Lots of Greek yogurt is eaten in the U.S.
And we know this from some surveys that were carried out in 2020.
In one survey, just over four million Americans used eight servings or more of Yoplait’s Greek yogurt every month.
In another survey, 46% of Americans claimed to have eaten Chobani Greek yogurt.
Americans spend just over $7 billion dollars per year on yogurt and just over half of this is spent buying Greek yogurt.
And so, with all of this yogurt in our fridges, it is no wonder that we might be tempted to share some with our dogs.
But should dogs be eating Greek yogurt?
Let me provide you with a simple, no nonsense answer.
Can dogs eat Greek yogurt?
Yes, your dog can eat Greek yogurt.
Below I have identified four benefits that it could provide your dog with and two potential downsides of it.
The benefits include; no toxic ingredients, a source of protein, a source of calcium and that they can contain 0% fat.
And for those of you who want to know a bit more, the following sections will provide you with lots more detail.
To start off with, what are the main differences between Greek and regular yogurt?
Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt
The main difference between Greek and regular varieties of yogurt is that Greek yogurt is made without milk whey.
The whey is the liquid that remains after milk has been strained.
Regular varieties of yogurt are made using these remains.
But in Greek yogurt, the whey is strained out.
And because of this, there are 4 main differences between Greek and regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt is:
- Thicker and creamier
- Tastes more sour
- Contains more protein
- Contains less calcium.
What are the ingredients in a Greek yogurt?
Not all Greek yogurts use the same ingredients.
And so to make this a bit simpler, I’m going to look at the ingredients used in some of the most popular brand of Greek yogurts.
These will include the Chobani and Yoplait brands which were discussed earlier together with the Fage brand.
Now from looking at these three top brands, I can see that there are four main ingredients in Greek yogurt.
And they are:
Non fat milk, water, sugar, live active cultures.
Having looked at those ingredients it is now time to sort it all out and tell you how these yogurts can be good and bad for your dog’s.
How is Greek yogurt good for dogs?
I think when it comes to looking at the positives, there are four things to celebrate.
- They aren’t toxic for dogs
- Great source of protein
- Good source of calcium
- 0% fat
Let me explain what I mean by each of those.
Greek yogurts contain no toxic ingredients
In all of my browsing I couldn’t find a Greek yogurt that contained an ingredient which is toxic to dogs.
In one of the Greek yogurts, vanilla extract was used.
Vanilla extract contains around 30% alcohol and so it is an ingredient which is toxic to dogs but not in the tiny amounts that it is used.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute used in lots of low fat foods which can kill a dog.
However, I couldn’t find any Greek yogurt that used this ingredient.
Having ruled out any poisonous ingredients, it is time to move on and look at the first piece of good nutrition which is contained within these yogurts.
Greek yogurt is a source of protein
Earlier we talked about the fact that Greek yogurts have a thicker consistency to other yogurts and that this makes them more protein rich than other types of yogurt.
And this is a key reason behind Greek yogurt’s
surge in popularity.
You see, men like foods which contain protein.
And because Greek yogurt contains more of it, for the first time men began to buy yogurt in vast numbers.
But what is the difference in protein between a Greek yogurt and a standard yoghurt?
Well in the three brands of Greek yogurt that I have looked at, they are about 10% protein.
Whereas standard yogurts contain around 5% or less.
Protein is important in your dog’s diet because every cell in their body contain protein and so they need protein in order to make new cells or repair old ones.
Greek yogurts are a good source of calcium
Even though Greek yogurts contain less calcium than regular yogurt, they still are a good source of calcium.
It comes from all of that milk.
And dogs need calcium in their diet for the same reason that we do. It helps to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
We have looked at protein, calcium and next it is time to shift our attention to fat.
Many Greek yogurts contain 0% fat
Most of the Greek yogurts that I have looked at have 0% fat in them which is excellent news.
Dogs need fats in their diet but they should be getting enough of these from their regular food.
It is just one less thing for you to be worried about if you did share the odd spoonful with your dog.
Now, there is a downside to zero fat foods which I will explain in the section on some of the ways that Greek yogurts might be unhealthy for your dog.
And I will look at those now.
How is Greek yogurt bad for dogs?
In order to keep this section as brief as possible I will limit the ways in which Greek yogurt might be bad for your dogs to only two.
And these are the sugar and salt content and the issue of lactose intolerance.
Greek yogurt contains lots of sugar and salt
Just a few sentences ago, we were singing the “health” praises of there being no fat in some Greek yogurts.
And I stated that having 0% fat comes at a price.
Fat, for all of its evil qualities, adds flavour to any food that it’s in.
And 0% can often mean zero flavour.
And the way that food manufacturers overcome this is to up the amount of sugar and salt in food.
And Greek yogurt is no exception.
Feeding foods that are high in sugar to dogs will make them more at risk of obesity.
And foods that are high in salt could have an impact on things like blood pressure with your dog.
Moving swiftly on, in the next section I want to look at lactose intolerance.
Should Greek yogurt be fed to dogs that are lactose intolerant?
Lactose is the sugar which is present in all dairy products-milk, cheese and such like.
A dog that is lactose intolerant cannot digest the sugar or will struggle to digest it.
This can lead to a variety of symptoms and side effects ranging from bad wind, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
No one truly knows how many dogs are lactose intolerant but there are some who are.
As far as yogurts go, Greek yogurts contain less lactose than standard yogurts because it doesn’t contain any whey.
Also it is thought that probiotics can help digestion.
So, how severe are your dogs’ symptoms and is Greek yogurt the right choice?
And talking of live bacteria…
Do all Greek yogurts contain probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are present or added to some foods.
They are thought to be important for health because they support a healthy digestion system.
Many brands of Greek yogurt contain these live cultures.
Now these bacteria are added to cater to the human market not the dog market.
It is thought that poor diets and lifestyles kill off many of the good bacteria that live in our gut.
Over time, this leads to an imbalance as the ratio between bad and good bacteria grows.
This is where the problem that products such as yogurt with their live bacteria are looking to solve.
I think in all honesty, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest how effective these probiotics are on people, let alone dogs.
And let me just stay with this “digestion” theme by looking at whether Greek yogurt should be used as a cure for diarrhea.
Is Greek yogurt a cure for diarrhea?
Well, if probiotic yogurt contains billions of live bacteria that can aid digestion, can I use Greek yogurt for a dog with an upset stomach?
Perhaps at a push you could use plain Greek yogurt as it is a simple enough food to not irritate the stomach.
But, to my mind, there are tried and tested approaches out there that you are better off using.
I have great success using steamed sweet potatoes.
And then of course there is the bland diet of rice and chicken.
Onto something a little sweeter now as I try and answer some “quick fire” quesymtions
Can my dog eat Greek yogurt with honey?
There is nothing toxic in mixing a bit of honey in with Greek yogurt.
Although many of us think that honey is a healthy ingredient, we should remember that honey can be up to 82% sugar.
And that just brings a load of extra calories.
Perhaps fruit is a healthier add in?
Can my dog eat Greek yogurt with fruit?
Adding fruit into a bit of Greek yogurt can liven up the taste and texture of the combination as well as adding a nutritional boost.
Just remember that grapes, raisins and whole cherries are fruits to be avoided.