Can I Give My Dog Greek Yogurt?

Can I Give My Dog Greek Yogurt?Greek yogurt has become a popular health food. Its high protein and calcium content combined with probiotic cultures can help with digestion. But is it something that your dog can truly benefit from?

This type of yogurt is, after all, a dairy product. The Greek variety just doesn’t contain much liquid, so it’s thicker than ordinary yogurt. And while it does offer twice as much protein, it’s not the kind your dog necessarily needs.

In general, supplements aren’t essential for canines. Their digestive systems are different than ours, including their stomach acids. Any yogurt, including Greek yogurt, may not have the same effect on dogs that they have on us. However, there are certain situations where probiotics could be beneficial.

Can I Give My Dog Greek Yogurt? Answer: Not normally but it’s harmless

As long as you’re not skimping on the food you feed your dog, they shouldn’t need any digestive help from yogurts.

Nor should they depend on any dairy-based protein. Dogs will typically get their protein requirements from animal proteins because the number one ingredient in a good dog food should include it.

When Probiotics Help

Enterococcus faecium as well as Lactobacillus acidophilus are live bacteria which could be helpful for your dog, in theory, depending on their medical condition. As such, if your four-legged friend has GI tract issues or digestion problems you may be considering yogurt.

These probiotic yogurts are believed to strengthen the immune system. If, for example, 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. It’s low in calories as a bonus and most likely harmless. Just use moderation, good judgement and don’t expect miracles!

As stated above, these bacterial strains are generally designed for humans so the results could be disappointing. As always, consult with your veterinarian.

A Better Idea

Most people do not have the time or desire to try to feed their dog in this experimental manner. Many are rightfully content to give them their daily dog food. If you’re considering something like Greek yogurt, it’s probably best to just put that money towards a better quality food that fits their needs.

This way 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 are getting everything that is vital. Of course, if your pet dog is dealing with long term digestive issues, you should address it with a professional rather than using a hit or miss approach with Greek-style yogurt.

Dogs & Dairy

There are lots of problems with dairy, for humans and dogs alike. Humans are unique in that they drink milk from other species. In that sense, it’s unnatural to give your dog any food made with cows’ milk. An adult dog normally wouldn’t be given milk, let alone Greek Yogurt, after their puppy years. They are fairly quickly weaned off of dairy.

By giving them yogurt, which is cultured and often processed, you’re providing them with something that’s very foreign. Certainly the benefits are questionable, unless a vet specifically recommends doing so for a particular reason.

Keep Things Simple

Bad behavior, in the form of begging, can eventually result if you give-in to your dog when they see you eating Greek Yogurt. Rather than sharing your food, a better policy is to have some dog treats on-hand. Quality treats, made for dogs, and will contain vitamins and minerals that actually benefit them with a high degree of success.

This sounds strict but it’s the easiest way to properly care for your dog. It’s also a low-hassle way for you, as you don’t have to question yourself regarding whether or not something may be harmful for them.

Conclusion on Greek Yogurt

As expensive as this type of yogurt is, combined with the health questionable benefits, we recommend against feeding your dog Greek yogurts. Dogs are easy to take care of as long as you don’t try to complicate things.

If they have some ongoing gastrointestinal problems, they should be addressed with first getting a definitive diagnosis to form the basis for effective treatment.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris March 4, 2015

I have a 12 year old, female St. Bernard mutt, who has clearly had some yeast issues. A spoonful daily of a quality (Fage) Greek yogurt (low fat version) has had very positive, extremely evident. Less smelly, better coat, better poops, etc. I’ve kept notes. I’m pretty good about checking my biases and self-deceptions. I don’t imagine it’s of much value at age 5, but can definitely be useful when they’re old, immobile, and have questionable immune systems. As her physiology is not completely unique, I’m inclined to think it applies more broadly.

I don’t think they need much. A big dog (like my girl, ~120 pounds) is probably good with a level tablespoon once a day. I’m convinced that good yogurt can be of considerable advantage to some dogs, especially older dogs. Obviously, food matters more. Don’t load them up with extra fat and sugar in the process. A little bit of plain, quality yogurt is very palatable to dogs.

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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 digestive 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.

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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.

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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’s like day and night. He doesn’t itch nearly as much and our groomer commented on how much better his skin is!

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Del Rullin December 27, 2013

Obviously a good quality dog food is important. They do benefit from some vegetables and brown rice and olive oil too. I treat my dogs to a very small amount of Greek natural yogurt from time to time. They enjoy it. Since they are now over five years old, and in excellent health, it obviously hasn’t done them any harm. Just don’t overdo it.

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