My dog loves eating yoghurt. I'm wondering if this is good for her.
Can dogs eat yoghurt, is it good for them?
Are there any dangers?
What should I be looking for when selecting a yoghurt?
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My concern in feeding human food to animals is that animals are more sensitive than us to some of the ingredients. Commercial yoghurt contains emulsifiers, sweetners, flavourants, colourants, and preservatives. Those are just off the top of my head.
Another concern is the animal's ability to digest lactose:
So, what exactly is lactose?
Well, lactose is a kind of sugar. Not just one single sugar, but two sugar molecules chemically linked together.
In order for a dog to digest milk, the lactose must first be broken apart into its two basic, easy-to-absorb sugars.
And in order to do that, a dog’s body must be able to produce a special lactose-splitting enzyme known as lactase.
And that’s one thing most dogs can’t reliably do.
How much lactose does yoghurt contain?
One cup of yoghurt contains 5 grams of lactose. Compared to one cup of:
How do I know if my dog is lactose intolerant?
If you’ve ever noticed your dog tends to develop gas or loose stools after having milk, there’s a good chance your pet may be suffering from this condition.
To overcome the unwanted ingredients in commercial yoghurts, you could make your own yoghurt. It's easy, cheap, and takes very little time. All you need is milk, and a yoghurt starter. For a starter, you can use a few tablespoons of unpasturised plain yoghurt. Add the starter to the milk and keep it at about 40°C overnight.
The probiotics in the yoghurt would certainly be beneficial to your dog.
Actual natural yogurt's something that dogs in India have had as part of their diet for ages. Its worth remembering there's bad things about it - its milk based, and somewhat fatty (and if your dog is lactose intolerant, very bad things can happen) and good (it has lots of good, natural probiotics).
A lot of store bought yogurt is terrible. The stuff with fruit is high in sugar (not good) and you'd need to check if the specific fruit and any additives in it are dog friendly. Avoid anything that's got artificial sweeteners especially xylithol. In fact, avoid anything that dosen't contain anything but starter culture, and milk of various skimmedness. Avoid anything with starch since it is obviously made by people who are not spending the time to do it right.
Home made yogurt is... actually pretty easy but out of the scope for pets.
Never give anything with Xylitol to dog. It is extremely poisonous to dogs. A lot of food, include some yogurt contains it.