As a dog owner, you must pay close attention to what you are feeding your dog. This is because diet directly determines the health of your furball. If you are a cautious dog parent, who always makes sure to look for the pros and cons of dogs, then you must have wondered whether dogs can eat feta cheese?
Let us answer this for you. NO! The dogs cannot eat feta cheese. It’s not unsafe, but feta cheese has high lactose content, which makes it unsuitable for the dog. Although feta is very popular among us humans, our salads are incomplete without feta cheese. But the fact that dogs cannot eat feta cheese might be surprising for some. If you want to know more about the science behind this topic, keep reading till the end.
What is Feta Cheese?
Feta is the type of cheese made of either sheep’s milk or from a combination of goat’s and sheep’s milk. This soft and unpasteurized cheese has a very tangy taste. Feta cheese is one of the oldest forms of cheese globally and comes in white color. While other kinds of cheese are safe for dogs, this one might be problematic for various reasons.
Why is Feta Cheese Not the Right Option For Dogs?
If we talk generally, then feta cheese is okay for the dogs to have. If your dog has high lactose tolerance, it can digest the high dairy content in the feta cheese. And the interesting part is, dogs love the taste of feta cheese, making a scrumptious treat for them. But still, you should avoid feeding feta cheese to your dog. Here’s why;
High Lactose Content
Well, let us tell you, the most prominent reason is the high lactose content in the feta, and some other cheeses as feta cheese have 0.13 grams of lactose in a single serving of 125 grams which is quite high. Some dogs might tolerate this high dairy content, but most dog breeds are lactose intolerant.
This is why when dogs ingest feta, their digestive system cannot break it down. As a result, the cheese stays undigested in the stomach causing abdominal pain. Other side effects include diarrhea, bloat diarrhea, vomiting, and gas. Though feta has the lowest amount of lactose among all other dairy items, its lactose amount is still considered high for dogs.
Feta Cheese has considerably high-fat content, which is not suitable for daily intake. Dog’s diet should contain a maximum of 10 to 15% of fat content. Now, if you think eating feta sometimes might be okay, it will make up this percentage. But you should know that eating a high amount of fat at once, even though it does not exceed 15%, is not okay for your dog. This is because this fat will make your dog obese and impose the threats of other health problems like cardiac and pancreatic issues.
High Sodium Content
Another reason that makes feta a less suitable option for a dog is its high sodium content. In 28 grams of feta cheese, the level of sodium salt is 330 mg. In contrast, the recommended level is only 0.25 to 1.5 grams per 100 grams of food. High salt levels increase the thirst level of your dog. Besides, high sodium content also induces serious health problems like diarrhea, depression, vomiting, seizures, increased fever, and death.
Sodium-ion poisoning is an add-on risk factor that has the following symptoms;
- Dry mouth
- Excessive urine
- Muscle tremors
- Poor coordination
- Body and muscle weakness
What Happens if a Dog Eats Feta Cheese?
Your dog devoured a piece of feta you forgot on the table. Now you are worried about what might happen to your pet. Well, to be honest, a little crumb isn’t going to affect your dog, but if it gobbled an entire piece or cube, it might be problematic. Since dogs are lactose intolerant, you can expect your dog to show any of the above symptoms mentioned above, like diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting.
If your dog starts displaying any of these symptoms, take it to the nearest veterinarian for a quick checkup. If symptoms aren’t severe, there isn’t much to worry about. Just let them have plenty of water so they can quench their thirst. Also, make them calm by patting them at the back.
What Are The Alternative To Feta Cheese?
Cheese is no doubt the favorite treat of many dogs. So if you want to make your fluff ball happy, feed it other cheeses that are not harmful to the dog’s body. Here are the kind of cheeses dogs can eat;
- Cottage cheese: High in protein but low in fat content. It is perfect for lactose intolerant dogs, but it should be limited to only one tablespoon.
- Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese: Low in lactose content and can be given in low amounts.
- Cream cheese: Without any toxic ingredient. It can be given in small quantities.
- String Cheese: Recommended for adult dogs. Avoid feeding it to puppies. It contains a high amount of calories thus dogs can gain weight quickly by eating this cheese.
What Other Cheeses Should be Avoided?
Though few cheese kinds are safe, there is still a long list of cheeses that should be avoided. Please educate yourself about them so that you don’t accidentally end up feeding your dog one of these cheese types. Here are the cheeses that are toxic for dogs;
- Blue or French cheese
- Flavored cheese
- Brie and goat cheese
Can Dogs Eat Feta Cheese? Feta cheese is a common part of a human’s diet, but it can be harmful to diet, so avoid feeding feta cheese to your dog. It is high in lactose, fat, and sodium content; therefore, it can cause weight gain, dry mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures in severe cases. If your dog snaps a few crumbs of feta, it is okay, but if the piece is bigger, take your pet to a veterinarian to avoid any long-term effects.