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Can dogs have Cheez?

Quick Answers

Dogs can eat some types of cheese in moderation as an occasional treat, but dairy products are not ideal components of a dog’s regular diet. Hard cheeses like cheddar and swiss are lower in lactose and fat, making them safer options. Cheese should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake.

Is Cheese Safe For Dogs?

Cheese can be safe for dogs to eat in small quantities, though it is generally not recommended as a regular part of their diet. Here are some key considerations when feeding cheese to dogs:

  • Lactose – Cheese contains varying amounts of lactose, which many dogs have difficulty digesting due to lack of the enzyme lactase needed to properly break it down.
  • Fat Content – High fat cheeses like brie can cause pancreatitis in dogs if eaten in large amounts.
  • Salt Content – Cheeses like feta and halloumi are quite high in salt, which can be harmful to dogs in excess.
  • Hard vs Soft – Harder cheeses tend to be lower in lactose and fat, making them safer options. Softer cheeses pose more risks.
  • Mold – Moldy cheeses contain mycotoxins that can cause neurological issues so should always be avoided.

As long as cheese is given in moderation and proper precautions are taken, most dogs can enjoy it as an occasional treat without issue. Pay attention to your dog’s tolerance.

Best Cheeses For Dogs

Some types of cheese are better suited for dogs than others. Here are some of the best cheese varieties to choose:

  • Cheddar – A harder, low moisture cheese that is low in lactose and moderate in fat.
  • Swiss – Also low in lactose and a bit higher in fat than cheddar but still relatively safe.
  • Mozzarella – A softer cheese but lower in lactose than most.
  • Cottage Cheese – High in protein and calcium, just be sure to pick a low or reduced-fat variety.
  • Parmesan – A hard cheese that most dogs can handle grated over food in small amounts.

Avoid soft, mold-ripened cheeses like brie and blue cheeses.

Serving Cheese Safely

When sharing cheese with your dog, follow these tips for health and safety:

  • Start small – Give just a few small pieces the first time to test your dog’s tolerance.
  • Only give 10% of daily calories from cheese – No more than about 1 oz for smaller dogs, 2 oz for larger.
  • Avoid giving on an empty stomach – Can cause digestive upset.
  • Cut off rind – The outer layer is difficult to digest.
  • Grate hard cheese – Easier to digest when grated vs. chunks.
  • Don’t leave out too long – Remove any uneaten cheese after 10-15 minutes.
  • Never give moldy cheese – It contains harmful mycotoxins.
  • Talk to your vet – If your dog has health issues or is lactose intolerant.

Sticking to these guidelines will allow your dog to enjoy cheese safely and minimize risks.

Health Risks of Cheese for Dogs

While cheese can be safe for dogs in moderation, there are some potential health risks to be aware of:


Eating too much fat can inflame the pancreas. Soft, high-fat cheeses like brie and cheese spreads pose the highest risk.


Too much dairy can cause loose stool or diarrhea in dogs. This is especially common if the dog is lactose intolerant.

Weight Gain

Cheese is high in fat and calories. Too much can lead to obesity over time, especially in inactive dogs.


Lactose and difficulties breaking down cheese can cause gassiness and flatulence in some dogs.

Sodium Overload

Cheeses like feta and halloumi are very high in sodium, which can cause issues in dogs prone to heart disease.

While concerning, these risks can be avoided by feeding cheese in moderation. Know your dog’s health and sensitivities.

Are Some Dogs Allergic to Cheese?

It’s possible for dogs to be allergic to the proteins found in dairy products like cheese, but this is relatively rare compared to meat protein allergies. Symptoms of a cheese allergy include:

  • Itchy skin or ear infections
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive licking of the paws
  • Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea
  • Swelling around the muzzle

If you suspect your dog may have a cheese allergy, discontinue feeding it and talk to your veterinarian about allergy testing. They can help you determine the best diet for your dog’s needs.

Can Puppies Eat Cheese?

In most cases, cheese is safe for puppies over 8-12 weeks old, though feeding should be done carefully. Here are some tips on giving puppies cheese:

  • Wait until finished weaning – Cheese can cause upset stomach in nursing puppies.
  • Start with small amounts – Just a nibble at first to test tolerance.
  • Stick to hard cheeses – Try cheddar, parmesan or mozzarella.
  • Avoid giving too frequently – Should be an occasional treat only.
  • Never give moldy cheese – Puppies are especially susceptible to toxins.
  • Monitor stool – Diarrhea may occur if too much is given.

As with adult dogs, cheese should not make up more than 10% of a puppy’s total caloric intake. Speak with your veterinarian about any concerns.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese Every Day?

It’s generally not recommended to make cheese a regular part of a dog’s diet. While the occasional small piece is fine, daily cheese feeding can have negative health impacts over time including:

  • Weight gain – Cheese is very calorie dense.
  • Pancreatitis – Frequent high fat intake increases risk.
  • Diarrhea – Can irritate digestive system.
  • Nutritional imbalance – Important to have variety in diet.

Too much cheese can also displace other more essential proteins and nutrients dogs need daily. Some dogs may do fine with a cheese treat every day, but pay attention to any adverse reactions. Moderation is key.

Signs Your Dog May Be Eating Too Much Cheese

Look out for these signs that your dog may be getting too much cheese:

  • Digestive upset like vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increased flatulence or smelly gas
  • Dehydration from diarrhea
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Skin irritation or ear infections
  • Excessive licking or itching

If you notice any of these symptoms, cut back on the cheese and speak with your vet if they persist. Some dogs have a lower cheese tolerance than others.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese and Fruit Together?

It’s generally fine for dogs to eat small amounts of cheese occasionally together with fruit. Some fruits that pair well with cheeses include:

  • Apples – Cheddar, swiss, gouda
  • Pears – Brie, gouda, gruyere
  • Grapes – Cream cheese, cheddar, mozzarella
  • Strawberries – Feta, cottage cheese, parmesan
  • Bananas – Havarti, swiss, provolone

The lactose in the cheese can help break down fruits high in vitamin C like oranges, helping dogs absorb the nutrients. Just don’t overdo the portions and avoid grapes if your dog breed is susceptible to toxicity.

What Kind of Cheese is Used in Dog Treats?

Many commercial dog treats contain cheese or cheese flavors. Some common types of cheese used include:

Cheese Reason for Use
Cheddar Popular flavor, relatively low lactose
Parmesan Strong umami flavor dogs love
Mozzarella Stretchy texture, low lactose
Processed Cheese Shelf stability, meltability, cost
Cottage Cheese High protein

Cheese adds palatability, texture, and binding qualities to many dog treats and kibbles. Care should still be taken to pick low-fat and low-sodium varieties. Check treat labels and give in moderation.

DIY Cheese Dog Treat Recipes

Here are a couple homemade cheese dog treat recipes:

Simple Baked Cheese Bites

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch garlic powder (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix cheese, flour, egg and garlic powder in a bowl until a dough forms.
3. Roll dough into marble sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool before serving.

Cheesy Apple Dog Biscuits

  • 1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until a dough forms.
3. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters.
4. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes until firm.
5. Cool completely before serving.

Always start with small amounts of any new treat to ensure your dog’s tolerance.


Most healthy adult dogs can enjoy small amounts of cheese as an occasional treat. For safety, stick to hard, low-fat cheeses like cheddar. Avoid giving too much cheese, as the high fat content poses risks like pancreatitis and other digestive issues. Cheese should never make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Pay attention to your individual dog’s reaction to cheese and adjust their portion size accordingly. Moderation and variety are key when incorporating human foods like cheese into a dog’s diet.