Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream? Is It Good or Bad For Your Pup?

March 16, 2024

Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream? Is It Good or Bad For Your Pup?

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Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream?

As pet parents increasingly incorporate human food into their dogs’ diets, it’s important to consider the safety of these treats. Some human foods, like sour cream, may not be suitable for dogs, especially if they are consuming a nutrient-rich food like Mexican.

It’s crucial to ensure that the food is safe and suitable for your dog’s health and well-being.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a regular dairy cream that has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation removes the sugar and gives it its unmistakable sour taste. It can be used for baking and in some desserts and it is a common accompaniment to fajitas and other Mexican dishes. You’ll also find it in some dips and snacks. But can dogs eat sour cream? Is it safe?

Is Sour Cream Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Sour cream is generally safe for dogs, but it can be harmful to those who are lactose intolerant. It can cause vomiting or diarrhea, especially after an upset stomach from dairy products like milk or cheese. It is also high in fat, potentially causing further flare-ups for dogs with pancreatitis. Regularly offering sour cream can also cause weight gain. To avoid this, opt for healthier treats like raw carrots.

Sour cream is a fermented dairy product that converts lactose into a new substance, giving it its distinctive tangy taste. Most sour cream contains less lactose than other dairy products, like ice cream. However, even a small amount of lactose can cause upset stomachs, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea in lactose-intolerant dogs.

To ensure the safety of your dog, check the ingredients of sour cream and other food items to avoid any potential health risks.

Risks of Dog’s Eating Sour Cream

When dogs eat sour cream, there are potential risks and side effects that you should be aware of:

Sour creams can cause digestive issues in dogs due to their difficulty digesting lactose. Regular consumption can lead to weight gain and obesity, causing health problems. The fatty nature of sour cream can increase the risk of pancreatitis, causing inflammation, abdominal pain, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to dairy products, resulting in allergic reactions or skin irritations. Overconsumption of sour cream can lead to an unbalanced diet, requiring a well-balanced canine diet with appropriate nutrients and vitamins.

It’s crucial to note that every dog’s reaction to sour cream may vary, so if your dog is experiencing adverse effects, consult a veterinarian for guidance.

Are Dogs Lactose Intolerant?

Dogs have a limited ability to digest lactose, the sugar in milk and dairy products, due to a lack of the enzyme lactase. Around 65% of dogs have reduced lactose digestion, leading to digestive issues like diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

To avoid these issues, consider your dog’s tolerance and monitor their reaction before introducing lactose-containing foods like sour cream. Lactose-free alternatives like lactose-free milk or yogurt are better for dogs, as they are easily digestible without causing digestive upset.

Benefits of Giving Your Dog Sour Cream

Sour cream, while containing trace amounts of vitamins A, calcium, phosphorus, and iron, is not a good source of nutrition for dogs. Its high calories and fat content make it unsuitable for their diet, and it is not recommended to include it in your dog’s diet.

Alternatives to Sour Cream for Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Sour Cream?

Sour cream for dogs can be replaced with yogurt, cottage cheese, or mashed sweet potatoes. Yogurt is a good source of probiotics and promotes digestive health.

Cottage cheese is a protein source for dogs and can be plain without added salt or seasonings.

Pumpkin puree is a non-dairy option that is low in calories and high in fiber, aiding digestion. Mashed sweet potatoes are nutritious and dogs enjoy their taste, making them a good occasional treat.

What If My Dog Accidentally Eats Some Sour Cream? What Should I Do?

If your dog has eaten some sour cream, don’t panic! They may not show any signs of being unwell, especially if it was a small amount. However, some dogs will get mild vomiting or diarrhea after eating something like sour cream.

If this is the case, you should feed a bland diet (boiled chicken and rice, scrambled eggs, plain pasta, or white fish) for forty-eight hours to allow the guts to settle. If at any point your dog starts acting unwell, goes off their food, or you’re concerned, you should speak to your veterinarian for advice.

If your dog is lactose intolerant, is prone to pancreatitis, or has a sensitive gut, you might find that they develop a more severe tummy upset. Contact your veterinarian right away if your canine companion isn’t eating or drinking, is vomiting even after water, or seems to have a painful stomach. The vet will be able to check them over to decide if they need any medication to help them recover.

Are There Dairy Products That Dogs Can Safely Eat?

Dogs can safely consume dairy products like plain yogurt, cottage cheese, goat’s milk, and certain hard cheeses in moderation.

Plain yogurt is a healthy option with probiotics, promoting a healthy digestive system. It is important to choose yogurt without added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, but should be avoided with added salt or seasonings.


What happens when dogs eat sour cream?

If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant and doesn’t have a sensitive gut, a small amount of sour cream is unlikely to cause any immediate symptoms. However, some might experience vomiting and diarrhea. In the longer term, though, eating sour cream regularly is likely to cause weight gain and might even lead to a bout of pancreatitis, where the pancreas gland becomes inflamed. 

Can dogs die from eating sour cream?

Sour cream is non-toxic to dogs, so it’s unlikely to cause any severe adverse symptoms. However, dogs who are lactose intolerant or have dietary sensitivities may develop vomiting or diarrhea. If you are concerned about your dog after they have eaten sour cream, you should speak to your veterinarian, who can advise you what to do.

What foods can upset a dog’s stomach?

Many foods have the potential to upset a dog’s stomach. Many dairy products can cause a stomach upset, especially in dogs who are lactose intolerant. Equally, particularly rich or fatty foods like pâté and fatty meats can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis. In fact, any new food that is introduced suddenly rather than gradually can lead to symptoms of an upset stomach. So, it’s essential to give only a tiny amount of a new food at first, and then gradually increase the amount if your dog doesn’t develop any problems.

So, can I give my dog sour cream?

The answer to whether you can give your dog sour cream is yes – small amounts should be fine. Unless your dog is lactose intolerant, they should be able to cope with a little bit. However, perhaps the more important question is whether you should be giving your dog sour cream. The truth is that there are much better options for nutritious add-ons to your dog’s diet that are much healthier and more beneficial. 

So, if you’re looking for a healthier snack or treat for your dog, why not consider carrot, apples, or even peanut butter (but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol). Remember, your dog can’t go far wrong with a commercial, nutritionally complete diet, but always do your research if you want to add a bit of variety. By checking what’s safe and what isn’t, you’ll be able to share some tasty treats with your furry friend without worrying that they’ll become unwell.


Dr Hannah Godfrey MRCVS graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011. Although she initially worked in mixed practice treating all species, she found a love for small animal work and has worked exclusively with dogs and cats since 2014. She lives in Wales with her partner, son, and two cats (named Poppy and Ashton Kutcher), and writes comedy fiction in her spare time.
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