What’s even more interesting is that due to bacteria “eating” the lactose in milk, yogurt is usually safe for lactose intolerant individuals.
Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?
Since yogurt is a product made from milk, the question “Can dogs drink milk?” is fairly complicated. But as the bacteria for milk making degrades some of the lactose, yogurt is generally safe for dogs.
A few teaspoons a day can complete your pooch’s diet, providing an additional source of protein, calcium, and healthy probiotics. But too much yogurt might upset your puppy’s tummy, so moderation is key.
Is Yogurt Safe for Dogs?
Yogurt is safe and healthy for dogs in moderate amounts. But you should still be careful when giving your puppy a yummy spoonful of it.
The lactose level in yogurt is significantly lower than that in standard milk. But it’s still present, and bigger portions can cause unpleasant side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach aches in our furry friends.
Yogurt is naturally high in fats. And too much fat in your dogs’ diet can lead to obesity and pancreatitis. So your pup should only consume small amounts as a supplement to its diet.
We advise that you buy low-fat yogurt for your pup just to stay on the safe side.
Can Dogs Eat Flavored Yogurt?
Artificial flavorings and sweeteners like xylitol are highly toxic to your pup. These substances can cause hypoglycemia (low blood pressure), seizures, and liver failure.
Such sweeteners are often added to yogurt to appeal to a larger public and counter the acidity. But you should always make sure to give your pup only plain yogurt.
Benefits of Yogurt for Dogs
Yogurt is healthy and immune-stimulating. It’s high in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Also, it’s delicious and a favorite summer snack of many dogs. But how do these qualities make it beneficial for our furry besties?
Probiotics in yogurt for dogs have clear benefits. They enrich the gut with healthy bacteria and aid food digestion. Anecdotal evidence shows that probiotic foods significantly decrease the side effects of antibiotics (like damaged intestinal lining and harmed gut microbiota).
What’s more, probiotics have been shown to reduce stress-related dog diarrhea. So, including a tablespoon of yogurt in your puppy’s breakfast before a stressful event (e.g., visiting the vet) might be a good idea.
Besides, probiotics are great for the immune system. They help the body fight the “bad” bacteria while increasing the “good”. Also, good probiotic bacteria helps with balancing digestion.
Dogs and yogurt are a combo made in heaven as the proteins aid the healthy growth of your pooch’s muscles, hair, skin, and cartilage. Proteins are essential for hormone production and regulation. Also, they help maintain and repair cells and tissues.
What’s more, yogurt is delicious, so your puppy won’t mind fulfilling its daily protein needs.
Calcium is an essential mineral for bone growth in humans and dogs. Also, it comprises a significant part of the teeth and is responsible for proper blood clotting. Plus, it helps the muscles contract and lengthen.
Calcium deficiency in dogs leads to muscle twitching, apathy, low appetite, and even seizures. So you can see how important it is for your pup’s diet.
But can dogs eat yogurt to balance their cholesterol? Yes!
Yogurt has been shown to decrease the “bad” cholesterol as well as blood glucose and insulin. It can also increase the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) levels, which are the “good” cholesterol.
HDL is responsible for carrying cholesterol molecules from the body to the liver, where they can be removed. So yogurt is a nice way to take care of your puppy’s cholesterol levels.
What Yogurt Is Good for Dogs?
Yogurt balances the dog’s gut microbiome, helps with healthy bone and teeth growth, and aids the removal of bad cholesterol.
But not all yogurts are created equal. Some dairy products are full of harmful substances like artificial colorings, sweeteners, and tons of fat. So how do you choose the one that’s good for your pup?
The Best Yogurt for Dogs
The best yogurt for your pup is plain, low-fat, and rich in live cultures. Always make sure it has no sweeteners and avoid fruit, chocolate, and vanilla-flavored products. Even if the sweeteners are “natural”, it’s still best to stay away from them.
There are millions of yogurt brands on the market. So if you need help choosing the best one for your pup, here are our recommendations:
- Happy Belly’s Greek non-fat plain yogurt — This amazing product has 17 grams of protein per serving, no added sugar, and zero grams of fat. It’s also high in calcium to ensure your furry baby’s bones are healthy and its teeth — white.
- Straus Family Creamery’s plain yogurt — This yogurt for dogs is rich in protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. It’s also an organic dog food that will leave your puppy happy and healthy.
- Fage, Fat-Free Greek Yogurt — It’s gluten- and fat-free. Also, it has a good amount of protein and calcium without any added sugars and flavorings. This yummy treat is all-natural and creamy.
How Much Yogurt Is Good for Dogs?
Yogurt is a delicious and healthy doggy snack, but it shouldn’t be the main component of your pup’s diet. Too much of it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating.
So how much yogurt is ok for your furry friend? A dog should consume no more than 10% of its daily calories from dairy. Depending on your pup’s size, this might mean one to three tablespoons of yogurt per day.
Can I Give My Dog Yogurt Every Day?
Yes, you can. Yogurt is full of healthy proteins, minerals, vitamins, and probiotics, so it’s fine to give it to your pup daily. But don’t forget that it should be a snack and not a full meal — start small and increase in time, depending on your puppy’s size and lactose tolerance.
Dogs and Yogurt — Serving Ideas
Now that we persuaded you that yogurt is a fantastic and healthy doggy treat, you might be wondering how to serve it. You can always share a spoonful while prepping your morning oats, but how about some exciting and delicious dog recipes?
Frozen Yogurt for Dogs
Take your favorite non-fat plain yogurt and add a spoonful of peanut butter and a dash of cinnamon. Then, stir well and pour the mixture into ice molds. Place it in the freezer for a few hours or until hardened.
Your doggy will love these tasty and cooling summer treats. Just make sure you let them out of the freezer for a few minutes before giving them to your pup.
Homemade Yogurt Chicken
This yogurt recipe for puppies will quickly become your dog’s favorite snack.
Cook some plain chicken breasts with no salt, herbs, or oil. Then, cut them into small pieces and add a few spoons of yogurt on top. Next, either divide the mix into several smaller serving-size containers or leave it all in the bowl.
The yogurt chicken can stay in the fridge for a few days, but don’t leave it there for too long. It’s a better idea to make small batches, so they’re always fresh.
Yogurt in Dog Food
A nice and easy way to encourage your puppy to finish its meals is to add a bit of something they enjoy into the food. It might be a teaspoon of olive oil for dogs with skin irritations, an egg, or some yogurt.
You can also mix the yogurt with your dog’s regular kibble and let it enjoy the tasty treat.
Yogurt Treats for Dogs
If you’re looking for an easier and more convenient option, why not try Hill’s soft dog treats with chicken and yogurt? They’re high in protein and have no artificial preservatives or flavors. Plus, they’re soft and tender.
These treats make an amazing addition to your pup’s healthy diet. But don’t give too much of them. They’re not meant as a substitute for your puppy’s regular meals.
What If My Dog Is Lactose Intolerant?
Probiotics for dogs can be a healthy supplement to your dog’s meals. They improve digestion, fight bad gut bacteria, and lower cholesterol.
But should dogs eat yogurt if they’re allergic to it? Absolutely no. So here are some other options for a healthy and probiotics-rich doggy snack:
- Lactose-free yogurt
- Probiotic supplements
- Dog food with added probiotics
- Probiotic doggy treats
- Powdered probiotics
Yogurt for dogs is full of healthy proteins and minerals. Also, the calcium in it helps puppies grow strong bones and teeth. Plus, yogurt is full of probiotics that maintain the balance of good gut bacteria and aid the immune system.
Preparing foods with yogurt for your pup is a nice and delicious idea. Whether you decide on an icy yogurt popsicle or a mouth-watering yogurt chicken — your pup and its tummy will be grateful.
But make sure you don’t give your pup too much, as it might cause diarrhea and vomiting. One to three tablespoons of yogurt for dogs a day is enough to keep your pet happy and healthy.