Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese? (inc. Nutritional Analysis)
by Tudor Nikolas on Aug 17, 2023.
Cream cheese is one of my favorite spreads to have on bread! While it's rich in calcium and healthy for us, can dogs eat cream cheese as well? Generally, that's fine as long as it's done in moderation. Unlike blue cheese, it doesn't pose any immediate dangers and it's not toxic.
However, as we'll see, it can be high in fats and there are certain types of processed cream cheese to avoid in dogs.
What is cream cheese?
Cream cheese is a lovely soft spreadable cheese made from a mixture of milk and cream. It contains a fair amount of fat and is known for its smooth texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor.
One brand you might be familiar with is Philadelphia cream cheese, but there are other smaller supermarket private label brands too.
The Nutritional Content of Cream Cheese
|Nutritional breakdown||Amount per 100g|
The nutritional content tells us that it can be a good source of calcium and protein, but it also has a high amount of calories, fat and salt. (source)
Note that this is the unprocessed version that has not had any of the fat removed. Nowadays you can buy "Light" versions of cream cheese with much less fat.
While these reduced fat versions may be preferred by some of us, please note that they often have extra additives.
These added ingredients may contain fillers, stabilizers, or artificial sweeteners to maintain flavor and consistency. Some of the additives can be harmful to dogs so it's essential to read the label to ensure no harmful ingredients are included.
In addition to the nutritional components above, here is some of the vitamins and minerals roughly present in 100g of cream cheese. This will of course vary between brands, so always check the label for the most accurate nutritional analysis.
|Vitamin A||875 IU|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.2mg|
Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese Daily?
This is something we would not recommend. As you can see above, cream cheese is high in fat, especially saturated fat.
Feeding your dog too much fat can lead to obesity and other health problems like pancreatitis.
When to Avoid Giving Your Dog Cream Cheese
Cream cheese has a high amount of lactose, as it's derived from milk. Your dog should avoid cream cheese if they are lactose intolerant or if they are allergic to ay of the ingredients.
Avoid Cream Cheese if Lactose Intolerant
Feeding cream cheese to a lactose-intolerant dog could lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or stomach pain. You should therefore avoid it as it wouldn't be healthy for them.
Avoid added ingredients. Although high in fat and saturated fat, the original "whole" cream cheese is still the best in my opinion. If you can get an additive free reduced fat version, this is a good option as well.
Avoid Ingredients toxic to dogs
Be mindful that some cream cheese brands contain added ingredients like garlic, onions, or artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic to dogs.
Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onions come from the Allium vegetable family. These contain thiosulfate that can damage red blood cells and make your dog prone to getting haemolytic anaemia.
Some cream cheeses contain Cayenne pepper for the added spice. This is another big no no for your dog. It can cause burning sensation and irritation in your dog's digestive tract.
After exposure your dog might become uncomfortable and even have vomiting or diarrhoea.
Avoid if your dog has had pancreatitis
Cream cheese and other cheeses should be avoided in dogs who have had pancreatitis. They will be unable to process the cheese if lacking the right enzymes.
As pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, often related to a high-fat diet, this means that cream cheese's fat content might trigger a recurrence of this condition.
How much cream cheese can I give to my dog?
Moderation is key, and avoid giving your dog cream cheese daily.
It's fine to have as an occasional treat, or if you happen to be eating cream cheese and your dog keeps staring at you.
Just like a treat, they will appreciate it and provide some variety compared to their usual dog food.
TIP: You can use cream cheese to disguise medication if your dog is on any prescription meds. However, if they also have diabetes, digestive issues, problems with pancreas or lactose intolerant, they should avoid cream cheese.
If your lactose intolerant dog has had cream cheese, call your vet as he or she may need to be examined in person.
In relation to the high fat and salt content, do note that in my experience, cream cheese can have a mildly addictive taste. So don't wait for your dog to turn away before you stop offering it to him.
Note that having too much cream cheese can result in dog obesity such as this Dachshund. This is very unhealthy in the long term as it can cause multiple health problems.
What other options are there to cream cheese?
Be mindful that ingredients such as salt and fat will add up from all the various treats you are giving them.
This is also in addition to the fat and salt from their regular meals, which should be low but not negligible.
In conclusion, cream cheese is a good idea as an occasional treat option for your dog. As long as it doesn't have any of the toxic ingredients mentioned, it's a good option to have in moderation. Do take into account the high fat and salt content, and go for the additive free versions.