I can’t tell you how much I love milk! You might say, “Eh, you like milk?” Well, yes, I do. I’m lactose intolerant, but I can’t help it! For me, milk makes everything perfect. Milk in my cereals. Milk in my coffee. Milk in my avocado. Milk everywhere! Milk in my dog’s bowl? Can dogs drink milk?
The answer is yes, BUT it should only be in small quantities (milk as a treat!). You should also consider whether your furry best friend is lactose intolerant or not, as well as if they have allergies to dairy products.
What? Dogs can be lactose intolerant? But, they drink milk from their mothers! Well, you can read on to find out more!
Is Milk Good For Dogs To Drink?
There are several nutrients your dog can get from milk. Milk contains protein, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D. These are all necessary for your dog’s diet.
Vitamin A is necessary for maintaining your dog’s healthy skin, coat, muscles, and nerves. Vitamin B12 is also important in your dog’s diet because it helps in creating, maintaining, and improving the nerves’ protective tissues.
However, milk is also high in sugar (lactose mostly) and fats, which is not ideal for dogs. Too much sugar content may affect your dog’s teeth and can make them overweight. On the other hand, high-fat content may lead to pancreatitis and obesity.
That is another reason, aside from lactose intolerance and dairy allergy, to only give your dog small quantities of milk.
Can Dogs Be Lactose Intolerant?
Well, most dogs actually have a food intolerance. It is pretty common among them with 1 out of 3 dogs being food intolerant. However, the most common source of food intolerance in dogs is dairy products like milk and cheese.
However, you may find that your lactose intolerant dog can eat some dairy products like yogurt and cheese without a problem even if they find it hard drinking milk. [Source]
What Is Lactose?
Lactose is a naturally-occurring sugar found in the milk of mammals like humans and dogs. It is essential for dogs’ nutrition, especially, in their early days as puppies.
How Do Dogs Become Lactose Intolerant?
The explanation behind this is simple and easy to understand. I will happily break it down for you!
Puppies have an enzyme in their digestive tract called lactase. This enzyme breaks down ingested lactose into glucose and galactose, which are a great source of energy.
This allows puppies to drink milk from their mothers without ever upsetting their tummies. As you can see, dogs are lactose tolerant in their early life!
As puppies age, their intestines develop and lactase disappears or decreases. This explains why most dogs become lactose intolerant as they grow older and become mature.[Source]
What Are the Signs That My Dog Is Lactose Intolerant?
To know that your dog is lactose intolerant, you must first observe. You can try giving your dog a few sips of milk, depending on their size. and look for signs that your dog is lactose intolerant in the following hours or days.
Your dog is possibly lactose-intolerant if they show these signs after ingestion of milk:
- Loose stool
- Very smelly flatulence
- Abdominal pain
- Lack of appetite
Is Lactose Intolerance and Dairy Allergies the Same?
The answer is no. Lactose intolerance is due to the inability of your dog to digest the sugar lactose well. Dairy allergies, on the other hand, happen when the protein alpha-S1 casein is not tolerated by your dog’s tummy. [Source]
How Much Milk Should I Give My Dog?
As I mentioned earlier, you should only give your dog small amounts of milk and it should only be given as a treat. A few sips or tablespoons of milk is okay! Just please make sure your dog does not have problems digesting milk and does not have allergies to dairy products.
It is also advisable to follow the 10-percent rule. This says that treats should only be 10 percent of your dog’s total calorie intake per day.
If your dog needs 500 calories per day, only 50 calories at most are for treats (like milk). The other 450 calories should come from their healthy and balanced everyday food.
As much as your pooch loves milk, everything should be balanced and treated in moderation!
What Kind Of Milk Can Dogs Drink?
Can My Dog Drink Goat’s Milk?
Goat’s milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk, especially since it contains a lower amount of lactose. In fact, it is growing more popular among fur parents these days!
Raw goat milk is unpasteurized and therefore still has the enzyme lactase. This makes it easier for lactose-intolerant dogs to digest it.
Compared to cow’s milk, goat milk is higher in calcium, potassium, and protein, but lower in Vitamin B12 and Folate. Also, the amount of protein alpha-S1 casein (the protein that triggers dairy allergies) is much lower than other types of milk.
Calcium is good for strengthening your dog’s bones. Potassium, on the other hand, helps maintain your dog’s healthy muscle and nerve function. Protein is crucial in muscle and tissue building and repairing. It is also important in our dog’s hair growth.
Although goat’s milk is lower in Vitamin B12 and folate, it still has a significant amount of them. Vitamin B12 aids in maintaining a healthy pancreas, while folate is for red blood cell production. [Source]
Aside from these benefits, goat’s milk also aids in regulating your dog’s digestive system’s pH level. The high quantity of potassium in goat’s milk makes it an effective antacid that helps in neutralizing your dog’s stomach.
So, if your dog loves milk, you should consider giving them goat’s milk!
[Related Article: Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?Here’s What Animal Experts Suggest]
Can My Dog Drink Almond Milk?
The answer is yes, BUT in small quantities and only occasionally! Almond milk does not contain lactose and it can be an option for lactose-intolerant dogs.
However, there are still several factors you need to consider when you choose to give your pooch almond milk.
The first is to consider the age of your dog. If your dog is still a puppy, you should never give them almond milk.
Second is you should check if your almond milk has additives like the all-natural sweetener xylitol. This is more toxic than chocolate to your dog! Xylitol poisoning can lead to hypoglycemia and liver disease.
In the end, cost-wise and health-wise, goat’s milk is still the better option!