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Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese? | Is Cream Cheese Bad for Dogs?

is cream cheese bad for dogs

Cream cheese accounts for nearly 10% of all cheese sales by volume in the United States.  It would be safe to bet that you contributed to that total, as roughly 75% of American households consume cream cheese.  If we enjoy it so much, what about our furry family members?  Can dogs eat cream cheese?  Or is cream cheese bad for dogs? 

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Can Dogs Have Cream Cheese? (The Short Answer)

Yes, in moderation, dogs can have cream cheese.  There isn’t a lot of health benefits associated with cream cheese but it’s a decent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids which can all benefit your dog’s health.  On the other hand, cream cheese has a high amount of fat and sugar which can have negative effects.  This treat should be just that—a treat.  Serve it in moderation, not as a replacement for a meal.  Additionally, many dogs are lactose intolerant.  If your pup is one of them, you should not serve cream cheese to them. 

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Cream Cheese Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat cream cheese?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Is cream cheese good for dogs?

Cream cheese wouldn’t be considered the #1 choice of treats to introduce to your dog, but it shouldn’t cause harm to your dog and it does have some health benefits.  Cream cheese contains a decent amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals that can be a beneficial supplement to your dog’s overall health. 

The average suggested serving size for cream cheese is one tablespoon.  In that one tablespoon there is nearly a gram of protein.  It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s important that if you choose to give your dog treats they have some nutritional benefit to them.  Protein is good for dogs as it contributes to healthy skin and coat, muscle development, and tissue repair. 

In addition to protein, there are plenty of vitamins and minerals in cream cheese such as vitamin A and B complexes and calcium.  Vitamin A, an essential vitamin, must be a part of your dog’s diet as they are unable to produce vitamin A on their own.  Vitamin A is critical for promoting good vision, immune function, and cell function.  It also is an important aspect of fetal development.  Vitamin B complex is a group of B vitamins that are important for your dog’s health.  To name a few B vitamins, folate (or folic acid) plays a role in amino acid synthesis and mitochondrial protein synthesis.  Vitamin B6 is an especially important vitamin as it is responsible for glucose generation, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune response, and gene activation.  These are just a few of the B vitamins that fall under the B vitamin complex category.  As you can see, although small in quantity, vitamins and minerals play huge roles in your dog’s overall health. 

Additionally, there is an adequate amount of fatty acids as well.  These are important for maintaining healthy skin, supporting a strong immune system, and they also play a role in cell growth!  The importance of fatty acids should not be underestimated. 

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Is Cream Cheese Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat cream cheese?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is cream cheese bad for dogs?

Cream cheese definitely isn’t the healthiest option to give to your pup.  For starters, it contains lactose which can cause problems and it also contains a high amount of fat and sugar. 

Similarly to humans, a lot of dogs are lactose intolerant.  If your dog is lactose intolerant you should not give them any cream cheese.  It will just cause them a lot of gastrointestinal distress.  If you’re not sure if your dog is lactose intolerant, you can give them a very small portion of cream cheese and observe for any signs of lactose intolerance.  These symptoms include flatulence and diarrhea.  Even if you know that your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, you should still only give your pup small portions.  This is because cream cheese isn’t the healthiest option, so it’s best to limit the amount of excess calories and sugar coming from it.

In one tablespoon of cream cheese there is around ½ gram of sugar, and 5 grams of fat!  Sugar isn’t good because it can cause tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.  The same is true for fat.  High-fat foods can cause nausea and vomiting.  If frequently given high quantities of high-fat foods, dogs can develop pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is cause by an inflammation of the pancreas due to excessive excretion of digestive enzymes.  This can be especially painful and even lethal in some cases.

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Other Varieties & Related Foods

Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese Frosting? / Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese Icing?

No, dogs cannot eat cream cheese frosting or icing.  Most, if not all, cream cheese frostings contain vanilla.  Vanilla cannot be ingested by dogs because it contains a high alcohol content which can be dangerous for dogs.  That being said, there are home-made frosting options that include cream cheese that are safe!  For example, 4 ounces of cream cheese, and ¼ cup of peanut butter mixed together can become a delicious and dog safe frosting for your pup’s next birthday cake! 

Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Cream Cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat strawberry cream cheese.  Look at the ingredients and ensure there is real strawberries and no artificial flavorings in it.  Although store-bought is usually safe, there are some homemade recipes that may include less additives and be healthier and fresher for your pup.  Simply cut off the stems of ¼ cup of strawberries and put them in a blender or food processor.  Then add in 4 ounces of plain cream cheese and a tablespoon of honey.  Then blend it until it is mostly smooth and enjoy! 

Is Whipped Cream Cheese Safe for Your Pup?

Yes!  Dogs can have whipped cream cheese.  Whipped cream cheese is made by taking regular cream cheese and beating it with a mixer and adding around 2-3 tablespoons of milk until a lighter, fluffier texture is formed.  Like regular whipped cream, this is best in moderation especially because this product contains an even higher lactose content due to the addition of milk. 

Are Bagels and Cream Cheese Safe for Your Pup?

In small portions, bagels with cream cheese are fine!  Be sure that the bagel is plain and does not contain dangerous ingredients such as raisins which can be toxic to dogs.  Bagels, similar to other bread products such as tortillas, have a lot of calories and carbohydrates so it’s best to give this treat sparingly as it isn’t the healthiest choice. 

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese?

Yes dogs can have cream cheese!  It’s not the healthiest option available, but it does contain some protein, vitamins and minerals.  As always, only give your dog small quantities.  This isn’t meant to replace a meal, but rather be a small treat.  I’m sure your pup will always be the “cream cheese to your bagel” if you let them indulge in this tasty treat!

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.