Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? And is it Healthy?

Simon King
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How Much Yogurt Can Dogs Eat?

Don’t believe the crazy amounts you see in headlines. You don’t need to feed a Chihuahua as much as a Great Dane. Most dog owners just need to be familiar with a few basics.

Dogs can eat yogurt but it must not contain milk, illegal ingredients or may cause allergies in your dog.

Yogurt can be beneficial for dogs especially the yogurt that has probiotics.

Yogurt can help strengthen your dog's immune system, help maintain a healthy heart, aid in treating skin problems and may serve as a digestive aid, among other things.

But never feed your dog yogurt with added sugar. Also avoid yogurt added with artificial colorings and flavoring.

You will also want to avoid letting your dog eat under-ripe yogurt, dog yogurts that contain no live or active cultures and yogurt that contain ingredients such as chocolate, honey or peanut butter.

Soft and plain yogurt seem to be the most popular options, but what else can you feed your dog?

Other options include kefir, yogurt made from goat's milk, plain, low-salt cottage cheese and probiotic supplements.

What Kind of Yogurt Can Be Fed to Dogs?

All dogs including puppies should be fed homemade food. Feeding your furry friend with commercial dog food is your responsibility as a pet owner. But sometimes commercial dog food in its raw form is not healthy for your dog. To get the most out of commercial dog food, the manufacturer adds a number of additives to increase the protein and fat content.

Dog food most often contains:

  • Allergens
  • Antibiotics
  • Antioxidants
  • Chemicals
  • Food coloring
  • Gluten
  • Preservatives
  • Starch

Yogurt is one of the most nutritious dog foods and is suitable for all ages and breeds of dogs. It is a healthy and natural dog food that is rich in proteins.

Yogurt is easy to digest and has great health benefits as it does not contain any preservatives. You can feed your dog with any kind of yogurt with live cultures (the kind with bacterial cultures added). Homemade yogurt is ideal because you can add garlic and carrots to it.

Fresh, plain, fat free yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which is an important nutrient for the health of your dog's bones and teeth and assists in the prevention of bone diseases and arthritis. Due to the high calcium content, it strengthens the bones of your dog. ​According to the Animal Medical Center of New York, a single cup of yogurt contains the same amount of calcium that a single cup of milk would.

Healthy Yogurt for Dogs

Yes, dogs can eat yogurt and yes, it's good for dogs.

This soft, semi-solid, dairy product has gained popularity in the health industry lately because of the probiotics it contains.

But what if you take your dog to the vet and find out that they have a yeast infection or yeast overgrowth problem?

Can dogs eat yogurt? The answer is still yes, but not every kind.

Yogurt contains live and active cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. These two bacteria help our body to metabolize lactose and to produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide (two ingredients that help combat yeast). And that is exactly why some people consider it to be yogurt for dogs.

Can dogs eat yogurt? Sure! But not every kind.

The most commonly used yogurt for dogs is plain, unsweetened "greek" yogurt.

It has a higher protein and lower sugar content than most other yogurts and it is much kinder to a dog's stomach. If you're not sure about which yogurt to buy, try to find one that contains "live and active cultures". That's where your dog will find the best of the good stuff.

Plain Yogurt

Dog owners often want to treat their pets to something special. This is understandable. Most dog owners take pride in making their dogs happy and keeping them healthy and safe. So what does your dog like? And, should you be feeding it?

Dogs, like humans, come in a range of sizes. When choosing a dog, you may consider its size, its age, and its energy level or lifestyle. If you’re buying a puppy, it may be a Lab or a Bulldog. Something that will need more exercise than a Chihuahua, for example.

Do you want a dog that can work, watch your home, or play in the yard? Choosing a breed that is designed for the lifestyle you want for your dog is part of the job. Though this requires some research, it’s also fun to think about what kind of dog might be best for you and your family.

So, in general, can dogs eat yogurt?

Greek Yogurt

For Dogs?

Yogurt is a dairy product that is made from milk. It is commonly consumed by people as a snack, garnish or topping, and also as a dietary staple. Yogurt is produced by grinding the milk with milk solids. This produces a yogurt-rich liquid that is strained to make the yogurt that we normally see in a yogurt cup.

There are several strains of bacteria that grow on the milk when it is processed to create yogurt. When consumed by humans, these bacteria serve as a source of the vitamins and mineral that the body uses. Yogurt is also rich in enzymes that aid in digestion. So for humans, yogurt is considered good for health.

However, dogs are different from humans. Dogs and humans share a long history of domestication. But at this time, dogs are still classified under the category of wild animals. So although pets, they are still closer to their ancestors than humans.

And because of this, yogurt wasn’t part of their diet. So they might not have the enzymes that help digest yogurt in their stomach.

In some cases, dogs may have upset stomachs, bloating and diarrhea when ingesting yogurt. So before you feed your dog yogurt, check with your veterinarian first.

Kefir

Vs Yogurt – What are the Differences?

Yogurt is made from milk by adding specific cultures. Kefir, on the other hand, is made by adding a milk-derived kefir starter culture. These starters are fermented from a combination of grains, which makes kefir unique in its nutrient content. This means that some sources consider kefir a probiotic food while others claim yogurt is the only probiotic food.

Kefir is a fresh curd, which has its own diet. The advantage of consuming kefir over yogurt is that it has the same probiotic content but it’s lower in sugar, which makes it healthier than yogurt.

Yogurt is great for you, especially when consumed before it spoils. It is a source of proteins and vitamins, and it can boost your energy. It has a variety of uses and if you decide to eat it, be sure to get the healthier choices. Stay away from the ones with a lot of sugar, and remember to check the ingredients, because some yogurt contains homogenized milk, which may not be healthy for people with milk allergies.

Yogurts to Avoid

Most types of yogurt, even the plain versions with the shortest ingredient list, aren’t usually suitable for dogs and should be avoided. Some brands just have a high sugar content while others contain lactose that isn’t digestible for dogs.

According to Peter Dobias, DVM, author of Natural Dog, Natural Health, any dog that eats unpasteurized yogurt is at risk of bacteria that can lead to illness and sometimes death for your pet.

However, there is a dog friendly yogurt out there! Lactose free yogurt can be fed to your dog in moderation. Only feed your dog plain yogurt without sugar or additives. Check the ingredient list to ensure it’s just plain yogurt and nothing else.

There are some brands of yogurt that have their yogurt fermented and heated to such high temperatures that all of the lactase is consumed and the yogurt is safe for dogs to eat.

Because of this, it’s important to read the labels on any yogurt you feed your dog and avoid brands that still contain lactose.

Vanilla Yogurt

Dogs can indeed eat vanilla yogurt and it is very healthy for them. Vanilla yogurt is easily digestible, making it both a convenient and beneficial snack for your dog. Dogs can eat plain yogurt, but vanilla flavored yogurt comes with a few extra health benefits. Yogurt is a great source of protein for dogs, and vanilla adds antioxidants that will help keep your dog's immune system strong. Vanilla yogurt can even be used as a healthy dessert for your dog. Like us human beings, dogs can suffer from diarrhea when they eat a food that is too rich. Yogurt helps to remedy this by adding naturally probiotic bacteria to their digestive tract. These probiotics not only make the yogurt more healthy, they aid in digestion, and help keep dogs' stools and intestines clean.

Not only does vanilla yogurt benefit your dog in ways that are tasty to them and good for their health, it is also a very healthy snack for you. Plain or vanilla flavored yogurt is very low in calories and makes a great snack between meals. It has been shown to be great when trying to lose weight, as it helps to curb hunger and add important nutrients needed for weight loss.

Flavored Yogurt

Flavored yogurt is very obnoxious for dogs. First, there is nothing that special about it. The very low grade of milk used in yogurt is just as bad as milk itself. The flavoring can rapidly cause stomach problems and intestinal blockage. The gelatin and sweetener used are also harmful toxins for dogs. So what is your dog supposed to eat?

For a dog, plain low-fat yogurt is a good source of calcium for strong bones and teeth. This yogurt also has enhanced bioavailability when compared to products with added sweeteners and flavorings.

You can add whatever you want to it – fruit or vegetable puree, herbs or just plain honey.

If your dog does not like it plain, then make sure there is no sugar added, and have one teaspoon of vanilla extract per one cup of yogurt.

Homemade yogurt can be made by using a yogurt maker.

The greatest benefit of this yogurt is that you will know exactly what is in it.

However, commercially made, plain low fat yogurt can also be used.

If your dog is lactose intolerant, it is best not to give it any milk or yogurt.

Light or Diet Yogurt

Yes, you can feed dogs yogurt. And yes, it is healthy for them. In fact, the live active cultures present in the yogurt can make feeding your dog yogurt a very wholesome supplement to your dog's diet.

For cats, you'll usually find greek yogurt, which is the kind of yogurt I'll be suggesting here. But some cats may also like skim or low-fat yogurt (more on that later).

You don't need to go to a pet shop to buy it, just look around your fridge. If you happen to have plain, unsweetened yogurt, then you are good.

If you have either vanilla, strawberry, or fruity yogurt, just mix it with plain unsweetened yogurt so you don't add any sugar to the cat's diet.

How do I store the yogurt for my dog?

Even if you already have plain yogurt at home, you'll still need to take some precautions in order to prevent the growth of or contamination by pathogens (such as e coli, salmonella and listeria).

To make sure that the yogurt will be safe from contamination or growth of pathogenic bacteria, you'll need to heat it up to around 165-170°F for around 15-20 minutes prior to feeding it to the dog. You can use a conventional oven for this.

Can dogs eat vanilla yogurt?

What Are the Benefits of Yogurt?

If you are wondering can dogs eat yogurt or not, you'll find that it is certainly a healthy choice for your four-legged friend. It is a nutritious dairy product that can have many benefits for your dog.

The two most nutritious types of yogurt are probiotic and plain. If you are wondering what is the difference between the two, probiotic yogurt contains beneficial bacteria. Unfortunately, dogs can’t digest the organisms within the yogurt, but they can absorb the healthy enzymes that probiotics provide.

Plain yogurt has no active organisms inside of it, so you can feed your dog yogurt without the need for it to contain any bacteria. Plain yogurt provides your dog with calcium, which is a helpful nutrient for your dog. Calcium helps with regularity, heart and muscle health, and prevents painful bone issues for your dog.

The yogurt can also assist with your dog's bowel movement by helping the waste move through the intestines.

Due to its high protein content, yogurt can also be very helpful in treating skin issues.

It will make the skin and coat healthy and shiny.

Lastly, yogurt can also be great for your dog's teeth and gums.

Yogurt has plenty of calcium, and this helps to keep the teeth healthy and strong.

When the teeth are healthy, a dog is less likely to have dental issues and tooth decay.

What Are Other Good Sources of Probiotics?

Some of you might know already but most probably haven’t realized that yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics for humans and dogs alike. For humans, it’s essential to have a good supply of probiotics in our bodies, as this helps in the constant battle against harmful bacteria inside our guts.

So, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this dairy product for dogs.

For starters, most dogs will be very interested in yogurt as well. In fact, some dogs can’t get enough of it and might be willing to do tricks to get some more. That can be a good indicator of the general benefit of feeding your dog some yogurt.

Additionally, yogurt is a great source of calcium as well. Not only does this benefit your dog by building strong bones and providing more resistance against inflammation, but it is also needed for a variety of other processes in the body, including the stomach and kidney.

So, which yogurt should you feed your dog?

There are a variety of different choices, however, most of them will do a good job in making sure your dog is healthy. If your dog is a large breed and has developed chronic health problems, you might want to avoid yogurt with high quantities of sugar, as this can have a negative effect on your dog’s health.