Can Dogs Eat Brie Cheese? What Are Safer Alternatives?

Circle of brie cheese cut into a slice

Dogs should not eat brie cheese because of the high levels of saturated fat. Although a small slice every once in a while won’t cause long-term damage, it’s still considered best practice to avoid feeding your dog brie cheese. Cheddar, mozzarella, and swiss cheese are all great alternatives. 

Cheese: it’s a staple food in most peoples’ diet and pairs excellently with many other foods. Since it is filled with protein, calcium, vitamin A, and other essential vitamins and minerals, cheese is a solid choice for any person to eat. 

With over 1,800 variants of cheese out there, there is certainly no shortage of types of cheese a person can eat.

One of the more popular of these variants is Brie cheese. Named after the French region of Brie, Brie cheese has a lot of healthy vitamins and minerals in it, but it’s also very high in fat content. 

On average, there are 9 grams of fat per one ounce, with 4 of these grams coming from saturated fat from cow milk. Brie cheese’s texture is soft and buttery, which probably makes it all the more tempting for dogs.

Most humans love cheese, and most dogs love to beg for cheese. Since dogs seem to want it so much, it’s definitely tempting to want to give your dog a tiny smidgen of cheese as a reward for being a good boy or girl.

But is Brie cheese, and other cheese variants, a good choice to feed your dog? Let’s go over the facts, starting with the basics of how cheese is made and how dogs process cheese.

General Facts About Cheese And Dogs

You’re probably already aware that cheese comes from milk. However, did you know that cheese doesn’t just use milk from cows? 

While cows are the primary source of cheeses produced in America, other countries around the world use milk from other animals. 

Goats are probably the most well known of these alternative animals, but other animals like buffalo and sheep are also sourced for their milk.

After the milk has been obtained, it goes through a process called curdling. Without getting into too much scientific detail, curdling is the process where milk turns into solid chunks. 

After milk is curdled, additional items like various enzymes and acids are added to form the final product that we eat.

Metabolism and Digestion in Dogs

Dogs have a higher metabolism than humans. You might think this means they can digest food better than humans, but this only refers to the speed at which they process food and not the efficiency. 

Dogs tend to have difficulty processing foods that contain high levels of fat. A low-fat diet is going to be the best dietary option for dogs.

Long-Term Effects of Eating Fatty Foods for Dogs

While many human foods are safe for dogs to eat, foods high in fat should be avoided. Foods that are high in fat can ultimately lead to a condition known as pancreatitis. 

Pancreatitis is when a pancreas becomes inflamed. Certain breeds are more susceptible to develop pancreatitis than other breeds, but it’s in your best interest to not assume that your breed of dog is pancreatitis-proof.

A dog with pancreatitis will show symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), pain in their abdomen, reduced energy, a reduced appetite, and more.

If your dog shows these symptoms, your best bet is immediately speaking with your vet to get the medicine or antibiotics to treat pancreatitis. 

So… Is Brie Cheese Safe for Dogs?

In short: no. Brie cheese is among the more fatty cheeses around, so it and other high-fat cheeses should be avoided because of the previously mentioned facts. Brie cheese may taste great, but feeding it to dogs is not a good idea. 

Fortunately…

Alternative Cheeses to Feed Your Dog 

The good news is that there are cheeses that are safe to feed your dog. As long as you go for cheeses with lower fat content, your dog should be ok to eat them. Here are four excellent alternatives to Brie cheese.

Cheddar

Cheddar is the most bought and consumed cheese in the world. It originates from the pastures of England and is made from cow’s milk. Cheddar has a moderately firm texture and a sharp, creamy taste to it. If your store only has one variant of cheese, it’s probably going to be cheddar.

Mozzarella

Italian in origin, mozzarella is the cheese that is most often found on pizza. Mozzarella has a white color, is usually made from cow’s milk (though it traditionally came from water buffalo’s milk), and has a supple, elastic texture. 

A variant of Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella, is similar to Mozzarella but is intended to be eaten as soon as possible. 

Like Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella has a creamy taste. Unlike Mozzarella, however, Fresh Mozzarella has a more smooth, wet texture to it. 

Fresh Mozzarella is served at room temperature and is usually sold in a water or whey brine to keep its circular shape and retain its intended moisture level for a longer period of time. 

Since Fresh Mozzarella has a lot of water, it ends up having a lower fat content than regular Mozzarella.

Swiss

This may surprise you, but Swiss cheese is actually an American invention. It’s based on Emmental cheese, which is very similar in taste. 

Swiss cheese has a firm texture, a mild flavor, and often has hollow holes in them known as eyes. Unsurprisingly, Swiss cheese without any eyes is known as being blind.

Cottage Cheese

Like you may have guessed, it’s believed that cottage cheese was made in a cottage from leftover milk after making butter. 

Cottage cheese is very soft, lumpy, and has a mild taste. It can be eaten by itself but is often mixed in with other foods like fruits or salads.

Cheeses to Avoid Feeding Your Dog

While many cheeses are safe for dogs’ consumption, there are definitely cheeses that should be avoided at all costs. Here are three kinds of cheese you should avoid.

Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola is one of the oldest blue-veined cheeses in the world. Italian in origin, Gorgonzola is made from cow’s milk and it has a crumbly, soft texture. 

Depending on its age, the flavor can range from very mild to sharp. Gorgonzola is often served with wines, particularly red wines.

Feta

Feta is Greek in origin. Roughly 70% of cheese eaten in Greece is Feta. Feta is traditionally made from a mixture of both goat and sheep’s milk. 

Feta can have various textures and flavors, but the most common is a fairly mild, creamy taste. Feta can also come in a salty, more sharp taste, however. Feta is often paired with other foods like salads.

Gouda

Gouda, originating in the Netherlands, is actually named after a city there called Gouda. Gouda cheese is a semi-hard cheese with a creamy flavor and a fairly dense texture. 

In America, Gouda cheese is usually made smoother and with a less robust flavor to it. While it’s typically made from cow’s milk, some variants of Gouda will substitute cow milk for sheep or goat’s milk for long-term aging. Gouda can go great with drinks like beer.

Avoid Brie Cheese For Dogs

Many kinds of cheese are safe for dogs to eat, but avoid Brie cheese at all costs. It’s incredibly high in fat and can lead to health problems in the long run. 

Feeding your dog cheeses and other foods low in fat is the best dietary option for them. If you are ever unsure if a food is safe for your dog to eat, the best first step should always be to reach out to your vet for guidance. 

Overall, using your best judgment and the resources available to you will help you help your dog live the best life they can.

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