Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Can dogs eat yogurt or is this dairy product another one to be crossed off the dog-friendly foods list?

As man’s best friend, dogs can eat a variety of foods from their owner’s diet. Canines evolved alongside us, and as omnivores, they can digest everything from fruits and veggies to meats. In fact, when it comes to dog-friendly human foods, it can be beneficial to include them as a treat: a few bites of vitamin-rich veggies or a protein-packed treat can ideally supplement your dog’s diet, even if it’s based on commercial pet foods. However, when it comes to dairy products, the line between safe and unsafe might not be as clear.

While there’s no doubt that, throughout history, our pet’s survived on a diet that was based mainly on the scraps of their human companions, which included dairy products as well, as our furry companions evolved, so did their digestive systems and nutritional needs. This is particularly true when it comes to milk and dairy products. Although, in itself, these foods are safe for dogs and can even be healthy for them, a significant percentage of canines can’t digest lactose properly, which leads to gastrointestinal troubles.

Of course, there’s no denying that not all dairy products are the same, and there are some which dogs tend to digest better than others. For instance, while some types of cheese are great for pooches, there are those who are guaranteed to make their belly ache, and the same principle applies to other products made out of milk. So how about dairy products that contain probiotics that are known to promote good digestion? Can dogs eat yogurt and other foods produced by bacterial fermentation of milk, such as kefir? To get to know more about the complex relationship of dogs and dairy, and finally find out can dogs eat yogurt- and why not all kinds are the same, read on.

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? Which Kinds Are Safe for Pets?

Before we go into the details of can dogs eat yogurt, the quick answer to that question is yes. If your greedy pooch happened to snatch your plain yogurt from the table, don’t worry, nothing is going to happen to them (unless they ate the cup, too). However, not all types of yogurt are safe for dogs, and if you plan on purposely giving it your pet, you need to know the differences and recommended serving sizes. In other words, you shouldn’t be wondering can dogs eat yogurt, but rather which can they eat!

First of all, the most important thing you should know is to never give dogs yogurt that contains xylitol. This common artificial sweetener is often found in flavored and sugar-free yogurts, but make sure to check the label before offering a bite of any food to your furry bestie- you never know where this dangerous substance might be added. Xylitol is not the healthiest of ingredients in human foods, but for dogs, it’s not just unhealthy, it’s extremely toxic. This substance can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver issues, and even death. If your pet happened to eat anything that contains this artificial sweetener, rush them to the emergency vet immediately.

Additionally, you shouldn’t give your pooch flavored yogurt, vanilla yogurt, diet yogurt, or yogurt with granola (and fruit). Even if they don’t contain the lethal sweetener xylitol, these types of yogurt are usually laden with sugar, preservatives, and additives that are simply not healthy for your canine companion. Instead of treating your pet to foods you find yummy, give them the plainer but healthier option- I promise, your pooch will find it delicious either way.

The kinds of yogurt that dogs can eat include plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, and kefir. Homemade or store-bought, these kinds of yogurt can be given to dogs as an occasional treat, on their own or mixed up with their usual meal. These fermented milk products are not only safe for pooches, but they contain important nutrients as well as live-culture probiotics- all of which can be beneficial for your dog.

Does Yogurt Have Benefits for Dogs

For us humans, plain yogurt is considered to be a healthy food, and, unless you have a sensitivity to lactose, this probiotic-rich product is one of those foods you’d eat to ease an upset stomach. It’s not much different for canines, really. Unless they have issues with dairy in general, dogs can enjoy the many benefits of this fermented nom-nom.

Yogurt is rich in protein and packed with calcium, both of which are essential for your dog’s good health, but it’s the live-culture probiotics that are the most beneficial. In case you don’t know, good bacteria are needed to make yogurt (the live culture), and these microorganisms have been credited with various health benefits, primarily those regarding gut flora. Additionally, opting for yogurt with live culture improves your pooch’s chances of digesting it properly, as it makes lactose easier to break down.

Holistic vets claim that introducing yogurt to a dog’s diet can have potential benefits for their skin and coat, as well as improve the condition of pet’s with yeast infections.

If your pooch is going through a treatment with antibiotic medications, including small doses of probiotic yogurt in their daily menu could help maintain good health of their digestive tract. Of course, consult with your vet first: you wouldn’t want to give your pooch anything that might counteract their treatment.

Are There Any Risks to Feeding Dogs Yogurt?

When it comes to dogs and dairy, all bets are off. More often than not, your pooch will have no issue with digesting lactose, a specific nutrient found in milk and dairy products that can cause intestinal distress- both in human and in dogs. For some unlucky canines, though, anything containing lactose will wreak havoc on their tummy, causing vomiting or diarrhea in the majority of cases. As a dairy product, yogurt also contains lactose, albeit in a smaller percentage, and counteracted with beneficial probiotics, so the chances are lower that it will irritate your pet’s GI tract. However, to make sure your four-legged friend is digesting yogurt properly, start by giving them small amounts first, no more than a spoon worth to start things off.

As a rule of thumb, treats shouldn’t account for more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake, and the same goes for yogurt. If you have a small breed dog, a spoon of yogurt should suffice, and if you have a large doggo, you can splurge- up to 3 tablespoons of yogurt are allowed.

How To Give Yogurt to Your Dog

Yup, by now, the question is not can dogs eat yogurt anymore, but how to best serve it to your precious pup. You might enjoy yogurt best when it’s mixed with fruit, granola, and honey, but when it comes to dogs, possible serving options are a bit different.

Offer your dog some plain yogurt on its own, or mix a spoon or two in their kibble if you’re unsure they’ll like it. But, if you want to step it up and make some yogurt-based treats for your pampered fur baby, we’ve got you covered with some easy to make recipes. With the exception of the third recipe, all of these yogurt treats for dogs are absolutely perfect for summer- they’ll keep your pooch cool and refreshed, and still offer health benefits!

Frozen Mixed Summer Berry Dog Treat Recipe

Berries are one of the dog-safe fruits that are perfect in frozen treats, and these berry tasty ones are no exception. With a touch of honey and yogurt as your base, add blueberries and raspberries to create a summer treat to bark for. Of course, you can switch out the berries for any of the dog-safe fruits you currently have: that’s the beauty of these simple recipes.

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats Recipe

Plain yogurt, ripe banana, creamy peanut butter, and a bit of honey- don’t mind your pooch, you might want to cool yourself off with these pawesome frozen treats! But. not to be selfish- these summer treats are ideal for dogs, as they’ll help them fight off the summer heat and keep them occupied as they nibble on these paw-licking goodies!

It’s All Greek Yogurt To Me Dog Treat Recipe

The exception in our collection of mouthwatering frozen treats are these bad boys: crunchy and delectable, these treats will instantly become your pup’s favorite. The recipe calls for whole wheat flour, oats, parsley, egg, peanut butter, and natural Greek yogurt, so not only that it tastes good, it’s super healthy!

Peanut Butter And Carob Frozen Dog Treat Recipe

Can’t go wrong with PB- both when it comes to humans and canines! In addition to the universally loved peanut butter (don’t fight me on this), you’ll need plain yogurt and carob chips to whip up these delicious treats.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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