It’s ooey, gooey, cheesy, fatty goodness, Mac and cheese is an American staple, and it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love it. Especially our dogs!
Speaking of those little cutie pies, many people wonder if it’s OK to give their dog some mac and cheese. We mean, how can you not share that deliciousness with your best fur friend?
But, you may want to hold that fork back as it might be bad to give our dogs mac and cheese. This is one stone we can’t keep unturned, so let’s find out.
Fun and Cheesy Mac and Cheese Fact: While most think of it as an American dish, mac and cheese likely originated from Northern Europe where the earliest known recipe for it was found to date to 1769. However, the tasty dish likely goes back even farther, leaving its true origins unknown.
Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
It’s perfectly fine to give your dog any cheese that falls under the “soft cheese” label, which includes popular cheeses such as mozzarella, string cheese, young or mild cheddar, and cottage cheese. What is cottage cheese anyways; is it like cheese from some cottage?!
You should be warned that before giving your dog any cheese is that they like humans can be lactose intolerant and are more likely to be — while more likely it doesn’t seem breed dependent.
Lactose is a sugar found in cheese, so if you truly want to try giving your dog cheese while keeping the risk of bowel issues to a minimum, then look for cheeses that are lowest in lactose like mild cheddar.
While dogs that aren’t lactose intolerant should be able to handle cottage cheese and mozzarella just fine, lactose intolerant dogs are another story — both kinds of cheeses are high in lactose along with other soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert.
Two things to pay attention to with any cheese is that most are high in fat calories and sodium. There are some great cheeses that are lower in fat, higher in protein, and lower in sodium like natural parmesan.
*Cottage Cheese isn’t high in lactose by default, but it’s often mixed with dairy products that are, so pay close attention to the label or look up the best low lactose brands before handing to the store. You can check out which human foods are good for dogs.
How Much Cheese Is OK For Dogs?
You never really want to give your dog more than a bite size of cheese. To get technical, though, it’s only a few simple calculations. Just take the calories from their total daily dog food and do [cals from one day of dog food] x .10 = [the total daily limit of calories from cheese].
What Happens When A Dog Eats Cheese?
If the cheese is a safe kind of cheese, then most likely your dog will just put on weight if you’re not including the calories from the cheese into their total daily caloric intake.
Regular intake of too much fatty cheese can lead to pancreatitis, which can be deadly in serious cases.
If your dog is lactose intolerant and you give them a cheese with too much lactose, they will likely experience digestive issues, which may include gas, diarrhea, and in rare cases, vomiting.
Fun & Cheesy Mac and Cheese Fact: The first mac and cheese recipe uses a bechamel sauce mixed with cheddar cheese, and would have been perfectly fine to give to a dog. I wonder if dogs have been eating mac and cheese for over 300 years?!
What is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose is a natural type of sugar found in dairy, and if you or your dog is lactose intolerant, then that means the small intestine is not making enough of the lactase enzyme needed to break down lactose.
Without enough of this enzyme present, lactose can go undigested and move into the large intestine where it mixes with the natural bacteria found there, creating symptoms that include gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually last between 30 minutes to a few hours.
Can Dogs Eat Noodles?
It’s fairly rare for dogs to have a wheat allergy, and as long as they don’t, then there is nothing wrong with giving your dog plain noodles or pasta.
Just make sure to take into account how many calories you’re giving them as noodles tend to be high in calories and carbohydrates. Because they are, you definitely don’t want to make noodles a regular part diet.
Can A Dog Need Mac And Cheese?
In small amounts as a treat most dogs should be perfectly fine having a little mac and cheese. But a little bit is not to be taken lightly because your pupperino won’t stay light if you give them too much mac and cheese on a regular basis.
Cheddar cheese is the most common cheese to use in mac and cheese, and it is rather high in fat. Then the noodles themselves are high in carbohydrates. This means mac and cheese has a lot of calories, and little of it is from protein. Calories from protein make up 30-40% of the average dogs’ diet.
So it’s unlikely to hurt your dog, but it’s far from the best human food you can give them.
Fun & Cheesy Mac and Cheese Fact: There is a popular myth that Thomas Jefferson created mac and cheese, which has several variations for how he came up with the dish.
So is it OK to give your dog a bite of that tasty golden-yellow goodness we call heaven, we mean mac and cheese? It sure is. Just make sure you keep it to a bite. Mac and cheese is rather high in calories, and it’s easy to chunk up your pup if you feed them it too much too often.
It’s important to remember to take into account any extra calories your dog is getting in besides their regular dog food. Their main diet, whether it’s kibble or raw, should provide your dog with all their daily needed calories.
So while small treats are perfectly fine, and don’t really require much additional exercise, big treats like mac and cheese will. Seriously, a half cup of mac and cheese is over 150 calories. That alone is a quarter of a 40 lb dog’s daily calorie needs.
So play it safe, and keep portion light so your dog can stay fit and live a long life.