Pets are family and you always want them to be able to indulge in a treat here and there. However, you may be wondering if some treats are safer than others. When it comes to dairy products, a lot of people have differing opinions about whether they’re safe or not for dogs. But can dogs eat sour cream safely?
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or you’re just wanting to give your dog a treat, here’s everything you need to know about your dog indulging in sour cream.
What is Sour Cream?
According to Healthline, sour cream is made by adding lactic acid producing bacteria to ferment cream made from dairy milk. It’s a common condiment when it comes to tacos, baked potatoes, stews, or soups. Sour cream is naturally high in fat and calories, making recommended serving sizes small.
This has made fat free sour cream an incredibly popular substitute over the years, so people are able to enjoy the creamy goodness without the excess calories.
Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream?
Yes, dogs can eat sour cream as long as they don’t have lactose intolerance. It’s not toxic and is perfectly safe to consume on an occasional basis. If you don’t know if your dog is lactose intolerant, skip the sour cream and opt for lean meat instead. If you know your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, then they can have a yummy small serving.
Opt for low-fat sour cream, since a dog’s body is smaller and excess calories will lead to weight gain. Stick to organic sour cream that doesn’t contain any artificial additives, as these provide no nutritional value to your dog.
According to Healthline, here is the general nutritional value of two tablespoons of regular sour cream:
- Calories: 59
- Total fat: 5.8 grams
- Saturated fat: 3 grams
- Carbs: 1.3 grams
- Protein: 0.7 grams
- Calcium: 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Phosphorus: 3% of the DV
- Potassium: 1% of the DV
- Magnesium: 1% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 4% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 3% of the DV
- Choline: 1% of the DV
Sour cream is a great source of natural fat in a dog’s diet as long as they aren’t lactose intolerant. It can be added to your dog’s food to add healthy fat. If you’re worried about the excess calories in sour cream but still want to give your dog a treat, opt for low fat sour cream.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Much like people, a lot of dogs struggle with lactose intolerance. What person, or dog, doesn’t like dairy products? Lactose intolerance can make it hard for dogs to digest and stomach dairy products. But what exactly is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance can be defined as the partial or inability to digest lactose – the primary enzyme and protein found in milk products. According to Rover, when puppies are young, they begin to wean off their mother’s milk. As this happens, they begin to not be able to digest lactose as well as their bodies stop deeming milk essential. Over time, some dogs are able to only tolerate very small amounts of lactose, if they’re able to tolerate any at all. Cow and goat milk is naturally higher in lactose than dog milk, which means that a lot of dogs have trouble stomaching and digesting lactose altogether.
Signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
- Little appetite
Some dogs may even take lactose intolerance a step further – some dogs may be flat out allergic to it.
A lactose allergy can look like:
- Difficulty breathing
- Facial swelling
If you notice your dog exhibiting signs or symptoms of lactose intolerance or allergy, take them to the vet or the nearest 24 hour emergency animal hospital. Qualified veterinarians can help diagnose or rule out any possible allergies or sensitivities.
Sour Cream Flavored Items to Avoid Feeding Your Dog
Since sour cream is a popular condiment, the American market is flooded with sour cream flavored snacks that can be potentially dangerous to your dog. Avoid feeding your dog the following sour cream flavored snacks at all costs:
- Sour cream chips
- Sour cream dips
- Sour cream based salad dressings
Sour cream is fine on its own for your dog and should be consumed by itself in its purest form, as long as your dog doesn’t have a lactose intolerance or allergy. Sour cream flavored items can contain other additives that are potentially toxic to dogs, most notably onions, garlic, and chives. If you give your dog sour cream, keep it low fat, organic, simple, and pure.
Other Dairy Products That Are Safe For Dogs
As long as your dog doesn’t have lactose intolerance or an allergy, there are several safe dairy products for your dog to consume!
- Cheese. Cheese is perfectly safe for your dog to consume as long as it’s not processed. Keep it to whole, organic, natural cheeses to satisfy your dog’s dairy cravings!
- Milk. Milk is a wonderful treat for your dog. Keep it to skim or fat free milk to avoid high calories and potential weight gain.
- Plain yogurt. Yogurt is one of the best ways to feed your dog dairy. Avoid flavored yogurt, yogurts with artificial sweeteners, and highly processed yogurts, as these can contain additives that are toxic to your dog. Plain yogurt is a wonderful source of calcium in a dog’s diet!
- Plain cream cheese. If your dog is on medication, cream cheese is a wonderful way to sneak pills into your dog’s diet. Simply roll it up in a ball and put in their breakfast or dinner and watch them go to town! Plain cream cheese provides a fun treat for your dogs.
- Kefir. Kefir is a popular fermented dairy product that contains tons of beneficial intestinal bacteria. Feeding your dog kefir can help keep their bowels happy and healthy! It’s additionally easily digestible since it’s low in lactose.
- Cottage cheese. Another wonderful dairy option for dogs, cottage cheese is highly fermented. Similar to kefir, the fermentation process of cottage cheese allows for a lower lactose content
In summary – Is Sour Cream Good For Dogs?
If your dog loves dairy products, sour cream is perfectly safe for them to eat, as long as it’s whole, organic, low fat and free of additives!