The truth about Greek yogurt: it’s good for dogs.

Not long ago, greek yogurt was considered an exotic option. Today, it’s as ubiquitous as regular dairy yogurt. Greek-style yogurt sales have started to exceed those of traditional yogurt. Not a strange fact, considering the various health benefits it has to offer. It is also delicious, suitable for a diet, and very versatile in the kitchen.

Can My Dog Eat Greek Yogurt?

Dogs can consume yogurt safely. Even more so, Greek yogurt. Due to its higher protein and lower lactose content, Greek yogurt is more comfortable to digest.

In fact, it can be good for them! Greek yogurt has high nutritional value. Packed in healthy protein, probiotics, and minerals, it can be a wholesome meal for our four-legged friends.

Improving bone and gut health and boosting the brain and immune system are just a few of the potential health effects of greek yogurt.

The probiotics in the yogurt make up for most of its impact on our dogs. Yogurt can contain live and active bacterial cultures, which may contribute to a healthy gut microbiome, resulting in various health benefits.

It is important to note that the benefits of yogurt take time to show. They will also not last long after you stop feeding it to your pet. Therefore yogurt can serve as a great daily treat or supplement to your dog’s diet.

Nutritional Value of Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt

First, to be clear: Greek and regular yogurt are both dairy products. They can both be part of a healthy diet. And they both taste great. They go well with fruit, cereal, nuts, honey, in recipes and smoothies; the list is endless.

Greek yogurt, however, has an undeniable advantage. For about the same calories, it has double the protein while reducing sugars by almost half.

These are two things that dieticians and health-minded consumers love about it. While taste can be subject to personal preferences, the nutritional value is not.

You’ll find Greek yogurt mentioned in some of the top diet books of the decade, and it’s rarely not mentioned when it comes to eating healthy.

Greek yogurt is among the few dairy products to survive the anti-lactose trend in nutrition, matched perhaps in nutritional value only by cottage cheese or the less popular Icelandic yogurt, skyr.

What is the difference?

Greek yogurt is more concentrated than regular yogurt. They have different consistencies, with Greek yogurt being heavier and creamier than regular yogurt while also having more protein.

Both of them start with the same ingredients: milk and bacterial cultures. These bacteria ferment the lactose in the milk and produce lactic acid, which gives yogurt this unique tangy, sour taste.

It is what happens afterward that makes the final products so different. Regular yogurt is strained twice, while Greek yogurt is strained three times. Most of the liquid, therefore, in the Greek yogurt is removed. That is how Greek yogurt gets its thick consistency, higher protein content, and intense flavor.

Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

One cup (200 g) of regular fat Greek yogurt has about 190 calories, 18 g protein, 10 g fat, and 6 of fat.

Greek yogurt is a potent source of:

  • calcium
  • protein
  • probiotics
  • iodine
  • vitamin B-12
  • potassium

Especially protein and probiotics carry significant health benefits. Insufficient protein consumption in a diet is linked with a decline in muscle mass and bone health, a compromised immune system, and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are associated with proper gut function. Simply put, probiotics are associated with better gut health—a healthier gut results in better digestion. The body absorbs nutrients more efficiently. It also has benefits for a person’s mental health.

But is it good for my dog?

Yes. It is high in protein, which can help your dog feel satiated and full. Protein also helps with repairing your dog’s muscle tissue and boosting her immune system. Finally, yogurt is a source of probiotics, which are great for your pet’s digestive system in the same way they are for a human.

You should especially consider supplementing your dog’s diet with probiotics if it is on antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria in the gut. Within the dog’s gut, there is a vast colony of bacteria. Some of which are beneficial, while others are not. When that balance is distorted, so is your dog’s health.

Greek yogurt can help restore the growth of good bacteria and promote proper immune and gut function.

Probiotics also:

  • Protect the body against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Act as a barrier against toxins, heavy metals, and allergens.
  • Prevent dental disease.
  • Support brain functions.

Is Greek Yogurt Bad for Dogs?

Greek yogurt is usually OK for a dog to consume. In any case, if your pup has never had yogurt before, start with a small portion. If you feel your dog enjoys it, you can work up from there. This way, you can control the situation and watch for any allergic reaction your dog might have.

 

Dogs can be lactose intolerant in the same way as humans. They have varying degrees of lactose intolerance, so some dogs might experience mild gastrointestinal distress, some might show serious clinical signs, while others might be unaffected.

A food allergy can appear as irritation of the skin or gastrointestinal stress. You should be on the lookout for symptoms such as redness, itching, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Greek yogurt has less lactose content than most dairy and can be digested well by most people with the condition. So it is likely that even if your dog is lactose intolerant, you will not realize it.

Some pups also have sensitive stomachs, so any change in their diets, no matter how healthy or tasty, is likely to cause some stress in their gut. That is one more reason for experimenting with a small portion of yogurt and see how it goes.

You can always consult your vet about the ideal serving size. You can determine together how much your dog can eat in one sitting. Then it would be best if you aimed to achieve that amount over 7-10 days.

Be cautious and read the label of the product you are purchasing. Several yogurt brands nowadays contain artificial sweeteners like Stevia and aspartame or added sugar. Neither of which is safe for your dog to consume. Chocolate in any form is also a big no-no.

Among all the artificial sweeteners, Xylitol is the most severe threat. It can lead to drops in blood pressure, seizures, and in extreme cases, death. It is crucial to avoid it. In any case, once you find a product that goes well with your dog, it is best to stick with it.

Types of Greek Yogurt and Their Effects on Dogs

Greek yogurt nowadays comes in many forms and shapes, of which not all are beneficial or even safe for your pup. The general rule you can follow to get it right pretty much every time is that the more unprocessed the yogurt is, the better. You want to opt for natural, unprocessed greek yogurt.

For example, that means stay away from products with flavoring components or yogurts containing fruits or nuts. Not all fruits and nuts are safe for consumption by your dog, and more often than not, those fruits and nuts are supplemented by artificial flavors.

If you want, you can add some fresh fruit at home. Make sure you do your research, though, since, as mentioned, there are some fruits that dogs should avoid at all costs.

Regular or low fat?

Opinions are divided on this one, and there is no concrete evidence to support one side over the other. Some people claim that low-fat yogurt is more processed than the regular counterpart (which is true).

Therefore, it is better to opt for the full-fat option. Others believe that the introduction of extra fat in a dog’s diet is bound to cause problems in digestion and stress for the animal.

You are the best judge of your dog. You can try both and see what suits your pup more. Remember that if a dog is overweight, it is rarely the right decision to add more calories to the diet. In this case, it is better to go for the low (or even zero) fat option.

FAQs About Greek Yogurt and Dogs

How to serve greek yogurt to my dog?

You will be pleased to know that your pup will enjoy it no matter how you serve it! You can feed it to your dog with its regular food by dinner time.

You can also try it as a treat in between or during training. If you happen to have a more picky eater, you can try making some of the various recipes out there.

How much should I give my dog?

A few tablespoons of greek yogurt will be enough. Think of greek yogurt as a supplement or a treat alongside a balanced diet.

How often?

At least a few times per week, to maintain good bacteria growth in the gut. You can even give your dog greek yogurt every day if your pup is not one of those who get easily bored of their food.

Conclusion

Greek yogurt can be a great way to balance your dog’s diet. Offering so many health benefits, you might think it is too good to ignore, and rightly so.

When deciding how to add it to your pets’ diet, it is essential to keep in mind that not all forms sold on the market are equally healthy. Keep your hairy friend safe and choose wisely!

 

 

Sources

https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-drink-milk

https://www.statista.com/statistics/466440/us-volume-sales-share-of-greek-and-non-greek-yogurt/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection#:~:text=A%20troubled%20intestine%20can%20send,GI)%20system%20are%20intimately%20connected.

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