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While provolone cheese is not toxic in small quantities, feeding your dog too much provolone cheese can lead to various health issues, from weight gain to serious medical conditions. It is crucial to understand that provolone cheese should not be a regular part of their diet. In this article, we’ll explore the safety and potential benefits of provolone cheese for dogs, as well as the risks and precautions to consider.

Provolone Cheese
caution icon

Caution: This food is generally considered risky by the veterinary community. Dogs should not eat this food and should be monitored for adverse effects.

Food Safety Not toxic but should not be fed due to nutritional issues
Nutritional Issues  Provolone cheese is high in calories and contains a significant amount of sodium and fat1
Potential Risks High fat content can lead to diabetes, pancreatitis, and obesity. High amounts of lactose can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs who are lactose intolerant
Symptoms Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

What is Provolone Cheese?

The Provolone cheeses we see in our local grocery store are produced from whole cow’s milk. The semi-hard cheese has a smooth skin, and its taste differs according to its age and the enzymes from goats and cattle. For example, a cheese aged in the last four months may have one of two distinct characteristics: an extremely sharp piquant taste from the goat lipase (enzyme) or a nutty flavor that is produced with time. Provolone cheese is produced in many countries, including the USA but originates from Campania, Italy.

Are There Any Benefits of Giving Dogs Provolone Cheese?

There are some benefits to using provolone cheese as a snack or treat for your pup as long as it’s a tiny percentage of your dog’s diet, and you proceed with caution. It is a low carbohydrate cheese and is rich in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A: supports vision health and immune response, as well as a healthy skin and coat
  • Protein: low lactose hard cheeses can be a significant source of protein, which provides dogs with healthy and strong muscles
  • Fatty Acids: provolone cheese is rich in fatty acids, an essential nutrient that helps maintain skin and coat health. It can also improve immune function and decrease inflammation.
  • Phosphorous and Calcium: these minerals aid your dog in maintaining healthy bone density and can be especially beneficial to puppies as they are growing new bones2.

Using Provolone Cheese Snacks to Administer Medication

Provolone cheese snacks are commonly utilized by pet owners as a means to disguise medication that they need to administer to their dogs. This serves as a helpful trick for administering pills when convincing dogs to take their medication proves to be challenging. The cheese can be sliced into a thin stick and the pill can be concealed inside.

How Much Provolone Cheese is Bad for Dogs?

Consuming more than 5% of a dog’s diet in provolone cheese is considered excessive and potentially harmful. Provolone presents nutritional concerns due to its high levels of salt, fat, and saturated fats. Ingesting too much sodium may result in sodium poisoning for dogs.

A substantial intake of provolone cheese can trigger gastrointestinal and digestive issues in canines, particularly those with lactose intolerance3. This may lead to upset stomachs, weight gain, potential kidney complications, and negative impacts on their overall health.

What Makes Provolone Cheese Unsafe?

Firstly, provolone cheese contains high levels of sodium, which can lead to sodium toxicosis in dogs. Dogs have a lower tolerance to sodium than humans, and excessive intake of salt can result in severe health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

Provolone cheese contains lactose, which is a sugar found in milk that can be difficult for some dogs to digest. Many dogs are lactose intolerant, and feeding them foods that contain lactose can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can also cause kidney complications, weight gain, and negatively impact their overall health.

Lastly, provolone cheese is high in fat, which can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and other life-threatening health issues in dogs. A high-fat diet can also result in the development of heart disease, liver disease, and other health problems.

Other Non-Toxic Kinds of Cheeses

Some cheese varieties are better for canines than others, and some can be easily tolerated by dogs, including cottage cheese. Other relatively safe varieties of cheese, which are generally accepted by dogs because of their low lactose content, can be used by dog owners as a treat. Remember to speak to your veterinarian about offering cheese as a treat to your pup. The following hard and soft cheeses have very low lactose content and can be considered:

  • cheddar
  • feta
  • camembert
  • brie
Caution: Dogs are sensitive to blue cheeses or cheese that are high in fungus that produces roquefortine C. Those cheeses must be avoided entirely.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If your dog has eaten such a high volume of provolone cheese, you should brace yourself for symptoms related to gastrointestinal issues. Keep a close eye on your dog and make sure they remain hydrated throughout. If the symptoms do not cease, seek immediate medical assistance and avoid giving provolone cheese in the future.

  • While provolone cheese is not exactly nutritious for most dogs, it can be given occasionally as a treat or snack. You can offer one or two 1/2 inch cubes depending on your dog’s size if you are certain they do not have lactose intolerance.

  • Philly cheese, or Philadelphia cream cheese, is generally not toxic to dogs, but it is not a recommended food for them. While small amounts of cream cheese as an occasional treat are unlikely to cause harm, feeding it to dogs frequently or in large quantities can lead to various health issues.

    Philly cheese contains high levels of fat, which can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and other life-threatening health issues in dogs. Additionally, cream cheese is made from cow’s milk and can contain lactose, which many dogs are lactose intolerant to, leading to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.