Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? Canine Friend or Foe?

Introduction

Yogurt has been recommended to people as a healthy food for many years now, which is why many of us have incorporated it into our daily diets. But can dogs eat yogurt?

We’re answering this question and more in today’s article, so keep on reading!

Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?

The nutrients in yogurt actually depend on each variety. As you can imagine, low-fat ones aren’t going to put pressure on your dog’s fat and cholesterol metabolism, but they might contain sugar, so they could predispose them to obesity anyway. 

Here are some of the benefits and nutrients that dogs can enjoy when eating plain, medium-fat yogurt. 

Calcium

This is one of the most important minerals that can be found in yogurt, and that is why this food type is often recommended to people, too. Calcium is essential for your dog’s osteo-skeletal system, and it is known to prevent both rickets (which affects young dogs) and osteoporosis (which affects senior animals). 

There is more than 400mg of calcium in every 100g of yogurt, regardless of its kind. 

Other minerals

Some of the other minerals that can be found in this type of food are magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, zinc, and very low amounts of copper and manganese. 

All of these nutrients have different functions but most positively influence a dog’s health status. For example, iron is the core ingredient of red blood cells while magnesium works with calcium in supplying energy to your dog’s tissues. 

Of all the minerals we have noted to be present in yogurt, potassium and phosphorus are in the largest quantities. 

yogurt

Vitamins 

Unlike fresh fruits and veggies, which are packed in vitamins, yogurt isn’t as rich in these nutrients. However, it still contains moderate amounts of vitamin A and E, which both have a good effect on your dog’s immune system. Vitamin A is great for healthy vision, while vitamin E can improve your dog’s skin and coat. 

Probiotics

Natural yogurts are packed in probiotics, which means that they can seriously make a difference when it comes to a dog’s digestion. Dogs that suffer from constipation can benefit from a little yogurt added to their diets, and get all the other perks, too. 

Is Yogurt Bad for Dogs?

Lactose intolerance

Even though this health issue might not be as prevalent in canines as it is in humans, some dogs might still have trouble digesting dairy. Goat yogurt is better for them, but even it can cause digestive distress every now and then. 

In any case, dogs aren’t supposed to have massive amounts of yogurt since it’s not specifically made for them. If they have too much or if they are lactose-intolerant, they might vomit or have an episode of diarrhea

The fat can cause problems

Particularly fatty yogurt varieties such as full-fat Greek yogurt can be dangerous for some dog categories. Those that have heart conditions, are obese, or are undergoing treatment for diabetes, should never have such types of yogurt. 

High-fat varieties can also predispose geriatric dogs to pancreatitis, which is a very complicated health problem. 

Mineral imbalances 

This can only happen in certain situations, such as if you were to give your dog truly large amounts of yogurt. 

As we have previously noted, this food is very rich in calcium and other minerals, and since all of them are in charge of regulating arterial pressure and the way nutrients are exchanged between cell membranes, some dogs might experience GI upset, cardiovascular issues, or seizures if they have too much. 

How Much Yogurt Can My Dog Eat?

There aren’t any specific quantities being recommended by vets across the world, and that’s because yogurt should not be your dog’s main food. It can be considered a snack or an addition thanks to its probiotics, but it’s not something that you have to feed your pet every single day. 

The amount that’s safe also depends on the dog’s size and general health, and since dog breeds are so different, it would be impossible to give a universal amount that’s great for every dog. 

Usually, more than one tablespoon of medium-fat yogurt per week should not cause any problems. 

How to Prepare and Serve Yogurt to Your Dog

The best way to give your dog yogurt, if they are not lactose-intolerant, is to feed them the way it is. Cooking yogurt removes some of the nutrients in it, so your pet is not going to receive all the benefits from them. 

You can mix the yogurt with your dog’s favorite canned food if they’re not a fan of you giving it separately. Do this every 4-5 days, and it will somewhat regulate their digestion

dog eating yogurt

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat Greek yogurt?

It depends on every dog, but this is not the best type for most dogs. It is very rich in fat, so it can cause digestive imbalances, and in some dogs, it can lead to other health complications.

Can dogs eat yogurt with fruit?

Store-bought fruit yogurts are not safe because they could contain too much sugar, or worse, low-sugar ones could contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that can be deadly for dogs. 

If you make your own yogurt at home using a yogurt maker, you can simply cut up some fruit (without the pits or seeds) and throw it into it. Your dog would then get both probiotics from yogurt and fiber from the fruit.

Can dogs eat yogurt everyday?

No. It is far better for you to get some vet-approved probiotic supplements (powders or pills) and give them to your dog every day — especially if they are dairy-free.

Summary

So, can dogs eat yogurt? On occasion, yes. High-fat varieties are a no-go and should never be given to pets. As for low-fat ones, make sure that you check the label to eliminate any suspicion that they contain artificial sweeteners.

Sources

  1. Understanding the canine intestinal microbiota and its modification by pro-, pre- and synbiotics — what is the evidence?, Silke Schmitz et al, 2016
  2. State-of-the-art of the nutritional alternatives to the use of antibiotics in humans and monogastric animals, Vittorio Saettone et al, 2020
  3. Concentrations of macronutrients, minerals, and heavy metals in home-prepared diets for adult dogs and cats, Vivian Pedrinelli et al, 2019

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Cristina Vulpe

Cristina Vulpe

As a veterinarian and a cat guardian, Cristina Vulpe holds a Ph.D. in veterinary oncology. She loves writing about feline pathology, parasitology, and infectious diseases, but she also cares deeply about animal nutrition and welfare. When she isn't writing, you can always find her in the company of her cat and a good book.
Iasi, Romania