Cottage cheese is packed with nutrients, is full of healthy fats, and is a good source of protein.
Most dog owners wonder if dairy products suit their dogs because of humans' lactose intolerance issues with them.
Dogs are unable to digest lactose after they stop suckling. The enzyme lactase breaks down lactose to prevent gastrointestinal upsets.
It is not recommended to feed dogs a constant diet of the same foods we eat, but there are safety measures to work with before giving a dog cottage cheese as a treat.
Before adding many dairy products to a dog's diet, be sure it's not lactose intolerant. Also, cottage cheese has some great benefits if fed in moderation and if the dog tolerates dairy products.
Dogs usually eat almost any cheese presented to them. So, is cottage cheese good for dogs?
Is cottage cheese actually cheese?
History has it that cottage cheese was made in farmhouses or cottages, where there was excess milk from butter. The extra milk was used to make cottage cheese hence the name.
Cottage cheese is white, soft, fresh cheese made from the curds of pasteurized cow's milk and can be made using whole, skim, or part-skimmed milk.
Make cottage cheese, it is fermented by adding vinegar or lemon juice, or the milk is acidified through bacterial fermentation that converts milk sugars (lactose) into lactic acid. The lactic acid separates the curds (the milk solids, fats, and proteins) from the whey (the liquid).
After the curds are fully formed, they go through a rinsing process, and later salt or other flavouring products are added. In addition, cottage cheese is best enjoyed fresh with its retained moisture.
Cottage cheese is essentially curds and cream with varying levels of fat, including nonfat, reduced fat, and regular fat, as well as small-curd, medium-curd, and large-curd varieties.
Low-fat is a healthier option for dogs. Cottage cheese is low in cholesterol, with calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin A, protein, and B-Vitamins; really good for dogs who can condone dairy products without issues.
Even healthy fats cause weight gain and obesity. One must use cottage cheese sparingly, so the risk of obesity and high blood pressure is lower!
Can I give my dog cottage cheese daily?
Dogs can safely eat low-fat cheeses such as cottage cheese every day with a limit to how much they eat.
Cottage cheese is a nutritious treat for dogs. However, if a dog is lactose intolerant, it can cause many problems with symptoms such as diarrhea, gassiness, or vomiting. Although it has many health benefits, you give it to your dog in moderation.
This means cottage cheese should make up less than 10% of the dog's daily dietary intake, equalising to a few spoonfuls depending on size.
When changing the dog's diet, it is best to consult a vet who will likely know the details of the dog's health and diet needs.
Vets are likely to recommend that adding dairy/probiotics to your dog's diet is good, but others will advise avoiding it.
Furthermore, dogs can eat more cottage cheese than just spoonfuls if on bland diets for diarrhoea or other stomach issues.
Spoonfuls of cottage cheese and white rice can help provide a protein-filled meal that's easy for your dog to digest but talk to a veterinarian before using cottage cheese as a home treatment.
It is better to save cottage cheese as treats once every week and for the days when the dog is too sick to eat other protein sources.
Give the dog plenty of water after cottage cheese treats, as they are high in sodium and can dehydrate your dog. Although it is mostly rare, you will likely notice that your dog is a bit thirstier after eating cottage cheese.
Is cottage cheese good for dogs?
Cottage cheese is safe to feed a dog as an occasional treat because it can be opted out from being a significant part of their diet.
It is just a healthy alternative to giving your dog other high scraps and treats with lots of health benefits:
- Cottage cheese serves as a good probiotic. Probiotics are good for digestive health, especially gut balance. If a dog is struggling with diarrhoea issues, feed them cottage cheese as a source of protein when a bland diet is recommended.
- Cottage cheese is a perfect alternative when your dog can't take milk, other types of cheese, or eat meat (100 grams of cottage cheese contains about 11g of protein); feed them some cottage cheese instead to give them the protein they need
- The 100g cottage cheese contains about 83g of calcium, essential for strong bones and teeth.
- It has magnesium that helps the dog's blood sugar regulation, boosts their immune system, and protects their heart health.
- Cottage cheese is high in selenium, working to increase antioxidant protection. Selenium is helpful as an antioxidant that protects cells and DNA from damage.
- It is very satiating, making your pet feel full with a relatively low number of calories, helping to combat weight gain.
- Cottage cheese has low calories and fat, making it a great treat source for dogs without adding too much to their food calorie intake.
- It has great taste and texture, which helps stimulate food intake for ill dogs with depressed appetites. This could help your pet recover faster.
- Cottage cheese is fermented and has very little lactose meaning dogs with digestive challenges can tolerate them well, especially the low-fat varieties.
Consult a vet if your dog has digestion issues with normal food. Some suggest feeding them bland food like white rice, boiled chicken, and cottage cheese.
Is Cottage Cheese Bad For Dogs?
First, ensure your dog is not lactose intolerant before giving them cottage cheese, as it may cause constipation, diarrhoea, or flatulence.
Cottage cheese has much less lactose than other dairy products like milk, but it contains lactose.
Whole-milk cottage cheese has a high-fat content that can lead to excessive weight gain or obesity if consumed in large quantities,
Large breed puppies grow extremely fast, and it is recommended not to give them cottage cheese. They need food specific to their growth rate; cottage cheese could result in some negative health benefits.
When dogs consume too much salt from food high in sodium, their muscles become stiff or even fade from losing moisture. They may get hypernatremia (a condition of too much salt in the dog's blood).
Too much sodium for your dog may lead to salt poisoning in dogs. Signs and symptoms of sodium poisoning in dogs include:
- Difficulty breathing or respiratory distress.
- Loss of appetite and swollen tongue
- Convulsions, confusion, headache,
- Fluid build-up, frequent urination, and thirst
- Fever or high body temperature
- Nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
- Tachycardia or fast heart rate.
- Abdominal pain and muscle
- Lack of energy and body weakness
- Seizures, coma, or death in severe cases
In case of sudden changes in your dog's behaviour, you'll want to contact the veterinarian immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How do I feed my dog cottage cheese?
Introducing cottage cheese into a dog's diet is a great way to boost nutrition and add moisture.
Many cottage cheese types have varying levels of fat content, and it is important to pick out the right amount of fat for your dog.
Try to stick with a 1% low-fat cottage cheese rule to ensure your dog gets all the quality protein without overdoing the fat content. This strategy is most suitable for dogs with fat-sensitive GI issues like pancreatitis.
Other recommended ways to feed your dog cottage cheese include:
- Add the cheese directly to the dog's food or put a small amount in their bowl until they are finished with their meal
- Moderation is key when feeding your pet cottage cheese because it can lead to weight gain and obesity if fed too frequently or in high quantities. Gastrointestinal upsets can also occur due to too much lactose.
- Feed the dog plain, low-sodium, low-fat cottage cheese with no additives such as garlic, chive extracts, or onion because they are toxic to dogs.
- For stomach issues, start reintroducing mild food like rice and move on to cottage cheese once your dog has held down the rice.
- It's not a good idea to supplement lactating moms with cottage cheese. Lactating bitches have high-calcium demand, and excessive calcium supplementation can suppress their parathyroid glands and increase the risk of low blood calcium levels. Give them commercially produced high-quality, nutritionally balanced, reputable puppy food as a substitution.
- Advice is to not feed your dog cottage cheese during pregnancy, especially in the last 2 weeks, as it can increase the risk of eclampsia caused by a sudden increased demand for calcium due to lactation.
There are many other human foods with more significant health benefits than cottage cheese to give your dog, such as; apples, carrots, fish, peanut butter, and green beans.
Other options can include plain peanut butter with no sugar or salt added if your pet does not have a nut allergy.
Cottage cheese is an occasional healthy treat for your dog and a great supplement to their diet.
Because of its low lactose, cottage cheese is an excellent probiotic and a good source of protein and calcium, making it an excellent option for a dog.
Make sure to test if your dog is lactose intolerant before giving them cottage cheese. Lactose intolerant dogs cannot digest dairy well.
When adding any treatment to your pet's diet, ensure that it is done gradually and fed in moderation to avoid adverse reactions human food can have on canines.
Always consult your veterinarian to determine whether adding these foods to your pet's diet is safe.
Cottage cheese has its benefits and downsides. Monitor your dog's overall health and intake if it's part of their diet.