Dairy Products - Goat Milk, Kefir, Yogurt , Natural Cheese are Good for Dogs and Cats


dairy for dogs and cats, goat milk, kefir, yogurt, cheese
7 min read
In this article:
  1. Dairy, An Ancient Food for Dogs and Cats
  2. Is Dairy Appropriate for your Dog and Cat
    1. Lactose Intolerance
    2. Hypersensitivities
    3. Good Saturated Fat Supports Health
    4. Not for Dogs and Cats with an Active Yeast Infection
  3. Raw Goat Milk, Kefir and Yogurt
    1. Health Benefits
    2. How to Choose a Good Product 
    3. Recommended Serving Guideline
  4. Cheese
    1. Health Benefits
    2. How to Choose a Good Product 
    3. Recommended Serving Guideline
  5. Recipes
    1. Pancakes and Waffles for Dogs
    2. Smoothies for Dogs
    3. Cheese and Meat Treats

1.0 Diary, An Ancient Food for Dogs and Cats

For many centuries dogs and cats have had dairy in their daily diet. Traditional examples, include goat milk and kefir.

2000 years ago, the shepherds of the Caucasian Mountains developed kefir, a fermented dairy product made from the milk of cows or goats. 
 
The shepherds gave fresh kefir to their dogs, as part of the daily diet.

Prior to the 1950's mass popularization of dry food (kibble), people fed their dogs and cats, fresh whole food, including dairy products. At that time dogs lived twice the life-span that they do today.
 
My dogs enjoy pastured grass fed-sourced kefir and raw unpasteurized goat milk as part of their daily diet. My cats don't like goat milk, but they do enjoy kefir and cheese. 
 
2.0 Is Dairy Appropriate for Your Dog and Cat
 
2.1 Lactose Intolerance

Some dogs and cats are lactose intolerant. However your dog and cat may not have an intolerance to all dairy products. 

Kefir products are 97% to 99% lactose free. Most lactose intolerant dogs and cats can tolerate kefir. 
 
Most lactose intolerant dogs and cats can tolerate hard cheeses that contain trace amounts of lactose. For example:
  1. American cheese
  2. Cheddar cheese
  3. Edam
  4. Gouda
  5. Parmesan
  6. Swiss Cheese

2.2 Hypersensitivity 
 
Some dogs and cats are hypersensitive (intolerant or allergic) to:
  1. Specific animals e.g. buffalo, cow, goat, etc.
  2. Part of an animal, i.e. a dog may tolerate organs but not muscle meat from a specific animal.
  3. Pasteurized milk, but do fine with unpasteurized milk.
To learn more about food allergies in dogs and cats, go to this article.
 
Choose the dairy products that best suit your individual dog and cat's personal situation.

2.3 Health Supporting Omega Fatty Acids
 
Does your dog need to lose or gain weight? Dairy Can Help

Studies have confirmed that good saturated fat is not associated with obesity or heart disease. 
 
Good saturated fat can improve metabolic health, heart health and is essential for supporting overall health.
 
A species appropriate diet for dogs should include approximately 30% high quality appropriate fats.
 
Dairy products such as goat milk, kefir, yogurt, butter, ghee and cheese sourced from free-range pastured animals is a source of high quality fats (omega fatty acids). 

Dairy products sourced from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) raised animals are not a good source of fats. CAFO sourced dairy can adversely impact short and long-term health. 
 
CAFO sourced dairy products are:
  1. Contaminated with glyphosate (a gut disrupter and carcinogen).
  2. Contain too much omega-6 and insufficient levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Too much Omega-6 intake can contribute to inflammatory health issues and conditions.
  3. More likely to trigger intolerance or allergy response as CAFO raised animals are fed a diet of corn and soy. Corn and soy are common allergens for dogs and cats.
 
2.4 Not For Dogs and Cats With an Active Yeast Infection
 
If your dog or cat is experiencing an active yeast infection, don't give your animal dairy products. Dairy products will feed the yeast overgrowth. 
 
Wait until the yeast infection is 100% in remission, then try introducing the dairy product.


3.0 Raw Goat Milk, Kefir, Yogurt

3.1 Health Benefits of Goat Milk, Kefir and Yogurt
a parital list
 
Probiotics
Raw goat milk, kefir and yogurt are a good source of probiotics. Probiotics help support:
  1. Cancer prevention.
  2. Oral health.
  3. Wound healing.
  4. and...
Mitigate Conventional Antibiotic Damage
Conventional antibiotics kill the good and bad microbes (bacteria) in the gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract). Good microbes are an essential part of your dog and cat's immune system.
 
Damage to the gut leaves your dog and cat very vulnerable to bacterial and yeast infections, viral infections and other health issues.

Probiotic dairy products (raw goat milk, kefir, yogurt) help re-populate your animal's gut with good bacteria.

Support Brain Function
Researchers at UCLA confirmed that the presence of good bacteria in the GI Tract are important for proper brain function. UCLA decided to test this theory on humans as previous research on non-human animals had shown linked changes in gut flora to changes in effective behaviours. You can read about the study here
 
Support Heart Health
The omega fatty-acids and probiotics in raw goat milk, kefir and yogurt help support heart health.
 
Nutritional Support
One tablespoon of kefir contains:
  • 5 billion beneficial bacteria. 
  • B Complex vitamins, Calcium, vitamin A, Vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus.
  • Essential amino acids.
  • Tryptophan.
Read more about kefir here.
 

 
3.2 How to Choose a Good Product for Your Dog and Cat
3.2.1 Raw Goat Milk
  1. Should be sourced from pastured, grass fed goats.
  2. Should be pure, no additives.
Simple.

3.2.2 Kefir and Yogurt

The product should be:
  1. Grass fed pasture sourced, and/or;
  2. Organic.
The product should contain only the following ingredients:

Bacterial cultures, e.g.,
  1. Bifdobacterium lactis;
  2. Lactobacillus acidophilus
  3. Lactobaciullis casei
Cream, and/or:
  1. Milk or partially skimmed milk
  2. Milk protein concentrate
That’s it. Nothing more. 
 

What you don’t want in your dog or cat's dairy products:
  1. Agar-Agar
  2. Artificial food colors
  3. Artificial sweeteners
  4. Carageenan
  5. Corn Starch
  6. Lecithin
  7. Gallan Gum
  8. Gelatine
  9. Salt (common salt, iodized salt, table salt)
  10. Sugar and other sweeteners
  11. Tapioca
  12. Modified Corn Starch
  13. Modified Rice Starch
  14. Potassium Sorbate
  15. Etc.
3.2.3 Serving Recommendation Guidelines
Raw Goat Milk or Kefir
Serve 1x to 2x per day
cats - 1 tsp to 1 tbs
x-Small size dogs - 1 tsp to 1 tbs 
Small dogs - 1 tbs to 2 tbs
Medium size dogs -1/4 cup
Large dogs - 1/3 cup to 3/8 cup
Extra large dogs - 1/2 cup
 
Yogurt
Serve 1x to 2x per day
x-Small size dogs and cats - 1 tsp to 1 tbs 
Small dogs - 1 tbs to 2 tbs
Medium size dogs - 1/8 cup
Large dogs - 1/3 cup
Extra large dogs - 1/2 cup
Tip
As with any new food introduced to your dog’s diet, go slow. The probiotics in kefir are highly concentrated so give your dog or cat's system time to adjust. For the first few days to a week cut the recommended dosage in half. This will avoid stomach upset as your dog or cat's system adjusts to the increased quantity of good flora in their GI tract. You can bring the daily dosage up to the recommended amount over the space of a few days to a week or two.

4.0 Cheese for Dogs and Cats

 
4.1 Natural Cheese
Natural cheese is a fermented dairy product.
Natural cheese requires very few ingredients:
  1. Milk
  2. Full spectrum salt - i.e. sea salt, Himalayan salt. 
    • NOT common table salt or iodized salt.
    • Learn more about good vs. bad salt here
    • Salt is used as a ripening and preservation aid, also for taste
  3. Rennet (an enzyme)
  4. A starter culture (the making of yogurt and kefir also require a starter culture)
Processed cheese food (cheese slices, cheese spray, squeeze cheese from a tube/bottle):
  1. Is NOT good for your dog or cat.

4.2 Health Benefits of Cheese

Built-in Synergy
  • Cheese contains Calcium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 – in order for these vitamins to provide the maximum benefit to the body all three need to be consumed together for efficacy.
pH Balance for Oral Health
  • Eating cheese in an aid in fighting periodontal disease;
    • Eating cheese drops the pH level in the mouth
    • Lower pH levels help fight plaque, protects tooth enamel and erosion of teeth
    • Cheddar cheese  contains the highest levels of alkali making it the best cheese for attaining better pH levels in the oral cavity
Vitamin K2
  • Cheese is a very good source of vitamin K2
  • Vitamin K2 is important for heart, brain, bones and more
  • Calcium is beneficial for bones and blood but it is not beneficial when deposited in the arteries and muscles – vitamin K2 controls where calcium goes or does not go in the body
  • Fights cancer
  • Protects nerve cells from oxidative stress
  • Slows progression of conditions such as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome – CDS (also known as Senile or Old Dog Syndrome – the canine version of Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Promotes the maintenance of healthy bone density
  • To ensure the best bioavailability (absorption rate) K2 is best combined with fat – a combination that naturally occurs in cheese
Calcium
  • Cheese is an excellent source of calcium
  • The calcium in cheese helps to support oral health in dogs, along with bone and blood health
Protein
  • Cheese is a good source of high quality protein and important amino acids
  • Cheese is a source of good fats
  • Dogs need high quality saturated fats (Omega-6 fatty acids) and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Required to support skin, coat, ligaments, heart, optimal brain function, and more, you can read more about good fats here and about the negative impacts of insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids here
Essential Minerals 
  • Such as phosphorus and zinc
Essential vitamins (in addition to calcium)
  • Such as A, B2 (riboflavin), B12, and D
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • CLA is a metabolism booster – helps to prevent weight gain and treat obesity
  • A powerful cancer inhibitor/fighter
  • Helps to limit allergic reactions to foods
  • Promotes health of the circulatory system

4.3 How to Choose a Good Cheese For Your Dog or Cat

The following cheeses are good choices:
  • Harder Cheese:
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Colby cheese 
    • Edam cheese
    • Gouda cheese
    • Hard goat cheese
    • Mozzarella cheese
    • Swiss cheese
Cheese made from the milk of pastured grass-fed cows (goats, etc.) vs. grain-feed animals:
  • Has about five (5) times the CLA found in cheese made from grain-fed animals;
  • Contains much higher amounts of calcium, beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D and E.
Raw cheese made from the milk of pasture-fed animals:
  • Retains natural enzymes that increase the nutritional value of the cheese.

4.4 Recommended Serving Guideline
Minimum Daily Serving
Small size dogs and cats - 1 ounce
Medium size dogs - 1 1/2 ounce
Large dogs -2 ounces
Extra large dogs - 2 1/2 ounces
Maximum Daily Serving
Maximum amount of cheese daily basis: 
2 x the minimum amount noted above.
 
5.0 Treat Recipes With Dairy 
 
5.1 Pancake and Waffle Recipes for Puppies and Dogs
For the recipes, go here.
 
dairy for dogs - waffle and pancake recipes
 
5.2 Smoothie Recipes for Puppies and Dogs
For the recipes, go here.
 
goar milk, kefir, yogurt for dogs - smoothie recipies
 
5.3 Cheese Treat Recipes for Puppies and Dogs
For the recipes, go here.
 
cheese treat recipes for dogs

Holistic Diet, Nutrition, Wellness Services Tailored to Your Individual Dog and Cat

For information about my holistic diet, nutrition and wellness services, visit my holistic wellness services page.

Maintain good health | Address acute and chronic health issues | Pre and post surgery support and recovery

My holistic wellness services are available worldwide via video consultation.

🌎 USA | Canada | UK | Europe | Australia | New Zealand | Asia | South and Central America | Africa | UAE

πŸ“±FaceTime | Facebook | Skype | WhatsApp

To set-up your holistic wellness consultation get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page.
 
Holistic Behavioral Services for Your Dog

For information about my holistic behavioral services, visit my holistic behavioral services page.

For dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.

My behavioral services are available worldwide via video consultation.

🌎 USA | Canada | UK | Europe | Australia | New Zealand | Asia | South and Central America | Africa | UAE

πŸ“±FaceTime | Facebook | Skype | WhatsApp

To set-up your holistic behavioral session get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page.
 
Affiliations to Companies  
✓ None. 
✓ I don't sell food, supplements, or other products.
I'm not aligned with any companies. 
 
Article by Karen Rosenfeld.
 

Comments

  1. Hello,
    I'm really interested in feeding kefir to my dogs. Should the kefir be low fat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not don't use low fat - the fat - do need good source fat in their diet, so use kefir that is at minimum 2% milk fat. Cheers, Karen

      Delete
  2. Excuse me, You said dog and cat can eat Mozzarella cheese, both low-moisture mozzarella and Fresh mozzarella kept in brine or whey can feed?
    Should i feed young age or old age cheese?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheese is fine for puppies, teenage, adult and senior dogs. Brine can be very high in salt - if the brine that your fresh mozzarella is in is very salty - use low-moisture instead.

      Delete
  3. Both aged cheese and young cheese can feed?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is Swiss cheese and Emmental cheese the same? all kind of Swiss cheese can feed dog and cat? ex:Emmental cheese and Gruyere cheese.
    Can i feed Colby-Jack cheese to substitute Colby cheese?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Is Goat Milk Kefir okay for dogs? I'm assuming it is since I've heard goats milk is usually okay for dogs, but I'm just learning about Kefir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angelique goat milk Kefir, goat milk cheese, goat milk yogurt etc. are all excellent for dogs, Cheers, Karen

      Delete
  6. What do you recommend for overactive yeast problems in dogs? I understand the benefits of the probiotics described above but how do I rid my dog of chronic yeast in her body. Switched to six fish origen a month a go - low glycymic food that I divide and feed at two daily intervals. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do a lot of Diet, Nutrition, and Topical Treatment Wellness Plans for people whose dogs have chronic yeast issues - including dogs with extreme full body yeast infections...ears, skin, paws.

      Simply switching to a different dry dog food will not remedy the yeast infection.

      I would be happy to assist you - however to do so requires several hours of my time. You are very welcome to do as other people in your situation do and engage me to properly address this for you.

      Delete
  7. Thank you for your extensive coverage of this topic and info based on CURRENT science about probiotics and their importance in the overall health of any animal - two or four-legged.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, what about the salt in cheeses. Cheddar especially has a very high salt content.
    What is your opinion on that?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The salt content in the cheeses are not an issue as per:
      The types of cheeses recommended;
      The portions recommended;
      As part of a healthy daily diet.

      Delete
  9. Hi Karen...Taking your suggestions on yogurt, kefir and cheese. I tried the yogurt, but my little girl did not like it and she threw it up. I had mixed a tiny bit with her food, but I guess she just didn't go for it. So I went and got some kefir. The only one I could find was "Organic Nancy's lowfat cultured mile Kefir". It's blueberry. The ingredients are: Pasturized organic milk, organic blueberriers, organic agave nectar, organic nonfat dry milk, organic inulin and live cultures, probiotics: Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, L. acidophilus LA-5, L. casei, L. rhamnosus LB3. USDA Organic. IS THIS THE RIGHT KIND? ALSO, I bought some organix raw mild cheddar cheese,made with milk from pasture-raised cows....ingredients are: Organi cultured unpasteurized milk, salt, vegetarian enzymes. IS THIS THE RIGHT KIND? I so want to do this right!!! Also, it has 6% Vit A and 20% Calcium. Your input means a great deal to me. If NOT the right ones, I will continue on my search. Thank you for your time and great information for all us dog and cat lovers. You are a blessing!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello Karen! I'm a newcomer to your web and loved reading it! I was wondering if you could broach the subject of cushing's disease in dogs as I am being faced with this challenge right now - the vet wants to start Lysodren but I am against it. Any advice you have on this subject would be greatly appreciated. My dog is on a raw diet sprinkled with Nupro and Norwegian kelp.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recommended course of action for you in order to naturally and truly holistically support the health of your dog with Cushing's disease is http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca/diet-wellness/ You can email me if you are serious about engaging my services

      Delete
  11. Hi, wondering if I can give my dog plain Greek yogurt; is it just as beneficial as plain? The yogurt section in my stores mostly carry the Greek kind and it's the kind I eat too! Thanks so much! -Caroline

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Karen, is homemade organic farmers cheese good for dogs/puppies?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm lucky to have access to raw dairy (from cow) and I learned to make my own kefir. I noticed my dog would bark and bark when I drank it so I finally gave her some. I was concerned at first, but no bad effects came from it. She loves it, so I always share.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Karen, thanks for the great information on kefir. May I know, can I substitute milk with water (using kefier starter meant for milk)? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi karen...i add eggshell powder to my dogs homemade cooked food. If I add cheese or yogurt will that exceed the calcium intake? I know dogs can only have so much calcium and since I already give it once a day not sure if I can add cheese or yogurt....should I omit the eggshell powder if I want to add cheese or yogurt or just add both? Both dogs are around 50lbs so I give about 1/2tsp eggshell
    Thanks so much and love all the information on your site

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie see my article attached below for proper use of eggshell powder. Adding a proper serving of yogurt, kefir etc. is not an issue unless you dog has a specific health condition that contradicts.

      Delete
    2. http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2019/03/eggshell-powder-recipe-natural-calcium_22.html

      Delete

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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance such as a pure herb, you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press

Adjective

"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectations
In a health or behavioral situation.

Don't expect a few items or one isolated action to remedy the situation.

In most situations, remedying a situation will require a comprehensive approach.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Karen Rosenfeld | Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Practitioner | Holistic Behaviorist | Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

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