Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese? Dangers & Benefits

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Do you have a dog that loves cheese?

Anytime I mention cheese, my dog comes running. It does matter what kind, provolone, swiss, cheddar, you name it.

Most cheeses are somewhat similar in terms of their health benefits and risks, but some are considered safer than others for dogs to eat.

Is parmesan cheese one of the safe ones for dogs to eat?

Can dogs have parmesan cheese?

Yes, dogs can technically eat parmesan cheese, but it’s not the best choice. Parmesan cheese is high in sodium which puts dogs at risk of salt poisoning when eating too much. It does have lower levels of lactose, though, so it can be easier on a dog’s stomach than other cheeses.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • Why Provolone cheese can be good or bad for dogs
  • The dangers & benefits associated with dogs eating provolone
  • What to do if your dog eats too much cheese

Let’s dive in.

Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese? Dangers & Benefits

Can Dogs Have Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is a hard, dry cheese that makes it low in lactose compared to other soft cheeses.

This makes it easier to digest for some dogs with lactose-sensitive stomachs.

However, being an aged cheese, it’s also high in sodium since salt is used to help preserve the cheese.

For dogs, this can be dangerous because when dogs eat too much salt, they can develop a condition called salt poisoning.

So can dogs eat parmesan cheese?

The short answer is yes, but in small amounts. Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese that is high in sodium. High sodium levels can be poisonous to dogs, especially for dogs with certain health conditions.

So while dogs can eat small amounts of parmesan cheese without issue, it’s not the best choice. Instead, opt for cheese with lower sodium, like cottage cheese.

Should I Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese On Dog Food?

If you’re looking to add some extra flavor to your dog’s food, sprinkling a bit of parmesan cheese onto their food can be okay.

While a little bit can provide some benefits to dogs, the high sodium content is something you need to keep track of if you decide to feed them parmesan.

Is Parmesan Cheese Good For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese

While too much parmesan cheese can be detrimental to a dog’s health, a small amount can be suitable for dogs every so often.

Parmesan cheese is a good source of protein and fat. 

It’s high in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. All of these nutrients are essential for a dog’s overall health.

So, a small amount of parmesan cheese as a treat can benefit your dog, but make sure not to overdo it.

How Much Parmesan Cheese Can Dogs Eat Safely?

The amount of parmesan cheese that is safe for dogs to eat will vary depending on the size of the dog and lactose tolerance.

A small dog can only handle a bit of cheese, while a large dog can eat a little more.

As a general rule of thumb, you should only feed small breeds half a teaspoon, and for medium to large dogs, about one teaspoon or one and a half teaspoons of parmesan cheese.

Any more than that, and you’re risking salt poisoning.

Dangers Of Dogs Eating Parmesan Cheese

While parmesan cheese can be a healthy treat for dogs in moderation, there are some dangers to consider before feeding it to your dog.

Risk For Dogs With Health Conditions

Dogs with certain diseases are more at risk when feeding them parmesan cheese.

This is because the high sodium content can worsen symptoms like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Dogs already struggling with these health conditions should avoid eating foods high in sodium like parmesan cheese.

High Salt Content

Salt is horrible for dogs. A dog’s body is not designed to tolerate large amounts of salt.

When they do, they could develop salt poisoning.

Now, if you look at a recommended daily sodium intake for a dog that’s 33 lbs, it’s less than 100mg.

The bigger the dog, the more it can handle, and the smaller, the less.

For example, a 10lbs Yorkie should have less than 30 mg of salt daily. In contrast, a 75lbs Golden Retriever should have no more than 227 mg of salt daily.

Salt toxicity can occur when a dog ingests 2 to 3 grams of sodium for every kg of body weight. This is equivalent to about 0.35 to 0.53 teaspoons of salt for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. 

A dog should never consume more than 1 mg of salt per kg of body weight daily.

The most common signs of salt poisoning include:

  • Extreme thirst and urination
  • High fever
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Lack of energy, weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Respiratory distress
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Stomach pains
  • Tongue swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Walking without balance
  • Watery diarrhea

Also, it’s important to remember that your dog is eating salt in other parts of their diet, so consider this before giving your dog some parmesan.

What To Do If Your Dog Overeats Cheese?

Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese

Most of the time, dogs who overeat cheese end up with diarrhea and stinky farts for a day or two.

Some may even vomit. However, it depends on how much parmesan cheese they got into and how big your dog is.

After speaking with my father Dr. Littlejohn, to find out what he’d recommend, here are the main takeaways I got.

Vets will usually ask about the following things:

  • Ingredients in the food 
  • Amount consumed
  • The size of your dog
  • How long ago they consumed it
  • Any changes to your dog’s behaviors
  • Your dog’s energy level
  • Signs of physical pain or discomfort
  • If your dog’s drinking or eating
  • If they vomited or pooped since eating it (and what it looked like)

Every situation is different depending on what they ate, how much, and how big your dog is, but these are some major things vets will ask.

Knowing these common questions vets will ask can help determine what you should pay attention to.

Of course, you know your dog best, so if you think something is off, you’re likely right.

As a rule of thumb, always seek medical advice from your vet if you know they ate something dangerous or suspect an issue with your dog.

When dogs overeat cheese 99 out of 100 times, a dog will be completely fine.

The biggest concerns with parmesan cheese are the high levels of salt that, when overeaten, can cause issues.

Salt toxicity can occur when dogs ingest 2 to 3 grams of sodium for every kg of body weight. This is equivalent to about 0.35 to 0.53 teaspoons of salt for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. 

A dog should never consume more than 1 mg of salt per kg of body weight daily.

If you suspect your dog may have salt poisoning, the most common signs include:

  • Extreme thirst and urination
  • High fever
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Lack of energy, weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Respiratory distress
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Stomach pains
  • Tongue swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Walking without balance
  • Watery diarrhea

Call your vet or emergency animal hospital immediately if you think your dog has salt poisoning.

In the United States, you can also call (888) 426-4435 to contact the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline or (855) 764-7661 to reach the Pet Poison Helpline.

When in doubt, always seek professional medical advice from your veterinarian.

You can also use online services to speak directly with a vet for immediate help.

Click here if you wish to speak with a vet online right now.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese

What Happens If A Dog Eats Parmesan Cheese?

In most cases, nothing will happen if your dog eats parmesan cheese.

The biggest concerns are the high levels of salt which can cause issues when overeating.

Most of the time, dogs that overeat cheese end up with diarrhea and stinky farts for a day or two, and that’s about it.

Are Dogs Allowed Parmesan?

Yes, dogs are allowed to have parmesan cheese. You just need to be careful about the amount they eat because of the high salt levels.

Parmesan cheese can be a good treat for dogs in small amounts.

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