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Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?

Here at Cooper's Treats, we've spent lots of time dabbling with a whole host of different ingredients for our treats. From dairy to eggs to fruits to meats, if it's out there and a dog might enjoy it, we've tried it.

That is, of course, as long as they're safe. We do extensive research on everything that we even consider putting into our treats. Since there's some confusion out there about what's okay for dogs to eat and what's not, we thought we might help out by sharing some of what we found.

We're going to do a series of posts on different foods over the course of the next few months, and the first up is yogurt. We hope they'll be helpful! If you have any questions about what to feed your dog, you're always welcome to drop us a line.

CAN DOGS EAT YOGURT?

As for the big question - can dogs eat yogurt - the answer is yes, though some kinds of yogurt are much better than others. Yogurt itself isn't toxic and indeed can have a number of health benefits. That said, many yogurts, such as those that are flavored with large amounts of sugar, aren't good for your pooch.

IS YOGURT GOOD FOR DOGS?

Yogurt has significant amounts of calcium and protein, both of which are great for dogs. Calcium is an essential mineral that supports both teeth and bone health. It also helps their blood clot properly and supports essential cellular processes. A lack of calcium can lead to bone and joint problems such as stress fractures, lethargy and issues with growth, particularly for young dogs.

Protein is key to your dog's health - the amino acids in protein help with everything from muscle development and tissue repair to immune responses and healthy skin and hair. For all of these reasons and more, we always try to pack as much protein into every one of our treats as possible!

Yogurt can also contain probiotics, which can help dogs with digestion. They also aid the immune system and slow the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in dogs.
Yogurt for dogs

POTENTIAL NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF YOGURT IN DOGS

While yogurt contains a number of positive ingredients that can benefit your dog, it comes with some potential issues as well. The main one is that all yogurt has lactose in it, which adult dogs' bodies are not designed to digest.

Because of this, consuming lactose, especially large amounts, can lead to digestive issues including gas (and we all know how bad dog gas can be), diarrhea and vomiting.

Additionally, many yogurts contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, that should never be given to dogs as it is toxic. Always double check any food product you give your dog to make sure it is xylitol-free.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING YOGURT FOR YOUR DOG

It is always best to avoid flavored and sweetened yogurts. Some of these contain xylitol, which as mentioned above is toxic to dogs, but even those that don't typically contain sugar, which your dog definitely should not eat. You should also certainly avoid yogurts flavored with ingredients that dogs should not eat, such as grapes.

So if you're out there looking for yogurt, go for plain flavors. We also recommend Greek-style yogurt, as this tends to contain less lactose than regular yogurt.

SO CAN DOGS EAT YOGURT?

In general, the answer is yes, but it definitely depends on what kind of yogurt. Can dogs eat Greek yogurt? If it's unflavored, absolutely. Can dogs eat vanilla yogurt? Can dogs eat strawberry yogurt? Unfortunately the answer to both of those is that they likely contain too much sugar (or unhealthy and potentially toxic artificial sweeteners) to be good. If your dog is extra sensitive to lactose, though, even plain yogurt may be best to avoid. 

Either way, it's best to start with small amounts of yogurt and monitor your dog for digestive issues such as gas or diarrhea, to make sure that you're not causing your pup any discomfort.