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Milk products

Chihuahuas and Milk Products

Milk, Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ice Cream and Yogurt

Overview 

With humans, milk is part of an overall healthy eating plan. It contains high levels of calcium and overtime can strength bones. Studies have shown that it can also improve cardiovascular health and even has some cancer prevention properties. Many owners eat all sorts of milk products and wonder if it's okay to feed them to their Chihuahua. This section will discuss if the most popular milk-based foods are okay for a Chihuahua to eat or drink.

We will go over the details of the following foods:
  • Milk (drinking plain milk or adding this to foods)  
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese (hard and soft)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ice cream
jug of milk
Can a Chihuahua drink milk? Milk itself is not toxic to dogs, however many dogs are either lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive. Lactose is a complex sugar (it has two sugar molecules) that is found in both cow and goat milk. In order to be digested, it needs to be broken down by the body into two parts. To do this, a body needs to use an enzyme known as lactase. While all dogs do have this enzyme, many have low levels that prevents them from properly digesting milk products.  

The key to this, however, is that various milk based foods contain different levels of lactose, and many Chihuahuas so just fine with the foods that do have lower levels. 

Plain cow's milk contains a very high level, which is 11 grams per 1 cup serving. Goat's milk has a slightly lower amount of 9.9 grams in each cup. For this reason, giving a Chihuahua milk on regular basis can cause quite a few digestive problems. It can make a Chihuahua vomit, have very loose stools or diarrhea and/or have flatulence problems. 
If you were thinking of adding milk to your Chihuahua's food to moisten the kibble, drizzling some low-sodium chicken or beef broth works much better. 

If you were thinking of giving a newborn Chihuahua milk if he is not nursing well or give it to a Chihuahua puppy during the weaning process (that normally begins at the age of 4 weeks old), this should not be done. A pup's tiny body cannot handle the disruptive properties of the lactose and this more often than not will make the puppy very ill with diarrhea, stomach upset and possibly vomiting which can cause dangerous dehydration. It is recommended to use a quality canine milk replacer. A good canine milk replacer will closely match a dam's milk, with proper protein and fat levels. It will have a much lower lactose level than regular milk and in addition, it will contain vitamins and amino acids. 
Can a Chihuahua eat yogurt? Some types of yogurt are actually very healthy for Chihuahuas and they can eat this without any issues. Yogurt is high in protein and as with humans, acts as a probiotic for dogs. Foods high in probiotics help to keep a dog's digestive system running well; it balances out the 'good' vs 'bad' bacteria. Yogurt contains Lactobacillus, a 'good' bacterium that actually counteracts any lactose intolerance that would otherwise occur. 

We do recommend giving this to Chihuahua puppies, especially those that are just transition to a new home and may be experiencing a bit of stress from that. 

You will want to avoid giving any type that contains artificial sweeteners, since these can be toxic to canines. 
yogurt and fruit for Chihuahua
It's also best to stick with plain yogurt since those with added fruits can often contain artificial flavoring and/or coloring which can cause allergic responses in dogs that are sensitive to those chemicals. 

Whole white yogurt or Greek yogurt (which typical has 40% less lactose than regular varieties) can be a great addition to a Chihuahua puppy or dog's overall diet. A dollop can be added to meals, either placed on top or mixed in to add some moisture to dry kibble. 

Fruits such as blueberries and raspberries are really good, healthy treats for dogs; so adding some of these berries to some whole yogurt is a great snack for a Chihuahua of any age

You can also feed frozen yogurt to dogs, as long as it is not flavored, does not contain sugar substitutes including but not limited to aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Saccharian, stevia or Xylitol (which is very toxic to dogs).
small slices of cheese
Can a Chihuahua eat cheese? A Chihuahua can eat cheese and some are better than others. Some people believe that cheese causes constipation, however this is not true; it is low levels of fiber that lead to constipation issues and studies found that when a lot of cheese and meats are consumed, less foods that contain fiber are being ingested and that is what brings about issues.  

Dogs generally love this taste and this is why so many commercial dog treats contain this flavor. Different cheeses will have various levels of lactose and one of the best cheeses to feed a Chihuahua is aged cheddar cheese which has less than 1 gram per 1 ounce serving. Swiss and American cheese both have 1 gram per 1 oz. serving which is also considered to be a negligible amount. Small blocks are often used by professional dogs trainers, since most dogs do love the taste and will often work extra hard to obtain it. 
Cream cheese can be fed to Chihuahuas in small amounts, although with this food it would be unusual to eat a large quality. A small 1.5 ounce serving has less than 1 gram of lactose so blending some into food to either add flavor or moisture is perfectly fine.  

While any food is not good if given in excess, offering small pieces of cheese to a Chihuahua can be a healthy part of a diverse diet. If an owner were to give their dog large amounts of cheese, as with any milk-based food, it would cause diarrhea, stomach upset and possibly vomiting. 

For those that have to give their dog medicine in pill form, hiding it in a piece of cheese can often work well, particularly if you use a softer cheese that can be formed around the pill.  
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Can a Chihuahua eat cottage cheese? Cottage cheese is a great food for both Chihuahua puppies and dogs and is often tolerated very well with only 3 grams of lactose per 1/2 cup serving. 

This is often given if a dog has an upset stomach and is packed with high levels of a protein called casein protein, which is a long lasting protein as it is digested at a slow rate. It has high levels of calcium which is great for building bone strength. You will want to give a Chihuahua whole cottage cheese and avoid any flavored varieties since these can contain artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that can be toxic to dogs or cause allergic reactions. However, since this food can be a bit high in sodium, low-sodium cottage cheese is the best choice.
cottage cheese
Since this is a rather bland tasting food, it is best mixed into meals as an added ingredient. One to two teaspoons is the recommended serving amount when mixed into kibble. This is also good to give to Chihuahuas of any age that are having trouble with solid food. If you are giving this to your dog as a healthy snack, you can add some wholesome flavor by adding some pieces of fruit including blueberries, raspberries and even some small pieces of banana.  
ice-cream
Can a Chihuahua eat ice cream? What's better than some nice cold ice cream on a hot summer's day? If you're an ice cream lover, you may wonder if it is okay to give ice cream to your Chihuahua. A puppy or dog can eat a bit of ice cream, however owners need to be careful about how much is given. A 1/2 cup typically has 6 gram of lactose. 

For this reason, giving a Chihuahua a full cup on a regular basis will most likely cause digestive problems including diarrhea. However, offering a few spoonful and up to 1/4 cup once per week generally does not cause any problems.  

As with most foods, refrain from giving your dog any variety of ice cream that is low-fat or low-sugar since these can have chemical additives that cause allergies. 

Whole vanilla bean ice cream is best and of course, you would never want to give chocolate ice cream to a dog since chocolate is toxic to canines. 
Just like humans, dogs find relief in eating cold foods on hot days, so do feel free to offer a spoon to your puppy or dog, but do stop there. 
Pregnant Dogs and Calcium

Pregnant dogs should not be given cottage cheese, any other foods rich in calcium or calcium supplements during gestation since this can cause Eclampsia, which is a dangerous blood calcium levels that can occur with nursing dams. In most cases, the low levels of calcium that are present in the dam's regular food is sufficient. 
What to Do If Your Chihuahua Eats too Much Cheese

It is not all that uncommon for a dog to get into food that he should not; they can be exceedingly quick at grabbing food off of coffee table or other areas of access. In most cases, you will want to feed your Chihuahua as normal and try to encourage the ingestion of food as soon as you noticed so that there is more food going through the digestive system than just the cheese.

Depending on the amount that was eaten, the puppy or dog may have some loose stools so you'll want to keep an eye on that. If there is any minor to moderate diarrhea, it will be important to keep your Chihuahua hydrated and this can be done by encouraging the dog to drink water and/or offering Pedialyte which can bring electrolyte levels back to normal. Typically you will want to do a 50/50 mix of Pedialyte and water. If the dog suffers from severe diarrhea, this should be reported to the veterinarian. 
Summary 

It is important to know which foods you can and cannot give to your Chihuahua, since a spur-of-the-moment decision to offer a taste of something new can lead to stomach distress or even toxicity poisoning. With this said, most Chihuahuas do love some extra ingredients in their food to offer more flavor and many will work harder at command training when a special treat is given.   

Do keep away from giving any cow or goat milk to your Chihuahua and while you can give your dog cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and ice cream, do this in moderation and be sure to opt for whole varieties without sugar substitutes. 
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