You’re sitting at the breakfast table enjoying your bagel and cream cheese while your dog looks at you longingly as she wishes for even a single bite. You consider it, but you’re not sure. After all, the thought has never crossed your mind before. Can dogs eat cream cheese? Is there anything in it that will hurt them? Should you give in to your dog when it comes to table scraps in any capacity? Fortunately, all that will be broken down here. That way, the next time you decide to put cream cheese on your bagel and you see that longing look of absolute begging from your dog, you would know what to do.
What’s in Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is one of those beautiful products that are absolutely delicious, yet equally uncomplicated. It’s made from nothing more than cow’s milk and cream. Unless you’re talking about one of the flavored varieties that you often find in the supermarket, these are the only ingredients that are included. The good thing about that fact is that it cuts down on the number of ingredients that could potentially cause problems for your dog if she eats it. In fact, it’s perfectly okay for her to have cream cheese in small amounts, provided you don’t feed it to her on a daily basis. That said, there are some exceptions to this rule. Even if you find yourself in a situation where it’s perfectly safe to feed your dog cream cheese, you still don’t want to feed her too much. If you want to know why keep reading.
How Much is Too Much?
Cream cheese is like a lot of other dog treats that you might decide to feed your dog. It’s a lovely treat, but that’s all it should be. It’s far too rich to be part of her regular diet. In fact, you might decide to give her one small bite of your plain bagel with plain cream cheese on it and that would be more than enough. Unless you want a dog that’s overweight, it’s not even a good idea to feed her that small amount on a daily basis. Instead, consider it a special treat that you give her once or twice a week. Make sure that you take the size of your dog into account as well. Larger dogs can handle just a little bit more than small dogs. You definitely don’t want to feed your dog too much because if you do, you’re likely to cause stomach upset and diarrhea. It’s really much better to stick to smaller amounts than it is to give too much and end up regretting your decision later on. Ultimately, the amount that you feed your dog will be based not only on her size but her overall health as well. Much of it comes down to how well she handles table scraps. Some dogs don’t have any trouble with them at all and other dogs seem to get sick to their stomach every time they have any—most likely, these are pets that need dog food for sensitive stomachs.
Exceptions to the Rule
Remember that there are always exceptions to the rule in almost every case and this is no different. There are times when it’s not safe to feed cream cheese to your dog. It doesn’t have anything to do with the cream cheese itself (provided it’s plain), but more about the overall health of your dog. Some dogs need to be on a special diet and they just don’t do well if you deviate from that diet, no matter how small the amount is or how infrequently you do it. If your dog has a stomach that is so sensitive she gets sick every time she even tastes something that isn’t part of her regular diet, you would probably be doing her a favor not to give her the cream cheese at all. The same is true if your dog has a problem with dairy products. They just don’t agree with all dogs. If that’s the case, you should obviously refrain from feeding her cream cheese in any capacity. By the same token, don’t feed your dog cream cheese when she’s just getting over something that has caused her to have any type of stomach discomfort, including nausea and diarrhea. Too much cream cheese can cause diarrhea in even the healthiest dogs. Clearly, that’s the last thing you want to feed her if she’s already been experiencing issues. Again, if your veterinarian has placed your dog on a restricted diet, please don’t feed her cream cheese or anything else that isn’t part of that diet. It might be hard to resist her while she is begging you for a treat, but you’re not helping her. She’s been placed on such a diet for a reason. The few seconds of enjoyment that she will get out of eating the cream cheese just aren’t worth the hours or potentially even days of discomfort that she will likely experience as a direct result of it.
Plain is Best
This has already been touched on briefly, but it’s definitely worth discussing again. The only type of cream cheese that you should even consider feeding your dog is the plain variety. Whatever you do, don’t feed her cream cheese that has other ingredients in it. A lot of the time, you’ll find various varieties of cream cheese in the supermarket that have additional ingredients such as garlic and onions. You should never feed this type of cream cheese to your dog. Both garlic and onions are toxic to dogs. Even a small amount can be fatal. Do not risk it. Cream cheese frosting should be avoided too as they contain high sugar and vanilla which is toxic to dogs. You should always double-check before you feed your dog cream cheese to make sure that you are indeed feeding her nothing more than the plain variety. The containers look a lot alike. Be careful not to pick one up thinking that you have the plain variety, only to find out after you’ve already fed it to your dog that it was something else. That could very well result in an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
What if Your Dog is Overweight?
If your dog is overweight, you should probably be sticking to a diet that has been prescribed by your veterinarian. Dogs are not really that different from people when it comes to losing weight. They need more exercise and they have to eat a very specific diet in controlled portions in order to lose weight. You might not think that a small bite of cream cheese would do any harm whatsoever. The thing is, people have a tendency to give their dogs these small treats throughout the day without realizing how many times they’ve actually done that in the last 24 hours, much less the last week. It all adds up. If you’ve ever been on a diet yourself, you know that one of the best ways to make sure you’re successful is to write down everything you eat, even if it’s only a single bite. Most people end up being very surprised at how much they really eat when they don’t even realize what they’re doing. In fact, that mindless eating is what trips most people up. The very same thing can derail your dog’s attempts to lose weight as well. You might think you’ve only fed her one or two treats in a week when you’ve actually given her double that amount in a single day. Unless you live alone, you also have to consider the possibility that everyone else in your family is doing the same thing. Therefore, the cream cheese really should be off-limits until your dog reaches her goal weight. Perhaps then, it could be a special treat, provided it’s only provided once in a great while.
The Bottom Line
Unless your dog has special health concerns that cause her to be predisposed to vomiting and diarrhea or she’s trying to lose weight, it’s usually safe to feed a very small amount of cream cheese as long as you make sure that there’s nothing else added to it . Obviously, if your dog eats the cream cheese and then ends up with vomiting or diarrhea, you would be well-advised not to feed her the product again. In most cases, it’s perfectly fine as long as you don’t go overboard.
You might still be on the fence about whether or not you should feed your dog cream cheese, even after reading through all of this. Here are some frequently asked questions that might help clear things up a little more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can cream cheese make dogs sick?
Yes, it can. Practically any food can make dogs sick if they’re given too much of it. Even the most nutritious and best dog food isn’t healthy if it’s given in excessive amounts. If you feed your dog too much cream cheese, it’s very likely that she will end up with diarrhea and the stomach discomfort that naturally comes with it. It could also make her vomit. Typically, this doesn’t happen unless you give dogs cream cheese in excess (or you’re giving it practically every time you turn around). However, it’s always important to remember that every dog is different. The same treat that one dog loves can cause a whole host of problems for another. Like anything else, it’s best to feed a very small amount of cream cheese and then wait and see how your dog does with it before giving her any more. Last but not least, make sure that the cream cheese you feed her is plain, with nothing else added to it.
How much cream cheese can my dog eat?
This will depend on your dog. The amount of cream cheese you can safely feed a dog varies depending on several factors. One is your dog’s size, as bigger dogs can handle slightly larger amounts of cream cheese than smaller animals. It also depends on the way your dog reacts to food in general. If she has a sensitive stomach, you’re obviously going to feed her less cream cheese than you would if she didn’t tend to be bothered by those issues. Generally speaking, it should be a small, single bite. Your dog doesn’t need an entire bagel slathered with cream cheese in order to be happy.
Does cream cheese give dogs diarrhea?
It definitely can. If you feed your dog too much of it, it’s highly likely that she will have diarrhea. The severity of it will depend on the amount that you fed her and how sensitive she is to it in the first place. It could be something that clears up after one or two trips outside or it could be something that you’re dealing with for a couple of days.
Can dogs eat cream cheese and bagels?
Again, eating cream cheese that’s plain and on a bagel is fine for dogs, provided that you only give her a small bite. There is absolutely no reason that your dog should be eating an entire bagel. That much cream cheese isn’t healthy. It’s likely to give your dog diarrhea, not to mention packing on the pounds. Just give her a small bite every once in a while and allow her to be happy with that.