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4 Real Reasons Why Dogs Can’t Eat Nacho Cheese

Can Dogs Eat Nacho Cheese

Imagine you’re holding a warm plate of crispy nachos topped with gooey cheese, onions, jalapeno peppers, and salsa.

Heavenly, right?

Your dog thinks so, too.

Toppings aside, let’s talk about the cheesy side of things.

Can dogs eat nacho cheese?

And if they do eat some, what will happen to them?

Read more to find out:

  • 4 reasons why dogs can’t eat nacho cheese.
  • Nacho cheese ingredients that are bad for dogs.
  • What to do if your dog eats high amounts of nacho cheese.
  • And a whole lot more…

Can dogs eat nacho cheese?

Dogs can’t eat nacho cheese because of its high-sodium content. It also contains dairy, which some dogs have difficulty digesting. Lastly, depending on the brand, it also contains MSG and powdered spicy peppers.

4 reasons why dogs can’t eat nacho cheese

#1: Lactose intolerance

As delicious as cheese may be, it can pose a danger to your dog.

Cheese contains several vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your dog, like:

  • Proteins.
  • Calcium.
  • Vitamin A.
  • Essential fatty acids.
  • B-complex vitamins.

So does this mean dogs can eat cheese?

Not necessarily.

Cheese also contains lactose.

It’s a sugar found in milk that puppies get from drinking their mother’s milk. 

Once puppies stop drinking their milk, lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, decreases.

Thus making puppies only tolerate small amounts of milk at a time.

Feeding them their mother’s milk once they’ve completely stopped can lead to symptoms showing lactose intolerance.

This is because if lactose is not broken down by lactase, it causes your dog’s body to draw out water into the sugar in the colon.

Since cheese is usually made with cow’s milk, it contains higher levels of lactose compared to dog’s milk.

That’s why feeding cheese to lactose-intolerant dogs can result in watery stools and diarrhea.

Other symptoms for lactose intolerance to watch out for are:

  • Vomiting.
  • Bloating.
  • Flatulence.
  • Lack of appetite.

You might also like: Can Dogs Eat Alfredo? 7 Ingredients Reviewed + 7 Dangers

#2: Lactose allergy

Dogs Can't Eat Nacho Cheese Because They Have Lactose Allergy

I’ve already talked about lactose intolerance in dogs above.

So you may be asking “What’s the difference with a lactose allergy?”

Lactose allergy in dogs is their body’s inability to tolerate the protein in milk.

This causes irritation in their immune system.

Symptoms for lactose allergy appear the same as lactose intolerance symptoms.

That’s why they’re sometimes confused with each other.

Lactose allergy symptoms in dogs include:

  • Hives.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Skin redness.
  • Face swelling.
  • Excessive itching.
  • Breathing difficulty.

Warning: If your dog is breathing difficultly, take them to their veterinarian immediately.

#3: Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a condition where your dog’s pancreas gets inflamed.

According to PetMD, the pancreas produces digestive enzymes that break down food. 

If the pancreas gets inflamed, it causes the early activation of the enzymes inside the pancreas, causing them to digest the pancreas itself. 

Watch this video to learn more about pancreatitis:

Pancreatitis is caused by a number of factors, but eating high-fat foods, like cheese, can trigger it.

Some symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Low energy.
  • Dehydration.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever or low body temperature.

Another cause of pancreatitis is spicy foods. 

Nacho cheese topped with jalapeno peppers, cayenne pepper, or chili powder, sounds good, right? 

But sharing it with your dog is bad. 

Dogs can’t taste spicy foods the same way as humans do.

 As they don’t have as many taste buds, but they still have the same amount of pain receptors.

When dogs eat spicy foods, they can show anxious behaviors, as well as stomach pain, intense thirst, and flatulence.

Interesting fact: Miniature Schnauzers commonly have this disorder. That’s because they tend to have high blood triglyceride level problems.

#4: Sodium-ion poisoning

If you like to eat store-bought nacho cheese, chances are they contain high levels of salt.

So if you share your nachos with your dog, you’re putting them at a higher risk for sodium-ion poisoning.  

Sodium-ion poisoning in dogs is caused by excess salt intake, without following with drinking water.

Signs of sodium-ion poisoning include:

  • Tremors. 
  • Seizures.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Disorientation.
  • Shortness of breath. 

Dogs get sodium-ion poisoning if they consume around 0.07-0.10 oz (2-3 g) of salt. 

While 0.14 oz (4 g) of salt becomes fatal.

Tip: If you feed your dog a salty treat, remember to give them plenty of drinking water afterward.  

You might be interested in: 27 Easy Ways To Trick Your Dog Into Drinking Water (How-To)

”My dog ate a lot of nacho cheese, what should I do?”

That feeling when you’re enjoying a plate of cheesy nachos then you suddenly need to go to the bathroom, only to find out moments later, your dog’s happily chowing down on your nachos.

I hate when my dog steals my food, too.

First, take the nachos away from your dog.

Then give them some water to dilute the nacho cheese’s high sodium content.

Monitor your dog in case they start showing health complications like:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Upset stomach.

The severity of the symptoms depends on the size and weight of your dog, so consult their veterinarian. 

Warning: If your dog is lactose intolerant or has a lactose allergy, and is showing severe symptoms, immediately bring them to their vet.

Healthy nacho cheese alternatives for dogs (100% safe)

#1: Cheese-flavored dog treats

Think about it, why would you give your dog the risk of getting sick for cheese?

There are several cheese-flavored treats available that are safe for dogs.

If you choose the good-quality ones, they’re packed in nutrients that actually benefit your dog. 

#2: Homemade nacho toppings

Instead of feeding your dog with actual nacho chips, why not give them some crunchy dog-safe vegetables or fruits instead?

Some good ones include:

  • Apple.
  • Pears.
  • Celery.
  • Potato.
  • Carrots.
  • Green beans.
  • Sweet potato.

Another alternative is to make them their own makeshift nachos and cheese using:

  • Shredded carrots.
  • A can of dog food.
  • Chicken/ beef jerky strips.

Now your dog wouldn’t have to steal your nachos away from now on!