Like humans, some dogs are lactose intolerant. However, this does not stop them from occasionally enjoying cheese in their meals and snacks. How the cheese is prepared and how much lactose is processed within the cheese will affect dogs differently. If your four-legged friend continually has a negative response to cheese products, substitute the cheese for a lactose-free alternative.
Types of Foods With Cheese
Different types of dog foods contain cheese, from processed dry foods to raw diet foods. The difference between the selections is how the cheese is processed. For example, cheese found in dry dog food has to be processed as a dried cheese product to prevent it from spoiling, and may not even contain real cheese at all. Cheese found in raw diets is less processed and contains more moisture, which goes bad quickly if not stored properly, according to Tillamook and Prepared Foods Network.
Health Benefits of Cheese
Cheese has numerous health benefits for dogs. According to Rogue Creamery, cheese is an exceptional source of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Vitamins such as calcium and phosphorus maintain the structure and strength of your dog's bones and teeth. Cottage cheese in particular is an excellent source of protein for dogs recovering from injuries, according to VetInfo. Additionally, hiding your dog's medication in a piece of rolled up cheese may encourage your dog to willing consume his medications.
Too Much Cheese
To determine your dog's level of lactose tolerance, occasionally feed him small amounts of cheese as treats and monitor his response. Feeding your dog too much cheese causes diarrhea and bloating, since some dogs have difficulty digesting the sugar in cheese known as lactose. Most dogs lack the proper enzyme, lactase, to digest the sugar. Different cheeses and milk products have different levels of lactose in them. For example, one ounce of cheddar cheese has zero grams of lactose, while a half cup of cottage cheese has three grams, according to VetInfo.
Some dogs should not be fed cottage cheese, since they may have difficulty digesting the lactose in it, which typically measures four to six grams for every cup, according to the University of Georgia. Though some dogs have difficulty, alternatives like low fat or low sodium cottage cheese are very healthy for dogs in moderation. According to The Dog Food Project, cottage cheese contains essential vitamins and minerals for bone health and immune strength.