Yes, dogs can eat yogurt and accrue multiple benefits from it, provided it meets certain criteria.
No matter how much you spend on acquiring premium quality dog food for your canine companion, chances are that it will still end up eyeing whatever is there on your plate. Given an opportunity your pooch would even like to sample the food that you eat, even if it means doing it on the sly. When this happens, you as the pet owner need to be aware of the reaction that different food types could have on your pet.
Usually most food types are clearly classified as being good/bad for pets, for example pumpkin and carrots are regarded as being good while chocolates and cheese could trigger an adverse reaction. However, there are some food groups which belong to neither category, for example yogurt, and it is these that pet owners are confused about. Because pet owners are duty-bound to take care of their charges, whether or not the dog should be allowed to have yogurt is a perpetual dilemma.
Ways in Which Yogurt Can Benefit Dogs
Assume for a moment that you come back a moment later to find you canine helping itself to a sizeable helping of yogurt that might have been lying around unattended on the counter. Your next reaction would be that of apprehension as to the reaction that it might trigger in your dog. The good news is that with yogurt you can rest assured that rather than causing harm, it would benefit your dog in a number of ways.
Discussed as follows are some ways in which yogurt could boost your canine’s health –
- As a by-product of milk it is laden with calcium, minerals and proteins, all of which would add to your dog’s muscular health and boost its immune system;
- Owing to the manner in which it is made, yogurt contains a high concentration of good bacteria, or probiotics. On entering the human body, these settle down in the gut and improve digestion while ousting the bad bacteria. So, serving yogurt on a regular basis would result in better digestion and good digestive health for your dog;
- Probiotics can also be administered to the dog via supplements, but yogurt being a natural source is preferred by vets;
- Dogs that consume yogurt on a daily basis as part of their diet have been found to enjoy stronger and healthier bones;
- Presence of probiotics in yogurt also helps in clearing away yeast infection that might be burgeoning in the dog’s ear or skin in form of patches;
Can Yogurt Cause Trouble In Dogs?
By itself, yogurt does not cause toxicity or poisoning in dogs, unless your pet is lactose intolerant.
Dogs take in lactose as part of mother’s milk but as soon as they are weaned off, their bodies are unable to digest this form of sugar. Yogurt being a by-product of milk also contains lactose, although the percentage is much lesser than the amount present in milk. Owing to the quantity of lactose being much less, it can be easily digested by dogs, unless of course the canine is question is particularly sensitive.
After having consumed yogurt, if your dog suffers from vomiting, diarrhoea or any other symptoms of indigestion, it is due to lactose intolerance. Under the circumstances, it is best to avoid serving yogurt or any other form of milk to your dog and administer probiotics through supplements.
Form of Yogurt That Is Best For Dogs
Now that you are convinced about including yogurt in your pooch’s regular diet, it is time to pick a suitable form that can be used every day. To this effect, you would do well to remember that not all yogurts are born equal, and while some might benefit your pet others can just as easily un-do all the good, not to mention cause harm.
Yogurt would best suit your dog if it is in the following form –
- Totally plain – unflavoured and unsweetened, since artificial sweeteners and flavors have been known to cause poisoning and lead to seizures and coma;
- Yogurt that is teeming with live bacteria, so that the dog benefits from the probiotic intake;
- Low-fat yogurt or one which is completely devoid of fat content, so that it does not lead to unwanted weight gain or other health problems;
Alternatives to plain yogurt that are beneficial to dogs are Greek yogurt and Kefir,
Forms of yogurt that you must steer clear of while choosing one for your dog are –
- Chocolate flavoured yogurt, since it can be toxic;
- Yogurt laden with fruits or fruit flavors since not all would be agreeable with your dog;
- Yogurt that is artificially flavoured like vanilla, kiwi and so on;
- Sweetened yogurt, particularly one wherein Xylitol is used as the sweetener;
- Diet yogurt or yogurt having high fat-content, as this would cause the dog to gain weight;
How to Feed Yogurt to Your Dog
You can either mix a spoonful into the dog’s food or get creative and think of new ways of feeding yogurt to your dog.
How about making pupcicles by freezing yogurt with pieces of meat to form yummy cubes of ice? In case your dog might be suffering from upset stomach, then mix a cupful of yogurt with cooked brown rice and chicken and beef cubes.
On a hot day, serve your pooch four cups of plain yogurt whipped with peanut butter and honey. To render this more interesting, mash some ripe banana and mix it in and you have an ideal nutritious and healthy treat to beat the heat.
For dogs, plain yogurt is an anytime-food that can be easily introduced and will be accepted also without a whimper, unless your pet is lactose intolerant. All you need to do is dish out a few spoonfuls into their food and it would be gobbled up in no time.
Owing to its probiotic content, yogurt is a boon for the dog’s digestive health and hence can come in handy at times when the dog might be suffering from upset stomach, undue stress or worms. Surgery and birthing are other occasions when including yogurt in the diet could speed up recovery and boost health.
So, as long as you stick to the plain version, yogurt is a great food option for your dog.