Many of us enjoy milk every day, but can dogs drink milk – or is milk bad for dogs? Many dog owners have the very same questions. Look no further, this article will provide you the answer.
When considering whether dogs can drink milk, or eat products containing milk such as cheese, it comes down to whether your individual dog tolerates it in their diet.
Can Dogs Drink Milk?
In general, milk is no longer necessary for dogs after they have weaned from their mothers.
Of course, milk is a good source of nutrients like protein and calcium, as well as important vitamins like A, D and B12 that help for good sight, strong bones, and an efficient immune system.
But milk isn’t the greatest way to supplement your dog with these vitamins. Certainly your dog gets these from his regular food anyway.
Moreover, the milk has a lot of fat and sugar. Large amounts of fat in the diet can lead to obesity as well as more serious health issues like pancreatitis.
Most of the time, a little bit of milk isn’t going to be harmful or toxic. However, some dogs are lactose-intolerant, meaning their guts cannot digest it.
What Does Lactose-Intolerant Mean?
Just like people, some dogs can develop an intolerance or an allergy to certain ingredients in food.
Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk. The lactose intolerance develops in dogs who do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase. You’ll know if your dog has loose stool or bad gas after consuming dairy, typically.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance will start within thirty minutes to two hours after ingestion of a dairy product such as cheese, cream, butter, ice-cream, yogurt, and dog ice-creams that contain dairy products.
As puppies, dogs have the enzyme lactase within their gut to help digest the lactose in the mother’s milk. That is the reason why puppies can drink milk
However, most dogs stop producing lactase and lose the ability to break down lactose in milk shortly after they are weaned and begin eating solids.
What Kind of Milk Can Puppies Drink?
Puppies up to three weeks old will only rely on their mommy’s milk to grow healthy. They can drink milk strictly from their mother because it’s full of antibodies and necessary nutrients for healthy development.
We don’t give human babies cow’s milk if we can’t breastfeed. Instead, we opt for a special baby milk formula. The same goes for puppies.
So, what happens if a puppy is orphaned? It is important to note that puppies that need to be bottle fed must be fed special puppy milk. Remember, do not feed pre-weaned puppies cows or goats milk.
In fact, the milk of every species is uniquely tailored to the needs of the growing young.
Cow milk only has about half of the fat and one-third of the protein that dog milk does, yet it has much more sugar. For example, lactose concentrations in a nursing puppy’s mother milk is about 3%, whereas cow’s milk contains 5%.
Additionally, cow and goat milk often cause digestive upset in puppies. This helps to explain why cow’s milk is not ideal for feeding orphaned puppies.
What Kind of Milk Can Dogs Drink?
So, cow’s milk isn’t actually good for dogs due to its lactose content, but that doesn’t mean milk is completely off the table.
However, be careful what milk you give to your dog.
Some plant-based milks such as almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and oat milk contain sweeteners and flavorings like chocolate or xylitol. These can be highly toxic to your dog.
Can Dogs Drink Almond Milk?
Almond milk is one of the most popular plant-based milks, but can dogs drink almond milk?
Some nuts can be toxic to dogs. In the case of almonds, they aren’t toxic to dogs, but canines generally don’t digest them very well.
This non-dairy milk is made up of almonds and water. It don’t contain lactose, so that’s a plus for intolerant pups.
Keep in mind, that almonds are high in fat, which can result in weight gain and pancreatitis if consumed in big amounts.
Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk?
Soy is safe for dogs, and you can often find it in many dog foods on the market. With that being said, giving your dog soy milk should be approached the same as anything else, it’s safe so long as it’s in moderation.
However, soy milk is high in calories and has added sugars that can lead to tooth decay or obesity if your dog consumes this on a regular basis.
On the other hand, soy milk is lactose free which makes it alright for dogs to consume it. So, dogs can have soy milk but it should be in a limited amount.
Can Dogs Drink Coconut Milk?
Yes, you can feed your dog coconut milk but again, make sure you do it in moderation.
Coconut milk is beneficial for your pup’s immune system, furry coat, and breath. However, pesticides used in non-organic coconut milk can be bad for your dog. You want to feed the most natural products available.
Therefore, if you can purchase a whole, organic coconut, this is a good choice for your pup as the coconut milk will not have been processed at all.
In addition to, you’ll get more benefit from natural coconut water, which is rich in electrolytes and nutrients.
Can Dogs Drink Oat Milk?
Oat milk is one of the healthiest substitutes for cow’s milk, goat milk, almond milk, or soy milk. It is low in fat milk and dairy-free ideal for a person or animals that have lactose intolerance.
Oat milk is also high in fiber, protein, and vitamins but has more calories and carbohydrates.
Dogs can drink oat milk and it makes a special treat for most dogs who enjoy the taste. Make sure to choose unsweetened oat milk, as some varieties may be high in added sugars.
If served in moderation, oat milk is generally safe for dogs. Although your pooch definitely does not need to be drinking oat milk often.
Feeding your dog too much oat milk could cause them to have an upset stomach, which could include diarrhea and vomiting.
Can Dogs Drink Goat Milk?
Compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk is higher in some nutrients such as potassium and calcium, but lower in others, like folate and vitamin B12.
On the other hand, goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk. In addition to, the bacteria in raw goat’s milk is excellent for supporting digestion and reducing symptoms of allergies and inflammation.
With its increasing popularity as an alternative to cow’s milk, many dog owners are wondering if this is a safer and healthier choice for their dogs.
Goat’s milk has an enzyme called lactase that can help digest the lactose content. This enzyme has higher concentrations in raw goat’s milk, making the risks of causing gastrointestinal problems in dogs significantly fewer.
Therefore, yes, goat’s milk is good for dogs, but it isn’t nutritionally necessary. As always, too much of a good thing can be bad.
If you are interested in switching to goat’s milk, try giving your dog a small amount to see how it’s tolerated, and only give it occasionally.
So, can dogs drink milk? Yes, dogs can drink milk in small quantities, but it’s not a vital part of a dog’s diet.
While it’s not the end of the world if your dog drinks milk, there are many lactose intolerant dogs who have trouble digesting milk and other dairy products.
Lactose intolerance isn’t rare in dogs, so you should be careful with the amount of milk you give your pooch.
Even if your dog doesn’t seem to have an adverse reaction when you give him milk, it still isn’t a good idea to let him drink too much, or have it too often.
As always, you must ask your veterinarian before sharing human foods or drinks with your dog, including milk.