Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?
Yogurt is a light, delicious snack packed with protein and probiotics for us humans. As you help yourself to some Chobani, your four-legged friend may give you those sweet puppy eyes.
Is it safe to share? Yes, yogurt can be a safe snack for dogs, just as long as it's the right amount of the right kind of yogurt. Not all yogurt is made the same way or with the same ingredients, so you'll want to pay attention to the nutritional label to make sure it's OK to share with your pooch.
Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?
Yogurt is a dairy product filled with nutrients like calcium, potassium, probiotics, and protein—all of which are beneficial to our overall health.
As much as we might wish our dogs could share our diets, they have an entirely different set of nutritional needs. So, where does yogurt fit in with our canine companions' diet? And how can we feed it to them so that they experience its health benefits?
"Non-fat plain yogurt is safe for dogs in small amounts," says Laura Robinson, DVM and veterinary advisor to Pawp. "Too much yogurt or the wrong type of yogurt can cause some health problems. It can also cause some gastrointestinal (G.I.) upset in certain dogs who may have sensitive stomachs."
Robinson adds, "Dogs do benefit from probiotics like people. They can get probiotics from some yogurt if they contain active live cultures."
While yogurt can be a good source of probiotics for dogs, Robinson says there are better ways for them to get probiotics. She recommends dog-specific probiotic products such as FortiFlora and Proviable.
Dangers of Feeding Dogs Yogurt
Yogurt is not toxic to dogs, but there are a few factors to take into consideration before you feed your furry pal a bowl of yogurt.
The first being lactose issues. As dogs grow older, they produce less lactase, which can lead to lactose intolerance. (If you're lactose intolerant, you know it's no fun.)
Another factor to pay close attention to is the kind of yogurt you feed your dog. Some yogurts labeled "sugar-free" will likely contain a sugar substitute that is deadly to dogs such as xylitol. Xylitol, Robinson says, "can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, vomiting, and liver failure."
Additionally, foods high in fat—including some yogurts—can be an issue for dogs, she notes.
"Dogs are much more sensitive to fat than people are and cannot handle large amounts," Robinson says. "Dogs who ingest too much fat can develop gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis, diarrhea, and vomiting." She adds that too much yogurt can cause dangerously high levels of calcium and magnesium, which can result in seizures, G.I. upset, and heart issues.
If you would like to share yogurt with your pup, give her a small amount and see if she handles it without any problems.
What Type of Yogurt is Safe for Dogs?
Regular. Greek. Plant-based. Flavored. Unflavored. With so many types of yogurts that exist nowadays, which is the best yogurt for dogs?
"Plain, non-fat, unflavored is the most safe," Robinson says. She adds plain, non-fat, Greek yogurt is also a safe bet. Both types can be topped with fresh fruits dogs can eat, like blueberries, bananas, and strawberries.
So, does that eliminate all flavored yogurts?
Mostly, yes. While you should definitely avoid toxic flavors like chocolate, there are some flavors that may be safe in small amounts.
"Some dogs can handle vanilla or fruit-based plain, non-fat yogurt, but be careful of artificial sweeteners and preservatives, such as xylitol on the ingredient list," Robinson says. "The more plain, the safer."