It is confusing for pet owners to determine what human food items can be given to their Chihuahua, especially in the case of dairy products. Chihuahuas have a longing to eat dairy products like yogurt and cheese, but the question is, Can Chihuahuas eat cheese? More importantly, is it even safe to feed your Chihuahua cheese?
In this article, we will answer just what you are looking for. It will include:
- Can Chihuahuas eat cheese?
- Why you shouldn’t feed cheese to Chihuahuas
- What you should consider before feeding cheese to your Chihuahua
- And much more…
Can Chihuahuas Eat Cheese?
Chihuahuas can eat cheese and it is often used as a treat in training activities. You can give your chi different types of cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. While most Chihuahuas love cheese, some of them can be lactose intolerant so it is important to check this first.
There are many benefits of eating cheese, according to the Kennel Club Pet Insurance, for a dog because of the nutrients that are present in it. Some of the nutrients present in cheese are:
- Zinc: Good for the immune system of the Chihuahua and helps with better functioning of its thyroid system
- Phosphorus: Helps maintain the integrity of your dog’s bones and teeth
- Vitamin A: Prevents Chihuahuas from getting sick by enhancing their immune system
- Riboflavin: Supports the metabolism of the amino acids inside a Chihuahua’s stomach
- Vitamin K2: Helps with the clotting of blood in Chihuahuas
- Vitamin B12: Creates and improves the protective tissues of Chihuahuas
Why Shouldn’t You Feed Cheese To Chihuahuas? Top 4 Reasons
First of all, there is nothing wrong with feeding cheese to Chihuahuas, but it should be in moderation. However, some dogs’ bodies don’t work well with cheese.
1. High in fat
Cheese is high in fat, and according to AKC, feeding too much fat to a dog leads to obesity. Obesity can be treated by exercising but sometimes too much fat can lead to the more problematic pancreatitis in your dog, which may turn out to be fatal.
According to Dr. Natalie Stilwell, DMD, dogs that are being fed foods rich in fat, lack the ability to exercise and develop health problems related to obesity.
2. High in salt
Cheese has lots of salt and it is a no-brainer that too much salt is poison for Chihuahuas. As per Dr. Amy Flowers, DVM, eating too much salt makes your dog dehydrated and in severe cases, it also leads to sodium ion poisoning.
Chihuahuas with health conditions of heart, liver, and kidney need to stay on a low sodium diet. But salt is not bad for all Chihuahuas if taken in moderation. You can give your Chihuahua 0.25-1.5g/100g of salt in its food.
3. High in lactose
Being a dairy product, cheese is definitely high in lactose, which may not be a bad thing for dogs, but there are some dogs that can’t tolerate lactose. Some puppies can’t process milk and if ingested, it causes intestinal upset in those pups.
4. Added ingredients could be toxic
Human food items are not favorable for dog consumption and food items like processed cheese have certain added ingredients that can be harmful to your pet. According to PetMD, some of the dietary reactions in dogs include:
- Gastrointestinal reactions: Your dog’s stomach will be bloated and it will develop gas
- Acid reflux: You might see your dog getting hiccups
- Dehydration: There will be an excessive need for water in your dog. Offer water to your Chihuahua so that there are no harsh consequences of being dehydrated
- Diarrhea: You will observe that your dog has loose stool or diarrhea. You will have to keep an eye on your dog’s stool to see if there is any improvement
- Vomiting: Vomiting may be a result of either overeating or your dog is intolerant to the cheese
- Lack of appetite: Lack of appetite is another result of overeating
Also Read: 30 Worst Foods Never To Feed Your Chihuahua
What To Consider Before Feeding Cheese To Your Chihuahua?
It is a safer option to feed your Chihuahua a little piece of cheese and observe your pet for any discomfort if any. If you see no visible side effects of the cheese, you can give a bit more of it. Just make sure that the cheese is not flavored for the safety of your dog’s digestive system.
Also Read: Are Chihuahuas Picky Eaters?
What Cheese Should You Feed To Your Chihuahua?
There are various different types of cheeses available in the market that have different levels of lactose. Depending on the lactose tolerance level of your Chihuahua, you can feed it any one of the given cheeses.
Some of the cheeses that you can feed your Chihuahua safely include:
- Cottage Cheese: This contains 3g of lactose per serving. The proteins present in cottage cheese are beneficial for your dog’s digestive system.
- Cream Cheese: This contains 2g of lactose per serving. It should be given in very small amounts.
- American/Swiss Cheese: This contains 1g of lactose per serving. These inexpensive cubes can be given as occasional treats to your dog.
- Low-fat Mozzarella: This contains 0.9g of lactose per serving. You can give small cubes of low-fat mozzarella cheese to your dog once a week.
You need to make sure that you are not giving any kind of flavored cheese to your Chihuahua because flavored cheeses have harmful ingredients for dogs. Always remember that moderation is the key while feeding cheese to your Chi. Excessive consumption of cheese in dogs will lead to an upset stomach with diarrhea.
What Cheese Should You Not Feed To Your Chihuahua?
Avoid serving the below cheese types to your four legged friend.
- Blue Cheese
It is not advised to feed blue cheese to your Chihuahua because it involves a fungus that produces a substance called roquefortine C, which can be harmful to dogs. If your dog ingests roquefortine C, it may start to vomit or develop diarrhea.
- Seasoned Cheese
Seasoned cheese is a complete no for Chihuahuas because the herbs and spices added to that cheese are toxic for dogs. Any kind of seasoning can make your dog sick and it is better to give unflavored food only to your pet. Spicy food can make your dog’s stomach upset for a few days, so avoid giving seasoned cheese to your pet.
- Goat Cheese
Goat cheese contains high levels of saturated fat and if consumed in large amounts by your dog, it will lead to obesity in your pet or pancreatitis in extreme situations. The symptoms of obesity in dogs include:
- Weight gain
- Excess body fat
- Inability to exercise
- High body condition score
To get rid of the obesity in your dog, you will have to focus on weight loss and increase your pet’s quota for exercising. Getting a diet plan from a certified vet will help with the weight loss journey of your Chihuahua.
The high amounts of fat in brie are unhealthy for a dog’s body and should be avoided in its diet to prevent major health issues.
- Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is again high in fats, so it should not be included in your Chihuahua’s diet to keep the health problems away.
When To Feed Cheese to Chihuahuas?
Now that you know about Can Chihuahuas Eat Cheese, below are the few occasions when it is okay to feed cheese to your Chihuahua:
1. As an occasional treat
Cheese can be used as an occasional treat for your Chihuahua that can be given as appreciation for completing a difficult task. Since cheese may be harmful when given in large amounts and for a long time, it should be given once a week or once in two weeks.
2. As a positive reinforcement
Cheese is often used in training Chihuahuas, especially puppies, using the positive reinforcement method. Dr. Shelby Loos, DVM, suggests that the positive reinforcement technique encourages dogs to behave the way you want them to without having to use harsh methods. Using punishment on your dog may backfire, so giving treats and associating a happy memory is a better option.
3. Hide pills in cheese
If your dog does not eat pills because of any reason, you can hide them in cheese and offer it to your Chihuahua. It will happily eat the cheese and won’t notice that it ate the pill along with it.
What Happens If You Overfeed Your Chihuahua Cheese?
Even if you take care and keep track of your dog’s consumption of cheese, your dog may get a hang of it and seek cheese in your absence. Overfeeding your dog may lead to problems like:
- Low Fibre: Low fiber in a dog’s body can lead to trouble with your dog’s colon
- Constipation: Remaining constipated causes intestinal problems in dogs
- Indigestion: Ingestion causes bloating in your dog’s stomach
- Nausea: Before vomiting, dogs show signs of nausea
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea in dogs leads to dehydration
- Vomiting: Eating something bad or overeating something good may lead your dog to vomit incessantly. You should also check for fever in your dog in such cases using a thermometer.
- Low Appetite: If your dog loses its appetite, it is a sign that it ate a lot for its last meal
- Obesity: Obesity decreases the ability of your dog to do exercise
If any of the above-mentioned symptoms become extreme, then take your Chihuahua to the vet and get it examined. Do not give any medicines to your Chihuahua at home because you might not know the underlying health issue behind the severe symptoms. It is best to get help from a professional if your dog’s symptoms are not dialing down.
What Other Dairy Products Can Chihuahuas Eat?
If you are wondering the various dairy options to feed to your Chi, then take a look at the below dairy products:
Yogurt is one of the common treats given to Chihuahuas for training purposes. It is safe to give your Chi fresh and healthy yogurt because it contains high levels of proteins and probiotics.
While proteins keep your Chi’s fur and skin healthy, probiotics help support your pet’s digestive system. Yogurt also helps keep the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your dog’s body.
It is recommended that you give only plain yogurt to your Chihuahua because added flavors might be harmful to your dog and cause allergic reactions. You should also avoid giving your dog yogurts with artificial sweeteners.
The two types of plain yogurt that are ideal to feed Chihuahuas are:
- Greek yogurt
- Whole white yogurt
Greek yogurt is a healthier option to feed your Chihuahuas because it contains lesser lactose than whole white yogurt. You can offer the yogurt to your dog alone or mix it with other food items to enhance its taste and nutritional content. Just make sure that you keep the serving to 1 to 3 tablespoons.
It is safe for Chihuahuas to drink milk in very small amounts like one or two tablespoons as a reward occasionally.
Even though milk is not toxic for Chis, ingesting it poses many risks for your dog because it consists of large amounts of fat, so keep the feeding amount very small. Additionally, your dog may be lactose intolerant.
You can check the levels of lactose on the milk that you are feeding your dog to keep the lactose in check. Milk should also be given as an occasional treat to your dog, just like cheese.
Also, avoid giving flavored milk to your Chihuahua because flavored milk contains an essence that is harmful to your furry friend.