The same nutritious qualities that make high-quality plain, unsweetened yogurt a healthy snack for people also make it a good choice for Fido. Plus, your pooch will think he's getting a special treat when you feed him people food! Just make sure to feed him the right kind of yogurt in the right amounts.
WARNINGS: Never feed your dog yogurt containing Xylitol -- an artificial sweetener deadly to dogs. Read the label carefully! It's best to avoid ANY "diet" or "sugar-free" yogurt so as not to feed your dog artificial sweeteners that can be hazardous to his health. Always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to your dog's diet.
Plain Yogurt with Live Bacteria
When choosing yogurt, pick a plain, unsweetened brand that has live active bacteria. The active bacteria (i.e. probiotics) aid in digestion and improve immune system function. If your dog is taking antibiotics, which kill both good and bad bacteria, feed him the yogurt at least four hours after he takes his medicine.
How Much to Feed?
Depending on weight, 1 Tablespoon (for smaller dogs) to 2 Tablespoons (for large dogs) atop his regular dog food or on its own is all you need to feed your dog to provide him with the benefits of yogurt. if your dog experiences stomach upset, reduce the amount. If he's on antibiotics, you might want to adjust up, or if Fido is a particularly flatulent breed, such as boxers and bulldogs, more might be beneficial for his digestion. Your dog may also be lactose intolerant, in which case you should skip the yogurt altogether. Again, we urge you to consult with your vet before making any changes to your particular pooch's diet.
Benefits of Yogurt for Dogs
Yogurt can help to ward off excessive yeast, which can lead to ear infections and skin problems. Choose yogurt that has no sugar or artificial sweeteners or flavors, because yeast feeds off sugar.
Yogurt also provides your pooch with extra calcium for strong bones and colon health, potassium and magnesium. Yogurt also provides easy-to-digest protein and healthy carbohydrates and fats and improves the absorption of vitamin B12 -- all things that he needs for energy to chase balls and jump for Frisbees.
By Leslie Darling
About the Author
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.