Cheese is delicious, we know that and our dogs certainly seem to too but there’s some debate around the question of can collies eat cheese or is it best avoided?
Collies can eat cheese, it’s a very useful high-value reward that can be used for training. Cheese can be beneficial to a collie’s diet if you need to add some extra protein but can also be a cause of digestive issues if a dog is sensitive to it or if fed in large quantities.
This article will cover everything you need to know about feeding cheese to dogs, specifically collie types. We will look at its benefits, drawbacks, and what to avoid when considering adding cheese to your collie’s diet.
Can Collies Eat Cheese?
Collies can eat cheese, but it’s better as an occasional treat than a regular part of their diet. Cheese contains lactose, which some collies find hard to digest, and it’s also high in calories so if your collie is overweight it’s not a good option.
Collies can and will often jump at the chance to eat cheese. Cheese is highly palatable so collies will usually rank it very well among their favorite foods.
If you find something like cheese that makes your dog happy then it would be a shame to not let them indulge from time to time but there are a few considerations if you’re thinking of introducing cheese as part of their diet or as rewards.
Cheese is very high in fats and it’s very easy to overfeed dogs with cheese. You would need to look at their daily calorific intake and make deductions to add cheese and make sure there isn’t a big increase in how much food they receive.
If they consume more than they can burn off, you may slowly start seeing a weight increase when they can’t burn off the extra fat.
Cheese is good for collies in small amounts. It’s high in protein to help their muscles and coats stay healthy, but it’s also high in fat which means that too much of it can cause your collie to become overweight. Some people choose to add a small amount of cheese to their collie’s diet because like all working dogs, the protein boost is beneficial for them.
Cheese should always be introduced to a diet in moderation as dogs are similar to humans and need a varied, balanced diet.
Too much cheese will make their fat consumption skyrocket and throw their diets off-balance whereas if it’s fed in small quantities, it can be a great addition to mealtime.
1. Cheese is a Tasty Treat
Cheese makes for a great high-value treat for your collie. If using cheese as a reward, they will work extra hard to get it right and good rewards will often speed training up.
Practically, when training your collie, cheese is a good reward because it can be cut into minuscule pieces which are still high enough value for your dog to work for while avoiding overfeeding.
It often smells strong which is the key to any high-value reward and a great alternative for owners who don’t want to handle fresh meat as a high-value reward for their dog.
2. Cheese is a Source of Protein
Cheese is a valuable source of protein, especially when it comes to working breeds like collies. Most good commercial diets will average between 15-25% of the protein in their food. Some working breeds, especially dogs who have very active lifestyles can require up to 30% protein in their diet.
Cheese can make a great addition when you need to boost the protein available in their daily food. Protein is vital in a dog’s diet and even more so in collies and other working breeds.
Not only is it their main source of energy but it helps with muscle density and bone mass. Protein is also key in the recovery of strained muscles or wounds with is again, important in such active dogs.
3. Cheese is a Source of Calcium
Calcium in a dog’s diet helps to strengthen bones and maintains healthy muscles and cardiovascular system. Without enough calcium in their diets dogs are prone to developing calcium deficiency which can result in a loss of appetite and lethargy.
Most balanced diets and commercial dog food will contain enough calcium to support a dog’s requirements but working dogs like collies benefit from extra calcium due to their activity levels.
4. Cheese is a Source of Vitamin A
Cheese can be a good source of vitamin A to help boost your collie’s overall condition. A collie lacking vitamin A will have a dull coat and scurfy skin.
Adding extra vitamin A to their diet can get them back to looking glossy and healthy. Young, growing dogs, especially working breeds like collies benefit from extra vitamin A in their diets to help the development of nerves and muscles.
Is There Any Cheese that Collies Can’t Eat?
Collies can not have cheese that includes additional ingredients or flavorings like garlic, onions, raisins, or chocolate. The cheese itself isn’t the problem, but these additional ingredients are not good for dogs. Additionally, blue cheese is unsuitable for collies because the fungus that makes the cheese blue contains digestive issues.
Collies can eat a large variety of cheese provided they are not lactose intolerant. When adding cheese to your dog’s diet, first add in very small amounts and reduce if you notice any signs of them being sensitive to lactose like vomiting or diarrhea.
Similarly, too much cheese of any kind can have a negative impact on a dog’s stomach so should always be provided in moderation.
Cheese that contains any other ingredients should be checked before giving to your collie to make sure they don’t contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
Cheeses flavored with onions, garlic and raisins should be avoided, even when only in small amounts in cheese.
Any type of blue cheese should also be avoided. The fungus that gives blue cheese its name contains roquefortine C which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures so should be avoided.
Cheese can be used on its own as a great reward for training your collie. It can be mixed in with their food to make it more palatable or as a nice treat, or it can be used as part of scatter feeding to promote the use of their nose to sniff out their food and use their brain a little more during meal times.
Cheese is also a great food to incorporate into mental stimulations.
There are so many enrichment toys available that you can use cheese alongside normal kibble or treats. Soft cheeses are great for spreading on licky mats or filling kongs to keep your collies busy for periods.
You can get as creative as you like with different ways to add cheese into your collie’s diet.
As with most high-value foods, there is such a thing as too much when it comes to cheese.
Too much cheese at once can cause digestion problems like diarrhea for your collie, and too much cheese over a long period can contribute to weight issues because it’s so calorie-dense.
Don’t let that put you off though, a small piece of cheese every once in a while is a great reward or treat that your collie will love.
Cheese can be a great addition to a collie’s diet to help provide some extra calories for such a busy type of working dog.
It can be a great help in training and enriching your dog’s life but should always be fed in moderation and should not contain any extra ingredients or flavorings.