Can Dogs Eat Frozen Yogurt?

Photo by Tony Alter on Flickr

As an owner of two dogs who are spoiled rotten and have recently added “begging at the table” to an already impressive set of manipulative behaviours, I know how hard it is to not feed your dog scraps from the table.

I have never fed my dogs frozen yoghurt but some people do. 

Mainly I suspect because they feel a little guilty when they are eating a bowl of frozen yoghurt and the dog has…nothing.

This is coming from a house where one of our dogs sits almost on top of my wife as she watches TV….

I think we all know that frozen yoghurt isn’t the healthiest treat that we can feed our dogs, but how bad is it?

Does it contain any ingredients which might seriously harm our dogs or even poison them?

Well in this article, I aim to find out.

What are the ingredients in frozen yogurt?

The main ingredients in the shop bought frozen yoghurt are milk, sugar, corn syrup, guar gum,locust bean gum, carrageenan, natural and artificial flavours.

None of these ingredients are known toxins for dogs but lots of those ingredients are unhealthy and won’t benefit your dog in any way- apart from to encourage their “sweet tooth”.

Frozen yoghurts contain more than one sort of sugar (sugar and corn syrup) and they are normally one of the main ingredients. 

Sugar can cause weight gain and it can also cause tooth decay. 

Another thing to be concerned about by feeding your dog any sort of dairy product is a food sensitivity to milk or lactose intolerance.

It is hard enough to get an accurate figure for the percentage of people that suffer from lactose intolerance.

This site suggests that 5% of Europeans suffer from it, whereas this site suggests that up to 75% of the world’s population might suffer from it. 

I couldn’t find any exact numbers on what percentage of dogs are lactose intolerant.

However, the condition was described as “fairly common” on one of the top vet blogs

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea and bloating, so just keep an eye out. 

Two killer ingredient to watch out for

I mentioned earlier that although none of the ingredients in ice cream could be described as healthy, neither could any of them be described as toxic or poisonous to dogs.

But I need to correct myself here.

There are actually two ingredients that you might stumble across in your shop bought frozen yogurt that might poison your dog or make them very sick. 

And they are xylitol and cherries. 

Xylitol 

There is one ingredient which is commonly found in low fat and sugar free foods is xylitol.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener, which is used as a sugar substitute to make products less calorific.

I quickly searched online for some top brands of frozen yogurt and I couldn’t find any that have xylitol in their ingredients.

But what I did find was that there are lots of homemade sugar free frozen yogurt recipes that use it. 

This recipe here for blackberry sugar free frozen yogurt is one such example. 

Now we move on to another ingredient that you need to be wary of and that is cherries.

Cherries

The pits or seeds in cherries contain high levels of cyanide which can poison or kill a dog. The flesh of a cherry isn’t dangerous for a dog to eat though.

It is very unlikely that if you buy cherry flavoured frozen yogurt from a shop that you need to worry about this.

It is just if you are making some frozen yogurt at home and you want to garnish it with whole cherries, just make sure that you don’t share it with your dog. 

What nutrition does natural yogurt provide?

The nutrition data for frozen yogurt

Although individual products vary in the exact nutrition that they provide, I can provide a rough estimate.

An 100g portion of frozen yogurt contains:

65g of water

159 calories

5.6 g of fat (7%)

24 g of sugars 

4 g of protein (8%)

Calcium 143 mg (11%)

Phosphorus 129 mg (18%)

Is frozen yogurt healthier than ice cream?

Is it better to treat your dog to frozen yogurt or ice cream?

Well to answer this question, I have created a chart which compares the nutritional value of frozen yoghurt and ice cream.

To make the comparison as fair as possible I have compared vanilla flavoured yogurt with vanilla flavoured ice cream. Neither of them are low fat varieties. 

For all of you who like to quickly scan charts for information, I have colour coded the most healthy option in green.

It should come as no surprise that frozen yogurt provides better nutrition than ice cream. 

However, frozen yogurt and ice cream both have the same “carbohydrate” numbers (at 24 g per serving.)

And ice cream has less sodium (salt) than frozen yogurt. 

YogurtIce Cream
Calories159Calories207
Fat 5.6 g (7%)Fat 11 g (14%)
Cholesterol2 mg (1%)Cholesterol44 mg (15%)
Sodium 87 mg (4%)Sodium 80 mg (3%)
Carbohydrates 24 g (9%)Carbohydrates 24 g (9%)
Protein 4 g (8%) Protein 3.5g (7%)
Calcium143 mg (11%)Calcium128 mg (10%)
Frozen yogurt vs ice cream nutritional data

Alternatives to frozen yogurt

Looking at the number of calories that a serving of frozen yogurt provides, has got me thinking about alternatives.

How else might you spend that 159 calories (frozen yogurt) or 207 calories (ice cream with your dog?

Just looking at a can of Pedigree dog food for example.

By my reckoning, your dog could eat 200g of wet dog food for the same amount of calories or about ½ cup of dry dog food. 

Frozen healthy dog treats

If you think that your dog likes frozen treats then there are lots of alternative frozen treats that will provide your dog with that ice touch but with less calories and more nutrients. 

Frozen fruits and vegetables seem to be very popular amongst dog owners.

I have just written an article about frozen carrots but I have also written some fun stuff about frozen strawberries and even frozen peas

As a comparison with frozen yogurt, I have created a comparison chart with these frozen fruit and vegetables. 

Each serving size is 100 g. 

YogurtCarrotStrawberryPeas
Calories159Calories41Calories32Calories81
Fat 5.6 g Fat .2 gFat .3 gFat .4 g
Carbo24 g Carbo5 gCarbo7.7 gCarbo14 g
Protein 4 g Protein .9 gProtein .7 g Protein 5.4 g
Calcium `11%Vit. A334%Vit. C65%Vit. C 44%

So there are no surprises with the numbers contained in this chart.

They show that the vegetables are the far healthier choice with far fewer calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein. 

Although it does surprise me how high the values are for peas!

What this chart doesn’t show so well is the other nutrients and vitamins that carrots, strawberries and peas provide that frozen yoghurt doesn’t. 

And I have tried to show a “highlight” for each of these products in the final row. 

Frozen yogurt is good in the sense that it provides 11% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium. 

But frozen carrots provide a huge dose of vitamin A 

But don’t worry your dog can’t overdose on vitamin A by eating frozen carrots. 

Frozen strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C as are frozen peas.

Can dogs eat frozen yogurt?

The simple answer here is that, yes, your dog can eat frozen yoghurt.

As long as it doesn’t contain the artificial sweetener xylitol or whole cherries.

Should they eat frozen yogurt? Probably not.

As the amount of sugary treats that dog owners consume themselves increases and as we treat our dogs more like children, the more sugar our dogs will eat. 

If you want to give your dogs frozen treats- and it is great to give them a variety of textures and flavours- you might try freezing some vegetables or fruits instead. 

Your dog’s waistline and your wallet will be better off!