Sweet as heaven and seemingly lighter than air – surely whipped cream can be considered quite the safe and inoffensive treat?
Be it a topping to your caffe latte or a generous swirl atop a tasty dessert, there are plenty of ways of welcoming whipped cream into our treat days.
But what about as a treat for our pets? Can dogs eat whipped cream? They can, but there are rules it’s best to follow, as we’ll explain below.
Is whipped cream good for dogs?
If you were hoping that the calcium content of the milk used to make whipped cream means it’s good for dogs in the long run, you’re unfortunately mistaken.
Dogs share our fate when it comes to sweet treats, and whipped cream doesn’t offer them anything in the way of health benefits.
In fact, owing to how sensitive canine digestion is in comparison to our own, whipped cream and other sugary treats can affect them far more intensely, and more quickly, than it would their human masters. It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean that whipped cream is completely off the menu.
After all, unless it’s got chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles mixed in with it, whipped cream definitely is not poisonous or toxic to your dog.
That occasional naughty splodge of it that might be scooped over your dog’s way – or accidentally toppling off the sweet treat you’re eating – isn’t going to harm your dog too harshly.
It might be tempting to think that, because whipped cream is so light and fluffy, it’s more air than dairy and sugar.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case – and the way dogs handle human food, especially that with extra sugars and lactose content, is largely what makes it a poor recommendation for a healthy dog’s diet.
What often goes unnoticed by even the most well-meaning of dog owners is that the average canine loses a lot of their tolerance and ability to digest dairy and lactose as they reach maturity.
As puppies, dogs have more capability to process this sort of thing – like us, they are mammals, and evolved this way so as to gain nutrition from their mother’s milk while still in the litter.
However, dogs grow up fast, and as they do, they lose that tolerance for dairy just as quickly. This isn’t just a truth that affects if dogs can eat whipped cream, but also if dogs can eat cheese, drink milk and all kinds of other related things.
By and large, it isn’t recommended, but also certainly isn’t mortally dangerous to them. It just makes for a gassy, even aching tummy – so it’s important to be very, very sparing with treats like these in your dog’s diet.
Dangers of whipped cream for dogs
There is nothing inherently dangerous about giving whipped cream to dogs, although certainly don’t feel as though you ought to take the nozzle of the can and squirt it directly into your dog’s mouth.
As amusing as it can seem, and as much as your pooch might seem to appreciate having a mouth crammed full of sweet whipped cream, it can also cause gagging and retching, just like in us.
In fact, it’s important to recognise just how much discomfort too much dairy can give to your dog, and that’s certainly the case when giving dogs whipped cream.
While it may help them cool down on a hot day, or might seem like a nice way of sharing some dessert, it has to be very infrequently and very small portions – even for the biggest pooches – to avoid complications.
Dairy and lactose affect different dogs in different ways, and just like us, some dogs are simply allergic or outright intolerant of dairy, throwing up as soon as they have any.
Trust us when we say you’ll soon learn if you have a dog of that persuasion, as dairy is found in more foods than we realise, and triggering this reaction in your pet by accident might well occur early in their life.
The dairy content of whipped cream tends to affect older dogs, young dogs, puppies and small dogs the most, as you might well expect – but even bigger breeds can sometimes surprise us.
Either way, the symptoms are easy to recognise, as your dog will begin to show signs of gurgling within them as their digestive system struggles with the whipped cream, or other dairy products they might have eaten.
It can get a little messy, but luckily not dangerous. Vomiting is unlikely in all but the most sensitive of cases, but you can expect your dog to be experiencing a tummy ache and a sense of bloatedness that will make him or her pretty uncomfortable.
Some nasty gas might well follow, or even a bout of diarrhea.
Consider the calories and sugar content of whipped cream too. Dogs are much more sensitive to high levels of these things than human beings are, and the calorie count alone can quickly mount up.
This is the case even if your dog has a healthy and balanced diet otherwise – regularly eating whipped cream will see some bulk building around your dog’s midriff before you know it. And unfortunately, that’s not muscle mass!
Weight gain in dogs can get nasty before you know it, leading to diabetes later in life in especially unfortunate cases.
Keep in mind also that the sugar in whipped cream, despite being hard to process for your dog, can also lead to tooth decay over time too.
How much whipped cream can a dog eat daily?
While in the strictest technical sense a dog could well eat and enjoy a teaspoon’s worth of whipped cream per day as a treat, there’s no reason why he or she ought to be doing so.
It’s far more sensible to treat whipped cream as an occasional treat, or a spur of the moment thing you share with your pet if you’re enjoying something with it on for yourself.
While your dog will love the flavour and certainly have no issues in asking for more when he or she learns how good it can be, it’s very important to keep a level head.
There are plenty of more healthy treats out there for your dog to enjoy, so keep those guilty pleasures to yourself for the most part.
Dogs are a little like children, inasmuch as they don’t like to accept that there’s a limit on what tasty goodness they ought to be able to have.
But believe us when we say that you’ll be saving your dog a lot of aching and discomfort in the long run if you lay down some decent ground rules, to say nothing of their overall long term health, vitality, and longevity.
What to do if your dog eats whipped cream
Whether you’re a new dog owner or have been a faithful canine friend your entire life, it’s a common truth that our beloved pets have the most remarkable talent of sneaking things they’re not supposed to.
With everything we have discussed in consideration, there’s no blaming you if you feel concerned if you find that your dog has been eating lots of whipped cream without you giving it by your own hand.
Maybe a spilled dessert splattered it on the kitchen floor and your pup is cheerfully lapping it up, or maybe someone mischievous in the family has been squirting it at your dog, not realising what harm it can do to them.
It’s best to first distinguish if the whipped cream is part of a bigger treat, and go from there. This is mostly to identify if your dog has potentially eaten any chocolate, as this is a much more severe issue.
If this is the case, or you happen to know that your dog is diabetic or extremely sensitive to dairy, by all means seek the advice of your vet on how best to move forward and keep your dog safe.
However, if this is a one off occurrence, this is more of a behavioural issue than a medical one. Identify how your dog came by the whipped cream and find ways to ensure he or she cannot decide to access it for him or herself again – and definitely tell your dog that this is not good behaviour.
Chances are that it won’t take long for your dog to, unfortunately, learn why this was a bad idea the hard way.
There are going to be stomach aches, feelings of sluggishness, some nasty gas and perhaps a bit of a messy toilet break in his or her future.
Keep some fresh water close by and help comfort your pooch through this uncomfortable time, and all ought to be well.
Whipped cream on its own is safe for dogs, if dished out infrequently and in small portions. If you overdo it, as is always tempting to do – even by accident – your dog will suffer thanks to both the sugar content and the dairy content of whipped cream.
Definitely don’t give it to your dog regularly either, to prevent the risk of weight gain, diabetes, lactose intolerance development or tooth decay – there are plenty of other healthy snacks out there for your pet to enjoy.