Sweet and creamy with a famously airy texture, whipped cream is a popular addition to desserts in almost any location.
But as you may know, foods that are perfectly fine for humans aren’t always a good treat for dogs — so is whipped cream safe for your dog to eat?
In short — yes, dogs can eat whipped cream. To feed them responsibly, however, there are a few rules you should follow.
Read on to learn what, if any, health benefits your dog may get from eating whipped cream, as well as the best ways to feed it to your four-legged friend.
Whipped Cream Nutrition and Fun Facts
Made of little more than cream, sugar, and the occasional vanilla flavoring, whipped cream is a rich and sweet dessert topping whose simple ingredient list belies its complex preparation.
Originally popularized in 16th century Italy, this “milk snow” was served to aristocrats and royalty all over the country. The first recipes for this light and airy treat appear as early as 1549, in the writings of Cristoforo di Messisbugo. It took on the name “whipped cream” after being introduced to England in 1673, where it was still alternatively known as “snow cream” for another 100 years.
With 76% of its calories coming from fat, 19% from carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars, and just 5% from protein, whipped cream offers little nutritional value to humans or dogs. Besides small amounts of calcium and Vitamin A, it contains only trace amounts of vital nutrients.
Health Benefits of Whipped Cream for Dogs
Unless your dog is underweight and has a hard time gaining weight, whipped cream will offer little or no health benefits. It’s extremely rich and calorie-dense, making it an attractive treat for food-motivated dogs.
Can Whipped Cream Be Bad for Dogs?
According to the American Kennel Club, many dogs are lactose intolerant. Lactose, the sugar found in all dairy milk products, will be difficult for most dogs to digest — and can lead to bloating, gas, or diarrhea if given in too large a quantity.
Additionally, whipped cream is high in fats and sugars, making it a contributor to canine obesity. Because of this, it should never form a regular part of your dog’s dietary intake.
How to Feed Whipped Cream to Your Dogs
Whether homemade, from a pressurized can, or out of a tub of Cool Whip, feeding whipped cream to your dog is easy and intuitive. For dogs that enjoy its sweet and fatty taste and airy texture, we recommend using it as an occasional treat for good behavior.
Because many dogs are highly food-motivated, whipped cream can be a valuable tool for training and reinforcing commands.
How Much Whipped Cream Should I Feed My Dog?
Any food with little nutritional value, like whipped cream, should only be fed to your dog in small amounts and infrequently. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog a portion of whipped cream no larger than one of their paws.
Given its airy volume, it’s easy for the amount of whip cream your dog eats to add up. A medium-sized dog weighing roughly 30 pounds needs about 14 grams of fat per day. One cup of pressurized whipped cream from the can packs just over 13 grams of fat, nearly maxing your dog’s fat intake for the day. Suddenly, what seemed like a harmless treat can start to cause negative health effects if repeated consistently. Keep this in mind before you head to the drive-in for a “puppicino” at your local coffee shop.
For dogs that exhibit signs of lactose intolerance — bloating, gas, and diarrhea — you’ll need to cut milk products (including whipped cream) out of their diet entirely.
Types of Whipped Cream to Feed Your Dog
To avoid the chemical preservatives in canned or tub whipped cream, it’s worth considering learning how to make this treat by hand. Watch this video from Saveur if you’re curious to know how it’s done.
Final Thoughts on Feeding Whipped Cream to Your Dog
While it’s a popular dessert topping that’s featured in many holiday dishes throughout the year, whipped cream offers little to no health benefits to your dog. Owing to its high fat and sugar content and absence of vitamins and minerals, it’s best kept as an occasional treat for dogs whose digestive systems are known to be capable of handling milk products.
Featured Image Credit: Alex Gorzen, Wikimedia Commons