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Can dogs eat halloumi?

Health and Wellbeing

There are very few dogs who aren’t barking mad for cheese, and they’ll do almost anything to earn a nibble of this tasty treat. But cheeses come in all sorts of varieties, from the soft and squishy cottage cheese, to pungent brie, and rich cheddar somewhere in between.

Can dogs eat halloumi?

Not every cheese is made from cow's milk either, like halloumi, which is usually made from a mix of goat and sheep milk. Not every kind of cheese is safe for dogs though, so are varieties like halloumi fine for our furry friends?

Halloumi has become a staple for BBQs and vegetarian burgers, and this squeaky cheese is super salty and delicious, so it’s sure to make a tempting morsel for our furry friends. But can dogs eat halloumi, or do you need to worry if Fido hoovers a piece up from beneath the BBQ? Let’s find out!

Can dogs eat halloumi?

Dogs can eat halloumi, but it doesn’t mean that they should. A tiny piece of halloumi as an occasional treat should be fine if you’ve got a healthy adult dog who eats a balanced diet. However, it isn’t suitable to be served as a daily snack for Fido, and there are healthier treats you could give them like chunks of chicken or pieces of apple.

Halloumi isn’t toxic to dogs, but even though it isn’t going to poison your pooch, it can still have a detrimental effect on their health if they eat a lot of it because of the high fat and salt content.

In the short term, a little bit of halloumi cheese as a treat might not cause your dog immediate or serious harm. It could upset their digestive tract because dog’s struggle to digest fatty foods, and most canines are lactose intolerant so the dairy in cheese can put additional strain on their gut. In other words, a bit of halloumi might cause some tummy aches, gas, and diarrhoea. The high salt content on the other hand might make your pup thirsty and cause dehydration.

However, eating lots of halloumi can cause more serious problems for dogs, especially if they’re eating it regularly. The high-fat content could lead to obesity or a case of pancreatitis, which can put your pup’s life at risk. Meanwhile too much salt can cause toxicity in dogs. Besides, some dogs just do not like the salty taste!

It can be worse for some dogs, who might need a controlled diet to improve their health or to treat a health condition. For example, any dog with kidney disease, heart disease, or hypertension will need a low-salt diet to stay healthy and manage their condition. That means salty foods like halloumi are a definite no-no.

So yes, your dog can eat a bit of halloumi because it’s non-toxic and they can digest it, but it’s not good for them and could make them sick. Although most dogs love cheese and it can make a really high-value reward, other kinds like cheddar are a somewhat safer choice.

Can dogs eat halloumi fries?

If dogs can’t eat halloumi because of the high fat and salt content, they definitely can’t have halloumi fries which are even fattier and more calorific because they’ve been fried in oil. Halloumi fries are very unhealthy for Fido, so they should always stay out of the dog bowl.

Can dogs eat breaded halloumi?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat breaded halloumi either, which is sometimes the same as halloumi fries. It’s high in fat and salt which aren’t good for your dog and can lead to problems like weight gain, pancreatitis, or dehydration.

We humans might think a single bit of breaded halloumi is a tasty treat and safe enough if it’s “just one”. But we all know our dogs are smaller than we are so need fewer calories to stay healthy, although it’s hard to estimate just how much smaller they are.

For example, the average medium-sized dog like a Cocker Spaniel weighs about 15kg, and only needs about 14g of fat per day to stay healthy. A single stick of breaded halloumi has 3.7-5g of fat. So that one piece of cheese has actually used up a third of your dog’s RDA of fat before they’ve even had their dog food!

Because complete dog food is already perfectly balanced to provide everything your dog needs to stay healthy, including fat, it means a treat like a piece of breaded halloumi adds a LOT of extra fat which can quickly lead to problems like weight gain or pancreatitis.

It’s super easy to overfeed our pets, and it has a serious impact on their health. Obesity in pets is a growing problem, causing thousands of pounds in vet bills and shortening the lives of our dogs by an average of two years.

Can dogs eat cheese?

Dogs can eat a little bit of cheese as a high-value treat, but this tasty tidbit isn’t healthy for dogs to eat in large quantities. Even healthy adult dogs shouldn’t eat a lot of cheese because the high fat and salt content can make them sick, and the dairy in it can upset their stomach because most dogs are lactose intolerant.

Although cheese is usually safe for dogs to eat, some types of cheese can be harmful for our furry friends. Blue cheese is toxic to dogs and they should never eat it, because the characteristic blue mould creates a compound called Roquefortine C which is poisonous to our pets.

For more information on whether cheese is good or bad for your dog, check out our guide: Can dogs eat cheese?

Is halloumi bad for dogs?

Halloumi could be considered bad for dogs. Cheese is a bit of a luxury item for dogs anyway and they should only ever eat it in very small quantities as a high-value reward.

Most cheese is fatty, and halloumi is slightly lower in fat than varieties like cheddar, but not by a lot. Halloumi is still considered a high-fat food and eating too much can cause tummy aches and diarrhoea, cause your pooch to pile on the pounds, and increase their risk of illness.

Since we humans often fry halloumi, the fat content actually increases because of the butters or oils we use to cook it. It’s a good idea to never feed your dog any sort of fried food, including halloumi. Grilled halloumi is a slightly better option, but it is still very fatty and salty.

Salt is the other problem with halloumi, because the amount of salt in this cheese is much higher than other types because it’s soaked in brine. Too much salt in your dog’s diet can cause all kinds of problems, from short-term issues like dehydration, to long-term problems like high blood pressure.

Even we humans, who are much bigger than dogs and less sensitive to salt, aren’t meant to have more than 6g of the stuff each day to stay healthy. A safe level of salt for healthy adult dogs is <100mg per 100g of food, (Less than 0.1g per 100g).

A 30g serving of halloumi has a huge 0.84g of salt, which is way more salt than your pup should be scoffing even in a meal, let alone a small snack.

All cheese is bad for dogs in excess, and you definitely shouldn’t be giving your dog a whole slice of halloumi, or offering it to them every day. A tiny tidbit every now and then should be safe, but it must always be small pieces that are kept as a special treat. You also could always offer your dog another tasty snack, like healthy doggy treats or pieces of chicken, that’s healthier for them to eat but still going to get their tail wagging.

Is halloumi poisonous to dogs?

Halloumi itself is not poisonous to dogs, but it can still make them sick.

Halloumi is a dairy product and most adult dogs are lactose intolerant, so eating too much cheese like halloumi can give them gastrointestinal troubles like vomiting and diarrhoea. Dogs can also get tummy upsets from eating fatty foods, like halloumi.

And although halloumi is not toxic to dogs, salt can be poisonous to our pooches, and halloumi has an awful lot of salt in it.

Recap: Can dogs have halloumi?

Dogs can eat halloumi in very small amounts as a special treat, but you definitely shouldn’t give it to your dog every day and certainly not in big servings.

Halloumi is high in fat and salt which aren’t good for your dog, so they’re better off without it. But if you need a high-value reward to use once in a while, a tiny chunk of halloumi or another cheese could do the trick.

But if your dog eats too much halloumi it could cause short-term problems like gut ache and diarrhoea, to long-term issues like weight gain.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.