Papillon dog licking yoghurt.

Can Dogs Eat Yoghurt? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 18th January 2024

Creamy and refreshing, most people love a good yoghurt. But should your dog have a taste? Before sharing with your pup, here’s what you need to consider.

Is Yoghurt Toxic To Dogs?

As we’ve mentioned before, some delicious human foods can be quite toxic to dogs (like onions!). Fortunately, yoghurt isn’t inherently toxic or dangerous for dogs. Most pups can eat yoghurt, although it doesn’t mean they should.

Yoghurt, like other dairy products, has lactose. Dogs have a low lactose tolerance, and eating too many foods containing it can lead to digestive issues. Senior dogs and puppies tend to be especially sensitive to sudden changes in diet and might have more trouble after eating dairy products like yoghurt.

PRO TIP: Puppies aren’t any better at digesting dairy than adult dogs, and dairy products shouldn’t be offered to them often. Dog milk has a relatively low lactose content of around 3%, while cow’s milk (the base for many dairy products) has around 5%. This means even unweaned puppies aren’t used to high lactose content.

So, while yoghurt is not toxic, exercise caution: if your dog has had bad reactions to dairy in the past, it’s best to avoid it.

Is Yoghurt Good For Dogs? Possible Benefits of Yoghurt

If your dog has never reacted badly to dairy, you might be wondering if they can share a little bit of your yoghurt bowl. After all, it’s always hard to say no when they’re looking at you with those big eyes!

Although most researchers and vets recommend very little, if any, dairy in a dog’s diet [], previous research has shown some possible benefits of yoghurt for dogs:

  • Rich in calcium: The added calcium boost is one of the main reasons for wanting to offer a little yogurt treat to your dog. 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt have a whopping 80mg of calcium, which is great to supplement a balanced diet. Growing puppies tend to benefit from a bump in their calcium intake, so adding yogurt once a week could support that.
  • Full of probiotics: Yoghurt with live cultures could greatly benefit your dog’s microbiome [2]. As research has shown time and time again, healthy gut flora has a direct positive impact on your dog’s long-term health [3].
  • Can be used to give them pills: We’ve known a few dogs that love plain yoghurt so much they’ll gulp it down in .5 secs. If your pup is as food driven as ours, then it’s a nice trick to have under your sleeve whenever they need to swallow their medicine.

What Type Of Yoghurt Is Bad For Dogs?

Despite the benefits, not all yoghurt is created equal. Many yoghurt and yoghurt-based products contain harmful ingredients for dogs. We recommend avoiding products that have:

  • Sweeteners: Dogs shouldn’t eat sweetened foods, regardless of the type of sugar used. Natural sugars add empty calories to your dog’s diet and can make your dog easily gain weight. In certain breeds or if you feed sugary foods too often, this can quickly lead to diabetes [6]. On the other hand, artificial sweeteners can be very dangerous. Xylitol in particular causes dangerously low levels of blood sugar and liver failure in dogs, which can lead to seizures and even death [5]. In fact, a Beagle died in 2016 after eating sponge cake sweetened with this compound [4]. So never give sweetened yoghurt to your pup!
  • Artificial colourings: Artificial colourings have been linked to hyperactivity, change in neural patterns and reduced attention span in both children and dogs [7]. While some of the most dangerous compounds have been banned from use in human food, many times ingredient lists don’t specify which types of colourings are used.
  • Flavours, fruit or nuts: Yes, flavoured yoghurt is great for humans, but don’t share it with your pup. Many common kitchen staples can be toxic to dogs, and as we mentioned above, sugar can cause lots of problems down the road.
  • Gelling agents: These are usually present in low-quality yoghurt that needs texture improvements. The problem is that companies tend to not disclose what kind of gelling agent they use, and many common ones can cause gastrointestinal upset.

What Yoghurt Is Good For Dogs?

We’ve already covered the ingredients you should never give your dog, but what kind of yogurt should you get if you want your dog to try it as a treat?

Generally speaking, and only if your dog isn’t sensitive to dairy, you can give plain, unsweetened, non-flavoured yoghurt to your dog. If you find yoghurt with live probiotics, it can also be a nice addition to round up their gut health.

However, never give a whole cup of yoghurt to your dog! This food should be considered a very occasional snack, and only be given once or twice a week in small quantities.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Ate Yoghurt?

Most times, eating yoghurt will not be dangerous to your dog. Depending on the type of yoghurt, it can even be a healthy treat. However, you should call your vet as soon as possible if your dog shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting more than 3 times in an hour: Continuous vomiting can quickly cause dehydration, especially in senior dogs and puppies. If left unattended, dehydration can be really dangerous and even life-threatening.
  • Diarrhoea, gas and bloating: These are a sign the lactose in yoghurt isn’t sitting well with your dog, and having loose stools can also be a cause for dehydration.
  • Lethargy and mood changes: If your dog isn’t feeling well, seems lethargic, doesn’t want to play or is overly “sleepy”, it’s time to call the vet. Generally speaking, a change in behaviour after eating a new food signals something isn’t right with your dog and could mean they are feeling very sick.


Can dogs eat vanilla yoghurt?

No. Vanilla yoghurt tends to have flavouring agents, sweeteners and food colourings. None of these ingredients should be fed to your dog, so it’s best to stick to plain unsweetened yoghurt.

Can dogs eat Greek yoghurt?

It depends on the kind.

Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is a great treat for dogs: it’s low in sugar yet high in protein and fats. But flavoured Greek yogurt is a no-no, mainly because of the added sweeteners.

Of course, this depends on whether your dog is lactose intolerant or not. If your dog has shown adverse effects to dairy in the past, just avoid Greek yoghurt altogether.


  1. American kennel Club. Can dogs drink milk?
  2. Pilla et al, 2020. The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health and Gastrointestinal Disease.
  3. Animal Biome. Dog Gut Health: The 4 Ways to Restore It Naturally.
  4. The Sidney Morning Herald. Bereaved beagle owner warns of dangers of sugar alternative xylitol.
  5. RSPCA Knowledge base. What are common household dangers for pets?
  6. Fetch by WebMD. Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat.
  7. All About dog food. Artificial colourings in dog food.

Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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