Ever been preparing a cheese sandwich and looked down to see your cute chi demanding a piece of that snack? And how adorable are they when they’re begging for a little taste of human food with their cute doe eyes? It can be hard to say no. But before you give in to their demands, you probably need to know what will happen to them afterward. So, today, we’ll look at cheese and chis.
Can Chihuahuas eat Cheese?
Chihuahuas can eat cheese as long as they are not lactose intolerant. A good cheese for Chihuahuas is aged cottage cheese since it contains the least fat content and low lactose content. Blue cheese and cheese with herbs, garlic, and other flavor additives should be avoided entirely.
Cheese contains a lot of flavors for dogs and there’s no doubt that your Chihuahua will love the treat.
As a side note, professional dog trainers like to use cheese blocks as treats. Cheese is what they term as a high-value treat – meaning dogs will give their best effort to have a little of it as a reward.
Nutritional Value of Cheese
The following table contains the nutritional content of various types of cheese measured per 100g. This information is courtesy of Rediscover Dairy.
|Cottage cheese (fat-free)
Okay, that’s a lot of numbers! But what do they mean for a Chihuahua’s diet and health?
Nutritional benefits of cheese for Chihuahuas
Cheese provides the following health benefits.
Like all dogs, Chihuahua derives essential amino acids from proteins. These amino acids are crucial for the following roles in their bodies; healthy coat and hair, good muscle development, tissue repair, and providing energy.
Calcium is essential in maintaining good health of the nervous system as well as in strengthening bones and teeth.
Calcium deficiency is a serious problem in all dogs as it can lead to rickets, stiffness, lethargy, convulsions, and osteoporosis.
Vitamin A helps your Chihuahua to absorb fat effectively. Vitamin A also ensures a healthy coat and skin, normal growth, good vision, and proper reproduction.
B Vitamins, of which Vitamin B6 is a part, keep the nervous system working properly. These vitamins are also good for good skin and coat, maintaining a good appetite, normal growth, and good vision.
Zinc helps to maintain regular growth and also keeps your Chihuahua’s fur and coat looking fresh and nice.
This vitamin helps to maintain the proper functioning of your Chihuahua’s muscles. It also ensures the proper functioning of internal organs and reproductive organs.
Phosphorus provides the same benefits as calcium – good muscle and bone growth as well as the prevention of rickets, bowed legs, among other bone deformities.
Chihuahuas can do with some probiotics.
Probiotics help along with the digestion of dogs by limiting the growth of harmful bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens.
Meanwhile, probiotics help the growth of good bacteria that live in the colon.
Cottage cheese contains probiotics and hence can help to settle digestive issues for Chihuahuas such as diarrhea.
Cottage cheese – The Best Cheese?
When it comes to choosing the best cheese for your Chihuahua, it can get a little overwhelming because of the many kinds of cheese out there.
Most experts rate cottage cheese highly because of its high calcium content and low calories, sodium, and fat content.
Besides, cottage cheese contains little lactose content but with all the essential nutrients such as calcium and protein.
Speaking of protein, cottage cheese contains a protein known as casein protein.
Casein protein is a long-lasting protein that is digested slowly – meaning that your chi has an adequate source of energy for an extended period.
It is important to pick whole cottage cheese because the flavored kinds contain artificial sweeteners and other additives that can harm your Chihuahua.
But then without the sweeteners, the cottage cheese can be a little flavorless. That’s why it is a good idea to mix it into your chi’s diet rather than serving it separately.
In a dilemma over which cheese to choose, I’d say go with cottage cheese.
The recommended serving for cottage cheese is one or two teaspoons.
Comparing cottage cheese to other kinds of cheese
This cheese contains a higher level of fat content which means that it is not a good option unless served in small amounts.
Young Cheddar cheese
Although cheddar cheese wins over cottage cheese on its lower lactose content, it has a significantly higher level of fat content, which makes it less than an ideal choice.
Like cheddar cheese, string cheese also contains a high-fat content.
Cream cheese typically contains substantial fat and calories contents.
If you must serve cream cheese, then do so in small amounts and infrequently. Also, choose the lowest fat variety of cream cheese you can find.
Blue cheese is not a good option for your Chihuahua.
Once blue cheese begins ripening, it forms a mycotoxin known as Roquefortine C through the mold that occurs.
Roquefortine C is very harmful to dogs and hence, should be avoided completely.
Should your Chihuahua consume a little blue cheese when you’re not looking, observe how he does for the next few hours.
If you notice seizures, diarrhea, or vomiting, call your vet immediately. If you do not notice these symptoms, your Chihuahua must have weathered the effects of blue cheese like a champ!
All the same, give blue cheese a wide berth when it comes to your champ’s diet.
Risks when feeding Cheese to your Chihuahua
Cheese usually contains lesser lactose content as compared to regular whole milk. Nonetheless, some Chihuahua can have negative effects from eating even a tiny cheese.
That’s why it’s good to pay attention to how your Chihuahua reacts to the cheese over the 24 hours after eating the cheese.
If your chi has a stomach upset, you’ll know by the loose stool or passing gas. In some cases, a Chihuahua may experience discomfort resulting from gas cramps.
A low-lactose option is goat cheese and you can speak with your vet to see whether that would be good for your Chihuahua in small amounts.
Typically, cheese contains its fair share of fat content. However, some cheese varieties are worse than others.
It is important to avoid cheese varieties that are high in fat content because it can lead to weight gain and even pancreatitis (which is a potentially fatal disease in dogs)
A good low-fat cheese option is cottage cheese, as we can see from our table above.
High sodium content
Some cheese contains high contents of sodium which is not a good thing.
In the short term, Chihuahuas that eat these cheese should be given adequate fresh water. And they will be craving it because a quick side effect of ingesting sodium is thirst.
In the long-term, though, eating cheese that is high in sodium content can lead to high blood pressure and sodium poisoning which can be dangerous.
Sodium poisoning can be spotted through the following symptoms; lethargy/lack of energy, extreme thirst, vomiting, loose diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Therefore, low-sodium cheese is recommended, and, again, cottage cheese is a good candidate as far as cheese varieties go.
Effects of eating too much cheese
Eating too much cheese can cause diarrhea in a Chihuahua. In this case, adequate hydration is recommended.
In other words, encourage your Chihuahua to drink ample water.
An alternative is giving your Chihuahua Pedialyte.
Pedialyte was originally made for human consumption but there are specific varieties for dogs.
Mixed in with water, Pedialyte will help to replenish your Chihuahua’s fluids, minerals, and nutrients that were lost due to diarrhea.
You can check with your vet for the appropriate dosage of Pedialyte for your Chihuahua.
In addition, it could be a good idea to speak with your vet if your chi experiences persistent diarrhea (above moderate).
In the long-term, eating too much cheese can cause weight gain as well as pancreatitis.
Chihuahuas with health issues
If your Chihuahua suffers from pancreatitis or is on the larger side in terms of weight, it may be wiser to avoid cheese treats.
In both of those cases, cheese can do more harm than good.
Important: Avoid cheese that contains the following ingredients: garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, grapes, and avocado. These are toxic for all dogs including Chihuahuas and should be avoided in their diet entirely.
Suggestions for feeding cheese to your Chihuahua
- Mix a little cottage cheese with your Chihuahua’s usual foods.
- Aged cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese can be dole out in small bits as occasional rewards for good Chihuahuas during training. Cottage cheese in small amounts also works well.
- If you’re looking to conceal medication with the cheese, make sure that the cheese is enough to cover the pill.
Frequently Asked Questions
What foods are bad for Chihuahuas?
Foods that are bad for Chihuahuas include chocolate and caffeine, raisins, grapes, alcohol, onions, and garlic, xylitol, avocado, and macadamia nuts.
Can a dog eat cheese?
Yes, a dog can eat cheese. Cheese is a flavorful treat that also provides good nutritional benefits for dogs including strengthening muscle and bone development, ensuring a good nervous system, and general good health. However, cheese should be offered in small amounts and certain kinds of cheese such as blue cheese and cheese with herbs, garlic, and other flavorings should be avoided.
What happens when a dog eats cheese?
Generally, nothing bad happens when a dog eats cheese. However, if the dog is lactose intolerant, then there can be a few side effects, for instance developing loose stool and suffering from gas cramps/passing gas. You should watch out for reactions for 24 hours after the dog has consumed the cheese. Dogs that suffer from pancreatitis could also show adverse effects.
Can dogs eat cheddar cheese?
Yes, dogs can eat cheddar cheese. Generally, aged cheese is better than younger cheddar cheese because it has even lesser contents of lactose. This means that the dog will not suffer from intestinal upsets due to the lactose content of the cheddar cheese.
Can dogs eat mozzarella cheese?
Yes, dogs can eat mozzarella cheese. However, this kind of cheese should be in smaller amounts because it is typically high in fat content.
Cheese can make a good high-value treat for your Chihuahua.
However, it is good to remember that most kinds of cheese have high contents of fats and should hence be doled out in small amounts infrequently.
Comparatively, cottage cheese is the best variety of cheese because of its small lactose content, small fat content, low sodium content, and high calcium concentration.
But Chihuahuas are all different and some can be sensitive eaters.
To know if your chi is good with cheese, serve a little and then watch for any adverse effects. If nothing bad happens, then a good thing has happened: you can enjoy a cheese treat with your Chihuahua from time to time.