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A recent answer included feeding dairy products to a dog, in the answer is was Cream Cheese, but it does bring up the whole question of if dairy products are appropriate for dogs.

I personally am 'lactose intolerant' so I know not all adult mammals are able to take dairy products as a regular part of their diet.

Is it OK to feed dogs dairy products?

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Wow ... such hot day ... tasty icecream. –  Ingo Jun 14 at 11:03
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It probably comes as a surprise to most people, but many adult dogs and cats are actually lactose intolerant as well. While they may enjoy the taste of dairy, it's not a normal part of either diet and can lead to:

  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

It doesn't take much either, according to Blackwell, 1.5 grams per kilogram of lactose per day can cause these symptoms and, for reference, 1 cup of milk has about 11 grams of lactose in it. So, unless there's a specific need to feed them dairy (e.g. illness recovery on recommendation of a vet), I would probably avoid it.

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FYI: We feed our cat the tiniest crumbs of cheese and a very small amount of milk (enough to cover the bottom of his food ball) occasionally. He doesn't exhibit any of the symptoms mentioned. Now it may just be our cat is more resilient or the quantity and infrequency but it seems tiny amount can be OK. –  CodeBlend Jun 13 at 9:53
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@CodeBlend - Tiny amounts can be fine, but you'll note that I said many rather than all in my response for a reason. :) –  John Cavan Jun 13 at 10:31
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It depends on your dog. Some dogs are lactose intolerant, but loads of trainers suggest cheeses as high value training treats: The folks at fearfuldogs.com suggest a few cheese options. A local trainer who we hired -- Brooklyn Pup -- gave him bits of cheese as rewards. Whole dog journal suggests cottage and ricotta cheese in their recipes (they caution against high fat cheeses but suggest adding fats further down in the recipe so ...).

I had a dog as a kid who we definitely had to keep away from any cheeses. If he got his hands on basically anything, he'd eat it, cheese included, and his lactose intolerance ranged from flatulence (really bad flatulence) with small amounts (a stolen sandwich) to outright diarrhea with larger amounts (he got a hold of a block of cheese once). Our current dog, 7mos old shepherd-husky-whatever mix (a rescue of unknown provenance), is bonkers for cheese. He loves it. I don't give him a ton, but he gets up to 2T /day between his kong and occasional rewards and he doesn't have gas problems. I don't see any difference between days when he gets cream cheese in his kong and days when he gets peanut butter.

And my mother-in-law uses string cheese as a training reward with her golden retriever.

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+1 good answer from experience. In managing my own desire for cheese and lactose intolerance I found on researching some info on Wikipedia the older harder cheeses like a well aged cheddar may have almost no Lactose. list % –  James Jenkins Jun 14 at 11:57
    
There's also quite a range of lactose free cheeses in most bigger supermarkets nowadays. If you can't find any in traditional shops or online, try a health food shop. –  ThomasH Jun 18 at 10:51
    
@ThomasH tru, tho at that point you may as well just use peanut butter. –  Amanda Jun 18 at 12:45
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