Have you wondered if dogs can eat sour cream? While some sources discourage giving your dog sour cream because some dogs can be lactose-intolerant, the truth is that sour cream can be a tasty, nutritious treat for your dog in small amounts. Even for dogs that are lactose-intolerant, sour cream is not high in lactose compared to foods like whole milk.
Sour cream nutrition
Sour cream is a dairy product and it is fermented. It’s the fermentation that can provide some added nutritional value.
Nutritionally, sour cream has 5 percent carbohydrates, 90 percent fats, and 5 percent protein. It’s low in sodium which is good but high in saturated fat, which is not so good, at least for humans.
One tablespoon of sour cream contains 23.2 calories. This means that it’s fairly high in fat and calories. It is not very high in any vitamins or minerals.
Since sour cream is often eaten as a garnish to foods such as baked potatoes, it’s not usually eaten in large quantities unless you eat a food that uses lots of sour cream.
Most commercial brands of sour cream pasteurize their products before selling them but there are some brands which add probiotic microorganisms back into the sour cream after pasteurization. This means that some brands of sour cream can be a good source of probiotics.
You can also buy low-fat sour cream. This version has a nutrient profile that is similar but it has fewer calories and approximately 38 percent less fat.
Fat-free sour cream is made with skim milk and additives such as gums and food starch. It is creamy like sour cream but it has a lower calorie count by about 60 percent. However, fat-free sour cream may have more carbohydrates in some brands. There are some possible problems with fat-free sour cream. The gums and other ingredients used, such as tyramine, have been associated with migraines and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s possible that dogs could have similar problems from fat-free sour cream.
Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K depend on sources of fat so they can be absorbed well in the digestive tract. The fat in sour cream can be a good way to help distribute these vitamins, especially if you are eating fruits and vegetables which are low in fat.
Sour cream can be a good addition to a human diet as long as you don’t overdo it.
Can dogs have sour cream?
As for your dog, there is nothing toxic about sour cream for dogs. Regular sour cream is high in fat and calories so it’s not something that you should give your dog in large amounts. Regular consumption could lead to weight gain.
Some dogs (not all) are lactose-intolerant so sour cream could be a problem for them. Although sour cream contains much less lactose per serving than whole milk, even this lesser amount of lactose could bother a dog that is very sensitive to lactose. This could lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea.
If your dog can eat cheese or small amounts of plain milk or ice cream without any problems, then a small amount of sour cream shouldn’t cause a problem.
On the other hand, sour cream can have some of the same benefits for dogs that it has for humans. Because of the fat in sour cream, it is a good way to help dogs digest fat-soluble vitamins. And, certain brands of sour cream can be good sources of probiotics.
If you would like to try an alternative to regular sour cream you could use a reduced calorie version sour cream. Another good option is to use plain yogurt. Yogurt has the added benefit of being higher in protein than sour cream and it contains probiotics.
How much sour cream can you give your dog?
If you want to see if your dog can safely eat sour cream, we recommend giving him just a spoonful to see if there are any bad reactions such as a gurgly stomach or diarrhea. If your dog digests the sour cream safely, you could let him have one or two tablespoons the next time you want to offer him some.
One tablespoon of regular sour cream contains about 23 calories. That doesn’t sound like a lot of calories but it can quickly add up when you consider it as part of your dog’s regular daily calories. Don’t let your dog have an entire container or even half a container of sour cream. Even if he’s not lactose-intolerant, that much sour cream is likely to lead to an upset stomach!
How often can you give your dog sour cream?
If you find that your dog can eat small amounts of sour cream without any digestive tract upset, you could add a little to his meals two or three times per week. Keep the amounts small.
Some people also like to use a little sour cream (or plain yogurt) to top off homemade dog cookies and cakes for special occasions.
Dogs and sour cream: conclusion
There is no reason why dogs can’t eat sour cream, especially in small amounts. Some dogs are lactose-intolerant but a serving of sour cream contains about the same amount of lactose as a serving of cottage cheese. Many dogs can digest this amount of lactose. Sour cream is high in fat and calories so don’t give your dog large amounts.