Parmesan is one of the most popular cheese types in meals and snacks. It is a hard cheese that is native to Italy. The cheese is made from cow’s milk aged for a minimum of a year.
In Italy, where the recipe for making Parmesan was created, it is known as Parmigiano Reggiano. The name comes from the two provinces of Italy that widely produces it.
Many people embrace this cheese because of its unique flavor, which goes well with almost any food. While you might like to sprinkle Parmesan on most meals you are preparing, is it safe for your furry friend?
Is Parmesan Cheese Safe for Dogs?
Parmesan is generally safe for dogs to consume, but this does not mean that they can have it in large quantities. Although it has a lot of nutrients that can benefit your dog, the cheese has high levels of sodium that can affect their health.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
Health Benefits of Parmesan Cheese to Dogs
Different dairy products have different nutritional content. In Parmesan, the fat content is only 25 grams, which is low compared to goat cheese which has 30 grams per 100g serving. The low fat content makes Parmesan much healthier for dogs.
Parmesan cheese is also rich in nutrients such as:
It is a vital micronutrient in canines that ensures proper bone and teeth development and prevents health complications. Calcium also assists in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system and keeping your pooch’s heart strong.
It is an essential element for dogs as it boosts their physiological functions. A potassium deficient dog will be inactive and likely suffer from muscle weakness.
It is also a vital mineral in a dog’s body as it is involved in the production of energy. A dog with hypomagnesemia, which is a lack of the mineral at the cellular level, will experience difficulty walking and heart arrhythmia.
Low Lactose Content
Some dogs are lactose intolerant as they lack the necessary enzymes to break the sugar content in the milk. If your dog is healthy, the lactose tolerance level is about 2 grams per kilogram of their body weight.
Grated Parmesan contains lactose in a range between 2.9% to 3.7%, while the fresh version ranges from 0 to 3.2%. Parmesan, a hard cheese, contains less lactose content than softer cheese and can be easier for your pooch to digest.
Alternatively, dogs can have string cheese as it has low lactose content. Blue cheese can be harmful to your dog if you look at the lactose content alone, as it will release chemicals detrimental to dogs when it ripens.
Related: Can Dogs Have Lactose-Free Milk?
The preparation process of Parmesan cheese uses a significant amount of salt as a preservative. Salt can cause problems to canines as high sodium content is associated with kidney and heart conditions.
Your furry friend should only have about 1.5 g of salt per 100g of food. Ensure to factor this in when preparing the cheese for dogs. If your furry friend is healthy, they will have to ingest a significant amount of Parmesan before it is considered lethal.
Though Parmesan is safe, lactose intolerant dogs can experience gastrointestinal issues. The following signs will be visible:
- Lack of appetite
The high salt content can also affect dogs with severe health issues. They will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Muscle spasms
- Excessive drinking of water
What to Do If Parmesan Cheese Affects Your Dog
If your dog has pre-existing health issues and ate Parmesan cheese accidentally, it will be best if you take quick action to save their life. The first step is to immediately contact your vet, who will guide you on how to offer first aid to your furry friend as you rush to the hospital.
Most times, the Parmesan cheese you use in the meals you share with your dog might not affect your dog’s health. The danger only comes when your dog is lactose intolerant, has an underlying health condition, or overeats food containing this cheese.
In case you do not have Parmesan cheese in your home but wish to make a tasty meal to share with your pup, use mozzarella cheese in its place. Both kinds of cheese are healthier and more nutritious compared to their counterparts.