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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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Samuel June 26, 2015

How about a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt, with a fresh blueberry or 2 and a raspberry, for a dog treat for the 4th of July? This has the red, white and blue colors of the American flag and is better than ice cream isn’t it?

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Grump Bear May 5, 2015

The problem with dairy is the casein for both humans and animals due to it’s allergic potential. It is also made into glue. Search “casein glue” to read info. Lactose is mostly used up by the bacteria which feed on it. Essentially bovine milk is for baby calves. We don’t give pets human milk because it’s formulated differently for each species for many reasons.

If I want ice cream, I prefer coconut as I am not a baby calf. Human milk ice cream or yogurt would be silly, yes? There is a difference between belief and facts. Mostly humans follow the herd and deal with the health consequences later. We cannot say that humans who consume bovine or goat dairy have no health issues related to this. First rule for allergies is to eliminate diary from a diet, next are grains, etc.

If the animal requires probiotics, they may need digestive enzymes instead. They can be purchased as a supplement, same as humans, in powder form without consuming yogurt. The best is labeled organic as it is not made from GMO corn sources.

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Rob Staves April 13, 2015

Yoghurt is incredibly beneficial to dogs in a number of ways. Yes, some do have a lactose intolerance but those are few and far between. In those instances, goat yogurt might be more suitable. It helps with flatulence, internal digestion, keeps everything in balance, is an alternative protein source and much more. You can feed ordinary fat free yogurt or Greek.

But, if you can afford it, goat yogurt is best as it is naturally probiotic. The proteins are easier to break down and have more benefits than yogurt made from cows milk. I feed my dog Orijen which is the very best dry food available. But I also give her a tablespoon of goat yogurt and extra virgin olive oil every day and she thrives. Glossy, healthy, fit, happy.

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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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