As dog owners, we want what’s best for our furry friends. But, unfortunately, we also want to spoil them, and a lot of the time, that means that we’re tempted to share human foods with our dogs. Sometimes this is okay – other times, not so much.
So, is it okay for dogs to eat cheesecake? The short, unfortunately, is “Yes.” But, unfortunately, it is also “No.” So, the longer and more correct answer is “Sometimes but not all cheesecake recipes.“
Whether or not feeding cheesecake to dogs is okay depends in large part on the cheesecake recipe. Some cheesecake recipes are unlikely to harm your dog. However, others contain harmful or toxic ingredients that could cause stomach pain, muscle tremors, or even death. So, owners should be very careful when deviating from a balanced, nutritious diet in order to offer sweet treats.
In the material that follows, we’ll talk about the ingredients in cheesecake, cheesecake crust, and the various toppings used to enhance plain cheesecake. Can dogs eat all types of cheesecake? Definitely not, so as we progress, I’ll tell you more about safe ingredients, those that are not so safe, and those that are toxic to dogs and must be avoided at all costs. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Cheesecake?
Cheesecake is not “cake” in the traditional sense. A classic cheesecake is more like a pie, consisting of a filling made largely from soft cheese (cream cheese or cottage cheese), eggs, and sugar. The crust is made from crushed cookies or graham crackers. There are many variations on the theme, but plain cheesecake is the base, and unless you make the base using chocolate cookies (more on chocolate later), most dogs can safely have a bit of cheesecake. Of course, this applies only to adult dogs – puppies shouldn’t be given sweet treats as they can adversely affect a puppy’s sensitive digestive system.
Is Cheesecake A Healthy Treat For Our Canine Companions?
This is another of those “yes and no” scenarios. Some ingredients in a cheesecake are very good for dogs (eggs, for instance), while others (sugar, for example) are not. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll usually find in cheesecake and talk about how they affect dogs.
Cheese And Other Dairy Products
You probably know that humans can be Lactose intolerant. In fact, you might be Lactose intolerant yourself. However, you may not know that many dogs experience lactose intolerance to one degree or another. Obviously, you can’t make cheesecake without some type of soft cheese. Unfortunately, cheesecake can also include butter and/or sour cream, both high in Lactose and fat. A high-fat diet is most definitely not good for dogs.
Too many dairy products in your dog’s diet can lead to abdominal distress, bloating, vomiting, gas, diarrhea, dehydration, and lethargy. If you suspect that your dog is Lactose intolerant, it would be best to keep his dairy intake to a minimum. Is cheesecake safe for a dog with severe lactose intolerance? Absolutely not. Too much fat in a dog’s diet can lead to weight gain, sluggishness, poor digestion sluggishness, pancreatitis, and diabetes. Is cheesecake safe for an overweight dog? In small quantities, it probably won’t adversely impact your dog’s health, but given the plethora of healthy treats you could be offering, why not dispense with the cheesecake?
Sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something our furry friends should be eating. It can cause dental cavities in dogs, the same as it does in humans. It can also lead to stomach inflammation, nausea, obesity, and even diabetes. Then there’s the high-calorie count to think about.
Cheesecake is extremely high in sugar, and that’s what makes it (and other cakes) bad for dogs. In fact, this type of sweet treat can be a nutritional nightmare. So if you’re getting the idea that I don’t think people should be letting dogs eat cheesecake, you’re right, but if you’re determined to do it, keep reading.
Crust for cheesecake is made from crushed cookies, graham crackers, or digestive biscuits. Most are safe for your pet dog to consume. However, if you’re going to share cheesecake with your dog, please don’t use chocolate cookies to make a chocolate crust.
When dogs eat cheesecake crust made from chocolate cookies, the outcome is not always good. Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs, and it doesn’t take much to cause harm.
Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs can include hyperactivity, diarrhea, extreme thirst, panting, pacing, shaking, and seizures.
If you notice any of these signs in your dog after he’s consumed chocolate, get him to the vet immediately. Chocolate poisoning can be fatal.
These are the ingredients that you have to worry about in a basic cream cheese-based cheesecake. There are, however, other ingredients in cheesecake variations. Unfortunately, not all are safe for dogs to eat. So let’s talk about them, and for purposes of this discussion, we’ll assume that these ingredients are additions to the basic cheesecake recipe.
Can dogs eat blueberry cheesecake? Sure. Blueberries are high in antioxidants and very good for dogs. Strawberry cheesecake? Same thing.
If you love fruit-topped cheesecake, that’s great. But, unfortunately, you’re adding something healthy to something that really isn’t all that good for you, and that should only be enjoyed occasionally. Most dog lovers know, though, that grapes are most definitely not good for dogs.
Exactly what it is in grapes that make them so toxic to dogs isn’t really known, but what is known is that even a few grapes can lead to kidney failure in some dogs. Stick with safer toppings.
Raisins would make for a very bad dog cheesecake – worse even than grapes because raisins are dehydrated grapes! When you make a raisin cheesecake, you’d be using a lot more fruit than if you used a grape topping. A very small amount of raisin cheesecake could be enough to send your dog into full kidney failure. In fact, when it comes to feeding cheesecake to dogs, if I had to pick the absolute worst kind, it would be raisin cheesecake.
If your dog is a counter-surfer and gets into this deadly treat, don’t waste time going, “Help, my dog ate cheesecake, and it had raisin sauce!” Instead, watch your dog closely, and at the slightest indication of upset stomach, weakness, excessive urination, or any other problem, get to the vet immediately. Your dog could already be in the early stages of kidney failure.
No. We’ve already talked about chocolate poisoning in dogs.
I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with people who let their dogs consume alcohol. It’s obviously not a part of a balanced, nutritious diet.
Giving your dog sugary treats is one thing – not all that good but not usually all that harmful in moderation. Even minuscule amounts of alcohol, on the other hand, can lead to complete organ failure.
Sure, most of the alcohol in that bourbon-laced sauce you poured over your gourmet cheesecake is going to evaporate during cooking. But remember what I just said – even minuscule amounts.
No. Just no. These nuts are among the most toxic ingredients you can use. Just one nut can lead to weakness in the hind legs, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, fever, and lethargy. Call your vet right away if your dog has consumed even one of these highly toxic nuts.
Too many sugary treats aren’t good for humans or for our canine companions. However, if you’re thinking of using a sugar substitute like xylitol in your cheesecake, don’t even think of sharing your cheesecake with your dog. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, and ingesting even small amounts can be fatal.
I know that you love your dog and want what’s best for him. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. What dog lovers have to keep in mind, though, is that it’s their job to be the adult in the equation. For example, do dogs love human foods? Of course, they do – dogs love ALL foods because dogs don’t know what’s good for them and what isn’t.
So, what kinds of cheesecake can dogs eat? Now that you’ve read the list of ingredients above, you know what you can safely allow your dog to have. But what if your dog ate cheesecake by accident?
Well, first off, it probably wasn’t an accident – it was probably because you left the cheesecake within reach. But, just the same, I’m not here to condemn you over an “accident.” And with the exception of macadamia nuts, a single bite of cheesecake containing ingredients that are toxic to dogs probably won’t prove fatal. Just be more careful next time.
Is There A Better Alternative To Cheesecake?
I think I’ve already made my position clear. Cheesecake is safe for most adult dogs to eat in small quantities without toxic ingredients. Whether a dog should eat cheesecake is another question entirely, and I’d answer that with a resounding “No.” Besides, why would you want to give your dog cheesecake when there are so many treats that are better for your dog’s health?
Cooked green beans and carrots, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon are all healthy treats that your dog will love. So is peanut butter, although I’d caution you to read the label carefully, as some brands contain xylitol.
“But he loves cheesecake,” you say. No, it’s not likely that your dog loves cheesecake that much more than he loves other foods. What your dog loves is getting something from you, and a healthy treat is just as satisfying to him as high-fat food, dairy products, or something that’s going to lead to dental cavities. In other words, there are alternatives to feeding cheesecake that your dog will find perfectly acceptable.
What’s The Final Word On Your Pet Dog And Cheesecake?
Dogs can eat cheesecake but with certain caveats. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve learned.
· Dogs can eat regular cheesecake.
· There are numerous recipes for cheesecake, and most dogs can eat cheesecake that has toppings, provided that those toppings do not include grapes, raisins, chocolate sauce, alcohol, or macadamia nuts.
· Lactose intolerant dogs cannot properly digest dairy products and will likely experience gastric distress if fed cheesecake or other foods containing dairy products.
· Sugar and dairy products are the main ingredients in cheesecake recipes. Too much sugar is very bad for dogs, and so is an excess of dairy. Neither should be given in large quantities to any dog. Breed doesn’t matter. No dog breeds are able to tolerate sugar and dairy to any extent.
· The canine diet is best served by offering balanced dog food along with nutritious treats like fresh fruits and veggies, plain yogurt, and peanut butter.
· Any sign of upset stomach or other gastric difficulty indicates that your dog’s sensitive digestive system has been compromised.
· Severe symptoms warrant a trip to the vet without delay.
If your dog eats a balanced diet, there’s probably nothing wrong with letting him have a bit of cheesecake now and then. Dog lovers always mean well – nobody ever gets up in the morning and says “I think that today I will try to figure out how much garbage I can get away with feeding my dog.”
By the same token, too many dog owners take the position, “I love cheesecake, and when I’m eating cheesecake, my best buddy looks at me with those soulful brown eyes, and I can’t not share my sugary treats with him! And my pizza, and my spaghetti, and my ice cream sundae, and my….” Well, you get the idea. For more on this, see Your Dog is Not a Human, So Don’t Feed Him Like One!
Final word? A bit of regular cheesecake is okay. A lot of cheesecake is not. And healthier treats are always better.