Ah, Cheese. It is easily one of the most delightful and utilitarian food products humans have ever created. It comes in all shapes and tastes, from mild-tasting young cheeses to sharp and stingy aged ones. This heavenly product can be added to your favorite sandwich or could be enjoyed on its own, even better pair it with a glass of wine. Now here’s the situation, you were indulging in cheddar cheese as usual and happen to drop some of it on the floor, and now your fur child is rushing to scoop it up, so the question is can your dog eat this specific cheese? Well, it depends.
What is Cheddar Cheese?
Today there are numerous varieties of cheeses available in the market but undoubtedly, cheddar has become one of the most popular ones. But, what exactly makes it cheddar? Does it have something to do with the region it is produced in? or perhaps it is some special technique that is standardized in the formation of this specific cheese. Honestly, it is neither of these and you’d be surprised to know that the Codex for Trading Standards that was put into action in 1966 is the only thing regulating what separates a cheddar from the rest of the cheeses. According to this standard, cheddar must be firm with moisture levels of less than 39%. A proposal from the Specialist Cheese-makers Association wanted to lift even this restriction, but as we know that didn’t happen, thankfully.
As for its production, one key aspect, known as Cheddaring is used. During the cheese-making, loose curds are cut and shaped into blocks that are flipped and stacked repeatedly by hands. This practice makes the curd acidic, which converts its texture from crumbly to a familiar elastic-like texture. That is one way to do it, however, modern dairy farmers utilize something known as a dry-stir method, this eliminates the need for cutting and stacking the curds, but some people say cheese made with this process is not a ‘real cheddar’. It doesn’t matter how it is produced, but one thing that the regulators keep a watchful eye on is the aging time. According to Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), cheddar must be aged for at least nine months. The Courtyard Dairy
Can Dogs Eat Cheddar Cheese?
Before getting to the specific, and delicious cheddar, let’s see if dogs can eat cheese in the first place. The answer to this concern is yes, they can indulge in cheese, while some dogs may love it, for others, it might not be the best idea as they can be lactose intolerant and can even develop allergies to it. If your dog is lactose intolerant just avoid feeding them any sort of cheese. For the ones that can eat it, it is a great source of protein, fatty acids, and calcium. Trainers often use it for dogs that are treat-oriented or you can even conceal their medication pills in it. American Kennel Club
If your dog happens to be lactose intolerant they will experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, excessive thirst, bloating, and even vomiting. While this is not life-threatening, if these symptoms continue for a prolonged period it can be fatal. The reason why this happens according to experts is that there is only 3% lactose in milk produced by female dogs, whereas in cow’s milk it is 5%, and some puppies just don’t produce enough lactase enzyme to digest it. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you do not feed them dairy products, and if they have accidentally ingested some, take them to the vet. Wag Walking
As for the cheddar, if your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, they can have some of it without an issue. Your pooch will love it, and experts suggest that while it is a good idea to give your dog cheese now and then, you must not feed them cheese regularly. It should be used as a high-value reward for their extremely good behavior or learning a new, difficult trick, I suppose we humans should learn from this as well, and not consume cheese every day, but who am I kidding? I’m having string cheese as I’m writing this but let’s focus on the pooches. By the way, you can also let them have some string cheese. Little Things
Now back to the scenario, and before you let your fur child lick it clean off the floor, you must be aware of how this cheese was made and be wary of the components. Big corporations and supermarkets often label some products as ”cheese product” or “cheddar style”, and if you happen to be eating these, it is a bad idea to feed them to your dog. It is a bad idea to eat it yourself because these are pretentious cheeses full of chemicals that will harm your body. As cheddar has less moisture content, it is good for your pooch, but some cheesemakers like to salt it heavily which can cause serious health issues like extreme water retention in dogs. Now if you are certain that what you dropped on the floor was real cheddar and not full of salt, by all means, let Fido have some of it. Just don’t be surprised when they give you the puppy-eyes and request for more of this heavenly stuff.