Can I Give My Dog Greek Yogurt?

Can I Give My Dog Greek Yogurt?Greek yogurt is getting quite popular as a health food, because of its higher protein content, good calcium content, and probiotics that can help with digestion. But is it something that your dog can benefit from, or will it cause problems?

The one thing to remember about Greek yogurt is that it’s still yogurt and still a dairy product. They’ve just removed a lot of the liquid from it, so it’s thicker than ordinary yogurt. And while it does contain twice as much protein as ordinary yogurt, it’s not the same sort of protein your dog needs, the kind that is derived from animals.

In general, you don’t really need to be giving your dog any extra food to supplement their diet, as long as you are feeding them a good brand of dog food. The reason is that their digestive system is different than ours, including their stomach acids. Yogurt containing probiotics including Greek yogurt won’t have exactly the same effect that they have on us but there are certain situations where probiotics could be beneficial to your canine.

Can I Give My Dog Greek Yogurt? Answer: Not Normally but….

The fact of the matter is that as long as you’re not skimping on the food you feed your dog, they shouldn’t need any digestive help, nor should they need any dairy based protein. They’ll be getting their protein fix because the number one ingredient in a good dog food will be an animal based protein. Think about it: yogurt is a man-made food, it’s not found in nature, and if a dog was left to its own devices it wouldn’t stumble upon it in the wild.

Let your dog be one with nature as much as possible and don’t give it things it wouldn’t normally have access to. That’s a pretty good test of what you should and shouldn’t give your dog. In fact, there are some owners that advocate giving a dog a raw and natural diet, and say that giving them dog food is a disservice. They point to problems with dog’s teeth that arise from eating dog food, and also the visibly healthier dogs that eat raw meat and are given raw bones.

When Probiotics Help

Enterococcus faecium as well as Lactobacillus acidophilus are live bacteria which could be helpful for your dog depending on their medical condition. If your K9 has GI tract issues and/or digestion problems you may consider trying a carefully selected yogurt.

These probiotics are also believed to strengthen the immune system. If your dog has been taking antibiotics while dealing with food allergies or has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease you could try some Greek yogurt.

Keep in mind, as stated above, these bacterial strains are generally designed for humans so the results could be disappointing.  As always consult with your vet!

A Better Idea

But most people don’t have the time or desire to try to feed their dog in this manner, and are content to give them their daily dog food. If you’re thinking of giving them things like Greek yogurt it’s best to just put that money towards a better dog food, then you don’t have to worry about supplementing your dog’s diet, you can just give them their food and rest easy knowing that they’re getting everything they need.

Dogs and Dairy

There are lots of problems with dairy, for humans and dogs alike. Humans are the only species that drinks milk from another species, so it’s very unnatural to give your dogs food made with cow’s milk. In fact, an adult dog won’t ever be given milk after they grow out of their puppy years and wean themselves off their mother.

By giving them yogurt, which is cultured and processed you are giving them something that is very foreign to them, and that doesn’t provide nearly enough benefit to them to justify it.

Keeping Things Easy

It also enforces bad behavior because if they see you eating it, and then you give them some, they’ll start begging for all of the other foods you eat, and you might be tempted to give them some. But it’s a much better policy to never give your dog what you’re eating, even in small amounts. Have some dog treats on hand so they can have that when they want what you have. These treats are made for dogs and will contain extra vitamins and minerals that actually benefit them.

This may sound pretty strict but it’s actually the easiest way to properly care for your dog and to make sure they’re getting everything they need. It’s also a low-hassle way for you too, as you don’t have to question whether to give your dog something or not, since most anything you give them is detrimental in some way. Dogs are easy to take care of as long as you don’t try to complicate things.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shane January 20, 2014

My pitbull had a skin problem which was causing him lots of itching and discomfort. A friend mentioned that his skin smelled sort of yeasty, even though he is bathed regularly. We started giving him yogurt with is dry dog food, and it cleared up his skin condition within a week or so. We had previously eliminated any dog food that had chicken bi-product in it, but that only helped so much. The combination made a huge difference.


Tracey June 20, 2014

Same with our dog! We have been dealing with him itching and biting at himself for a couple of years and the vet hasn’t really helped. I found out about the yeast thing by searching online, saw that yogurt might help and have been giving him a spoonful a day. It is like day and night. He doesn’t itch nearly as much and our groomer commented on how much better his skin is!


Summer October 4, 2014

I have a Pitbull/Lab mix. When I got her she had dry, flaky skin and a thin coat. I have had her for over two years now. She was able to grow a thick beautiful coat within weeks. She was probably allergic to her food at the shelter and very stressed out. Any time she starts to get stressed, I give her a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt after her dinner a few nights a week. It seems to clear it up pretty quickly with less itching, licking, etc.

She hasn’t had any stomach issues with the yogurt, but she does have an iron stomach. I’m a pharmacist, so I know that there are also over-the-counter L. Acidophilus supplements, but they are very concentrated so I would check with your vet first. Plus, I think she likes that we sit on the couch and share yogurt sometimes! She thinks she’s a human, after all!

Del Rullin December 27, 2013

Obviously a good quality dog food is important, but to say that dogs should only ever eat something they could find naturally in the wild is not exactly true. They do benefit from some vegetables and brown rice, and olive oil too – which they probably wouldn’t choose as a matter of course – and I do treat my dogs with a very small amount of Greek natural yogurt from time to time. They enjoy it as a treat, and since they are now over five years old, and in excellent health, it obviously hasn’t done them any harm. Just don’t over-do it.


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