Yogurt is one of Britain's top 20 favourite foods, according to research published in the Telegraph.
People clearly love yogurt but what about dogs? Do they like the taste and is it safe for them?
The answer is yes! Dogs can eat yogurt.
What kind of yogurt is good for dogs?
Live yogurts are the healthiest for dogs, as they contain probiotics (live bacteria). Usually, the yogurt packaging will clearly promote that it contains live bacteria.
The information can usually be found within or underneath the ingredients label, and may be called 'cultures' or 'live bacteria'. Look out for names like Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
Probiotic yogurts are safe for dogs, and humans alike, and can help with the health of your gut.
Probiotics can help fight yeast infections in dogs, which may cause skin and ear problems; boost immunity; and help your dog’s body absorb nutrients.
These yogurts are also packed with calcium and protein.
You can give your dog plain, low fat, full fat, naturally flavoured and frozen yogurts.
However, artificial flavours and sweeteners, particularly Xylitol, are a no-go for dogs. Xylitol can be dangerous for dogs, even in small quantities. So check the ingredients carefully. There may be more sweeteners in yogurts than you'd expect.
In general, natural yogurt is best and aim for a probiotic yogurt.
Be aware that it's not a good idea to give your dog yogurt if you know it's lactose intolerant. If you're not sure, speak to your vet about having your pet tested.
Can I give my dog yogurt every day?
You can but according to Jan Dempsey, senior nutritionist at pet food manufacturer Purina, you should aim for the 10% treat rule. Meaning that yogurt makes up no more than 10% of your dog's calorie intake each day.
However, according to Purina, if you follow this advice your pet may not receive enough probiotic to be of much health benefit.
If you’re keen to provide probiotics regularly don’t rely on yogurt alone. Have a chat with your vet, who may suggest probiotic supplements or offer specific dietary advice.
Is frozen yogurt safe for dogs?
Yes, you can feed your dog frozen yogurt. Try buying a probiotic yogurt and freezing it at home as shop bought frozen yogurts can be full of sugar.
Can dogs have Greek yogurt?
Yes, they can. Greek yogurt contains probiotics and is healthy and safe for dogs.
It’s generally thicker than other yogurts because they remove whey during the production process. So if your dog turns its nose up at it, this may be the reason.
Is coconut yogurt good for dogs to eat?
Opinions are divided on whether coconut products are safe for dogs.
The American Kennel Club states that coconut oil contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral components and is good for your dog in small quantities – too much can cause diarrhoea.
Coconut oil can be found in the milk and flesh of coconuts. These are ingredients that you may find in coconut yogurt.
However, both the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) New South Wales, Australia, state that coconut oil can cause diarrhoea and stomach upsets, and that coconut water contains potassium, which can also lead to health problems.
We would recommend that before giving your dog coconut yogurt, speak to your vet.