Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Becky Roberts
Yes! Dogs can eat vanilla yogurt. Although the added sugars in them cannot benefit your dog and may cause them to gain weight. Other kinds of yogurt offer more nutrients than vanilla yogurt. So, what are the best kinds? And how much should you give? Keep reading as I answer your questions and some other things you don’t wanna miss!
Yogurt for dogs
Yogurt is rich in calcium, protein, and probiotics. They are crucial for bone strength and gut health in dogs. The bacteria strains like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus Thermophilus present in yogurts can help maintain and improve gastrointestinal health. Potassium and magnesium are also present in yogurt.
More importantly, probiotics also help fight yeast infections. If your pup is suffering from recurrent ear and skin infections, yogurt can be a helpful food to add to his diet. Some also claim that yogurt can improve their skin and coat.
Have you ever heard of good bacteria in yogurts? It turns out that our dogs could also benefit from this. When your dog takes antibiotics to fight an infection, the drug kills both the bad and good bacteria. Giving him yogurt hours after he takes his medicine will help replace the good bacteria he lost. This, of course, comes with the approval of your veterinarian as it may interfere with his recuperation.
Now, you might wonder. If yogurts are safe for dogs, then surely vanilla yogurt is okay? Not quite. Here is the problem with vanilla yogurts.
The good thing about vanilla yogurt, for one, is it’s not chocolate – which is a good thing! However, this is not enough. Vanilla yogurt contains a lot of sugar that is not healthy for dogs at all. The high sugar content can cause tooth decay and obesity in dogs.
I always mention this in every food article about what dogs can and cannot eat but I’m gonna say it again.
Read the label.
Here is why it’s important:
Some brands use artificial sweeteners that are dangerous for dogs. One of which is Xylitol. Xylitol is a common sweetener in human foods that is dangerous for our dogs’ livers. It’s not only found in vanilla yogurts but almost all of our food. If you are the type to share your food with your dog, this advice is extremely important. This includes looking out for the fat content in yogurts as well.
Now, are there any side effects you should be worried about?
Dogs who can’t eat yogurt
Unfortunately, not all dogs can eat yogurt. Some dogs lose the ability to digest lactose after puppyhood. While some don’t have trouble with dairy at all. Dogs who have trouble with dairy are considered lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerant dogs don’t have the enzyme in their intestines called lactase that breaks down lactose sugars present in milk. Some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
- Excessive itching
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
Yogurt may not be for your dog if he is lactose intolerant. Although you can choose to give Greek yogurt as they contain less lactose and is less likely to cause an upset stomach.
If that’s so, which varieties are the best kind?
Best kind of yogurt for dogs
Although vanilla yogurt is safe, Greek yogurt and plain yogurt are still the best kinds to give to your dogs. Greek yogurts contain more concentrated levels of live-culture probiotics, low in fat, and are low in lactose sugar. And you may be surprised to find that your dog likes the texture of Greek yogurts more.
If you don’t like Greek yogurts, plain, non-fat yogurt is also a good option. It doesn’t contain any sugar – which is as it should be. And not only that, but it’s also low in fat and calories which makes it easier for dogs to digest.
Here is a question: Are there any yogurts you need to avoid? Apparently, there are.
Yogurts to avoid
Generally, yogurts that have these in the label are not for your dog:
- With artificial flavors and sweeteners (especially Xylitol)
- With “fruit on the bottom”
- Chocolate flavored
How much yogurt can dogs eat?
There is no right serving size that applies to all dogs. It varies from the kind of yogurt you are giving and your dog’s size, weight, daily calorie intake, activity level, neuter status, and if he has any other health issues. Although the rule of thumb is that treats should not be more than 10% of your dog’s calorie intake.
The safest way to add yogurt to his diet is to ask your veterinarian. He is an expert when it comes to your dog’s overall health. If you want more probiotics for his health, probiotic supplements specially made for canines exist. Dog treats rich in probiotics are also available. Yogurt is not the only delicious alternative.
Also Read: Can Dogs Take Human Probiotics?
Yogurt, in general, is not a requirement for your dog’s health. Considering that he is eating a balanced dog food diet, everything else is just a treat. Vanilla yogurt, in this case, can be a delicious treat on rare occasions because of its high sugar content. Although Greek yogurt and plain yogurt are a far better option. Similarly, yogurts with artificial flavorings and sweeteners are not recommended as they can be dangerous.
Ultimately, your veterinarian’s advice is always the best and safest way.