Can Turtles Eat Cheese – Safe For All Species (Nutrition, Toxins & More)?

When it comes to our turtles, we want nothing but the best for them, do we? We want to ensure that they live a life of luxury and are fed the finest foods. But knowing what food you can give a turtle is a little challenging.

Whether you are a first-time turtle owner or have cared for them for many years, you catch yourself wondering, is this safe for my turtle to eat? What can I feed my turtle? You want them to have tasty food they can enjoy without the risk of causing health complications.

The worry gets to you, and you spend most of your time thinking about your turtle’s diet and what is safe for them to eat. Well, no more! Today we are here to put your mind at ease! We have a series of articles here all about what turtles can and can’t eat. 

Today, we are tackling cheese to see if the delicious dairy product is safe for turtles to enjoy! Keep reading to find out more! We will also look at its nutritional value and any toxins it possesses.

Can Turtles eat cheese?

Let’s get straight into it! Although technically, turtles can eat cheese, they shouldn’t. Turtles cannot digest dairy, meaning cheese and other dairy products should not be part of their diet, not even as a treat. 

Feeding turtles cheese can make them sick and lead to serious health complications in the long term! While you might see some people feeding turtles small cubes of cheese, you should not. Even the smallest amount of cheese could leave your turtle unwell and in pain!

Why can’t turtles eat cheese?

Turtles cannot eat cheese because they can’t digest it! A turtle does not have the enzymes you need to break down and digest dairy products as we do. Instead of being digested properly, the cheese will cost severe indigestion in your turtles.

Anyone who has suffered from indigestion before will know how painful that can be; you wouldn’t want to inflict that on your turtle, would you?

Even if you gave your turtle the smallest amount of cheese, they wouldn’t be able to digest it properly. Your turtle might vomit or lose its appetite after ingesting cheese. It can lead to serious issues, especially if your turtle stops eating. 

If you are concerned, take your turtle to the vet immediately. Usually, they will re-hydrate your turtle or force-feed them with a fluid therapy treatment to ensure their dose can function normally. Indigestion will pass, and your turtle should return to its usual self. 

You might also notice that your turtle is lethargic after ingesting cheese or even aggressive. These are normal signs that a turtle is unwell.

They can also be the sign of a virus or infection, but we can see it when they ingest cheese too. Indigestion can be quite painful for them, but it shouldn’t last too long if they have only ingested a small amount of cheese. 

If your turtle eats a lot of cheese, it’s worth consulting with a vet. They are going to struggle to digest all the cheese and are likely to be in pain. A vet will be able to provide you with advice and a treatment plan if necessary. 

Is cheese toxic to turtles?

There isn’t much information out there about this! While turtles cannot digest cheese and will be left with discomfort as their body tries to break the cheese down, there is little evidence to say that the cheese is toxic to them. 

But as their bodies cannot digest cheese and other dairy products, it’s safe to say they shouldn’t be eating it! There is always a risk when turtles eat something they shouldn’t, that they could develop health complications down the line, and to ensure your turtle doesn’t eat cheese, it’s best to assume that it is toxic to them. 

Ensure that cheese and other dairy products are kept away from the food you feed your turtle and that everyone knows not to feed it cheese! You don’t need to worry too much about cross-contamination if you handle cheese before feeding your turtle.

However, we would wash our hands before feeding your turtle any food to prevent them from coming into contact with any bacteria that could cause them to be unwell. 

Is cheese nutritious for turtles?

For many of us, cheese and dairy products provide us with calcium to develop bones and protein to keep us feeling fuller for longer. As turtles do not possess the enzymes to break cheese down and digest it, they cannot access the nutrients in cheese. 

Instead of offering them a delicious dairy treat, you give them a calorific block with some fat that cannot be ingested. It doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it?

Turtles also don’t need that much protein, so offering them cheese regularly (or at all) usually leaves their bodies with more protein than they need, and that is never good! 

The nutritious value cheese possesses is not utilized by your turtle, and therefore, you can say that cheese holds no nutritional value for your turtle. It’s best to offer protein sources that turtles can ingest, such as boiled eggs, crickets, snails, mealworms, and earthworms. 

Turtles don’t need a lot of protein; a source of protein every 2-3 days in their diet is more than enough. If you aren’t sure or need more guidance, speak to your vet, as they can offer a diet and meal plan you can follow with your turtle. 

Final Word

And just like that, we have come to the end of our turtle journey together today! As you can see, turtles should not eat cheese as they struggle to digest dairy. It can leave them suffering from painful indigestion, which over time can pose a serious health risk. 

Avoid cheese altogether and opt for boiled eggs or earthworms to provide your turtle with a protein source that they will enjoy and successfully digest!