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The Benefits (and Risks) of Feeding Your Puppy Yogurt

Natural yogurt, greek yogurt, frozen yogurt, all of them are delicious and in the right quantities can be beneficial.

So it’s only normal that we ask if our puppies can have yogurt too, and if so, which kinds, and how much can we give?

For the yogurt and puppy lovers out there, this article will answer all of your questions and more. Let’s get into it!

Can Puppies Have Yogurt?

Yes, puppies can have yogurt! Greek or natural yogurt is most suitable for a puppy. In small quantities, yogurt can help a puppy’s digestive system, provide valuable nutrients and encourage eating.

The main takeaway should be that we can give our puppies yogurt, but only certain kinds, and in small quantities, as I will discuss throughout.

Can Puppies Digest Yogurt? Lactose Information

I’ll keep this quick, but there’s something fundamental to know about puppies, dogs, and lactose.

  • It turns out that puppies are actually much more capable of digesting lactose than dogs are. But not for long…

While your pup is consuming his mother’s milk, his body will actively produce an enzyme called “Lactase,” which is responsible for breaking down “Lactose” (notice the difference). Lactose is the sugar found in dairy.

The thing is… As soon as your puppy is weaned off his mother’s milk (7-8 weeks old), his body naturally stops producing the enzyme: Lactase, which is needed to break down Lactose, essentially causing lactose intolerance…

The truth is that ALL adult dogs are lactose intolerant to some extent. Some much more than others.

This is crucial to understand and remember, as your puppy might quickly become more intolerant to dairy than others. And if that’s the case, then the potential benefits will not outweigh the digestive upset that dairy will likely cause.

Trending article: Why isn’t my puppy eating? What to do from a vet

Is Yogurt Good For Puppies?

For most puppies, a small amount of yogurt mixed into their kibble will make their food more palatable, nutritious, easier to swallow, and could aid in digestion due to the probiotic benefits of yogurt.

Yogurt will also provide your puppy with a healthy boost of calcium and protein, both of which are crucial for a pup’s bone and muscle development.

When yogurt won’t be good…

The only time yogurt would not be good for a puppy is if it causes them any negative side effects after eating, most notably, diarrhea or any level of discomfort.

Additionally, yogurt with added sugar, flavors, or anything unnatural, should be avoided.

What Kind of Yogurt Can Puppies Eat?

The best kind of yogurt for puppies is Greek yogurt followed by natural or plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is the most appropriate because it has significantly less lactose than regular yogurt.

Due to the straining process, Greek yogurt has a much lower sugar content is actually considered lactose-intolerant friendly. This means your puppy can continue to receive all the benefits of yogurt without the risk of digestive upset. Which is awesome!

After Greek yogurt, the next best option is natural or plain yogurt. Although natural yogurt will have more sugar than Greek, it’s still a healthier option than flavored yogurts or “fancy” yogurts.

Should you go full fat, low fat, or fat-free?
This is hard to call. Full fat greek or natural yogurts would be considered by some to be healthier, due to less processing and overall more nutrition. Additionally, some would add that the fat contained is actually healthy and welcomed for a growing puppy (especially as you’ll be giving your puppy only a small amount anyway).

Others would say that fat-free is better, due to lower calories and fat content. In my opinion, this may be a better option for adult dogs or dogs struggling with weight gain, but for a puppy, the extra fat and calcium may actually prove to benefit their growth and development.

What yogurt should you NOT give your puppy?
It’s recommended to avoid giving your puppy yogurt that has added flavorings, sugar, or anything unnatural. Stick to either Greek yogurt, natural, or plain yogurt.

How Much Yogurt Can a Puppy Have Every Day?

First of all, can a puppy even have yogurt every day?

Although you can technically give your puppy a small amount of yogurt every day, it’s worth remembering that this could negatively impact their eating habits, cause fussiness, or lead to weight gain if the calories become too much.

I encourage you to see how your puppy reacts to yogurt, and make a decision from there. For some pups, yogurt given 3 or 4 times a week will be better than yogurt given every day.

How much yogurt can your puppy have?

This depends on their age and size.

  • For toy breeds that are also very young, as little as a teaspoon of yogurt with their meal may be sufficient.
  • For large or giant breeds that eat bigger meals, a tablespoon of yogurt may be more appropriate.

If you think about it, It’s not about trying to give your puppy as much yogurt as possible… Incorporating yogurt into their diet is simply to provide a boost of nutrition and make their meals more exciting and palatable.

In theory, you only need a small amount mixed in to achieve this. Anything more than nothing is a 100% difference.

Always Test Yogurt With Your Puppy First

Before spooning away precious yogurt into your puppy’s meals, it’s advised to test the yogurt in a small amount first.

Throughout the day (at least a few hours after breakfast) offer your puppy one spoon of the yogurt you plan to give them and see how they react.

Watch how your puppy behaves for the next 30-45 minutes.

Does your puppy have diarrhea? vomit? suddenly become very lethargic and quiet, or do they continue to be their playful self?

Anything other than remaining their normal self should be a warning sign and could indicate that the yogurt is causing them some digestive upset.

If this is the case, then I would definitely avoid giving your pup yogurt with their meals. The last thing we want to do is negatively impact their eating habits or regular meals!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can puppies have vanilla yogurt?

Technically yes, but ideally you want to limit the amount of sugar your puppy consumes, and flavored yogurts usually contain high levels of sugar. If it’s only natural vanilla extract, this is better, but test a small amount first.

Can puppies have frozen yogurt?

Puppies can certainly have frozen yogurt, just ensure the frozen yogurt is either Greek, natural or doesn’t have a lot of sugar. Frozen yogurt can act as valuable pain relief for teething pups.

Can puppies with sensitive stomachs have yogurt?

The answer is yes and no. It depends on your puppy as it may either help them digest their regular food better or cause them additional digestive upset. It’s best to try a small amount of greek yogurt first, as this is the most digestible kind.

What is the best kind of yogurt for puppies?

Greek yogurt is the best yogurt for puppies. Greek yogurt has less sugar and lactose making it much easier on the stomach and digestive system.

How much yogurt can my puppy have?

This depends on their age and size. To be safe, reserve yogurt as a high-value treat given infrequently and in small amounts. 1 or 2 teaspoons every few days will be fine for most puppies.

Puppies & Yogurt Summary

Let’s clarify all of the most important points discussed throughout the article:

  • Puppies can eat yogurt if they can tolerate it.
  • Most dogs gradually become more lactose-intolerant as they age.
  • Yogurt may not work with every puppy so a test amount should be given first.
  • Greek yogurt is the best yogurt for a puppy, followed by plain or natural.
  • Greek yogurt has much less sugar and is more lactose-intolerance friendly.
  • Yogurt can give your puppy a boost of calcium, protein and aid physical growth.
  • Yogurt can make your puppy’s meals more palatable and easy to swallow.
  • Yogurt should be given in small amounts only (one teaspoon for toy breeds) (one tablespoon for giant breeds).
  • Yogurt given every day is fine, as long as it doesn’t disrupt eating habits or cause excessive weight gain.
  • Yogurt with added sugar or flavors should never be given.
  • Yogurt may eventually cause your puppy digestive upset, so always observe them after eating.

Thank you for reading!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.