Lab eating yogurt from a cup held by a person's hand

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? No, And…

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Most dogs have enthusiastic appetites. While this can be a fun bonding point between dogs and their human owners, it can also be a safety concern. Dog owners need to learn which foods are safe for dogs to eat.

An unusual food that some pet owners may be wondering about is yogurt. Yogurt often has an intriguing aroma that attracts the attention of your puppy. Additionally, some owners may be interested in the possible health benefits that yogurt could have for their dogs, so you might wonder, “Can dogs eat yogurt?”

In general, yogurt is safe for dogs to eat in small portions. Read on for a complete guide on safely feeding your dog yogurt.

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat yogurt. Dogs can eat dairy-free variations of yogurt in moderation.

Is yogurt bad for dogs? Technically, yogurt is safe for dogs to eat. However, yogurt is made from milk, and almost all dogs are lactose intolerant. If you give your dog an entire serving of yogurt, they will most likely experience pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

It’s best to introduce your dog to a small sample of dairy to test their tolerance. If your dog has a severe adverse reaction, you should take them to a veterinarian for medical care, as they may have a dairy allergy.

Aside from issues with lactose intolerance, the probiotics in yogurt can be beneficial to your dog’s health. Probiotics can improve digestive health, skin, and fur, and they serve as an extra source of protein.

If you have concerns about your dog’s digestive health, consult your veterinarian on whether a small serving of yogurt may help. Always check the ingredients on the yogurt and avoid added sweeteners, flavors, and chemicals.

Are There Any Safety Concerns Feeding Yogurt to My Dog?

Most of the safety concerns about feeding yogurt to a dog have to do with lactose intolerance and potential dairy allergies.

To understand these risks, it’s helpful to differentiate between lactose intolerance and a dairy allergy. Lactose intolerance, which almost every dog has, refers to an inability to digest dairy sugars properly. This intolerance develops over time as young dogs are weaned off of their mother’s milk.

A dairy allergy refers to a hostile immune response to dairy milk, usually to the proteins in milk. Unlike an intolerance, which only causes digestive distress and discomfort, an allergic reaction can be fatal.

With the support of your veterinarian, begin introducing a portion of yogurt into your dog’s diet. Start with a small serving and closely monitor your dog after they eat it. Get your dog medical attention immediately if they begin to show signs of distress.

Tips from Our Vets

The following is a list of tips on how to think about what human foods are (and may not be) safe for your dog from Dr. Jennifer Coates’ article on Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat.

There are some human foods that dogs can eat safely, as well as some human foods dogs can’t eat.

If you have a dog, you might be used to seeing adorable puppy eyes begging for a bite of, well, anything that you happen to be eating.

While it’s natural to want to share human food with your furry pal, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Some reasons foods may be harmful to your pup include:

  • Foods that are a problem due to our physiological differences (foods we can handle that a dog’s stomach can’t)
  • Other foods aren’t toxic, but are still potentially dangerous for dogs because they are hard to digest
  • Another category of foods that are a problem for dogs are foods that may contain high levels of fat

Some tips and words of caution if you are feeding your pet human foods:

  • Always keep in mind that new foods of any kind, including switching to a different dog food, can cause stomach upset.
  • When you find a human food you’d like to share with your pup, go slowly. Give small amounts at first and watch for any problems like vomiting or diarrhea before giving more.
  • Remember that treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So all of the foods that are safe for your dog should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and nutrient excesses and deficiencies.

What To Do if Your Dog Eats Something He Shouldn’t

Now that you know what foods are safe for dogs, it’s a good idea to know what to do if your pup eats food that’s toxic to dogs.

If your dog does end up eating something he shouldn’t, try not to panic. You have a few options for getting the help your dog needs:

  • The first is to call your dog’s veterinarian, who can advise you to either come into the office or to watch for signs of poisoning, obstruction, or other potential problems.
  • If it’s after hours, you can try calling an emergency veterinarian.
  • Another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

In some cases, you might be told to induce vomiting in your dog. It is helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case you need to do this.

Do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or someone from one of the pet poison control hotlines advises you to do so, however, because in some cases, vomiting can make the situation worse. [efn_note]Is it ever safe to induce vomiting? November 19, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2021.[/efn_note]

Final Thoughts

Overall, yogurt is safe but not ideal for a dog to eat. Yogurt contains probiotics, which have many health benefits for your digestive system and other bodily functions. However, dogs are lactose intolerant and may suffer from severe indigestion if they consume dairy.

With this in mind, only give your dog yogurt under the advice of your veterinarian, and avoid any yogurts with artificial sweeteners and flavorings.

If you’re looking for more information about which human foods are (and aren’t) safe for your dog to eat, check out our series of guides below:

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe? Can Dogs Eat Kiwi? Can Dogs Eat Pineapple? Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Can Dogs Eat Avocados? Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower? Can Dogs Eat Lettuce? Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
Can Dogs Eat Beans? Can Dogs Eat Celery? Can Dogs Eat Mangoes? Can Dogs Eat Plums? Can Dogs Eat Turkey?
Can Dogs Eat Beets? Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon? Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows? Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?
Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers? Can Dogs Eat Coconut? Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal? Can Dogs Eat Pork? Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries? Can Dogs Eat Fish? Can Dogs Eat Olives? Can Dogs Eat Radishes? Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries? Can Dogs Eat Green Beans? Can Dogs Eat Peaches? Can Dogs Eat Raspberries? Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Can Dogs Eat Ham? Can Dogs Eat Pecans? Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken? Can Dogs Eat Hot Cheetos?
Can Dogs Eat Brussel Sprouts? Can Dogs Eat Honey? Can Dogs Eat Peppers? Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
Can Dogs Eat Cabbage? Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Can Dogs Eat Peppers? Can Dogs Eat Seaweed?

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.