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Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese?

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As a dog expert, I’m often asked “Can dogs eat goat cheese?”. The short answer is yes, dogs can eat goat cheese in small amounts as an occasional treat. Goat cheese can provide protein, fatty acids, and important minerals for dogs.

However, it’s high in fat and lactose so eating too much can cause digestive upset like diarrhea or vomiting. I recommend introducing goat cheese slowly and monitoring your dog’s reaction. Give very small, infrequent portions.

For optimal health, choose low-fat cheeses like mozzarella or cottage cheese more often. To learn more about the benefits and risks of feeding goat cheese to dogs, how much is safe, and signs of a negative reaction, keep reading!

I’ll share my expert tips to safely incorporating goat cheese as a tasty treat for your pup.

Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese? Is It Safe For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese

The short answer is yes, dogs can eat goat cheese in moderation as an occasional treat. Goat cheese can provide some nutritional benefits for dogs, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, it does come with some potential health risks that need to be considered, mainly due to its high fat content.

When fed in small, infrequent amounts, goat cheese is generally safe for most dogs to consume. But it should not make up a substantial part of a dog’s regular diet.

It’s best to limit goat cheese to no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Always consult your veterinarian first before introducing new foods like goat cheese into your dog’s diet.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about feeding goat cheese to dogs. We’ll discuss the nutritional content of goat cheese, potential benefits, risks and side effects, proper serving sizes, and alternatives.

We’ll also provide tips on how to prepare and serve goat cheese for dogs, what to do if your dog eats too much, and answer some common frequently asked questions. Let’s get started!

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What Is Goat Cheese?

Goat cheese, also known as chèvre, is a cheese made from goat’s milk. It has a creamy texture and tangy flavor that varies depending on how it is processed.

Ingredients of Goat Cheese

The main ingredients in goat cheese are goat’s milk, salt, enzymes, and bacterial cultures. Some goat cheeses also contain additional ingredients like herbs, spices, or ash to influence the flavor.

Goat’s milk contains higher amounts of medium-chain fatty acids than cow’s milk. This difference in fat composition gives goat cheese its characteristic tangy taste.

The high fat content is something to consider when feeding goat cheese to dogs, as we’ll discuss later

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What Are The Nutritional Value Of Goat Cheese For Dogs?

Here is the nutritional breakdown for a 1 ounce serving of soft goat cheese:

  • Calories: 89
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Calcium: 10% DV
  • Phosphorus: 9% DV
  • Vitamin A: 6% DV
  • Riboflavin: 9% DV
  • Vitamin B12: 15% DV

As you can see, goat cheese is high in fat, especially saturated fat. It also contains a good amount of protein and important vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

The high calorie and fat content is the main nutritional concern when feeding goat cheese to dogs. While the vitamins and minerals can be beneficial, too much fat can lead to obesity and pancreatitis in dogs.

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Can I Give Goat Cheese To My Dog?

Goat cheese can be fed to dogs in small amounts as an occasional treat. The moderate amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals can provide some nutritional value when fed infrequently.

However, goat cheese should not make up a substantial amount of your dog’s diet. It is high in calories and fat, especially saturated fat. Too much can lead to digestive upset, obesity, and pancreatitis in dogs.

It’s best to limit goat cheese treats to no more than 10% of your dog’s total daily calories. For an average 20 lb dog, that equates to around 1 oz, or 2 tbsp max per day. Smaller or overweight dogs should be given even less.

Always start with very small amounts to test your dog’s tolerance. Stop feeding it if you notice any signs of digestive upset.

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Why Is Goat Cheese Good For Dogs?

Here are some of the potential health benefits of goat cheese for dogs:

Protein – Goat cheese contains high-quality animal protein, which provides dogs with essential amino acids for maintaining muscle mass. The protein in goat cheese has high bioavailability.

Healthy fats – The fatty acids in goat cheese provide a concentrated source of energy. They also support skin and coat health.

Calcium – Goat cheese is high in calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. The calcium may also help meet requirements for lactating female dogs.

Vitamins and minerals – Goat cheese contains B vitamins, vitamin A, phosphorus, and other vitamins and minerals. These can help support immune function, energy metabolism, and enzyme activity.

Prebiotics – Some of the carbohydrates in goat cheese may function as prebiotics by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. This can aid digestion.

So in small amounts, goat cheese can provide protein, fat, and micronutrients that offer health benefits for dogs. But feeding too much can lead to potential risks.

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Can Goat Cheese be Bad for Dogs?

While goat cheese does have some nutritional value for dogs, there are also some potential risks and adverse effects to be aware of:

High in fat – The biggest risk is obesity and pancreatitis caused by the high fat content, especially saturated fat. This can lead to serious health issues in dogs.

Digestive upset – Some dogs may have difficulty digesting the lactose in goat cheese, causing gas, diarrhea, vomiting, or other GI issues.

Allergies – Dogs with milk allergies or sensitivities need to avoid goat cheese altogether, as they could have an allergic reaction.

High in salt – Goat cheeses cured with salt may contain unhealthy levels of sodium for dogs, leading to excessive thirst and urination or electrolyte imbalances.

Toxic add-ins – Flavored goat cheeses could contain toxic ingredients like garlic, onion, chives. Stick to plain, additive-free cheese.

So while the occasional small nibble of goat cheese is fine for most healthy dogs, too much or too often can lead to problems. Let’s look closer at some of the health risks.

Health Benefits of Feeding Goat Cheese to Dogs

While goat cheese can provide some nutritional value, it is high in fat and can present digestive issues in dogs. Here are some of the main health benefits of goat cheese for dogs when fed in moderation:

  • Good source of protein to support muscles and an active lifestyle
  • Healthy fats for skin/coat health and concentrated energy
  • Calcium for bone health
  • B vitamins for metabolism
  • Prebiotic effects to support healthy digestion
  • Bioavailable vitamins and minerals

The key is sticking to the proper serving guidelines to avoid the potential health risks. Talk to your vet about the benefits and risks of incorporating occasional small amounts of goat cheese as a treat for your dog. They can help you decide if it is suitable.

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Potential Risks and Concerns of Feeding Goat Cheese to Dogs

While goat cheese can offer some nutritional benefits, there are also some potential health risks to be aware of:

Pancreatitis – The high fat content, particularly saturated fat, significantly increases the risk of developing pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening.

Obesity – The calories and fat can quickly lead to weight gain and obesity if fed too often. Obesity causes many secondary health risks.

Digestive upset – Goat cheese may cause diarrhea, vomiting, gas, or other GI issues in dogs who cannot tolerate the lactose.

Allergic reactions – Dogs with milk allergies can have severe allergic reactions to goat cheese. Diarrhea, vomiting, skin irritation, and breathing issues may occur.

Sodium overdose – Goat cheeses cured with salt may contain excessive sodium for dogs, leading to sodium ion poisoning.

Toxic ingredients – Added flavors, herbs, vegetables, or spices may contain ingredients that are toxic for dogs, like onions or garlic.

To prevent these risks, feed only small amounts of plain goat cheese infrequently. Completely avoid goat cheese if your dog has food allergies or sensitivities. Monitor your dog’s health closely when first introducing it.

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Goat Cheese Alternatives for Dogs

If you want to avoid the potential risks of goat cheese, there are some healthier cheese alternatives to try for dogs:

  • Low-fat cottage cheese – Provides protein with less fat and lactose
  • Mozzarella cheese – Lower in fat; lacks added salt of other cheeses
  • Parmesan cheese – Hard texture and low lactose make it more digestible
  • Cream cheese – High in fat but low in lactose; use sparingly
  • Cheese curds – Contain less lactose than aged cheeses

Look for low-fat and reduced-sodium options when possible. Always start with small amounts to test your dog’s tolerance.

Some dogs are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies, so consult your vet before feeding any dairy products to your dog. Alternatives like plant-based “cheeses” may be better options for dogs with sensitivities.

How to Prepare and Serve Goat Cheese for Your Dog?

If you want to share a little bit of goat cheese with your dog, here are some tips for preparing and serving it safely:

  • Pick plain, additive-free goat cheese. Avoid flavored or herb-infused kinds.
  • Check for milk allergies first. Don’t feed to dogs with dairy sensitivities.
  • Start with a tiny amount and gradually increase slowly over several days
  • Cut off a small pea-sized nibble and put it on top of your dog’s food
  • Mix in very small crumbles thoroughly into your dog’s regular food
  • Never give your dog an entire piece of goat cheese to nibble on
  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly and avoid leaving it out
  • Always account for the extra calories by reducing your dog’s regular food
  • Brush your dog’s teeth afterward or rinse their mouth with water.

Supervise your dog when you first feed goat cheese. Stop immediately if you see signs of digestive upset or allergic reaction. Only feed infrequently in conservative amounts.

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What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Goat Cheese?

If your dog manages to eat an entire block or large amount of goat cheese, take these steps:

  • Remain calm. Usually just minor digestive upset will occur.
  • Check for any concerning symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst/urination, or lethargy
  • Call your vet if you notice any worrisome reaction
  • Avoid feeding any fatty foods for a few days. Feed small bland meals of rice and chicken
  • Make sure your dog stays hydrated by providing access to fresh water
  • Monitor stool consistency and watch for signs of constipation
  • Limit exercise and stimulants that could aggravate stomach issues
  • If diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours or other symptoms concern you, call your vet
  • Discuss adjusting your dog’s diet with your vet to avoid digestive issues in the future

While most dogs will tolerate an occasional cheese binge with minimal issues, some may have more severe reactions depending on the amount consumed and individual tolerance. Always contact your vet if you have any concerns after your dog eats goat cheese.

How Much Goat Cheese Can I Give My Dog?

The amount of goat cheese you can safely feed your dog depends on their size and caloric needs:

  • For a small dog under 20 lbs, limit to 1 tsp or less
  • For a medium dog 20-50 lbs, limit to 1 tbsp or less
  • For a large dog 50-90 lbs, limit to 2 tbsp or less
  • For an extra large dog over 90 lbs, limit to 1 oz or less
  • Never exceed 10% of your dog’s daily caloric needs

Start with just a tiny crumb of goat cheese in case your dog has a sensitivity. Gradually work up to the limits above over a period of several weeks.

Always account for the extra calories by deducting an equal amount from your dog’s regular food for the day. Monitor your dog’s weight and adjust amounts as needed to avoid obesity.

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Is Plain Goat Cheese Good For Dogs?

Plain goat cheese is safer and more appropriate to feed dogs than flavored varieties. Unseasoned goat cheese has fewer additives and less sodium.

Look for goat cheese made with just goat’s milk, salt, enzymes, and bacterial cultures. Avoid any with garlic, onion, chives, spices, or herbs mixed in. The plain version still provides protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Check that it doesn’t contain any artificial colors or preservatives either. The fewer ingredients, the better when it comes to giving your dog goat cheese or any people food treat.

Are Any Cheeses Toxic To Dogs?

Most cheeses are not inherently toxic to dogs when fed in small amounts. However, some things to watch out for in cheese that could be dangerous include:

Moldy cheese – Can contain toxins that cause vomiting and diarrhea. Discard moldy cheese.

Green spots in blue cheese – Contain roquefortine C, which can cause GI issues, muscle tremors, and seizures in dogs.

Added seasonings – Onions, garlic, chives contain compounds that are toxic to dogs.

Fat substitutes – Olestra and Olean can inhibit vitamin absorption and cause digestive upset.

Artificial sweeteners – Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, even in very small amounts.

So moldy cheese or those with certain additives should always be avoided. But plain, properly stored cheeses contain no compounds that are poisonous to dogs.

Can Dogs Have Goat Cheese And Blueberries?

Yes, dogs can safely eat a small, combined amount of plain goat cheese and blueberries as an occasional treat. In moderation, this can be a healthy snack that provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Blueberries contain vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and antioxidants. They are safe for dogs and provide fiber.

The goat cheese offers protein, calcium, healthy fats, and B vitamins. Combined the two foods offer a nutrient-dense snack.

Just be sure to limit total amounts and avoid feeding daily, as the fat content from goat cheese can add up quickly. Small pieces of 1 or 2 blueberries and a tsp of crumbled goat cheese make a good serving size.

Can Dogs Eat Flavored Goat Cheese?

It’s best to avoid flavored goat cheese for dogs, as added ingredients like herbs, spices, garlic, and onion can be unhealthy or even toxic for dogs.

The safest choice is plain goat cheese. Flavorings like garlic, onion, and chives contain thiosulfate compounds that are toxic to dogs. Eating these seasonings can cause GI upset or even red blood cell damage in dogs.

Other add-ins like spices may cause stomach irritation. Stick to simple, additive-free goat cheese and monitor your dog closely for any adverse reactions.

Can Dogs Eat Frozen Goat Cheese?

Frozen goat cheese is fine for dogs to eat as long as it is plain and properly thawed. Allow the goat cheese to thaw gradually in the refrigerator until it reaches room temperature.

Avoid feeding goat cheese directly from the freezer, as this can cause stomach upset from the temperature change. Frozen foods also become harder, making them a choking hazard.

Thawed goat cheese retains the same nutrients, fat content, and lactose as fresh goat cheese. So the same feeding guidelines and serving sizes apply.

Make sure to pick additive-free goat cheese and start with tiny portions to ensure your dog tolerates it. Only feed occasionally in small amounts based on your dog’s size.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese

Can puppies eat goat cheese?

Goat cheese is not recommended for puppies under 6 months old. Puppies have sensitive digestive systems and trouble breaking down the lactose in dairy products. Wait until your puppy is fully grown before introducing small amounts of goat cheese.

What about lactose-intolerant dogs?
Avoid feeding any goat cheese to dogs with lactose intolerance or sensitivity. This includes many dogs that are senior, ill, or certain predisposed breeds. The lactose can cause digestive upset.
Is goat milk better than cheese for dogs?
Goat milk contains slightly less fat than goat cheese, so small amounts of goat milk are safer if concerned about your dog’s weight. However, both foods should only be fed in moderation.

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Can I use goat cheese as dog training treats?
It’s best not to use goat cheese for training treats. The high fat content can quickly lead to weight gain if fed frequently. Use very small pieces and account for calories. Lower calorie training treats are better.

The Takeaway: Can Dogs Eat Goat Cheese

Goat cheese can offer some nutritional benefits and be a safe occasional treat for dogs in conservative amounts. When browsing the cheese aisle, an owner may think “can dogs eat goat cheese?” The answer is yes, in moderation. But there are also some health risks to consider due to the high fat and lactose content.

It’s best limited to no more than 10% of a dog’s daily calories. Always start slowly with new foods and watch for any signs of digestive upset or allergic reaction. Consult your vet if you have any concerns about incorporating goat cheese into your dog’s diet.

They can provide portion and feeding frequency guidance based on your dog’s health, weight, and tolerance. With proper precautions, a little bit of goat cheese can be a yummy snack that your dog will jump for joy over!

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