String cheese is a common household snack, loved by kids and adults alike. Its chewy texture and delicious taste make it a perfect treat, which brings many dog owners to wonder, can dogs eat string cheese, too?
After all, dog trainers use cheese as a reward all the time.
But before you go out to buy a package of string cheese for your dog, there are a few things you should know.
Are cheese strings bad for dogs?
String cheese isn’t very different from other types of cheese, except it’s sometimes more processed.
Technically, making string cheese doesn’t require more chemical processing than a ball of mozzarella, which is the most popular cheese for making cheese strings.
To make string cheese, mozzarella is just stretched so thin that it can be peeled apart in thin ropes, instead of rolled into a mozzarella ball.
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This means that additional chemicals aren’t necessary to achieve string cheese’s distinct shape and texture.
However, some brands may add unnecessary additives and preservatives to make the cheese strings last longer without expiring.
Can dogs eat string cheese safely?
String cheese is safe for dogs to eat in moderation, with some exceptions.
If your dog is lactose intolerant (yes, dogs can be lactose intolerant, too1), they will demonstrate symptoms after eating cheese that won’t be pleasant for them or you, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
In case your dog eats a ton of string cheese, they may display these symptoms even if they aren’t lactose intolerant, so it’s still best to give them very small amounts and only as a treat.
If you’re not sure whether your dog is lactose intolerant or not, you can abstain from feeding them dairy products altogether. Although dogs can digest dairy, they don’t need it as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
You could also try feeding your dog a small cube of cheese or a tiny portion of milk to see if they have any reaction.
If your dog is overweight, you should also avoid feeding them string cheese.
Cheese contains a lot of calories, fat, and sodium, so if your pup already struggles with obesity, feeding them cheese could just exacerbate the problem.
Do cheese strings have any benefits for dogs?
Just like humans, dogs can reap the health benefits of small amounts of cheese.
String cheese contains protein, healthy fats, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin B-12. So, as far as treats go, there are certainly worse human foods2 you could be feeding your dog.
Cheese also makes a great treat to hide your dog’s medication.
Simply peel off a piece of string cheese and wrap it around their pill or chewy medicine, and you’ll have an easier time getting them to take it.
They might even start to look forward to their dose of medication if the flavor is disguised enough by the cheese!
How Many cheese sticks can a dog eat?
Like most foods, the amount of cheese that’s safe for your dog to eat depends on your dog’s size, weight, age, and activity level.
Again, you should always consider cheese a treat for your dog, not a food they need to balance their diet.
In general, dog treats should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories.
Most adult dogs need about 25-30 calories per pound of weight each day to maintain a healthy weight. Puppies, however, need more calories while they’re still growing, while older dogs with decreased activity levels need fewer.
So, for example, if your dog weighs 50 pounds, they need about 1250-1500 calories per day, and only 125-150 of those calories should come from string cheese and other treats, at most.
If a stick of string cheese contains 80 calories (check the label on your brand of string cheese to get a precise calorie count), your dog can safely have a little less than two sticks per day, if they have no other treats.
What if my dog ate a few too many cheese strings?
Although your dog may get sick if they eat a lot of string cheese, cheese is not toxic for dogs so it’s extremely unlikely that they will suffer toxicity or long-lasting damage from eating too much in one sitting.
Your vet can induce vomiting, but since cheese isn’t poisonous, this isn’t necessary, and depending on where the cheese is in your dog’s digestive system, getting them to vomit is likely to cause them even more discomfort.
Your best option is to keep a close eye on your dog to make sure they don’t demonstrate any serious symptoms. They will likely have diarrhea and an upset stomach, making them sluggish, bloated, and gassy.
Wait for them to expel all the cheese naturally and make sure they have access to plenty of water to flush their system.
If your dog’s stomach is so upset that they won’t eat, try preparing ginger tea for them until their digestive system gets back to normal.
Can dogs eat Cheez Whiz instead of string cheese?
At this point, you might be thinking if there are other cheesy alternatives you could feed your dog besides string cheese.
The consistency of Cheez Whiz, for example, makes it another option for owners to use as a disguise for dog medication or as a treat.
You can treat Cheez Whiz the same as string cheese (using the same rules of calorie counting to know how much you can safely feed your dog), but know that Cheez Whiz is a more highly processed and less healthy cheese product.
The famous dog toy brand KONG also makes a cheese product that’s designed to go with their activity toys for dogs.
KONG Bacon and Cheese Easy Treat is similar to Cheez Whiz, except it’s formulated for dogs and comes in an easy-to-use canister that makes filling a Kong easy.
If you really want to make your dog happy, try giving them lactose-free Himalayan yak chews. As long as you follow the calorie guidelines, this is a much better choice!
A little string cheese now and then is perfectly safe for most dogs to eat. Due to the lactose, fat, and calorie content, you shouldn’t give your dog string cheese if they’re lactose intolerant or overweight.
While some other cheese products like Cheez Whiz can also be safely fed to your dog in small quantities, less processed products like yak sticks or foods formulated specifically for dogs like Kong Easy Treat Cheddar Cheese are better options.
- Food Intolerance in Dogs — VCA Animal Hospitals
- The 10 Worst Foods to Feed Your — Jacksonville Community Pet Clinics