Can Dogs Eat Yogurt: Yogurt’s Nutritional Value as a Dog Food

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The answer to the question of whether dogs can eat yogurt is both a yes and a no.

While it’s a beneficial source of calcium and protein, it also poses certain risks. Plus, the type of yogurt is still a point of consideration. 

A black dog eating yogurt from a glass cup
A dog enjoying his yogurt

Although yogurt can serve as a probiotic, some dogs may find it challenging to digest it, especially those suffering from lactose intolerance.

And if your dog can eat yogurt, it does not necessarily mean they always should.

Keep reading to discover more about the types of yogurt, its various health benefits and risks, and the different ways you can safely add it to your pet’s diet.

What are the Benefits of Yogurt for Dogs?

Just like humans, dogs can benefit from eating yogurt. Tasty and nutritious, it offers the following benefits to your pet’s health:

  1. Yogurt is a source of calcium: One of the most important benefits of calcium in yogurt is that it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. The 110 mg of Calcium in 100 grams of Greek non-fat yogurt can help regulate the nervous system and muscle function.
  2. Yogurt is packed with protein:100 grams of Greek non-fat yogurt contains about 10g of protein, which is beneficial for building and repairing muscle tissues. It also helps maintain healthy hair and skin.
  3. Probiotics in yogurt help with your dog’s digestion: Yogurt contains probiotics and healthy bacterial cultures, which help regulate the digestive system. Bacteria strains like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus Thermophilus aid in the maintenance of a healthy gut, improve colon health and reduce diarrhea and constipation in dogs.

What nutrients in yogurt are beneficial for dogs?

A Pomeranian dog looking at yogurt on spoon
A Pomeranian who wants some nutritious yogurt – Image source

Apart from those mentioned above, dogs can benefit from eating yogurt as this is filled with other vitamins and minerals. Here are some of these:

  • Vitamin K2: Full-fat varieties of yogurt contain the highest amount of Vitamin K2. You can find between 18.9 and 28.1μg of Vitamin K2 in 100g of Greek yogurt. This essential vitamin also aids in proper blood clotting in dogs.
  • Vitamin B12: 100grams of Greek yogurt contains 0.8 µg of Vitamin B12. As Vitamin B12 is not produced naturally, it must be obtained through your dog’s diet. This essential vitamin is vital for your dog’s cell growth, burning fat, and the healthy development of the brain and central nervous system.
  • Phosphorous: Eight ounces of plain yogurt contains about 385 milligrams of Phosphorous, which is critical for the strong bones, joints, and mobility of your dog.
  • Zinc: 1 cup of non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt provides about 2.38 mg of zinc. Zinc helps keep your favorite pooch’s skin and fur looking great, assists with thyroid function, and boosts the immune system.
  • Potassium: A hundred grams of yogurt includes 141 mg of potassium. The potassium content in yogurt helps keep the dog’s heart, nerves, and muscles functioning optimally.

What are the Health Risks of Yogurt for Dogs?

A Pug lying on a weighing scale
A Pug suffering from weight gain

Despite the benefits of yogurt, it should not become a staple part of your dog’s diet because it does carry some health risks. 

  • Weight gain: When feeding your dog, you should always choose non-fat or low-fat yogurt. Too much full-fat yogurt can lead to weight gain, which, in extreme cases, can lead to obesity. Excessive fat can also trigger serious health conditions such as pancreatitis, which can be fatal.
  • Digestive difficulties: Some dogs may find it difficult to digest dairy products, yogurt included. That said, yogurt is one of the better dairy products for dogs as the bacteria used during the yogurt fermentation helps break down the product’s lactose. The probiotics found in yogurt also help with digestion. If your dog does struggle to digest yogurt, this could cause diarrhea, constipation, gas, and vomiting.

What’s in yogurt that is harmful to dogs?

If you’re thinking of adding yogurt to your pet’s diet, there are some substances that yogurt includes that you need to be aware of before you get cooking.

For example, store-bought flavored yogurts generally contain a lot of sugar which is not good for your dog.

Also, some flavorings added to yogurt, such as chocolate, can be toxic for dogs.

What effect does lactose have on dogs?

Like all dairy products, yogurt contains lactose. Dogs don’t have as much lactase in their bodies as humans do, so they can’t digest lactose products or dairy as well.

Too much lactose can cause some pets to suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.

How do probiotics in yogurt affect dogs?

Most yogurt contains probiotics and live cultures of bacteria that help support the digestive system.

While this bacteria is found naturally in your dog’s body, often, your dog won’t have enough good bacteria, perhaps due to illness, diet, and antibiotic use.

Foods like yogurt containing probiotics can help restore this balance and support better gut health.

Can dogs digest yogurt easily?

Although not toxic for dogs, some dogs may struggle to digest yogurt due to the high lactose content. Just like humans, dogs can be lactose intolerant.

It’s much more common in canines for dogs to get an upset stomach and increased flatulence when given dairy.

As every dog is different, try introducing your dog to just a very small amount of yogurt at first.

If your dog reacts negatively, stop feeding him yogurt immediately and get in touch with your vet.

If your dog doesn’t have any reaction, you can try gradually introducing him to larger portions of plain yogurt.

Do yogurt cause digestive problems in dogs?

It can. As mentioned, some dogs struggle to digest dairy, so eating yogurt can lead to digestive problems.

Dogs that struggle with dairy may suffer from abdominal pains, increased flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, a lack of appetite, and itching.

That said, yogurt can also help your dog with digestion as the probiotics help metabolize carbohydrates

Is There Any Dog Breed Allergic to Yogurt?

No, there are no reports that dogs or a specific breed are allergic to yogurt.

However, some dogs may be allergic to milk, an ingredient of yogurt and one of the most common allergens in canines. Symptoms of a dairy allergy include itchy skin and rashes.

Some dogs may also exhibit allergic reactions to lactose or the sugar found in milk.

Others, on the other hand, may experience lactose intolerance, which causes digestive issues such as vomiting, gas, and diarrhea.

If your dog shows any signs of allergies and intolerance after consuming yogurt, take him to your vet.

What Happens If Dogs Eat Too Much Yogurt?

As mentioned, yogurt is rich in fat. Too much of it can upset your dog’s stomach and cause various digestive problems such as diarrhea.

In major cases, it can also lead to pancreatitis. This serious inflammation of the pancreas hinders the body from properly breaking down the nutrients it needs. 

Yogurt also has a considerable amount of calcium. If a dog ingests too much of this, it can lead to weakness, loss of appetite, and dehydration.

In severe cases, this can lead to seizures. High levels of calcium can give rise to hypercalcemia, which can give way to the formation of kidney stones and may be fatal.

How Should Dogs Eat Yogurt?

A dog with yogurt on its mouth
A Pitbull who loves the taste of yogurt – Image source

If you want to share yogurt with your dog, keep it plain and only as an occasional treat at a minimum.

Opt for low-fat yogurt with less sugar and fat content and won’t lead to problems like obesity.

Also, look for plain yogurt that doesn’t include jams and chocolate, as these can be dangerous for your dog.

Is Yogurt a Good Treat for Dogs?

Yes, yogurt can be used as a treat for your dog.

You can try mixing yogurt with peanut butter and spooning the mixture into a chew toy or baking yogurt dog-safe cookies in fun shapes and using these as a reward for your dog instead of regular dog biscuits. 

When should dogs eat yogurt?

As mentioned, dogs can have yogurt as an occasional treat if their tummy is fine with it. The best day for them to have it is on 6 February, National Frozen Yogurt Day!

However, just because the day is all about yogurt, it does not mean your dog can have unlimited amounts. 

Once your pooch outgrows his puppyhood months, his body will become less capable of digesting lactose.

In other words, you can worry less about the negative consequences if your dog eats yogurt as a puppy. Hence, keep it at a minimum regardless of age.

When should dogs not eat yogurt?

There are some situations when it’s best to avoid giving yogurt to dogs. For instance, if a dog is lactose intolerant, it may experience gastrointestinal distress after consuming yogurt.

In addition, dogs with diabetes should avoid yogurt due to its high sugar content.

Also, dogs currently taking antibiotics should not eat yogurt since it contains live bacteria that can interfere with the effectiveness of the medication.

If you’re unsure whether or not your dog should eat yogurt, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian.

What are the Food Recipes Made with Yogurt for Dogs?

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate yogurt into your dog’s diet, there are a few different recipes that you can try.

One easy option is simply mixing yogurt into your dog’s regular food. You can also use yogurt to make homemade frozen treats or pupcakes. 

For a truly festive treat, try making some “pup-sicles” by freezing yogurt mixed with chopped dog-friendly fruits.

Whichever recipe you choose, your dog is sure to enjoy the delicious taste of yogurt.

What Type of Yogurt Can Dogs Eat?

A dog eating yogurt from a spoon
A dog cannot get enough of yogurt – Image source

With so many options on the market, finding the right yogurt for your dog can be a daunting task.

To help you decide which type of yogurt is safe and harmful for your pet, here’s a list of yogurt products that you can use as a guide.

1. Greek Yogurt

Plain Greek yogurt is the safest option for your pet. Greek yogurt has lower levels of lactose and so is better for pets that struggle to digest dairy.

Opt for nonfat or low-fat varieties and avoid flavored Greek yogurt with added sugars and sweeteners that can make your dog sick. 

2. Strawberry Yogurt

Plain yogurt with fresh chopped strawberries is okay for your dog but avoid store-bought strawberry-flavored yogurts with lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors.

3. Vanilla Yogurt

Vanilla yogurt is not the same as plain yogurt. Vanilla yogurt has a flavoring and generally has a higher sugar content than plain or Greek yogurt.

Some vanilla yogurts also contain the sweetener xylitol, which is particularly toxic to pets.

4. Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt should not be given to dogs. While delicious for humans, this sweet treat is way too sugary for your dog.

Also, most frozen yogurts contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives which can cause allergies in dogs. 

If you want to create a frozen treat for your dog during summer, freeze some plain Greek yogurt in ice cube trays or make up some homemade dog-safe frozen yogurt pupsicles.

5. Blueberry Yogurt

Can dogs eat blueberry yogurt? It depends. You’ll need to consider whether it’s homemade or store-bought.

Packaged food often includes sweeteners such as xylitol, which can harm your dog.

If you’re making your yogurt and mixing in a couple of blueberries, your dog will also get a boost of probiotics and antioxidants in one bite. 

6. Plain Yogurt

Plain non-fat yogurt is fine for your dog, and to maximize the probiotic benefits can be fed to your dog every day.

That said, yogurt includes about 15 calories per ounce, so be sure to consider this when working out your dog’s daily caloric intake.

7. Peach Yogurt

Peaches contain plenty of fiber and Vitamin A and can be an excellent snack for your dog.

Mixing small bites of fresh peaches with yogurt is acceptable for your dog but avoid canned peaches and store-bought flavored peach yogurt, which contains too much sugar for your pet.

8. Coconut Yogurt

Coconut yogurt is safe for dogs to consume but only in small amounts.

Only go for unsweetened coconut yogurt and try to find an organic or homemade variety that doesn’t contain harmful additives and preservatives.

Frozen coconut yogurt can make a delicious treat for your dog on hot summer days.

Is Cooked or Raw Yogurt Better for Dogs?

Dogs can eat yogurt as it is or cooked into a variety of delicious recipes. Cooked yogurt products must not include seasoning and should be made without adding butter, oil, or sugar.

If you are making homemade yogurt treats for your dog, allow them to cool completely to avoid burning your dog’s mouth.

What Foods Can Be Mixed with Yogurt for Dogs?

A Golden Retriever looking at a banana
Burrito, a Goldie, likes banana in his yogurt – Image source

Keep yogurt as plain as possible when sharing it with your dog.

On the other hand, some canine owners think serving it with other food will make it more appealing to their pets.

While this is a good idea, it’s best to determine which additional food is suitable for the role.

1. Granola

Plain oats are completely safe for your dog to eat, and a yogurt and oats mixture can make a great topper for your dog’s kibble.

Oats are an excellent source of fiber, nutrients, and vitamins and, for this reason, are also included in commercial dog food recipes. 

That said, many granolas don’t just consist of plain oats. They also have added sugar, salts, and sometimes even toxic ingredients for dogs like raisins and macadamia nuts.

Also, granola is high in carbohydrates and calories.

2. Cheese

While cheese can be a tasty treat for dogs, like yogurt, it’s a dairy that’s high in fat, which can cause weight gain, obesity, and pancreatitis.

For these reasons, it’s best to avoid giving cheese to dogs. If you do choose to share it with your pet, do so in moderation and opt for a low-fat variety.

3. Honey

Honey is high in antioxidants and can help your pet fight diseases and provide relief from allergies.

However, as honey contains a lot of sugar, dogs should only be fed a small amount of it each day, and it should be avoided for dogs with obesity and diabetes. 

You should also avoid feeding honey to puppies whose immune systems are still developing or older or ill dogs with compromised immunity.

This is because honey contains botulism spores which could poison your dog and cause severe illness.

4. Bananas

Bananas are a healthy and delicious treat for dogs that is rich in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, as well as fiber.

Dogs love the taste of bananas, and adding them to their yogurt can be a healthy treat. 

Are foods made with yogurt safe for dogs?

While yogurt is safe for some dogs to consume, this may not be the case with yogurt-based products, such as parfaits, pancakes, and muffins.

These foods may contain fruit or other ingredients that may not be suitable for your pet’s consumption.

For example, some fruits, such as grapes and raisins, can be toxic to dogs.

Plus, some of these are made with real milk, excessive sugar, artificial flavors, or sweeteners, which can be harmful to your pooch.

As a result, it’s important to read the label carefully before giving your dog any yogurt-based food made for human consumption.

If you’re unsure whether a particular product is safe for your dog, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding it to them altogether.

Are dog foods made with yogurt healthier for dogs?

While yogurt is often touted as healthy food, there’s no evidence that dog foods made with yogurt are any healthier for dogs than other types of pet food.

Many commercially-available yogurts contain high levels of sugar and other additives that can be harmful to dogs. 

Hence, there is no need to go out of your way to find pet food that contains yogurt. Any good-quality dog food will provide all the nutrients your dog needs.

If your dog needs probiotics to settle his stomach and digestive system, you can also get these in the form of supplements if your dog does struggle to digest dairy.

How Much Yogurt Should You Feed a Dog?

A Golden Retriever eating yogurt from a fork
A Goldie who eats yogurt diligently – Image source

Dogs should consume a minimal amount of yogurt as part of their diet. This is because too much of it could lead to an upset stomach.

As with other treats, the general rule of thumb is to offer no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake from it.

To give you an idea, a ten-pound dog could consume about two ounces of yogurt daily if he receives no other treats during the day.

Smaller dogs, on the other hand, only need to be treated to a spoonful of plain yogurt. 

Of course, the exact amount of yogurt that you can give your dog will depend on his individual needs.

But in general, moderation is key, and only a bit should be given on an occasional basis.

Regardless of your dog’s size, it’s always best to consult with a vet before making any major changes to his diet. 

What are the Dog Treats that Contain Yogurt?

Want to make something homemade that features yogurt for your dog? Let us share some easy recipes that your pooch will surely love.

  1. Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats
  2. Yogurt and Berries Dog Treats
  3. Homemade Yogurt & Cheddar Dog Biscuits

What are the dog food products that include yogurt?

There are also some commercial yogurt-based dog treats if you want something that will motivate your pooch.

  1. Blue Buffalo Health Bars Baked with Banana & Yogurt Dog Treats
  2. Health Extension Bully Puffs Grain-Free Duck & Yogurt Dog Treats

Can Dogs Eat Derivatives of Yogurt?

Dogs are known for their scavenging habits, and they will often eat things that they shouldn’t.

If your dog manages to get his paws on a tub of yogurt, it’s best to stay vigilant and watch out for symptoms of stomach upset. If issues arise, contact your vet as soon as possible.

For best practice, keep yogurt and its derivatives from your dog’s sight and reach.

What diseases can yogurt help in dogs?

Rich in calcium, yogurt can assist dogs with brittle bones.

In addition to supporting digestive health, the probiotics in yogurt can also help prevent yeast infections like candida which can affect your dog’s skin, eyes, ears, bladder, and urinary tract.

What are other Foods that Dogs Can Eat Similar to Yogurt?

Peanut butter in bowl and peanuts on table
Peanuts and creamy peanut butter

If you are not keen on sharing yogurt with your dog but wish that they receive the nutrients it offers, you may consider adding the following foods to his diet.

  • Chicken is a lean protein that boosts your dog’s energy without excessive calories. It’s also a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, which aid in maintaining healthy skin and shiny coats.
  • Peanut Butter offers a generous amount of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which helps your pet’s immune system, promotes growth, and maintains a healthy digestive tract.
  • Turkey is another lean protein source that is a good option for pups who are allergic to chicken or other meat. Rich in riboflavin and phosphorus, turkey, aids in metabolism and supports kidney function.
  • Duck is a protein that is easy to digest. It’s also rich in antioxidants such as iron and zinc, which are important in red blood cell production and cognitive function. 
  • Watermelon: Aside from being a refreshing, hydrating treat, watermelon is a source of fiber and potassium, which aids in your dog’s digestion and absorption of nutrients. 
  • Cucumber is another great motivational treat for your pet that will supply him with plenty of water for extra hydration.
  • Blackberries are low in calories and sugar and completely safe for your dog to eat. They have a range of health benefits for dogs, from helping build a healthy immune system to assisting in synthesizing hormones, activating enzymes, and metabolizing food.

So, Can My Dog Eat Yogurt?

Yes, your dog can eat yogurt. Make sure it is plain, low-fat, and unsweetened.

You should also serve yogurt to your pet in small quantities to avoid short-term and long-term risks, such as stomach upset and pancreatitis, which can be fatal to dogs. 

If your pet is lactose intolerant or allergic to ingredients included in yogurt, it’s best to consult your vet before adding this treat to your pet’s diet.

Does your pooch jump to the sight of yogurt? We’d love to know how he likes it. Kindly share your story or recipe in the comments section below.

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