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5 Reasons Why Your Dog Can’t Eat Cheddar Cheese (Must-Read)

Can Dogs Eat Cheddar Cheese

Imagine you just made yourself a grilled cheese sandwich.

Yummy, isn’t it?

And when your pooch sees you, they look at you with those pleading eyes.

Now, it makes you think, are you allowed to share this cheddar-cheese sandwich with them? 

Continue reading to discover: 

  • 5 reasons why your dog can’t eat cheddar cheese.
  • What happens when a dog consumes cheddar cheese (and what to do).
  • The difference between lactose intolerance and lactose allergy (brought by the cheese).
  • And much, much more…

Can dogs eat cheddar cheese?

Dogs can’t eat cheddar cheese. It isn’t recommended to give to your dog, especially in large amounts. That’s because it contains sodium, fat, and lactose. The latter might trigger lactose intolerance or milk allergy. Moreover, some cheddar cheese can have harmful added ingredients like onions.

What happens when a dog eats cheddar cheese?

What happens when a dog eats cheddar cheese depends on many things. They might get an upset stomach if they’re lactose intolerant. If not, the reaction will depend on how much cheddar cheese the dog has eaten.

After your dog eats cheddar cheese, you must monitor them closely. This is applicable whether your dog is lactose intolerant or not.

Now, among many things to observe are their bowel movements.

Also, take notes of their pooping habits. Remember the frequency and the intervals between each potty break.

Moreover, examine their poop’s consistency. If there are any changes, like when it becomes loose, then that’s your confirmation…

For what?

That your dog’s body is affected by the ingestion of cheddar cheese.

Other signs to look out for are:

  • Bad gas.
  • Vomiting.
  • Flatulence.
  • Abdominal pain.

Now, there are instances where a dog eats a block of cheddar cheese. Some dog parents report this occurrence.

It’s due to their canine’s misbehavior called counter surfing.

When this happens, monitoring is still very much necessary.

Furthermore, avoid not feeding your dog when this occurs. It’s a common mistake that dog parents make in this situation.

Instead, cut down their meals a little. 

Do so until your dog’s body has recovered from the event.

You’ll know once their pooping habits and consistency return to normal. 

If after 48 hours, they don’t, bring your pooch to the vet ASAP.

After surviving this, it’ll be best to train your dog not to counter surf anymore. That’s so this or like situations won’t happen again.

5 reasons your dog can’t eat cheddar cheese

#1: Lactose intolerance

Dogs Can't Eat Cheddar Cheese Because Of Lactose Intolerance

Unfortunately, cheddar cheese is a no-no if your dog is lactose intolerant…

Some dog parents with lactose intolerant dogs ignore this fact.

That’s because cheddar cheese contains a low level of lactose.

What’s that?

It’s the sugar that’s present in the milk where the cheese is made from. That’s why it’s earned its nickname: milk sugar.

Now, along with lactose should come an enzyme called lactase. 

This enzyme is assigned to break down the milk sugar.

Now, with lactose intolerance, your dog’s body has trouble digesting the lactose. Which is because of the absence or low levels of lactase.

Despite cheddar cheese’s low levels of lactose, giving it to your intolerant pooch is still a risk.

Moreover, your canine might develop a taste for it. 

Over time, they might demand more, and once that’s granted, consequences might arise…

Those harmful effects will show in no time. And according to VCA Hospitals, those are:

Moreover, there’s a question that a lot of dog parents ask:

“How did my dog become lactose intolerant?”

It’s a query that sits on some people’s mind…

That’s because dogs used to thrive on their momma’s milk when they’re puppies.

So, what happened? Why can their body handle that milk and not anything else?

The first explanation lies in the comparison between a cow and a dam’s (mother dog) milk.

You see, cow milk has a 5% lactose level. Then, a dam’s milk only has 3% lactose.

With that, dogs can stomach their momma’s milk better.

Moreover, there’s something that happens when your dog starts to eat food…

According to research, lactase activity in dogs decreases by 10% once they’re weaned. 

And thus begins your fur baby’s journey to living off as a lactose intolerant pooch…

Continue reading: Can Dogs Eat Pimentos (Cheese)? 3 Health Concerns

#2: It contains sodium

Cheddar cheese is often used as a training tool. It’s a staple reward for good boys…

However, giving your obedient dog too much of this reward can harm them.


According to the USDA, 3.5 oz (100 g) of cheddar cheese contains 0.02 oz (0.62 g) of sodium.

Some see this as a small amount. 

Indeed it can be, and that’s why cheddar cheese is considered to have the lowest salt content among many.

However, don’t let that fact distract you from the danger…

Of what?

Giving your dog cheddar cheese, especially in large amounts can lead to…

Sodium poisoning

That seemingly small amount of sodium isn’t something to scoff off…

Before I proceed, let’s review this table of sodium limits in dogs from the experts in ACVP:

Dig size and weightMaximum daily sodium intake
Extra small to small
1 lbs (0.45 kg) to 25 lbs (11.4 kg)
0.025 oz (0.7 g) to 0.25 oz (7 g)
26 lbs (11.8 kg) to 40 lbs (18.2 kg)
0.65 oz (18 g)
Large to XX-large
41 lbs (18.6 kg) to 110 lbs (50 kg)
1 oz (28 g) to 2.25 oz (64 g)

For an extra small dog, that 3.5 oz (100 g) of cheddar cheese holds an amount of sodium that’s close to their limit. With that, dogs like a Chihuahua can’t eat much cheddar cheese.

But regardless of your dog’s size, they’re not an exemption to the threat of sodium poisoning.

What exactly does this condition bring?

The Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) considers salt to be poisonous for dogs.

According to them, these are the signs of the condition:

  • Coma.
  • Tremors.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy.
  • Seizures.
  • Low appetite.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Sudden change in urinating habits.

Warning: If left untreated or intake is very high, this condition can lead to death. So, bring your dog to the vet immediately if these signs show.

You might also want to know: Can dogs eat nacho cheese?

#3: It’s high in fat

High In Fat

Did you know? Cheddar cheese is considered to hold a low amount of fat.

But that still isn’t good news for your pooch…

That’s because the amount of fat that cheddar cheese contains is still a risk to dogs.

Specifically, per 3.5 oz (100 g) of cheddar cheese, 33% of it is total fat.

Now, that much fat is unhealthy and unnecessary for your pooch.

Moreover, it’s more harmful if your canine is already overweight. Eating too much cheddar cheese can lead to more weight gain.

And among many more, another unhealthy consequence of eating high-fat food is…

Pancreatitis in dogs

The role of the pancreas is to produce digestive enzymes. Those products are assigned to break down food products in your dog’s GI tract.

Now, when the pancreas becomes inflamed, it’s called pancreatitis. 

This condition leads to the pancreas getting faulty. With that, it’ll make inappropriate amounts of the said enzyme.

Furthermore, such can lead to the pancreas digesting itself. 

Here are the signs of pancreatitis according to PetMD:

  • Shock.
  • Lethargy.
  • Collapsing.
  • Constant vomiting.
  • Severe dehydration.
  • Decreased to no appetite.
  • Abdominal pain, which your dog would tell you through whining.

Don’t forget to also read: 7 Alarming Reasons Why Dogs Can’t Eat Corn Chips

#4: Some have added ingredients

Another concerning thing about this is the added ingredients that it might have.

Some cheddar cheese products contain other elements for flavor, particularly the following:

  • Garlic.
  • Chives.
  • Onions.

All of these are toxic for your pooch. 

Moreover, the MSD Vet Manual says that garlic is up to 5 times more toxic than onion.

Now, the condition that this poisoning brings is called Allium spp Toxicosis.

Those vegetables cause a drop in your dog’s red blood cells (RBC) level in this medical situation. That’s because they begin self-destructing…

With that, it leads to anemia or the lack of healthy RBCs that transport oxygen to the body.

According to the APPC, ingestion of any of those above 0.5% of your dog’s weight is toxic.

So, for example, your dog is a Pug who weighs 16 lbs (7 kg). About 0.08 lbs (36 g) of any of those vegetables will poison them.

If that happens, the signs that’ll appear are:

  • Lethargy.
  • Vomiting.
  • Breathing fast.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Faster heart rate.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Paleness due to anemia.

Check out also: Can dogs eat hot chips?

#5: It can trigger lactose allergy

Now, this is commonly mistaken for lactose intolerance…

However, lactose allergy is a completely different thing.

Research tells us that dairy products like milk are the culprit for many dogs’ food allergies.

Now, in any allergies, proteins that are present in the food are the reason behind the condition.

Your canine is allergic to either or both casein and whey for this particular one. Experts tell us that those are proteins present in milk.

Now, this is often mixed up with lactose intolerance because it leads to the same symptoms.

But, lactose allergy actually has more signs that you and Fido should watch out for. Namely:

  • Itching.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hot spots.
  • Flatulence.
  • Constipation.
  • Bald patches.
  • Dry and red skin.
  • Skin and ear infections.
  • Increased bowel movements.
  • Excessive licking of their body.
  • Constantly biting and scratching themself.

See how intense milk allergies can get?

With that, never hesitate to have your dog checked by the vet when these signs show.

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