Yogurt has always been valued as a healthy food since time immemorial. It is rich in various nutrients and beneficial bacteria and is considered to be good for health in many different ways. This is the case with humans, but what about dogs? While some people strongly favor use of yogurt for dogs, others are found to be totally against this.
Why Is Yogurt Good for Dogs
As in case of humans, yogurt is an excellent supplier of probiotics for canines too. These beneficial bacteria can work wonders in improving digestion and in boosting the health of the digestive system of dogs. It is said to have strong anti bacterial properties and may prove useful in keeping certain types of infections at bay. Some people administer yogurt to their dogs, who have undergone treatments with antibiotics. This is because antibiotics are found to kill beneficial bacteria along with disease causing ones.
Yogurt is one of the easiest and safest way to reintroduce probiotics in the digestive tract and restore the normal intestinal flora. It may also fight yeast infection in dogs and is said to be beneficial in curing certain skin conditions too. In short, yogurt can improve immunity and also provide with some nutrients like calcium. So, even canines can benefit from yogurt.
Possible Harmful Effects
Even though, yogurt is said to be safe for dogs, there are certain speculations about feeding canines with this dairy product. One points against use of yogurt for dogs is its lactose content that may cause flatulence, diarrhea, bloating and even pancreatitis in canines. This is because dogs produce very small amounts or lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose. In some dogs, the production of lactase is almost zero. So, the animal develops difficulties in digesting lactose and may lead to digestive problems. In fact, the lactose content in yogurt is very less as compared to other dairy products.
In such cases, the canine may develop constipation or diarrhea, dehydration, excessive thirst and itchy skin. Another contention against feeding dogs with yogurt is the high levels of sugar in some types of yogurt. Ingestion of such yogurt may disturb the normal functioning of canine digestive system. Even the artificial sweeteners in some types of yogurt may also cause problems like seizures, depression and disorientation. It has also been contended that yogurt with cooked bacteria instead of active cultures may also cause digestive problems.
Is Yogurt Safe for Dogs
The above said is a brief overview about the pros and cons of feeding dogs with yogurt. To conclude, use of plain organic yogurt (not the flavored ones), that too in small amounts may prove beneficial for canines. It is advisable to go for the low fat versions with active cultures. A teaspoon a day is administered for small dogs and medium to big dogs may be given a tablespoon of yogurt once a day, for three to four times a week. Usually, yogurt is mixed with dog food.
However, there are certain dog breeds (like, spaniels) that may not tolerate even small amounts of yogurt. In such cases, it is always better to avoid feeding them with this dairy product. Even young puppies must not be fed with this dairy product. If the dog develops any digestive trouble or other symptoms (after consuming yogurt), discontinue the use of yogurt.
In short, plain, organic, low fat yogurt can be given to dogs, in small quantities. But, make sure that your dog is not having any digestive problems or other symptoms. You may also seek the opinion of the vet regarding the use of yogurt for the specific dog breed you have.