The Case Against Feeding Dogs Yogurt

Many pet owners find that feeding dogs yogurt could help them digest their food better. However, many kinds of yogurt contain far too much sugar for a dog to handle, and could end up harming a pet more than helping.

Danger in Dog Yogurt

Yogurt can contain high amounts of sugar. Too much sugar can cause a bacterial imbalance in the digestive system, as bacteria thrives in an environment rich in sugar. Yogurt with artificial sweeteners or alternate sweeteners can also produce painful side effects such as depression, seizures and disorientation.

The other danger in yogurt is similar to every other dairy product: lactose. Lactose is a sugar that requires the enzyme lactase to break it down. Many dogs do not produce enough lactase or cannot produce it at all. A lactose buildup can cause flatulence, diarrhea, bloating and pancreatitis.

How Can Yogurt be Harmful?

Some pet owners feed their dogs minimal amounts of yogurt as treats or dietary supplements. However, not all dogs can tolerate even the smallest dose of yogurt. Your dog might enjoy chomping down a yogurt treat or lapping up some extra droppings, but meanwhile, he is overdosing on sugar and bacteria that will disrupt his digestive system and cause discomfort.

Some signs of lactose overdose and intolerance include constipation, itchy and irritated skin and dehydration. Since a bacteria buildup will disrupt the digestive system and cause dehydration, your dog could experience extreme thirst. If your dog is on a regular dairy-rich diet and has problems with diarrhea or constipation, he probably has lactose intolerance. Spaniels and young puppies are particularly susceptible to side effects from lactose intolerance. You can help relieve those symptoms by removing yogurt and other dairy products from his diet.

Many kinds of yogurt contain cooked bacteria cultures, rather than live cultures. These cooked cultures can cause even more harm to your dog than the lactose. It can kill the bad and good bacteria needed for digestion, resulting in yeast infections, more digestive problems and the possibility of recurrent infection.

While yogurt might be a delicious treat for some dogs, it is the source of digestive discomfort for many others. Some pet owners stay away from yogurt altogether because they are uncertain of yogurt's impact on their dog. Flavored yogurt contains far too much sugar for your dog's digestive system to handle.