When you sit down to enjoy a nice meal and your beloved canine is giving you those oh-so-hard-to-resist puppy eyes, it’s simply human nature to want to share some of your food with your furry family member. But discerning dog owners know that this isn’t always in their dog’s best interest, which is why you’re doing your research before feeding your dog any of your food.
Luckily, sour cream isn’t harmful for dogs. After heaping some sour cream on your fajitas, is it ok for the dog to lick the spoon? Or maybe you wanted to put a dollop of sour cream on their food to liven it up. Is that ok?
It’s not going to hurt your dog and it can even provide your pup with a nice helping of healthful nutrients that can be beneficial. But that doesn’t mean you should hand over the whole tub. Moreover, there are some cases where you definitely don’t want to feed your dog sour cream. Let’s investigate this food and its effects on your dog in a bit more detail.
Is Sour Cream Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is yes, sour cream is safe for dogs. It’s non-toxic for canines and won’t cause any issues in most healthy dogs.
Of course, like most new foods, you should introduce it to your dog slowly. Start with small amounts so that your dog’s digestive system has a chance to get used to this new food. Introducing any new food too quickly can result in adverse effects, regardless of the food. These can include upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
When Shouldn’t You Feed Your Dog Sour Cream?
Even though sour cream is fine for most healthy dogs, any lactose intolerant dog would do well to stay far away from this food. Lactose intolerance is pretty common in dogs, particularly as they transition from puppyhood to adulthood.
Sour cream is a dairy product and it’s made with lactose. If it’s fed to any lactose intolerant dog, they will most likely get sick. It will start with gas, then move on to vomiting and diarrhea.
Compared to milk, sour cream has much less lactose. So, if your dog can drink milk without any problems, then they should be fine with sour cream.
Another time that you shouldn’t feed sour cream to your dog is if they are already overweight. Sour cream is high in calories and especially high in fat. It can easily contribute to overfeeding and cause your dog to gain weight. Obese dogs should be kept far from this fat-laden snack.
Does Sour Cream Benefit Your Dog?
We eat sour cream mostly for the taste and texture, though there are some health benefits for both us and our canine companions.
Sour cream, like many dairy products, contains calcium. As you might be aware, calcium helps to keep your bones and teeth strong and it does the same for your dog. Unfortunately, sour cream isn’t the best source of calcium. Each serving has just 13 milligrams of calcium for your pooch, but it’s still better than nothing!
Aside from calcium, sour cream also contains trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamin A, iron, sodium, and phosphorous. Granted, they’re only found in trace amounts in sour cream so they’re not going to provide your dog with any major benefits.
Down Sides of Feeding Your Dog Sour Cream
We talked about the minor benefits your dog could receive from an occasional sour cream snack, but what about the drawbacks?
While your dog might enjoy a few spoonfuls of this tasty treat, it should only be given in moderation. It carries a major possibility of weight gain, which can quickly lead to an overweight dog. This can be broken down into two main issues with sour cream; it’s high in fat and high in overall calories.
High in Calories
Two tablespoons of sour cream, a small serving by most standards, packs a total of 60-90 total calories. That means that you can easily consume several hundred calories in just a few bites. And remember, these are official tablespoons, not the heaping helpings that most people generally spoon out.
High in Fat
While the overall calories are a major concern, they’re not the only nutritional concern. The other problem is that most of those calories are from fat! Worse, most of the fat calories are coming from saturated fat.
Compounding the issue is what’s missing. There’s almost no protein in sour cream. So, you’re pretty much just feeding your dog a big helping of pure fat. Even peanut butter has protein to help make it a more beneficial snack.
Alternatives to Sour Cream for Dogs
What alternatives might you offer your dog instead of sour cream? Well, similar to us, our dogs can often benefit from a liter version of the foods we’d like to feed them. Going with a lite sour cream instead of a full-fat version can trim a significant amount of the excess fat and calories, making this a much healthier choice that still tastes the same. Plus, most lite sour creams have more protein than the regular versions.
Even a minor change such as opting for the organic sour cream over the regular. The organic sour creams often have more of the beneficial omega fatty acids that can help to keep your dog’s coat healthy and beautiful.
Another alternative would be giving your dog some plain yogurt. Yogurt is full of probiotics that can aid their digestive system. This would provide some additional benefits not found in sour cream. Plus, as an additional benefit, yogurt is much higher in protein than sour cream is. This means that you’ll be boosting your dog’s nutrition while providing them with a tasty treat.
As we’ve seen, sour cream isn’t toxic to your dog. It’s not going to hurt your pet but there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Mainly, you need to pay attention to the high overall calories and heavy fat content. Alternatives like lite sour cream and plain yogurt can allow you to share your snack with your dog without exposing your beloved pup to the drawbacks of regular sour cream.
Featured Image Credits – Left: AnetaZabranska, Shutterstock, Right: Pixabay