Can dogs have milk? It depends. Some dogs can have milk without suffering from any issues, while others, may suffer from gastrointestinal problems if they are lactose intolerant. Learn more about whether your dog can have milk and what type of milk is best below.
Dog Owners Ask: Can Dogs Have Milk?
Many dog owners ask: Can dogs have milk? The truth is that most dogs LOVE to have milk. While milk is okay for most dogs, it shouldn’t be given on a regular basis. Dogs who are lactose intolerant should not have milk at all because it causes intestinal problems, according to the American Kennel Association.
Types of Milk Dogs Can Drink
Mother’s milk is the best milk for a puppy. When mother’s milk isn’t available, there are some other types of milk dogs can have as part of their diet.
Puppies 3+ weeks old can have evaporated milk. After 3 weeks, young puppies start to ween from their mother’s milk and will need the nutrients.
While many people confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk, it’s important to know the differences between them when deciding which milk your dog can have as part of his/her diet.
Goat’s milk is an option for a milk product if mother’s milk isn’t available. Be aware that goat’s milk is high in lactose. Be sure your puppy or adult dog isn’t lactose intolerant before giving your pup this type of milk.
Almond milk isn’t a dairy product – it’s plant-based milk. Lactose intolerant dogs can usually tolerate plant-based milks, but be aware that some dogs don’t digest nuts easily. Be sure to watch your pup after drinking almond milk.
In addition, almond milk is high in fat. It should be not a main part of a dog’s diet as it can lead to weight gain and pacreatitis.
Soy milk, another plant-based milk made from soy, is safe for dogs of any age. Veterinarians recommend it for dogs that suffer from urinary incontinence.
Cow’s milk can be part of a dog’s diet, but again, be aware of the effects it has on your dog’s body.
Cow’s milk should not replace puppy milk or a puppy milk replace because puppies (like human babies) need the essential nurtients, minerals and vitamins often found in puppy milk.
Adult dogs can drink cow’s milk once and a while. Due to fat content, it should be given in small quantities. This includes human foods that contain cow’s milk, such as ice cream and cheese.
Oat milk is another plant-based milk that is not considered a dairy product. Large quantities of oat milk can cause stomach upset so moderation is key.
Lactose-intolerant dogs can drink oat milk without issues.
Coconut milk can be given to lactose-intolerant dogs and adult dogs. It is highly beneficial in that has been shown to improve the texture of a dog’s coat, and its appearance of it, and relieve skin irritation.
Dogs should not have large quantities of coconut milk as it can cause diarrhea.
Raw milk has not been pasteurized to remove harmful bacteria. It can be taken from any animal. Not all dogs can have raw milk, especially those sensitive to dairy and fat in their diet.
Puppies and adult dogs benefit from raw milk because of the:
- Vitamins and minerals that aren’t destroyed by the pasteurization process.
- The immune system boosting qualities of it.
- The benefits of amino acids (glutathione and cysteine) in the body.
What Milk Is Best?
The best milk for dogs is goat’s milk. Non-dairy milk or plant-based milk is also good for canines’ bodies.
How Much Milk Can Dogs Have?
Dogs should have small quantities of milk once and a while – it’s an occasional treat vs. part of your pup’s diet.
DO NOT give your pup a bowl of milk because ingesting a moderate to a large quantity of milk at one time can cause loose stools or diarrhea and vomiting.
Dogs can have a few tablespoons of milk at one time. The same with dairy products such as ice cream and cheese.
The Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
Can dogs have milk? Yes, as long as they do not show the signs of suffering from lactose intolerance. When your dog has milk, it’s a good idea to look for the following signs of lactose intolerance:
- Lack of Appetite
- Uncontrollable Bowels
An upset stomach is difficult to identify. Usually, canines with an upset stomach are lethargic, eat grass, or change positions frequently when lying down.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Dogs, like humans, can suffer from an intolerance to lactate. Signs of a dog suffering from lactose intolerance are:
- Lack of Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Uncontrollable Bowels
The above signs may begin to present themselves 30 minutes to 4 hours after consuming milk.
Before Giving Your Furry Friend Dairy Products
It’s a good idea to contact your vet before you give your pup any type of dairy product. Your vet may have some additional information on how much to give, which type of milk is best, and other signs to look for that indicates gastrointestinal distress.
Since your veterinarian knows your furbaby best, he/she will be aware of any health issues that could be exasperated by the enzyme lactase or the high fat or sugar content in milk.
Your veterinarian should be contacted immediately if your furry friend begins to suffer from stomach upset after consuming human foods containing dairy, especially when diarrhea and vomiting happen a few times. Dehydration can occur, which can be life-threatening to canines.
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