If there’s a dog in the world who doesn’t want to taste anything you’re eating, I haven’t met them yet.
Those big eyes stare at your Greek yogurt snack. Ears twitch in anticipation, and the tail swooshes back and forth, hoping for a taste. You can probably see your pup salivating already.
For some dogs, it’s the same if you’re eating lettuce, a hamburger, or yogurt. They want what you’re having. If you’re like many dog parents, you don’t mind sharing a nibble, but as a dog owner you want to make sure it’s safe for them.
So what about Greek yogurt for dogs? Or any other kind of yogurt, for that matter. You know it’s rich in calcium and protein. You might know it’s also packed with probiotics, which are the good bacteria that support a healthy digestive system.
Yet, is Greek yogurt safe for dogs? Can they digest lactose?
Good questions. In short, yes, many dogs can eat Greek yogurt as a treat. Plain yogurt can be good for your dog’s gut but not every dog can digest lactose, so you’ll want to be careful.
In this article, you’ll discover the health benefits of Greek yogurt for dogs and what to consider before giving it to your pooch.
What are the Benefits of Greek Yogurt for Dogs?
Let’s talk gut health.
You’ve probably heard how important it is to have a healthy gut and how it helps keep the digestive system balanced. Without a healthy digestive system, your pup can suffer from the dreaded “GI” issues of tummy aches, vomiting, and diarrhea.
It turns out, one of the primary ways to have a healthy gut is to keep a mix of “good” bacteria in it. A healthy digestive system is a complex network of bacteria and other organisms. High-quality yogurt has active cultures that make up your dog’s microbiome.
A microbiome is personal. It’s part of your dog’s DNA and is based on your dog’s diet, overall health, age, and other factors. No two microbiomes are the same, which is why some dogs have stomachs of steel while others can be intolerant to a new food.
Probiotics are part of a healthy microbiome. They fight “bad” bacteria that can find its way into your dog’s body and even help strengthen your dog’s immune system. It takes a healthy gut to have a robust immunity! Both regular yogurt and Greek yogurt are packed with probiotics.
If your dog can digest dairy products, yogurt can be an occasional delicious treat for your dog (Tip: try freezing it in a slow feeder or dog puzzle for a cool treat on a hot day!). In fact, a spoonful of plain yogurt can help soothe upset tummies in some dogs. However, just like people, not every dog can handle lactose.
Dairy products can upset some tummies and cause inflammation through the body. Before giving your dog yogurt as a treat you need to find out if they can tolerate dairy.
If you don’t already know, start by giving your dog a small amount to see how they digest it. Note their stool consistency. If they’re not experiencing any tummy pains or diarrhea, it should be safe to feed your dog yogurt.
Are There Possible Dangers of Greek Yogurt for Dogs?
Many people ask about the best brand of Greek yogurt to feed their dog. Yet, like all human foods, there are additives to consider before feeding them to your dog. And since new brands are always emerging, it’s a good habit to read labels before giving anything to your dog.
For example, if your pup is lactose intolerant, then you won’t want to feed them yogurt at all, as even a spoonful could make them sick. The side effects of Greek yogurt for dogs with lactose intolerance include vomiting and diarrhea.
Then there are artificial sweeteners to consider. These can be downright dangerous. For example, Xylitol is a substance found in sugarless gums, some peanut butter, and some yogurt. Even a tiny amount can be toxic to dogs causing liver failure or seizures.
If you read the label, you’ll see if it lists xylitol and you can avoid giving it to your dog. In general, veterinarians recommend keeping your dog’s diet free of added sugar.
However, plain Greek yogurt has no sweetener, and if you know your dog can digest dairy products, then it’s probably safe to give them a spoonful as an occasional dog treat.
Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics are necessary for a healthy digestive system. While Greek yogurt is a good source of probiotics, it isn’t the only way to get them.
That’s because most yogurt has a limited amount of live cultures. If your dog needs more probiotics, you can look for dog food that incorporates probiotics and/or add probiotic supplements to your dog’s diet.
How do you know if your dog needs more probiotics than what he or she is getting? Your veterinarian is the best resource for an individual treatment plan. Still, if your dog is prone to allergies, excessive gas, urinary tract infections, or yeast infections, a boost in probiotics could help your pup feel better quicker.
If your pup is on antibiotics, a boost of yogurt or other probiotics could be good for your dog if he/she can handle it. That’s because antibiotics destroy all bacteria, good and bad, in your dog’s system, so you’ll need to replenish it.
Changes in routine like moving, travel, and other big shifts can also change your pup’s gut makeup. Probiotics can support it and help your dog stay well.
Can Dogs Eat Greek Yogurt and Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?
Yes, dogs can eat Greek yogurt (in moderation). In general, your dog’s gut is constantly shifting based on diet, health, and environmental factors. They always need the right mix of good bacteria to stay healthy, so dogs can eat Greek yogurt as long as they can tolerate lactose.
If your dog can digest dairy, they’ll be able to enjoy a Greek yogurt treat once in a while. But keep it plain and unsweetened.