Contrary to popular opinion that all moldy food should be disposed of, mold in cheese gives an incredible flavor and texture that can be safely consumed.
Some delicious cheeses like gorgonzola owe their magical taste to mold, but is it safe for dogs?
So, can dogs eat moldy cheese?
Unfortunately, dogs cannot eat stale food, including moldy cheese.
Cheese in itself can be a health hazard as it may result in salt intoxication, dehydration, and pancreatitis.
Moldy cheese adds more risks which can cause more severe issues like mycotoxin poisoning or even death.
This article will discuss why you shouldn’t offer your dog moldy cheese.
We will also explain what moldy cheese is and why you should keep it out of reach of dogs.
What is moldy cheese?
Moldy cheese is a term used to describe some types of blue-veined cheese, including stilton, Roquefort, and gorgonzola, which are made with penicillium Roqueforts.
Moldy cheese can also describe superficially mold-ripened cheese like brie and camembert.
Whatever the terminology may be, moldy cheese is highly toxic to dogs as it can cause severe illnesses or even death.
What happens if my dog eats moldy cheese?
The consequences of your dog eating moldy cheese may depend on several factors, including the amount consumed, the dog’s size, and the type of mold on the cheese.
Moldy food, including cheese, contain mycotoxins that are highly toxic to dogs.
If your dog ingests moldy cheese, it can cause mycotoxin toxicosis with symptoms like seizures, tremors, or death if left untreated.
How long after eating moldy cheese will my dog get sick?
The first indication may appear within 2 hours of ingestion.
Your dog may start to vomit even before the tremors begin to show.
The mycotoxins in moldy cheese can cause severe muscle tremors, which may raise your dog’s temperature to dangerously high levels.
Consult your vet immediately if you notice a change in behavior after your dog eats moldy cheese.
What are the symptoms of moldy cheese poisoning in dogs?
Several symptoms could indicate mycotoxin poisoning in your dog. These may include:
- High fever
- Jaundiced appearance
- Abdominal pain
How do you treat mycotoxin poisoning in dogs?
If your dog suffers from mycotoxin poisoning, he will require immediate vet care to prevent fatalities.
Your vet will pump the dog’s stomach and give activated charcoal to absorb all the toxins from its stomach.
Your vet can also give a laxative to initiate bowel movements.
You should give your dog plenty of water to prevent them from getting dehydrated if you suspect they stole moldy cheese.
Can moldy cheese cause vomiting in dogs?
Yes, vomiting is one of the first symptoms when your dog eats moldy cheese.
Other signs may include reduced appetite and changes in the stool.
If your dog shows any symptoms after ingesting moldy cheese, take him to the vet for proper care and treatment.
Will moldy cheese hurt my dog?
Moldy cheese can be harmful to your dog, but the extent and in which form depends on several factors, including the amount consumed.
If your dog took only a tiny bite, expect vomiting and diarrhea, which should be self-limiting.
If your dog steals a considerable chunk of moldy cheese, he may be at risk of intoxication.
Rush him to the vet immediately to manage the symptoms.
Professional care can help eliminate the toxins faster while increasing your dog’s chances of recovery.
Health risks of moldy cheese to dogs
While a small amount of moldy cheese may not be toxic for your dog, allowing him to eat it regularly may cause severe damage.
Some of these risks, if left untreated, can result in death.
Moldy cheese can contain mycotoxins that are poisonous to your dog.
If your dog ingests moldy cheese, the syndrome that can occur is called mycotoxin intoxication (mycotoxin toxicosis).
The most common symptoms include hyperthermia, salivation, fever, seizures, vomiting, pain, and disorientation.
These signs may start within 1 to 2 hours of exposure or can be delayed for several hours.
Mycotoxin intoxication, if left untreated, is potentially fatal, which means immediate vet care is required.
Even if your dog ate lightly molded parts of the cheese, you should consult your vet for further instructions as he may still be at risk.
While many dogs are lactose intolerant to some extent, dairy products, including cheese (moldy or not), should be offered with caution.
This is because dogs have a sensitive stomach, and cheese can disrupt their digestive system resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, stomach upset, loss of appetite, and cramping.
While the stomach discomfort may be unpleasant, it is usually self-limiting.
However, you should consult your vet if the symptoms persist.
Cheese has a high amount of salt, leading to sodium ion poisoning in dogs.
Excess salt can increase the risk of dehydration which may cause your dog to experience jerks or shakiness due to moisture loss.
Additionally, your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, high temperatures, and depression.
To make matters worse, it may even cause death, especially for dogs with existing kidney conditions.
Cheese is rich in fats, and feeding dogs too much can lead to pancreatitis.
For breeds genetically prone to pancreatitis, overeating cheese can expose them to the condition. Foods high in fats like moldy cheese can lead to the inflammation of the pancreas, which can be fatal if not treated.
What should I do if my dog ate moldy cheese?
If your dog accidentally ingests moldy cheese, you should quickly put away the remaining cheese and monitor him depending on the amount he took.
Try to offer plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Call your vet and explain the situation in detail.
Your vet may recommend an in-person examination for proper assessment.
If you can, take with you the cheese wrapper so that your vet can establish the type of moldy cheese your dog took.
Depending on the situation, your vet may recommend a one or two-day admission for your dog to monitor how he responds to treatment before safely returning home.
Moldy cheese should not be offered to dogs as the potential risks may range from mild to severe.
Before giving your dog human food, including moldy cheese, check with your vet to ensure they’re 100% safe.