In general, cheese is not toxic to dogs, and so yes, dogs can eat mozzarella cheese. But there are some things to consider before you go ahead and treat your fluffy pal.
First, many dogs are lactose intolerant, but this occurs to varying degrees. And when you consider dogs that are slightly averse to dairy products, but like cheese, giving them a little now and again can’t be so bad for them – especially if they love the stuff.
Other dogs, however, can display an array of uncomfortable symptoms when they are exposed to dairy products like mozzarella cheese. In cases like this, it’s probably a much better idea to find a cheese alternative for them if they have a yearning for cheese, that is.
But, can mozzarella be the best dairy choice out there for dogs?
Let’s find out…
Nutritional Value of Mozzarella Cheese
You might be surprised that mozzarella cheese has some good things in it for your dog.
Since it is a dairy product, by giving this traditionally southern Italian cheese to your dog, you’ll be supplying them with calcium, which is good for their teeth and bone strength.
Furthermore, they’ll be getting 6 grams of protein from a 28-gram serving. And dogs do need a fair amount of protein.
However, what your dog will be getting in protein, they’ll be getting in fat content too. There are 6 grams of fat in mozzarella cheese per 28-gram serving. So if you’re trying to watch your dog’s weight, consider giving them only a small portion of mozzarella.
That being said, compared to other cheeses, mozzarella is relatively low in fat – so it could be one of the better options to go for.
Mozzarella Health Benefits
Apart from mozzarella being a decent source of protein and calcium, it provides some unique health benefits to both you and your dog.
It contains probiotics – which are essentially “good bacteria.” Lactobacillus Fermentum and Lactobacillus Casei are in mozzarella cheese, and studies indicate they are great for promoting good gut health. As well, probiotics are known to reduce inflammation.
Besides, it has been found through a study that if Lactobacillus Fermentum is taken regularly over long periods, a reduction in the time of respiratory infections can be noticed.
So ultimately, mozzarella could be considered a type of superfood in many ways that works for you and your dog!
However, there are some potential downsides that every dog owner should watch out for when thinking about feeding their dog mozzarella cheese.
How Could Mozzarella be Bad For Your Dog?
We already mentioned the fat content in mozzarella cheese and that you should go easy on the amounts you give to your dog if you don’t want them to put on weight.
But is there anything else to worry about?
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
If your dog suffers from high lactose intolerance levels, you should avoid giving them cheese or any type of dairy altogether.
To determine if your dog has lactose intolerance issues, you will need to feed them some form of dairy and then monitor them over 24 hours. There are several symptoms to be aware of when checking for lactose intolerance in dogs.
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in general behavior
All of these symptoms could also occur because of other reasons. Yet, if you see a combination of them after giving your dog some dairy, then they might well be lactose intolerant.
Keep in mind that giving them dairy doesn’t bring about fatal results, but at worst, it causes a lot of discomfort to your dog if their digestive system doesn’t agree with it.
Now you might also be wondering about…
Types of Cheeses And Their Effect on Dogs
There is, of course, a wide variety of cheeses in the world, and it would be helpful to which ones are better suited for dogs.
Again, we should reiterate cheese isn’t toxic to dogs. Some of the main concerns include salt and fat content when it comes to cheese and dogs.
Salt is a big problem for dogs – if they overeat it, they’ll become extremely thirsty. But even worse, if they have excessive amounts of salt, they could even go into a seizure, and there have been known cases of fatality too.
Now let’s see which other cheeses are good and not so good for dogs…
Cottage Cheese – Arguably the Best!
Since cottage cheese is a low-fat variety of cheese, it is a good option for your dog. It’s also high in calcium and protein but low in fat and salt content.
As well, it’s super easy to serve out of the package. A good way for your dog to enjoy this food is to add it into your dog’s regular food as a little treat now and again.
Parmesan Cheese – Not So Good
We’re not saying that you can’t give your dog parmesan cheese – it’s just that it has a much higher than average salt content than other cheeses. And too much salt can never be good for your dog.
Goat Cheese & Milk – Good
Soft goat’s cheese and milk are great sources of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates for your dog. As well, it is full of micronutrients with various minerals and vitamins being part of this superfood. Furthermore, if goat’s milk is fermented, it can contain particularly good bacteria for dogs.
Cheddar – Questionable
Many kinds of cheddar have quite a high salt content to them – this is their downside. And since cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses globally, it can be found in all sorts of foods and dishes. So, again, just make sure you don’t give your dog too much of this as it will be too salty for them.
In general, you should be looking for low fat, low salt content, and plain cheeses – without any other ingredients added to their makeup.
Some cheeses have onion, garlic, and other herbs added to them, which are toxic to dogs. So avoid any cheese specialties at all costs, or you’ll be running the risk of giving your dog a poisonous reaction.
Cheese Alternative For Dogs?
If your dog can’t handle dairy products and has lactose issues but has shown a liking for these types of foods – there is a solution.
Since veganism has become ever more popular in recent decades, there has been an influx of tasty vegan cheeses appearing on the market. And since some dog owners have their issues with giving soy to dogs, you might be thinking, are there any cheese alternatives that taste good without it?
Well, cheese alternatives only a few years ago were very distasteful, but now they have come leaps and bounds with new ways to mimic the real stuff.
There are even soy-free cheeses now made from tapioca that stretch like mozzarella! And the great thing is they are very low in fat and have tiny amounts of salt.
One other option you could choose instead of cheese is peanut butter. Just a small amount of this can work in the same way as a cheesy treat. Make sure it doesn’t contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol, though, because Xylitol is toxic to dogs.
FAQ About Mozzarella Cheese and Dogs
Here we’ll just recap on a couple of questions that you may have about cheese and mozzarella:
How much mozzarella cheese can dogs eat?
Since mozzarella cheese is low in salt content and has loads of health benefits, you can give it to your dogs reasonably often. Two or three times a week should be acceptable.
Just be aware that mozzarella does have fat content, and they can put on weight eating lots of it. Plus, you should check if they have lactose intolerance issues before giving this cheese to them regularly.
Can dogs eat mozzarella on pizza?
Just like us humans, dogs can go crazy over a slice or two of pizza! And your dog is in luck if they love it because they can have a couple of pieces now and again if it’s a plain cheese pizza.
Words of warning, though: Other less obvious ingredients in pizza could be toxic to your dog. For example, the pizza sauce could have onions and garlic blended into it, which are both harmful to dogs. Therefore, checking the ingredients for any toxic food in your pizza is crucial before giving any to your pet friend.
So yes, dogs can eat mozzarella cheese if they are not heavily lactose intolerant. Even if they have some mild lactose intolerance issues, a tiny bit of mozzarella cheese once in a while should be OK – we think you are the best judge of that as their owner.
As well, it’s a good idea if you are going to feed your dog any other cheeses to check the salt and fat content. If the cheese is high in sodium and fat, keep it to a minimum in your dog’s bowl.
Lastly, some amazing cheese alternatives are out there these days – which don’t use soy as their base ingredient. Please do your research, and it makes sense to test out everything new that you introduce into your dog’s regular diet.