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*Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream?*
Every now and then you’re probably faced with deciding whether to give your dog what you’re eating or not. It’s not really difficult for your pup to give you doughy eyes when he wants to taste what you’re eating.
Sour cream is a popular topping for a lot of baked goodies. There’s a high chance that your pup has shown interest while you’re eating sour cream before.
However, as a responsible dog parent, you’re already wondering if your dog can eat sour cream. And whether it’ll be good for their health.
First of all, let’s know more about this sour cream.
What Is Sour Cream?
Sour cream is a dairy product made when regular cream is fermented by lactic acid-producing bacteria. These bacteria can be introduced naturally or deliberately.
As the cream ferments, it sours and thickens because of the lactic acid being produced. This process is called souring.
It has been known for a long time in Europe. However, it became widespread as people immigrated around the world. It has become a staple food in the U.K, and U.S.
It is generally used to make quick dips, create creamy frost, thicken sauces and garnish baked potatoes. It has a tangy taste with rich thick creaminess.
Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream?
Yes, they can. It isn’t known to be toxic or harmful to dogs. However, it is important to be careful of how much sour cream your pup eats.
Therefore after putting some on your food, it’s alright to let your pooch have one or two licks. That wouldn’t hurt.
It only becomes troublesome if you make it a regular occurrence. We’ll talk more about the dangers of the continuous consumption of sour cream.
So you shouldn’t totally shut out the idea of feeding sour cream to your pup. It can be beneficial if done right. That being said, there are instances where you wouldn’t want to give sour cream to your dog at all. I’ll throw more light on this as we explore deeper.
Is Sour Cream Safe For Dogs?
If you’re worried about whether sour cream will harm your dog, then relax, it wouldn’t. Sour cream is safe and not toxic to dogs. This means it wouldn’t cause any immediate harm to your dog.
When it comes to long-term dangers, that depends on you. Feeding sour cream to your dog in moderation will only benefit your pup and not cause any long-term problems. However, if your pup regularly eats sour cream, it could lead to so many health proposals which we’ll still talk about.
So in essence, sour cream is safe for your dog once it’s eaten in moderation. Have in mind that introducing new food to your dog can lead to gastrointestinal upset, therefore you should do it gradually.
Nutritional Value Of Sour Cream
Sour cream contains several vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, some of which are listed below. However, you should know that sour cream does not offer many health benefits and is not a reliable source of nutrients. Therefore at best, only use it for occasional treats.
Below are some of the content of sour cream;
- Calories- Sour cream has loads of calories. Two tablespoons of sour cream contain anywhere from 60 – 80 calories. And we’re talking about a standard teaspoon, not the heap we normally take. So feeding sour cream to your dog can take up about one-third to half of his daily requirement. And this is basically empty calories. It is worse for smaller dogs as their caloric requirements per day are smaller compared to larger dogs.
- Fat – Besides calories, sour cream contains a high amount of fat. And this fat is mostly the unhealthy type – unsaturated fats. This type of fat causes increases in LDL(cholesterol) which can predispose your dog to several health conditions.
- Minerals – Sour cream also contains minerals such as calcium. However, it shouldn’t be the main source of calcium for your dog because it isn’t reliable.
- Additives – For increased shelf-life, additives such as gelatin, rennin, and vegetable enzymes are added to sour cream. Even though they are not known to harm your dog, they do add any nutritional benefits.
Benefits Of Feeding Sour Cream To Your Dog
Sour cream is mostly enjoyed for its taste and texture. Nobody eats it for nutrients. However, it does contain some micronutrients.
Since sour cream is a dairy product, it also contains calcium. Just like for us, calcium is essential for the bone growth and skeletal maturity of your dog. It is also involved in nerve transmission and muscular contraction.
Calcium does a lot in a dog’s body and will be evident when deficient. Although, sour cream isn’t a reliable source of calcium as it contains less amount than many others food.
Sour cream also contains other micronutrients like sodium, phosphorus, vitamin A, iron, etc in very trace amounts. Still, it’s better than nothing right?
Although for normal growth and function of your dog’s body, feed them with food high in essential nutrients and not sour cream.
Potential Dangers Of Dogs Eating Sour Cream
Well, every good thing has disadvantages too. In the case of sour cream, it mostly only happens when you feed it to your pup excessively.
Weight Gain – Sour cream has a high-fat content, therefore can lead to weight changes in your pup. However, this becomes the case when you feed your dog sour cream on a regular basis. Smaller dog suffers from this more than larger dogs because the fat excess in sour cream affects them worse.
Obesity can be a risk factor for so many other diseases. Examples include diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, heart disease, etc. Regularly feeding sour cream to your dog is a risk you don’t want to take.
Gastrointestinal Upset – First off, introducing sour cream to your dog’s diet can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Additionally, it can be worse for dogs that have pancreatitis (inflamed and swollen pancreas).
Such dogs don’t have the capacity to digest fat, therefore the high-fat content in sour cream can easily lead to gastrointestinal irritation. Once your pup starts vomiting or having diarrhea after eating sour cream, then it’s time to visit your vet.
Lactose Intolerance – This occurs when your dog does not have the enzyme to digest the sugar found in milk – lactose. In such dogs, eating dairy food can result in bloating and diarrhea.
However, if your dog is able to consume milk without any problems then sour cream shouldn’t be a problem either. If your pup is known to be lactose intolerant, it is in your pup’s best interest to avoid sour cream.
Xylitol Poisoning – Sour cream comes in many varieties. There’s organic, low fat, lite sour cream, etc. And a few of these types include artificial sweeteners. Some of these sweeteners can be toxic and deadly to your pup.
An example of a commonly used artificial sweetener is xylitol. This sweetener (xylitol) is extremely dangerous to the health of your pup. It can lead to a sudden and life-threatening drop in your dog’s blood sugar. Some of the symptoms of xylitol poisoning include weakness, seizures, lack of coordination, vomiting, and even unconsciousness.
Therefore while buying sour cream that you know your dog will partake in, do well to check the packaging for sugar-free claims.
What If My Dog Accidentally Consumes A Lot Of Sour Cream?
Accidents happen and it is even more so if you have a nosy and hyperactive pup. However, if your dog takes milk without having problems, then accidentally consuming sour cream shouldn’t harm him. This is because milk has far more lactose than sour milk.
However, many dog parents might not know if their pup is lactose intolerant or not. Therefore it is best to keenly observe your pooch after consumption of a large amount of sour cream for any symptoms. Such symptoms include gas, bloating, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Once you notice these symptoms after your dog has eaten sour cream, you have two options. You can either observe him closely because most times the symptoms clear up on their own or contact your vet if you’re worried.
Basically, a dog that tolerates milk can tolerate sour milk. Except your pup is lactose intolerant, accidentally eating sour cream wouldn’t cause him any harm.
How Much Sour Cream Can Dogs Eat?
Sour cream isn’t toxic to your dog, but that doesn’t mean you can feed it to him all day every day. You’re taking a huge risk by doing that.
Sour cream isn’t very nutritious and should be reserved as occasional treats. A few licks every week should be your goal. This way you get to treat your pooch to the sweet taste of sour cream while avoiding all the nasty long-term problems.
Should Puppies Eat Sour Cream?
Well, puppies do drink breast milk to enhance growth and strengthen their bones. If a puppy can tolerate milk, then sour cream shouldn’t be a problem.
However, due to its high calorie and fat content, it is best to keep it off a puppy’s diet. Puppies can easily get overweight or obese. And this will predispose them to diabetes and other health conditions. Additionally, puppies are known to have very sensitive bowel. Sour cream can lead to irritation of the digestive tract, especially when eating it for the first time.
Alternatives To Sour Cream
Since sour cream is high in fat and calories, it only gives your pup empty calories and obesity if unregulated. However, there are healthier and more balanced alternatives that you can feed your furry friend instead of sour cream. They include;
- plain yogurt
- Organic butter
- Peanut butter
- Ice cream treats specially made for dogs
However, if sour cream is something you can’t do without and would want to give your pup, then you can go for the lite, organic, or low-fat variety. These varieties are low in fat and hence won’t negatively affect your pooch as much as the regular sour cream.
As you’ve learned, dogs can sure eat sour cream as it is not toxic. However, it must be consumed in moderation. While it poses no immediate harm to your pup, continuous long-term consumption can lead to pretty bad consequences.
The exception is lactose intolerant dogs. Sour cream can be nasty to your dog if he’s lactose intolerant. Therefore it is best to avoid it.
Sour cream is high in calories and can easily take up a good chunk of your dog’s daily requirements. Therefore it would be best to find alternatives that are more nutritious with fewer calories.
All in all, sour cream should be reserved as an occasional treat and not a source of nutrients. This will spare your dog the lifelong risk of complications due to obesity.
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