Can Dogs Eat Goat’s Cheese?

Can dogs eat goat’s cheese? ¹

If dogs had a vote on this, the answer would be a wholehearted “Yes.”

Dogs love cheese, any sort of cheese.

Or almost.

If it comes to whether you should feed your dog goat cheese, the answer is not all that clear.

Goat cheese is certainly not dangerous to dogs unless your pooch happens to be lactose intolerant, in which case all types of cheeses are off the table.

Apart from that, dogs can eat goat cheese, but only as an occasional treat.

Too much goat cheese can cause various health issues.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of feeding your dog goat cheese.

What are the nutritional values of goat cheese?

Like most cheeses, goat cheese is packed with nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, potassium, healthy fatty acids, and vitamins.

A 1-ounce serving of goat cheese (what you might typically put in a salad or reward a dog with) contains: 

  • Calories: 108
  •  Protein: 7 grams
  •  Fat: 9 grams
  •  Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  •  Fiber: 0 grams
  •  Sugar: 0 grams

What are the benefits of feeding goat cheese to a dog?

One of the most important benefits is the high protein content. Proteins are essential for muscle building so cheese helps your pet stay in shape. 

Goat cheese is also loaded with calcium, which is good for strong bones. One regular serving provides 6.9% of an average adult’s daily calcium needs. This percentage is calculated based on a 2000 calories diet recommended for a healthy adult male. For a medium-sized dog, the same amount of goat cheese would provide some 28% of his daily calcium needs.

Goat cheese also provides some 12 percent of your dog’s potassium needs. The high potassium content helps control and neutralize the acidity of the stomach. Most dogs are prone to hyperacidity. 

A 1-oz serving of goat cheese provides roughly a third of a dog’s vitamin A: 8% 

vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) needs. Vitamin A is good for your pet’s muscles and nervous system, and it gives him healthy skin and a shiny coat. kin, coat, muscles and nerves. Vitamin B2 is good for digestion and helps turn protein, fat and carbs into energy

What are the risks of feeding goat cheese to a dog?

Goat cheese is not toxic in any way to dogs, but too much of a good thing can easily become a bad thing. 

The main risks associated with goat cheese have to do with the fat and sodium content. 

High fat content

As mentioned above, one small serving of goat cheese has 6 grams of fat, and saturated (unhealthy) fats represent almost a quarter of the total fat amount. Fats should not represent more than 10% of a dog’s diet. If your dog eats too many fats this can lead to pancreatitis, a common condition affecting canines. While the exact mechanism that triggers this condition is not clearly established, experts believe it’s related to too much fat in the dog’s diet. Acute episodes of pancreatitis can be fatal, so you should be aware of the main symptoms of this disease:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite.

At the same time, giving your dog too much cheese can cause weight gain and obesity.

High sodium content

A small 1-oz serving of goat cheese contains 130 mg of sodium, which would be roughly 20% of the recommended salt dietary intake for a medium-sized dog. Too much sodium can lead to increased blood pressure in dogs and, eventually, cause organ damage. Your dog probably gets a sufficient amount of sodium from his regular food, so it is best to choose treats with low sodium content.

If your dog has kidney issues you should avoid cheeses or other salty treats. 

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs?

It is impossible to say how many dogs are lactose intolerant and you won’t know your dog has a problem with dairy products until you give him milk or cheese and have to deal with the messy consequences.

Just like adult humans, adult dogs produce very little lactase, the enzyme needed to digest the lactose in dairy products. If your dog cannot digest dairy products, you will notice the symptoms within 30 minutes to 2 hours.

In most cases, the symptoms are mild and similar to those of a common stomach upset:

  • Loose stools
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

To minimize such problems, when you introduce dairy products into your dog’s diet, always offer a small amount. If the symptoms do not resolve within 24 hours, call your vet for advice. 

On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that the fermentation process used to make cheese vastly reduces the lactose content, so goat cheese is safer than goat milk even for a dog prone to allergies and stomach issues.

Can dogs drink goat milk?

Goat milk is considered a better alternative to cow milk, including for dogs with lactose intolerance. 

One of the main benefits of giving goat milk to your dog is that it is high in essential fatty acids, which makes it a great dietary supplement. Fatty acids are important for dogs because they are a great energy source for dogs. Also, fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which help control and prevent inflammation, especially at the gastrointestinal level. 

Goat milk also contains probiotics, which promote gut health and regulate digestion. 

The fat molecules in goat milk are significantly smaller than those in cow milk and this makes it easily digestible.

Goat milk is better than cow milk for lactose intolerant dogs because it contains lactase, exactly the enzyme needed to digest lactose. 

Another benefit of feeding goat milk to your dog is that it contains enzymes that can help kill pathogenic bacteria that can infect the gastrointestinal system.

Can I give my puppy goat cheese?

With a puppy, you can never know which foods agree with him and which don’t. If you want to supplement your puppy’s diet with dairy products, start with the tiniest amount of soft goat cheese and see what happens.

What kind of cheese can dogs eat?

If your dog is not lactose-intolerant, cheese makes for a nutritious and healthy treat, given in moderation, of course.

Generally speaking, you should start by presenting your pet with tasty bits of low-fat products, like soft goat cheese, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. These products are also low in sodium and have less lactose than other types of cheeses.

Cottage cheese is probably the best option for a dog. It has far less calories than goat cheese, for instance. One of the advantages of cottage cheese is its low-fat content (4.5 g in a 3-oz serving), which makes it acceptable even for dogs prone to weight gain and obesity. 

What kind of cheese is bad for dogs?

Not all cheeses are created equal. Some of them may have a high sodium content, which makes them dangerous to elderly pets or dogs susceptible to kidney problems. And you should definitely avoid feeding your dog cheeses that contain spices that may be toxic to dogs. 

For instance, you should avoid feeding your dog French blue cheeses or Roquefort, which have a high fat content and definitely more sodium than goat cheese or cottage cheese. Also, blue cheeses can contain roquefortine, a potentially lethal toxin for dogs. The good news is that such cheeses also have a pungent odor which dogs don’t find particularly attractive so you probably won’t see your pet begging to have a morsel of your specialty French cheese.

You should also avoid giving your dog any cheese with spices such as onion and garlic. 

Both garlic and onion are toxic to dogs. All members of the allium family contain thiosulfate, which causes oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia.

However, you don’t need to worry if your pet happens to steal a bit of cheese containing spices. Even if the cheese contains garlic or onions, the amount will definitely not be enough to poison your pet. According to research, your dog would have to eat 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight for it to cause harmful changes in a dog’s blood.

Why would you feed goat cheese to your dog?

Small bits of goat cheese are great for reward training methods. You can have a plate of tiny cheese morsels by your side to reward your pet every time he obeys an order. 

At the same time, soft goat cheese is just perfect to slip in some meds that your dog obstinately refuses to take. This neat little trick works even better if you’ve used goat cheese during training lessons and your dog considers it a reward, something worth having. 

Closing thoughts

Goat cheese is generally a healthy treat for a dog, but only if offered in moderation. This type of cheese is a good source of protein for a dog, and it also contains other much-needed minerals and vitamins. Goat cheese is healthy even for puppies and is more easily digested than cow cheese. When offered for the first time, only give your dog a tiny amount and watch out for lactose-intolerance symptoms. If your pup doesn’t get an upset stomach, you can give him more the next time. 

Likewise, goat milk is preferable to cow milk. Goat milk is good for dogs as it combats hyperacidity, fights inflammation, and prevents infection. 

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Aine on Flickr