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The essentials

  • Cottage cheese is safe for dogs — In moderation, cottage cheese won’t harm your dog.
  • It can help with pet weight gain — Cottage cheese contains healthy fats that can help an underweight dog add needed pounds.
  • It’s a better choice than other cheeses — Cottage cheese contains less sodium, fat, and lactose than some other cheeses.

While some human foods are a definite no-no for pets, dogs can safely eat cottage cheese thanks to its low fat and sodium content. 

Cottage cheese is full of nutrients that are good for dogs and may offer extra relief for dogs dealing with tummy aches. It’s also relatively low in fat, sodium, and lactose, which can cause an upset stomach in high quantities.

Is cottage cheese safe for dogs?

According to the ASPCA, a small amount of cottage cheese can be safely added to your dog’s regular diet of canned and dry dog food. However, it should not constitute more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet

👉 Dogs with certain health conditions or food allergies should avoid cottage cheese. Be sure you exercise caution when introducing a new food to your dog. It’s usually a good idea to check with your veterinarian first.

Dogs that should avoid dairy products

Many dogs are lactose intolerant, but they can usually tolerate cottage cheese. However, some dogs may have adverse reactions to any type of cheese, even in small quantities.  

For example: Some dogs may have food allergies or underlying health issues that make them extra sensitive to dairy products. This is especially true for dogs with pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening digestive disease that makes it harder to break down dairy products. 

Remember, you don’t have to just give Fido cottage cheese straight from the carton. You can get creative and whip up some dog-friendly treats that incorporate cottage cheese. Just make sure to consult a vet before introducing any new “people foods” into your dog’s diet. 

Many cheese products contain additives that are harmful to dogs, including certain fruits, nuts, onions, and garlic. If you treat your dog to dairy, it should always be a low-sodium, low-fat, “plain” option. 

🚨 If your dog experiences bloating, diarrhea, stomach upset, or abdominal discomfort after eating cottage cheese, stop feeding it to them and schedule an appointment with your vet.

Is cottage cheese good for dogs?

Compared with other cheeses, cottage cheese is a low-fat cheese and contains less sodium, which helps reduce the risk of obesity in dogs. 

Additionally, because cottage cheese has undergone fermentation, its lactose content is lower than that of other milk-based products. This means the likelihood of upsetting your pup’s tummy is lower. Cottage cheese also provides essential nutrients dogs need to be healthy. These nutrients include: 

  • Protein. This part of cottage cheese supplies a dog’s body with energy and helps them build and maintain body tissues. 
  • Calcium. Cottage cheese is rich in calcium. This crucial element in your dog’s health works as a digestive aid, helps bones store calcium, and helps your dog’s heart function efficiently.
  • Magnesium. This key mineral staves off heart disease. Without sufficient magnesium, dogs may suffer heart arrhythmia, fatigue, and gastrointestinal (GI) issues, among other problems. 
  • Vitamin A. Benefits of Vitamin A include support for healthy eyes and skin, the formation of organs and structures in growing animals, and boosted immune function. 
  • Amino acids. These compounds play a key role in bodily processes like protein synthesis, tissue repair, and nutrient absorption. Of the 20 amino acids that dogs use, 10 essential ones must come from food.
  • Fatty acids. This is an important part of a dog’s meal because essential fatty acids are responsible for regulating their body temperature and cushioning their internal organs. They also play an important role in skin and joint health, too.
  • Probiotics. Probiotics support your dog’s gut health by introducing healthy bacteria into the system. Probiotics are most beneficial to dogs that have recently been on antibiotics or are recovering from an illness.
  • Potassium. This important electrolyte is vital for normal function of muscles and nerves.

👉Cottage cheese is also a healthy way to help your underweight dog pack on a few needed pounds. Always connect with your veterinarian before attempting to manage their weight using food.

Selecting the right type of cottage cheese

With so many different types of cottage cheese available today, it can be hard to determine which one is best for your dog. Most varieties offer the protein, calcium, and other key nutrients that make cottage cheese such a healthy snack in the first place — but some types of cottage cheese have a higher sodium content, which can lead to high blood pressure

Low-fat cottage cheese 

Low-fat cottage cheese is a great low-calorie snack for all dogs. Lower in fat and higher in protein than traditional cottage cheese, this snack helps dogs build strong muscles without unwanted weight gain. 

Low-fat cottage cheese is a good choice for dogs who need to manage their weight, and is more easily digestible for dogs with chronic gastrointestinal problems. 

Unsalted cottage cheese 

Too much salt is bad for both dogs and humans. Unsalted cottage cheese is a high-protein snack that provides nourishment without the extra sodium. 

👉 High levels of sodium in a dog’s bloodstream can result in salt toxicosis , a condition that damages the body’s cells and can even affect the brain and nervous tissue. 

Cottage cheese with limited preservatives/additives

Many commercial cottage cheese products are mixed with preservatives and additives to prolong their shelf life. These compounds can be harmful to a dog’s health and are best avoided when purchasing cottage cheese. 

Read the ingredient list of each product carefully when shopping, and stick to pure, natural cottage cheese. 

Organic cottage cheese 

Cottage cheese products labeled “organic” are made with milk that’s free of harmful chemicals like pesticides and preservatives. 

Organic foods retain more nutrients than usual because they’re minimally processed, and they’re a good choice for dogs with sensitive digestive systems — especially since the additives in conventional foods can cause stomach upset and gastrointestinal irritation. 

Lactose-free cottage cheese 

Like people, many dogs are lactose intolerant. Non-dairy and lactose-free cottage cheese are easier to digest and offer the same nutritional benefits as traditional cottage cheese. 

Lactose-free cottage cheese typically contains lactase enzymes, which break down the sugar in dairy products and make it easier for dogs to digest. 

Homemade cottage cheese 

Pet owners with culinary leanings may want to try whipping up their own cottage cheese at home. Homemade cottage cheese makes a fresh, nutrient-dense snack for you and your pup — and you’ll always know exactly what’s in it. 

It’s easy to make and requires relatively few ingredients. For a healthier recipe, we recommend using low-fat milk and a minimal amount of salt. 

🚨Other cottage cheese products contain flavoring agents like onion, chives, and garlic, which present a toxicity risk for dogs. For your dog’s safety, we recommend you avoid feeding them anything but plain, low-fat cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese is a protein-dense snack that dogs can enjoy just as much as their owners. Only give dairy products as special treats to keep your furry best friend happy and tummy ache-free, and ask a vet for more info on how cottage cheese can affect your dog’s health. 

Frequently asked questions

What does cottage cheese do for dogs?

Cottage cheese is full of healthy fats, protein, and nutrients that are good for dogs. Its high calcium content helps dogs build strong bones, while the high protein content ensures they stay healthy and strong without unwanted weight gain. Cottage cheese can also help dogs suffering from stomach problems since it’s a bland dish that’s easy to digest.

How much cottage cheese should I give my dog?

Dogs should have no more than a few tablespoons of cottage cheese at once. In general, it’s best not to let cottage cheese (or any treat) represent more than 10 percent of your dog’s dietary intake for the day. 

Why is whole milk not recommended for dogs?

Whole milk isn’t recommended for dogs due to its high fat and sugar content. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can lead to obesity and pancreatitis, which are serious conditions. It can also be harmful to dogs with lactose intolerance. 

Which is better for dogs, yogurt or cottage cheese?

Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese both offer health benefits to dogs when given sparingly. Both are protein-rich foods, and both have naturally occurring calcium and other compounds that can support your dog’s neuromusculoskeletal health. 

You can use yogurt and cottage cheese to add variety to your dog’s diet — just avoid giving them too much dairy, as any kind of excess consumption can quickly lead to stomach problems.

Does cottage cheese help dog diarrhea?

It can. Cottage cheese is a low-lactose dairy product that contains high levels of probiotics (look for labels that read “contains active cultures”), protein, and fat. It’s a bland food that’s easy on a dog’s digestive system and can help settle an upset stomach in most canines. Avoid feeding your dog cottage cheese if you know they’re lactose intolerant. 

Does cottage cheese help dogs produce milk?

A nursing dog’s diet needs to be balanced and complete to produce milk for their puppies. Cottage cheese’s high protein and calcium content make it a great occasional treat for all kinds of dogs, including lactating mothers. 

Can dogs eat cheese?

It depends. Most dogs can technically eat cheese without experiencing adverse symptoms, but some blue cheese varieties like Dutch blue, Stilton, Roquefort, Cabrales, and gorgonzola can be toxic.