According to Matt Davies Harmony Communities, yogurt drops are a controversial treat for dogs. Yes, yogurts are delicious and provide many benefits to humans including providing a healthy dose of calcium, protein, and improving helpful gut bacteria. Unfortunately, most grown dogs are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies. Still, you can feed yogurt drops to your dogs in limited quantities if they show no adverse signs.
Let’s look at whether yogurt drops are suitable as treats for dogs:
1. Why dairy is not suitable for most dogs – Generally, as dogs grow older, they produce less lactase which is the digestive enzyme required for digesting lactose in dairy products. As a result, they become lactose intolerant when they grow up into adults
The symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs include gas, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and lack of appetite. Milk allergies can produce other symptoms such as swelling in the face, nausea, breathing difficulties, excessive itching around ears, skin redness, and excessive paw licking. However, you can still provide yogurt drops in small quantities to small puppies since they still produce the digestive enzyme lactase.
2. The health benefits of feeding yogurt to dogs – Yogurts are known as a healthy source of probiotics that contain healthy bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium. Just like humans, dogs can also benefit from consuming probiotics since 70 percent of their immune system is in the gut.
When dogs receive a healthy dose of probiotics, it can help them to improve their immune system function and digestion, maintain healthy skin, coat, and weight, and reduce the risk of diseases, and cancers.
Yogurt is also rich in calcium, protein, potassium, and other essential nutrients that help to maintain good overall health. For instance, calcium helps to maintain strong bones and teeth and supports the heart and the nervous system.
3. What type of yogurt is safe for dogs – It is okay to feed your dog regular yogurt or Greek yogurt in small quantities, but the best option is to feed them low-fat or no-fat plain, unflavored yogurt. Yogurts with high-fat content are not suitable for dogs since they can inflame the pancreas and even lead to pancreatitis. Also, ensure that you only feed your dog yogurt that contains live cultures since pasteurization kills all the bacteria and enzymes that provide the benefits of probiotics.
Avoid feeding yogurts high in sugar or added fruits since these will upset their digestive system and lead to diabetes, obesity, or dental disease. Finally, never feed your dogs sugar-free yogurt since these contain artificial sweeteners such as xylitol which are extremely toxic to dogs and lead to liver failure and death.
Matt Davies Harmony Communities suggests you only feed your dog yogurt drops if they are not lactose intolerant and have no milk allergies. However, ensure that you only feed them in limited quantities as treats or snacks. Generally, it is recommended you feed small dogs, medium dogs, and large dogs about 1 teaspoon, 2 teaspoons, and 3 teaspoons of yogurt daily respectively.