A dog with a wary expression looking at cream cheese, showing they are harmful to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese?

No, dogs should not eat cream cheese. While it's not the most toxic food for dogs, cream cheese contains ingredients like fat and lactose that can be harmful. Consuming cream cheese can lead to digestive issues and contribute to obesity and pancreatitis in dogs.

A photo of Stefan Stumpfl, the co-author of this article.

By Stefan Stumpfl, in collaboration with Dr. Ali Raza.

Updated on Jul 1, 2024

Did You Know?

Dogs like the creamy texture of cream cheese, but this can lead them to overeat if given the chance.

Cream Cheese



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Allergic Risk


Why is Cream Cheese Bad for Dogs?

Cream cheese is rich in fats and lactose, both of which dogs struggle to digest. The high-fat content can cause stomach upset and lead to serious conditions like pancreatitis. Additionally, many dogs are lactose intolerant. Eating cream cheese can upset their stomachs and cause diarrhea or vomiting.

How Much Cream Cheese Can Dogs Eat?

If your dog manages to sneak a small amount of cream cheese, it’s unlikely to do major harm. However, it should be treated as an occasional treat, not a regular part of their diet. A tiny nibble, once in a blue moon, is the maximum you should allow. But again, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Common Misconceptions

Some dog owners believe that small amounts of dairy products like cream cheese are harmless. While this might be true for some dogs in tiny quantities, many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means even small amounts can cause digestive troubles.

Similar Harmful Products

There are other dairy products and high-fat items that are equally problematic for dogs:

  • Cheese: Despite being a popular dog treat, cheese contains lactose and fat which can cause similar issues.
  • Buttery spreads: These have high-fat content and can cause weight gain and other health issues.
  • Whipped cream: High in sugar and fat, it’s another no-no for dogs.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Cream Cheese?

If your dog eats a significant amount of cream cheese, monitor them closely. Look for signs like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. If any of these symptoms appear, contact your vet immediately. Do not try to induce vomiting unless a professional instructs you to do so.

Long-term, consistent consumption of cream cheese can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and other serious health problems. Treatment for these conditions can be expensive, so having pet insurance could be a real lifesaver. It can help manage unexpected vet bills and provide peace of mind.

What are Healthy Alternatives?

There are safer and healthier treats you can offer your dog:

  • Carrot sticks: Crunchy and low in calories, they are great for dogs’ teeth.
  • Apple slices: Just be sure to remove the seeds and core.
  • Plain yogurt: In small quantities, it’s a safer dairy option that can aid digestion.


To sum it up, cream cheese is not suitable for dogs due to its high fat and lactose content. It can lead to digestive upset and contribute to more severe health problems. Always consult your vet for tailored advice, especially if your dog has specific health issues. Keep your furry friend safe with healthier treat alternatives!