Can Dogs Eat Parmesan Cheese? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat parmesan cheese in moderation, provided they are not prone to specific sensitivities. Cheese is an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. It is a rich source of calcium, vitamin A, B-complex, and essential fatty acids. However, parmesan cheese has high salt content, making it unsuitable for dogs to consume larger quantities.


What Is Parmesan Cheese? 

Parmesan cheese is native to Northern Italy. It has a characteristic flavor similar to nuts that may combine sweet, salty, and bitter tastes. They have a granular texture and a color that varies from light to dark yellow. Parmesan cheese is produced from unpasteurized cow’s milk, and its manufacturing process dates back to the Middle Ages. Additionally, it is an aged cheese preserved naturally for at least 12 months. In the United States, parmesan cheese is commonly called Parmigiano-Reggiano. Some of the grated variations of the Parmesan cheese contain preservatives not used in classic Parmesan. 

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of hard Parmesan packs (7Trusted Source) contain:


In addition, other essential minerals in this cheese include:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium

Is Parmesan Cheese Safe for Dogs?

Parmesan cheese is non-toxic and can be safely fed to dogs in moderation. However, as this cheese is high in sodium, you shouldn’t provide it excessively.

Why Is Parmesan Cheese Good For Dogs?

  • Parmesan cheese has an abundance of proteins and fat, which makes it an energy-rich diet. 
  • The fat content of this cheese is easily absorbed and used to provide instant energy. This process discourages fat accumulation in the body. 
  • Additionally, parmesan cheese contains low lactose content, which eases digestion.
  • Good for dogs on a vegan diet. 
  • This cheese contains calcium, phosphorus, and zinc, which helps promote bone health. 
  • In addition, this cheese also helps strengthen the teeth and reduces the secretion of plaque and cavities causing acids. 
  • Protects aging dogs from osteoporosis. 

Why Is Parmesan Cheese Bad for Dogs?

Parmesan cheese is allowed to age to enhance its flavor and texture. Unfortunately, this process calls for a high salt to be added to it for natural preservation. As a result, parmesan cheese has a high sodium content of about 76 mg of salt per tablespoon of cheese. This poses a health concern for dogs, especially those with kidney or heart conditions. Although only a large dose of parmesan cheese is deadly to dogs, smaller quantities aren’t healthy either. Further, excessive salt intake could lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, kidney problems, and salt toxicity.  

Symptoms of salt toxicity in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • A lack of appetite
  • Muscle spasms, convulsions, and seizures
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate
  • High fever

If salt toxicity is left untreated, it can lead to coma and death in severe cases. Hence, reach out to your vet immediately if you notice the above symptoms. 

High-fat content: A higher fat content means your dog will add more calories than his daily requirement. This high-fat content causes obesity leading to other health issues, including bone problems, diabetes, heart problems, and poor blood circulation. Moreover, excessive consumption of high-fat food could show the following symptoms:

Symptoms of consuming a high-fat food:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful inflammation of the pancreas resulting in pancreatitis

Lactose Intolerance: Although parmesan cheese contains lower levels of lactose, it can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs when fed excessively.

Symptoms of lactose-intolerance in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A lack of appetite
  • Flatulence
  • An inflated belly

Sometimes parmesan cheese may be infused with certain herbs and other products such as onion and garlic that are toxic to dogs. This could lead to onion and garlic poisoning in dogs. 

Both onion and garlic contain toxic compounds that make red blood cells carry less oxygen and invade your dog’s body. As a result, the red blood cell is destroyed and results in hemolytic anemia and jaundice. 

Symptoms of onion and garlic toxicity: 

  • General weakness
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea,
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Blood in the urine

How much Parmesan cheese to Feed Your Dog?

Parmesan Cheese can be fed occasionally as a training treat during training sessions. Also, you can sprinkle the cheese in the dishes once in a while. However, regular consumption of the same will lead to adverse effects. 

What if my Dog ate Parmesan cheese?

Although most of the dogs don’t react adversely to cheese, they may show some gastrointestinal upset if fed excessively. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If you’re feeding your dog cheese for the first time, observe her for the above symptoms and reach out to your vet immediately.

Alternatives to Parmesan cheese

As parmesan cheese contains a high salt content, you can substitute it with other types such as cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains lower amounts of fat and sodium, making it a healthy alternative. Additionally, yogurt is an excellent alternative to parmesan cheese.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Cheddar Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cheddar cheese as they are low-fat cheese.

Can Dogs Eat Mozzarella?

Yes, dogs can eat mozzarella cheese as they are low-fat cheese.

Can Dogs Eat Swiss Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat Swiss cheese in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Ricotta Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat ricotta cheese in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese?

No, dogs cannot eat cream cheese as it consists of preservatives, additives, garlic, and other spices. Hence, it is best to avoid feeding your pet.

Final Thoughts:

You can feed parmesan cheese to your dog in moderation. However, it is suggested to consider the salt profile before providing them.

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