Everyone wants to make sure that their dog has the best advantage when it comes to issues of health. However, just like us humans, different dogs possess different tastes, allergies, digestive systems, and needs. What's good for one dog can be dangerous to another dog. This makes it very difficult to identify universally acceptable foods for all dogs.
One food that's still raising issues regarding its health benefits for dogs is yogurt. Many veterinarians also get asked this question regularly.
So, if you're on the fence and unsure wether yogurt will be good for your dog keep on reading - here's what you need to know.
The Nutritional Value of Yogurt
Yogurt is a rich source of proteins and calcium. These two nutrients are essential in promoting muscle and bone health. Potassium is another mineral present in yogurt (and bananas). It acts as an electrolyte thus regulating the correct body fluid balance.
Potassium is also essential for enzyme regulation and maintaining proper functioning of muscles and nerves. Regular intake of potassium also improves aids in dog heart health.
Yogurt also contains magnesium, which is very essential in promoting absorption of necessary nutrients and vitamins, which include potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and sodium, and vitamins E and C.
Benefits of Feeding Dogs Yogurt
If you decide to feed yogurt to your dog, ensure that you only select the yogurts that contain live bacterial cultures. These are known as good bacteria or probiotics and are essential for promoting the digestive health of your dog.
Natural Greek yogurt will be your best option since it has a higher concentration of good bacteria compared to traditional yogurt. The particular organism present in Greek yogurt is acidophilus, which plays a vital role, in maintaining a good balance of healthy bacteria, while minimizing the bad bacteria in the gut.
If you ever have to give your dog antibiotics to fight an infection, the side effect is that all it destroys the good bacteria in the gut, along with the bad bacteria that the antibiotics are trying to kill. Therefore, it's recommended to give your dog yogurt a few hours before administering the medicine.
This helps in replacing probiotics (good bacteria), which would otherwise be destroyed by the antibiotics. Probiotics present in yogurt also aid in fighting and preventing yeast infections that are very common in young growing puppies and dogs suffering from chronic skin and ear infections.
The best way to avail probiotics in a dog’s diet is through probiotic dog treats that have been specifically manufactured just for dogs. A good example is the NutraPet Probiotics for Dogs Soft Chews, which contain a special probiotic culture, designed to offer several gastrointestinal benefits and aid with promoting good immune health in your dog.
Watch Out For Lactose Intolerance
Some dogs are lactose intolerant, just like humans so this is something you should watch out for. However, funnily enough, lactose intolerance is actually more common in cats, but some unfortunate dogs can also suffer from this condition, so it's important to practice caution (If your dog is lactose intolerant, then it lacks lactose).
If this enzyme is not present, undigested lactose will pass through the gastrointestinal tract, something that leads to bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and gas.
If your dog shows any of these symptoms shortly after being fed with dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream, milk or cheese, then ideally that food should be eliminated from the dog's diet.
If you still want your dog to enjoy the probiotic properties present in yogurt, but your dog is lactose intolerant, feed him other safe supplements such as those mentioned above.
Read the Product Labels
There are certain things to consider when purchasing yogurt for dogs. Non-fat and plain yogurt will be the ideal choice - however, avoid flavored, sweetened, and fruity yogurts as they can cause more harm than good (plain yogurt also has a low-fat content).
This will be easier to digest and will also help to reduce the chances of developing pancreatitis; this severe condition might even require your dog to be hospitalized!
Another benefit of using non-fat yogurt is its low calorific value which will prevent your dog from gaining too much weight, which can have negative consequences to their health.
How to Include the Yogurt in the Dog’s Diet
One spoonful or two is enough per day and will provide your dog with up to several minerals and nutrients, as well as keeping him happy. You can offer yogurt as a dessert or spread it on his dog food.
Tip: You can also give him a special treat by making a smoothie with bananas, strawberries, and plain yogurt.
Last Words on Yogurt
So yes dogs can eat yogurt, but yogurt and other dairy products might cause issues with certain dogs. Some dogs will fall sick after consuming dairy products while others will not. Always give a small amount first just to see.
Therefore, it is important to consider the general health of your dog, and any potential dietary sensitivities your dog may have. Yogurt makes for a great dietary supplement for any dog as long as your pooch is not lactose intolerant.
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