Can Shih Tzus Eat Cheese?

It’s only natural.

Your Shih Tzu, who you love and adore—who is basically the best friend you’ve ever had—is begging for some of your delicious food, and you just can’t stand to say no. Happily, you get him a small portion of whatever you’re having for dinner, but then your stomach drops when you see that he’s grabbed a piece of cheese with it. Is cheese bad for Shih Tzus? Is cheese toxic to Shih Tzus? Should I take the cheese back? Should I call the vet?

All these questions are totally normal. After all, most humans love cheese, too! It’s a popular food, and it’s nutrient-rich and low cost. That’s why so many Shih Tzu owners wonder if they can feed their Shih Tzus cheese safely… and the short answer is yes! Cheese is safe for Shih Tzus to eat. But there are lots of caveats, which we’ll cover below… plus a few other questions about feeding your Shih Tzu human foods. So let’s start with the first question:

Is cheese safe for Shih Tzus?

Cheese can be a great treat for Shih Tzus in moderation, but you always want to make sure it is safe for your specific Shih Tzu. The safest option is to give your Shih Tzu plain cheese that does not contain any harmful ingredients, such as xylitol or other artificial sweeteners. 

If you are unsure whether the cheese is safe, ask your vet. You might also consider introducing cheese to your Shih Tzu’s diet slowly, and serving it in small pieces. 

If your Shih Tzu has never eaten cheese before, monitor them closely after giving them cheese to make sure they do not show any signs of intolerance or an allergic reaction. If you observe any abnormal symptoms, stop feeding the cheese to your Shih Tzu and call your vet immediately.

Benefits of feeding cheese in Shih Tzus

Do you think cheese is just for humans? Think again! Cheese is actually a great, healthy snack for Shih Tzus.

Protein: Cheese has all the amino acids that Shih Tzus need, so it’s an excellent source of protein.

Essential fatty acids: Cheese contains essential fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Calcium: Cheese is high in calcium, which is an important nutrient for building and maintaining strong bones.

Vitamins: Cheese also contains vitamins A and B12, both of which are necessary for good health in canines.

Training tools: Cheese can be used as an effective tool to train your Shih Tzu because most pups will do just about anything for a nibble of cheese. It’s a great way to reward your Shih Tzu when they’ve done something particularly cute or well-behaved.

Concealing pills: Does your pup need medication? We’ve got you covered! Just slip the pill inside of a piece of cheese and watch your Shih Tzu scarf down the whole thing before you can say “cheese.”

Do all Shih Tzus like cheese?

Unfortunately, no. Some Shih Tzus don’t like cheese. They may not like the taste, or the texture, or they may be lactose intolerant. Like us humans, Shih Tzus have food preferences and it’s important to pay attention to those preferences and not force feed them something they don’t like.

If you notice your Shih Tzu isn’t enthusiastic about eating cheese, don’t force it by putting it on their kibble every day. Instead, try other Shih Tzu friendly treats like carrots or peanut butter.

If you’re unsure about introducing a new food to your Shih Tzu, consult with your vet first.

Can my Shih Tzus have cheese every day?

Pets are like children, in that their diet is so important to their well-being. And just like humans, pets can get pretty bored with the same meals day after day. So if you’re not careful, you could end up with a fussy Shih Tzu who won’t eat anything but cheese, which could lead to all kinds of health problems.

Also, it’s important to remember that different treats contain different ingredients. Some treats are rich and fatty, while others are more light and healthy. That’s why it’s important to vary the types of treats you give your Shih Tzu—besides varying the ingredients and flavors of their regular food.

Can Shih Tzu puppies eat cheese?

Yes, Shih Tzu puppies can eat cheese, but it would be best to wait until they’re two months old. Until then, they should be on a specialized puppy diet.

Cheese is a great training tool, and most puppies love it. But you should only let your puppy have a small bite at first and be careful not to overfeed them, as their digestive systems are delicate.

To make sure all goes well, consult with your vet before introducing any new foods into your puppy’s diet. They’ll be able to explain the best way to go about it based on your pup’s age and needs.

How much cheese can Shih Tzus eat?

As with anything, consult with your vet first to determine how much cheese is ideal for your Shih Tzu’s diet. Shih Tzus, like humans, vary in size, lactose tolerance and age—and those factors are important to consider when determining how much of a treat to offer.

That being said, it’s safe to give your Shih Tzu a few small pieces of cheese as a treat occasionally. (Obviously follow the 90/10 rule, where 90% of their diet is healthy food and 10% can be treats.) If you notice any negative reactions from your Shih Tzu, then it’s best to discontinue use of that type of treat.

What kind of cheese can Shih Tzus eat?

1. Mozzarella – This popular cheese is a great option for Shih Tzus! It’s low in fat, so you don’t have to worry about your Shih Tzu gaining too much weight—and it’s safe for them to eat.

2. Cottage Cheese – Similar to Mozzarella, this cheese is also low in fat. So it can be a great choice if you’re worried about your Shih Tzu gaining too much weight from eating cheese. But always make sure your Shih Tzu isn’t lactose intolerant before giving them any dairy products.

3. Swiss Cheese – If you’re worried about the amount of lactose in the cheese, Swiss is a great option, because it’s lower in lactose than many other cheeses. However, it has a higher salt content than some other cheeses, so give it to your Shih Tzu sparingly if they have any issues with high blood pressure or water retention (edema).

4. Cheddar – Compared to some other cheeses, cheddar has a relatively low level of salts, which makes it a good choice overall, but especially if your Shih Tzu has issues with high blood pressure or water retention (edema).

5. String Cheese – Low levels of lactose and salt mean this is safe for Shih Tzus, but the stringiness could be a choking hazard—so break it up before you give it to your pooch!

What types of cheese are bad for Shih Tzus?

Blue cheese: Contains Stilton fungus, which produces a substance called Roquefortine C. This substance can cause tremors and seizures in Shih Tzus, so it’s best to avoid blue cheese.

Goat cheese: A common myth is that goat milk is better for Shih Tzus than cow milk. While this might be true sometimes, goat milk contains more lactose than cow’s milk and can therefore be discouraged.

Cheesecake: Cheesecake is high in fat content, which can lead to obesity and other health risks including pancreatitis.

Cream cheese: Like cheesecake, cream cheese is high in fats. It has similar risks to cheesecake and the risk of causing obesity in your Shih Tzu.

Parmesan cheese: Parmesan also has a high sodium content, which can lead to hypernatremia (an excess of sodium).

Cheese puffs: These snacks are high in fat and sodium and are therefore not recommended for Shih Tzus.

How to serve cheese to your Shih Tzus?

Cheese is a great treat to share with your Shih Tzu, especially when you need to distract them from something you know they won’t like.

When serving cheese as a snack, make sure it’s in small pieces (about the size of your pinky nail) and that they’re only eating it one or two at a time. They don’t have the same threshold for lactose as we do!

Another tasty way to serve up some cheese is on top of their regular food. A sprinkle of shredded cheddar makes a nice food topper for Shih Tzus, just make sure it’s in moderation and you’re always keeping an eye out for any signs of stomach upset.

If you have a harder Shih Tzu food, like kibble, cheese sauce can be an amazing way to get them to eat it. You can also mix equal parts of cooked white rice and cottage cheese if they’re having stomach issues. The probiotics in cottage cheese mixed with the blandness of rice will help balance out their gut and relieve their sensitive stomach.

What are the risks of feeding cheese to your Shih Tzu?

Cheese is high in fat. This means that it is bad for your Shih Tzu’s waistline. As you probably know, Shih Tzus are natural carnivores, and they need a diet rich in protein and low in fat—just like humans do! Feeding your Shih Tzu cheese could cause him to become overweight or obese.

In addition, cheese may contain high amounts of lactose that can cause your Shih Tzu to become lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance causes flatulence and diarrhea from an inability to digest the sugar found in dairy products. It is important to note that even if your Shih Tzu does not seem upset after eating cheese, he may still develop an intolerance.

Finally, you should always check the ingredients list for toxic additions like garlic or onion. These can be very harmful to your pet, so make sure you keep these out of their reach at all times.

Other human foods Shih Tzus can eat

What other human foods can Shih Tzus eat? Here is a list of some other human foods your Shih Tzus can eat.

So, can Shih Tzus eat cheese? 

Cheese is a treat that you can give your Shih Tzu once in a while. It is rich in calcium, protein, and vitamins A and B-12, making it an excellent treat for Shih Tzus.

However, make sure you feed your Shih Tzu only a small amount of cheese. Too much of it can cause diarrhea and/or vomiting. The rule of thumb is to give your Shih Tzu 10 percent or less of the total calorie intake per day.

Feeding your Shih Tzu cheese every day will add up to the calories they consume. Choose the safer cheese from the list above and don’t overfeed your pet with this delicious treat.

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