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Can Dogs Eat Parmesan? Safety, Benefits & Side Effects (2024)

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Do you ever want to give your pup something special as a treat? Cheese is one of the most popular snacks, and parmesan cheese has an irresistible flavor. But can dogs eat parmesan safely, or will it hurt them? Before giving in to those puppy eyes, let’s take a look at the potential benefits and risks associated with feeding your dog this kind of cheese.

Parmesan cheese is made from cow’s milk that has been aged for about 12 months, which gives it its distinct aroma and taste. While there are some benefits, if given in too large quantities, it could upset their stomachs.

So before indulging our furry friends, we need to understand what effects this delicious snack might have on them.

Key Takeaways

can dogs eat parmesan

  • Parmesan cheese should be given to dogs in moderation due to its high sodium content and potential for salt toxicity.
  • Dogs may experience gastrointestinal upset from eating too much Parmesan cheese, so it should be monitored closely.
  • While Parmesan cheese has low lactose content compared to other cheeses, lactose-intolerant dogs should still avoid it.
  • Safe cheese options for dogs in moderation include cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, and mozzarella.

Is Parmesan Cheese Good for Dogs?

Is Parmesan Cheese Good for Dogs?
You should be aware that Parmesan cheese is high in sodium, with 76mg per tablespoon — more than twice the safe daily limit for most dogs. While it does have its benefits — such as being low in lactose compared to other cheeses and having a unique flavor — it’s important to consider potential risks when giving your pup Parmesan.

Dogs lack the enzyme lactase needed to break down milk sugars, so even though Parmesan has only 2-3% lactose content, they may still experience gastrointestinal upset from eating too much of this aged hard cheese.

Salt toxicity can also occur if large amounts are given or consumed by those with certain health conditions like heart or kidney disease. Due diligence must be taken when hiding medicine inside treats made from Parmesan as well, since an excessive amount could lead to coma and death without quick medical intervention.

In general, small servings fed occasionally should not pose any major risk; however, always monitor how much you give your dog, especially if they have existing sensitivities or illnesses related to salt and dairy products.

What Kind of Cheese Can Dogs Eat?

What Kind of Cheese Can Dogs Eat?
You may be wondering what kind of cheese is safe for your pup to eat. Fortunately, there are some varieties that can make great occasional treats without posing any major health risks. Cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, and mozzarella are all good options for dogs in moderation.

Cottage Cheese

Cuddle up with a healthier cheese option for your pup – cottage cheese! This mild, creamy treat is low in lactose and high in health benefits. Unlike soft goat or feta cheeses, it won’t cause indigestion if consumed by those with lactose intolerance.

For dogs prone to kidney disease, Swiss or cheddar are better alternatives that provide the same nutritional benefits without the risk of salt toxicity.

Feeding tips include offering small servings and mixing it with cooked white rice for sensitive stomachs. Cheese can make medicine-hiding easier too! Parmesan may be tasty, but always remember to monitor how much you give due to potential side effects like nausea and weight gain when overconsumed.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a great snack for pup parents looking to give their furry friends tasty nutrition. Low in lactose and high in calcium, vitamin A, and B12, it’s better than Parmesan without the risk of salt toxicity.

Its flavors and storage are unique; substitutes include mozzarella and other low-lactose cheeses in dog food.

Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese is a mild, nutty variety that can be enjoyed by your pup as an occasional treat. It’s great for healthy dog nutrition because of its high calcium and vitamin A content. Swiss cheese also has low lactose levels, making it safer than Parmesan. For comparison, 1 tablespoon of Swiss contains only 3mg of salt, while Parmesan has 76mg per lb of dog.

If you’re concerned about your pet’s diet, cottage or mozzarella are good alternatives.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella is a mild, creamy cheese that provides your pup with calcium and vitamin A – just be sure to offer it in moderation as it does contain more lactose than Parmesan. Its nutritional benefits include a high protein content, low salt content, reduced risk of developing allergies or intolerances, and improved digestion.

However, if your dog has health concerns such as high blood pressure or kidney disease, avoid giving them mozzarella due to its higher sodium levels and plastic shakers, which may contain preservatives.

Are Dogs Lactose Intolerant?

Are Dogs Lactose Intolerant?
It’s important to keep in mind that some pups may be lactose intolerant, so make sure you know if your furry friend has any special dietary needs before offering them delicious Parmesan cheese. Dogs lack the enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose, and many are only able to tolerate up to 2g per kg of body weight.

Fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano contains 0%-3.2% of this sugar, while grated varieties contain more at 2.

Salt toxicity can occur if too much sodium is consumed by medium-sized dog breeds. One tablespoon provides 76mg, which should not exceed 1mg/kg/day for puppies and healthy adults alike! Cheese should always be low-lactose yet high in vitamins A & B12, accompanied with plenty of fresh water – especially after consumption – to help prevent health issues from obesity or digestive disturbances due to overindulgence.

Can Dogs Have a Little Bit of Parmesan Cheese?

Can Dogs Have a Little Bit of Parmesan Cheese?
You can offer your pup a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano as an occasional treat, like sprinkling powdered sugar on a crepe – just don’t go overboard! Dogs can have Parmesan cheese in small quantities, due to its low lactose content and health benefits such as calcium, vitamin A, and B12.

However, there are risk factors to consider before adding it to their diet. Classic Parmesan contains milk sugar or lactose, which means dogs with any degree of lactose intolerance should avoid it.

Salt toxicity symptoms include nausea, weakness, and seizures, which can lead to coma or death if not treated immediately. Always provide plenty of water after consumption too! When used properly in moderate doses, Parmesan will benefit more than harm, but use caution when introducing new food items into their diet.

Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Control hotline for specific recommendations tailored towards your pooch’s size and breed if needed.

What Are the Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Parmesan Cheese?

What Are the Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Parmesan Cheese?
Packed with calcium, vitamin A, and B12, Parmesan cheese can be a nutritious treat for your pup – but remember to always offer it in moderation! Providing small amounts of this aged Italian cheese will help prevent obesity while also supplying essential vitamins.

Be mindful of the salt toxicity risk due to its high sodium content from the aging process. Cheese alternatives such as cheddar or Swiss are safer options for pups who are lactose intolerant or those at risk of developing digestive issues from consuming a large amount of cheese.

If you think your pet may have ingested an unsafe amount, contact the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline immediately for tailored advice on medical attention needed.

Parmesan is an excellent source of calcium and protein, making it safe when given responsibly in modest portions—so long as you keep track closely!

What Are the Side Effects of Giving Your Dog Parmesan Cheese?

What Are the Side Effects of Giving Your Dog Parmesan Cheese?
Although Parmesan cheese can provide essential vitamins, giving it in moderation is key. Monitor closely for signs of allergies or digestive issues, as some dogs may be lactose intolerant and unable to properly break down the hard Italian cheese.

Too much salty Parmesan can lead to salt toxicity, which requires a different treatment than other ill effects from consuming too much dairy. Consider substituting with softer cheeses, such as Swiss or cheddar, if your pup shows any adverse reactions after having small amounts of the aged Italian classic.

In the United States, ‘True’ Parmesan goes by the name Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, pre-grated plastic shakers usually contain preservatives that are best avoided when feeding your dog treats, so opt for fresh instead!

Will Parmesan Hurt Your Dog?

Will Parmesan Hurt Your Dog?
Consuming Parmesan cheese can be dangerous for your pup if not done in moderation, as high levels of salt content and lactose may cause gastrointestinal upset or even salt toxicity.

Key points to consider when feeding your dog the aged Italian classic:

  • Monitor closely and provide only a small amount of Parmesan at a time. Too much sodium can lead to salt toxicity which requires medical attention.
  • Dogs with heart disease, kidney issues, or hypertension should avoid this cheese due to its high sodium content. Lactose intolerant dogs are also vulnerable as it contains more than other varieties (2.
  • A combination of cooked white rice & cottage cheese is an excellent alternative for sensitive stomachs instead of the hard Reggio Emilia variety from Italy!

What Amount of Parmesan Cheese is Safe for Your Dog?

What Amount of Parmesan Cheese is Safe for Your Dog?
It’s important to be mindful of the amount of Parmesan cheese you feed your pup. To ensure their safety, it’s best to maintain feeding parameters and keep an eye on what they consume.

If your dog is lactose intolerant or has heart disease, kidney issues, or hypertension, then it’s not recommended that they eat this Italian cheese as it contains more than other varieties (2.

Even if a whole shaker bottle of Parmesan was consumed by accident, there are still ways to protect them from salt toxicity due to its high sodium content compared with other cheeses that have low levels of fat in comparison – like cheddar cheese, Swiss Cheese, and Mozzarella.

As an alternative for sensitive stomachs, a combination of cooked white rice and cottage cheese can do wonders! Just remember that when feeding small amounts at regular intervals, all should be safe.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Parmesan Cheese?

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Parmesan Cheese?
If your pup has ingested Parmesan cheese, it’s important to take action quickly. Dogs are usually lactose intolerant and lack the enzyme lactase to break down this type of dairy product. Salt toxicity can also occur due to the high sodium content in Parmesan cheese, causing nausea, weakness, and seizures if not treated immediately.

It is especially dangerous for dogs with heart or kidney disease since they should avoid it altogether.

If a shaker bottle was consumed by mistake, call a vet or Pet Poison Control as soon as possible. Their hotline can provide specific recommendations for administering medication based on your pup’s size and condition following symptoms like indigestion or vomiting that could arise from consuming too much salt in one sitting.

Special care must be taken when feeding any kind of cheese so long-term health risks aren’t an issue.

How Should I Feed My Dog Parmesan Cheese?

How Should I Feed My Dog Parmesan Cheese?
Feeding your pup Parmesan cheese should be done responsibly and in moderation to ensure their safety and health. It’s a good idea to monitor the amount of salt consumption and lactose levels, as well as the types of cheeses they eat for the upkeep of their bones.

When feeding other cheese alternatives such as cheddar or Swiss, provide moderate amounts to avoid weight gain due to overconsumption.

Dogs should only have this type of cheese occasionally; too much could lead to gastrointestinal issues that require medical attention.

Provide your furry friend with fresh meals alongside a few pieces of Parmesan here and there so they get all the benefits without any potential harm!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often can I give my dog Parmesan cheese?

Can you give your pup Parmesan cheese? It’s fine in small amounts, but remember it is high in sodium, so keep an eye on their daily intake. For safety, only offer it occasionally and make sure to monitor for signs of an upset stomach or salt toxicity.

Is Parmesan cheese safe for puppies?

No, puppies shouldn’t eat Parmesan cheese! It’s much too salty and high in sodium for their delicate systems. Plus, it can cause digestive issues that are way more than a mild stomachache – think seizures and even coma! Best to feed pups something safe like cottage cheese instead.

What are the signs of salt toxicity in dogs?

Salt toxicity in dogs can be like a ticking time bomb. Symptoms include nausea, weakness, seizures, and even coma or death if untreated. Dogs with heart or kidney disease should avoid Parmesan as it is higher in sodium than other cheese varieties; not to mention the risk of overconsumption leading to digestive difficulties.

Is Parmesan cheese better for dogs than other cheeses?

Parmesan cheese can be a better choice for dogs than other cheeses, as it is lower in lactose and easier to digest. However, the high sodium content should be taken into consideration before feeding your pup this tasty treat.

Is pre-grated Parmesan safe for dogs?

Pre-grated Parmesan can be safe for dogs in small amounts. However, it often contains preservatives and is higher in sodium than fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano. Dogs with heart or kidney disease should avoid pre-grated cheese altogether as salt toxicity may occur if consumed too much.


You may have heard that Parmesan cheese is safe for dogs, but it’s important to note that not all cheeses are created equal. While Parmesan cheese does contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, it also has high levels of sodium and can cause digestive problems if consumed in large quantities.

You should also be aware that dogs with high blood pressure, heart problems, and kidney issues should not eat Parmesan cheese. While a small amount of Parmesan cheese can be a tasty treat for your pup, it’s important to remember to feed it in moderation and monitor your dog closely to ensure they don’t show any signs of adverse reactions.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.