Cheese is my go-to food. Feeling hungry in the morning – cheese. Needing an afternoon snack – cheese. The quantity of cheese we get through in our house weekly means that our German Shepherds naturally get their paws on some scraps.
Cheese is often recommended as a training treat by a number a trainers and with good reason, dogs absolutely love it. So in brief – Can German Shepherds eat cheese? Whether a German Shepherd can eat cheese will depend on the individual dog and type of cheese, however generally when given sparingly there is no reason why your German Shepherd cannot eat cheese as long as they are not lactose intolerant.
Let’s take a look at German Shepherds eating cheese in more detail –
Table of Contents
Benefits of German Shepherds Eating Cheese
Cheese, like most dairy products, contains a large and varied amount of nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamins A & B12, Zinc, Phosphorus, and riboflavin(B2). If the cheese is also made using Grass-Fed animals it will also contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin K-2. All of these are essential to your dog’s health and can benefit them in the following ways:
Protein –Protein allows your dog’s body to function properly. Protein contributes to healthy hair and skin, muscle development, and tissue repair, just to name a few benefits.
Calcium – Calcium is an essential mineral for Shepherds. Supporting teeth and bone health and helping blood to clot, calcium also helps your dog’s muscles to expand and contract, while also contributing to essential processes in your dog’s cells
Vitamin A – Vitamin A is an essential vitamin which means it’s a critical part of your Shepherds diet. Vitamin A can assist with coat health, eyesight, and growth making it especially helpful for puppies.
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is crucial for a healthy nervous system and brain function in your Shepherd. It’s also important for the formation and growth of blood cells as well as being involved in intestinal health, so your dog needs B12 to maintain healthy digestion.
Zinc – Zinc is the second most commonly used mineral in your dog’s body and plays an important role in enzymes, proteins, and hormones. Zinc is also important for immune and thyroid system functions.
Phosphorus – Phosphorus is an essential mineral and helps your GSD’s growth as well as helping to maintain healthy bones.
Riboflavin(B2) – Riboflavin is responsible for the metabolism of carbs and fats into energy as well as being involved in the production of red blood cells. Riboflavin when combined with other minerals helps to boost your Shepherds immune system.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – These essential fats help your German Shepherd with a huge array of potential issues including, Cancer, Arthritis, Heart Health, Kidney Health, and Brain Development.
Vitamin K-2 – Vitamin K2 plays a critical role in the metabolism of calcium. Vitamin K2 can also help fight against heart disease, cancer, and Insulin sensitivity. Vitamin K2 can also help with Bone, Kidney, and Brain health.
Risks Of German Shepherds Eating Cheese
As you have seen cheese can provide some significant health benefits for your German Shepherd, but caution is still advised. Cheese, as a dairy product naturally contains lactose and fats and can sometimes be high in salt which can harm your German Shepherd in the following ways:
High in Fat – High-fat foods when fed too frequently to your German Shepherd can cause issues with obesity. Foods that are high in fat can also contribute to pancreatitis.
High In Salt – Some cheeses (Usually harder, older cheeses) contain a high salt content, consuming too much can lead to sodium poisoning. Your German Shepherd will likely drink enough water to dilute the sodium from their intake but it is still advised to monitor your dog if they consume a lot of choices. Symptoms of sodium poisoning include extreme thirst, lack of energy, vomiting, diarrhea. High salt foods are also linked with kidney problems in dogs.
Lactose Intolerance – Similar to humans German Shepherds can suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can cause diarrhea, sickness, and abdominal pain in dogs.
Cheese Consumption by Cheese Type
Not all cheeses are created equal and some are healthier than others. If possible it is recommended by the American Kennel Club to use a low or reduced fat cheese if possible.
Limiting cheese intake is key as even lower fat cheese can still be relatively high in fat. In this section of the article we are going to assume your GSD isn’t lactose intolerant when reviewing the cheese types.
Can my German Shepherd Dogs Eat American Cheese?
American Cheese, usually in the form of individually wrapped yellow-orange slices is a cheese made of a mix of milk, milk solids, fats and whey protein, when given in moderation there is no issue with your Shepherd eating American Cheese.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is a yogurt like unprocessed cheese that contains less sodium than most harder cheese types. This is usually non-ripened and as such will be higher in lactose that other cheeses. Adding to the lactose in Cottage Cheese some brands add whole milk into the production process raising the lactose content even further. Cottage Cheese is usually quite gentle on the stomach of your German Shepherd so unless your German Shepherd is lactose intolerant there is no reason they cannot eat Cottage Cheese.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Parmesan Cheese?
Hard and Crumbly Parmesan is one of America’s most popular cheese types. When it comes to your German Shepherd Dog parmesan should be avoided. Parmesan is very high in sodium making it potentially dangerous to your German Shepherd.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Cheddar Cheese?
Cheddar, the most popular cheese in the UK. Cheddar will typically have up to one third of the fat removed in the production process. Cheddar cheese is safe for your German Shepherd to eat and is often cut into small chunks for use as tasty training treat for dogs.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Goats Cheese?
Goats cheese typically contains less lactose than their bovine equivalents however the price point makes in uneconomical for dogs. Goats Cheese is safe for your German Shepherd dog to eat.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Blue Cheese (inc Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola)?
Blue Cheese is made from either cow, sheep or goats milk depending on where you are in the world. Penicillium cultures are what give them their bluey green veins. Blue Cheese is incredibly dangerous to dogs as it often contains a substance called Roquefortine C. Roquefortine C causes diarrhoea, vomiting, tremors and seizures in dogs. If your dog has eaten blue cheese seek veterinary advice immediately.
Can My German Shepherd Eat Limburger Cheese?
Despite it’s German sounding name Limburger is actually made in Wisconsin and has a reputation for being one of the worlds worst smelling cheeses. Despite the odour dogs usually love the taste of Limburger and Limburger Cheese is safe for dogs to consume. In fact, according to this post the American Kennel Club actually use the cheese as a treat for their dogs
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Feta Cheese?
Feta is traditionally made from a blend of goat and sheep’s milk however more and more cow’s milk is now being using in production too. Feta is a salty, brine-cured cheese. With it’s incredibly high sodium, lactose and fat content although not technically unsafe it is certainly not advisable to feed your German Shepherd Dog Feta Cheese.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Monterey Jack Cheese?
First made in Monterey, California in the 1700s Monterey Jack is a true American Cheese. Monterey Jack cheese is safe for your German Shepherd Dog to eat and many love it as a treat.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Pepper Jack Cheese?
Pepper Jack cheese is effectively Monterey Jack cheese infused with mild to moderate peppers. You should exercise caution when looking to feed your dog Pepper Jack cheese. Some will like the heat sensation whereas others will paw and scratch at their mouth which can cause some issues. The heat from the peppers are also likely to cause digestive distress and most likely diarrhoea. While it is possible to feed your German Shepherd Dog Pepper Jack cheese it is certainly not advisable.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Swiss Cheese?
Swiss cheese is actually an American Cheese inspired by the Swiss Emmenthal and is popular right across the country. Swiss Cheeses are typically low in lactose and sodium so are safe for your German Shepherd Dog to eat.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Brie?
Brie is the 5th most popular cheese in America however should be avoided when it comes to your dog. Although not dangerous Brie is an incredibly high-fat cheese that is very rich which can cause health complications for your German Shepherd and as such it is best avoided.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Camembert?
Another soft cheese Camembert falls into the same category as Brie when it comes to your dog. Camembert is an incredibly high fat cheese that is very rich which can cause health complications for your German Shepherd and as such it is best avoided.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat String Cheese?
String cheese a staple of the family picnic and kids lunchboxes across America. Generally made of either mozzarella or Provolone String Cheese is relatively low in Sodium and Lactose and can make an ideal treat for your German Shepherd Dog. The only potential trouble can come from the stringiness of the cheese so you should ensure you break the cheese into smaller chunks before feeding to your dog.
Can My German Shepherd Dog Eat Mozzarella Cheese?
Unsurprisingly Mozzarella is the number-one favourite cheese in America, no surprise to anybody that has ever ordered a pizza! Mozzarella is a full fat cheese. This makes mozzarella a cautionary cheese for your dog. Mozzarella is fine for your dog to eat but only in small quantities.
How can you feed Cheese to your German Shepherd?
As a Training Treat
Small cubes of Cheese make a perfect treat for your German Shepherd. If you can cut a small amount of Cheddar or Swiss Cheese up and use them instead of regular dog treat for special occasions. Try not to use cheese too often as a training treat and instead use them sparingly to ensure your GSD stays motivated.
Trying to get medicine into our German Shepherds was an absolute nightmare, we ended up turning to cheese as our saviour. A soft, pongy cheese helps to hide the smell and taste of the tablet and is an amazing vehicle to getting the required medication into your German Shepherd.
Add to their meal
Grating a little cheese or mixing in a liquid cheese as a treat to the top of your German Shepherds meal can make for a tasty change with a health boost.
How do I know if my German Shepherd has eaten too much Cheese?
Even if your German Shepherd isn’t lactose intolerant Cheese can cause problems to your German Shepherd if they eat too much. You may notice your dog starts getting issues with wind, constipation diarrhoea or vomiting, if this happens stop feeding your dog cheese straight away and speak to your vet to ask them for recommendations.
The same as in humans Cheese isn’t a health food to consume regularly. If you are feeding cheese to your German Shepherd regularly this can contribute to obesity, pancreatitis, and high blood pressure. If you have any concerns again speak to your veterinarian.
Do you feed cheese to your German Shepherd? Have you ever had any issues feeding cheese to your dogs? We’d absolutely love to hear from you on this in the comments.