Can Dogs Have Cream Cheese?

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Cream cheese is a type of cheese made by combining unskimmed cow’s milk and cream. This mild-tasting and rich dairy is the best thing to put on a bagel. It actually has a lot more uses in the kitchen aside from being a spread. Put some in your soup to give it an extra creaminess or spread it on a crepe for an added richness.

Anything with cream cheese can taste so heavenly. Even your pup right there could find it inviting. But wait! Before you share the goodness of that pastry filled with cream cheese with Fido, here’s what you need to know about cream cheese and its effect on dogs.

Cream Cheese: Dog-Friendly or Not?

Cream cheese is harmless to dogs. There is nothing in it that would make your doggie sick unless he is lactose intolerant or lacks the ability to digest dairy products. This is actually pretty common among dogs and owners don’t know about it until the pet is exposed to a dairy product for the first time.

Some dogs actually love cheese. In fact, there are treats for dogs made with a bit of cream cheese. So, if your pet accidentally ate a small amount of cream cheese and did not have adverse reactions to it, that’s normal. He will surely be fine.

Dairy products have different lactose contents. Cream cheese is a type of fresh unripened cheese and it has low levels of lactose. There are only less than 5 grams of lactose per serving. That’s why people suffering from lactose intolerance can handle it very well.

Otherwise, your pet could still suffer from gastrointestinal distress even if he can tolerate lactose very well. The real concern here is if Fido feasted on the cream cheese and gobbled down too much of it. As the line goes, too much of anything is bad. Your poor dog will eventually suffer from diarrhea.

Since it’s a mixture of cream and milk, it is needless to say that cream cheese is loaded with fat. A small package of cream cheese weighing around 3 ounces has as much as 29 grams of fat. The high levels of fat in cream cheese can contribute to bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. The worst thing that can happen is for your dog to develop pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas.

Aside from its fat content, cream cheese is also packed with sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and does not offer any amount of dietary fiber. The only rich nutrient found in cream cheese is potassium, which is commonly found in all dairy products. A 3-ounce serving contains roughly 117.3 milligrams of potassium.

Cream cheese may have potassium, but it contains insignificant amount of other nutrients including Vitamins B, C, and D. There is also a very little amount of iron, calcium, and magnesium.

It does have protein but only around 14 grams for a cup. There is calcium, but only around 9-percent for every 100 grams serving. There are a lot of calcium-rich and protein-rich foods out there that are not as fatty as dairy.

For your pet’s protein needs, you can count on animal meat, fish, and eggs. To supply his daily need of calcium, you can give your dog salmon, tuna, and a bit of vegetables and legumes.

The sodium content of a typical cream cheese is quite alarming, especially if we will look at the maximum amount of sodium required for dogs. A 100-gram serving of cream cheese, which is half a cup, contains 321 milligrams of sodium. This is more than the recommended sodium for dogs, which is only 200 milligrams per day.

Meanwhile, it’s also not recommended to share bagels with cream cheese with your pup. Bagels may contain herbs and spices that could further cause tummy problems. As much as possible, don’t share your bagels spread with cream cheese with your pet.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Cream Cheese

The high-fat content of cream cheese could leave Fido bloated. Take note that bloating can be very painful. When left untreated, it can even put your pet’s life in danger. The side effects, though, would still depend on the amount of cream cheese your pet has eaten.

If your pet is suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, call your vet right away. These are the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs. Gas is also the result of consuming too much dairy.

Vets usually recommend giving the gastrointestinal system a rest after consuming fatty or potentially toxic substances. You can withhold food for around 12 hours and offer a light meal thereafter. It’s also important to keep Fido hydrated during the process.

Another alarming concern here is if the dog ate the dairy along with the foil. There is a big chance it would pass through and there’s a chance it would not. If you did not see any sign of the wrapper in the dog’s stool, call a vet immediately or take the dog to a veterinary hospital. Foil and plastic wrappers can cause intestinal obstruction in dogs.

Conclusion

Cream cheese is not toxic to dogs. Depending on your pet’s ability to digest dairy, your pet may actually handle cream cheese very well.  Some dogs are lactose intolerant or lack the ability to digest lactose. Still, consider the fact that cream cheese contains high amounts of fat that can be detrimental to your dog’s health.

So, lactose intolerant or not, your pet should not be eating cream cheese. If your fur baby wants to get his share of your dairy, just give him the plain, non-fat yogurt. It’s a more wholesome option for dogs compared to spreads such as butter, margarine, and cream cheese.

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