Can Dogs Eat That

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt? Everything You Need to Know

raspberries plain yogurt

As a dog owner, you may be wondering if it’s safe to share your favorite creamy treat with your pet. The good news is that most dogs can enjoy yogurt in moderation as long as they’re not lactose intolerant. 

In fact, plain, low-fat yogurt can even offer some health benefits for your pup! But before you start scooping, there are a few important things to keep in mind. 

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about feeding yogurt to your dog.

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The Benefits of Yogurt for Dogs

Yogurt isn’t just delicious; it’s also packed with nutrients that can enhance your dog’s overall health and well-being. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Protein Powerhouse

Yogurt serves as a fantastic source of high-quality protein, which is important for building and maintaining strong muscles, bones, and tissues. This is especially important for active dogs and growing puppies.

greek yoghurt

2. Calcium Boost

Rich in calcium, yogurt can help support healthy bones and teeth. Just a few spoonfuls may be enough to meet your dog’s daily calcium needs, depending on their size and health status. 

crop man taking natural yogurt with spoon from jar

3. Probiotic Potential

Many yogurts contain beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus Thermophilus. These probiotics can help promote a healthy gut microbiome and support digestive function. A balanced gut is key for nutrient absorption, immune health, and even mental well-being.

adult brown and white pembroke welsh corgi near the body of water

4. Vitamin and Mineral Mix

Yogurt isn’t just a good source of calcium and protein for dogs. It’s also packed with essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, which helps keep their hearts and muscles strong!

raspberry ice cream bowl with fresh raspberries

Choosing the Right Yogurt for Your Dog

Not all yogurts are made equal when it comes to your dog’s health. While plain, low-fat varieties can be a healthy addition to their diet, some yogurts contain ingredients that can be harmful or unnecessary for your pup. Here’s what to avoid:

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Many flavored yogurts contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s safe for us but deadly for dogs. Even tiny amounts can lead to perilous drops in blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and potentially fatal consequences. Always check the label and steer clear of any yogurt with xylitol or other artificial sweeteners.

pug dog pet canine animal fur

2. Added Sugars

Yogurts with fruity mix-ins or flavors often contain lots of added sugars; This can be a recipe for doggy weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems. Stick to plain, unsweetened varieties instead.

3. High-fat content

While a little fat is okay, full-fat yogurts are best avoided due to their high-calorie content. Excessive fat intake in your dog’s diet can lead to weight gain and pancreatitis. Low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt is a better choice.

brown and white short coated puppy

4. Chocolate

Yogurt might seem like a healthy treat, but watch out for chocolate flavors or mix-ins. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are super toxic to dogs. These can cause a whole mess of problems for your pup, from throwing up and diarrhea to scary tremors, seizures, and even heart issues. 

sweet yogurt and teaspoon served on wooden board

Special Considerations: Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

Just like some people, some dogs have a sensitive tummy to lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products like yogurt. If your pup is lactose intolerant, giving them yogurt may cause uncomfortable 

Symptoms like:

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting 

– Gas and bloating

– Abdominal pain

– Lack of appetite

– Weight loss or poor weight gain

– Itching or excessive scratching  

woman wearing gray jacket beside white puppy

If you suspect your dog may have lactose intolerance, it’s best to avoid giving them any yogurt or other dairy products until you can talk to your vet. They may recommend a lactose-free yogurt or a different treat altogether.


Creative Ways to Feed Yogurt to Your Dog 

Once you’ve picked out a safe and healthy yogurt for your pup, it’s time for the fun part – serving it up! Here are some simple but creative ways to include yogurt in your dog’s diet:

1. Mealtime Mix-in

Stir a spoonful of plain, low-fat yogurt into your dog’s regular food to boost the flavor and nutrition. This is an easy way to add probiotics to their daily diet.

woman squatting near white dog on grass field

2. Frozen Treats

Pour plain yogurt into an ice cube tray or silicone mold, add some chopped dog-safe fruits like blueberries or bananas, and freeze for a cool, refreshing snack. You can even blend the yogurt with fruits or veggies for a smoother “pupcicle”!

3. Frozen Yogurt Puzzle Toy

Spoon some yogurt into a Puzzle toy for wet food and freeze it for a long-lasting, interactive treat that will keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated. Add some chunks of cooked meat or kibble for an extra challenge.

yogurt on a clay bowl with mint leaves

4. Yogurt Parfait

Layer plain yogurt with bite-sized pieces of dog-safe fruits and veggies in a small bowl. Top with a sprinkle of crushed dog biscuits or unsweetened coconut flakes for a gourmet touch.

5. Homemade Treat Ingredient

Use yogurt as a substitute for fats like oil or butter in your favorite dog treat recipes. It can help bind ingredients together while adding moisture and nutrients. Just be sure to adjust the other liquid ingredients accordingly.

short coated white dog on green field

How Much Yogurt Can Dogs Eat?

As with any treat, moderation is key when feeding yogurt to your dog. Too much of a good thing can lead to digestive upset or weight gain. A general rule of thumb is to limit treats to at most 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. For yogurt, this means:

Small dogs (under 20 lbs): 1-2 tablespoons per day

Medium dogs (20-50 lbs): 2-4 tablespoons per day  

Large dogs (over 50 lbs): 4-6 tablespoons per day

portrait of shiba inu dog

Keep in mind that this includes any other treats your dog receives throughout the day. If you’re using yogurt as a meal topper or ingredient in homemade treats, be sure to factor that into their total treat allowance.

It’s also important to note that while a spoonful of yogurt here and there can offer some probiotic benefits, it may not be enough to make a significant impact on your dog’s gut health. If you’re looking to specifically target digestive issues, your vet may recommend a more concentrated probiotic supplement.

food summer sun morning

Are Greek Yogurt a Healthy Alternative?

If you’re a fan of Greek yogurt, you may be wondering if it’s safe to share with your dog. Fortunately, Greek yogurt can be a nutritious option for pups, thanks to its higher protein content and lower lactose levels compared to regular yogurt.

The straining process used to make Greek yogurt removes a portion of the lactose, making it easier to digest for dogs with mild lactose intolerance. It also concentrates the protein, which can help support your dog’s muscle mass and keep them feeling full and satisfied.

As with regular yogurt, be sure to choose a plain, low-fat, or non-fat variety without any added sweeteners or flavors. Avoid Greek yogurts with mix-ins like granola or chocolate chips, as these can contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.

short coated tan dog

Other Dairy Products: What’s Safe for Dogs?

Yogurt isn’t the only dairy product that can be a tasty treat for your dog. Many pups enjoy a nibble of cheese, a splash of milk, or a lick of ice cream from time to time. But as with yogurt, it’s important to choose wisely and feed in moderation.

Cheese can be a great high-value reward for training, as most dogs find it irresistible. Opt for low-fat, low-sodium varieties like mozzarella or cottage cheese, and cut it into tiny pieces to avoid overfeeding. Keep in mind that cheese is higher in fat and calories than yogurt, so it’s best reserved for occasional treats.

goat cheese

Milk and ice cream should be fed more sparingly, as they’re higher in lactose and can cause digestive upset in some dogs. If you do offer these treats, stick to small amounts of plain, unsweetened varieties. Avoid any products with chocolate, coffee, or other potentially toxic ingredients.

high angle blueberry granita served with icecream

Whenever introducing a new food to your dog’s diet, it’s always a good idea to start small and monitor them closely for any adverse reactions. Some dogs may be more sensitive to dairy than others, even if they’re not fully lactose intolerant. Watch for signs like loose stools, vomiting, or excessive gas, and discontinue the treat if you notice any issues.

a golden retriever on the grass

Final Words

Yogurt can serve as a tasty and nutritious snack for pups when given in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Stick to plain, low-fat varieties without any added sweeteners or flavors, and be mindful of portion sizes based on your dog’s size and calorie needs.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or you suspect they may be lactose intolerant, it’s best to consult with your vet before adding yogurt or any other dairy products to their diet. They can help you determine what types of treats are safe and appropriate for your individual pup.

dog pulling his toy

With a little careful selection and creativity, you can safely share the joys (and health benefits!) of yogurt with your furry best friend. Just remember – always prioritize their health and well-being above all else. A happy, healthy pup is the sweetest treat of all!


About Judith D. Swan

With a passion for pooch health and nutrition, I've dedicated myself to exploring every "Can dogs eat...?" scenario you can imagine. With a background in veterinary science and years of experience in the pet care industry, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. From the common to the curious, I've researched it all to ensure that your canine companion gets the best possible care. But hey, I'm not just about facts and figures. As a proud dog parent myself, I understand the bond between humans and their four-legged pals. That's why I'm committed to providing trustworthy, practical advice that keeps both tails wagging.