Should Dogs Drink Milk?

babel · November 18, 2023
This content was reviewed and approved by the biologist Samuel Sanchez on June 7, 2021
Some dogs like milk and others don't. However, not all dogs are tolerant to milk and it isn't recommended for them to drink it.

It’s important to know the ideal diet for your dog, what foods you should give them, and the ones you shouldn’t. Before giving your dog food, you should think about its health and check with your veterinarian. We often assume that many human products are suitable for pets, but what about milk? Should dogs drink milk?

The answer to this question is that some dogs are lactose intolerant, but other dogs can drink milk perfectly well – they assimilate it without any problems at all. Learn more about this topic in the following lines.

Some dogs can drink milk, others can’t

If a dog hasn’t eaten dairy products and milk since it was weaned by its mother, its body produces less lactase. This is a digestive enzyme that breaks down milk sugar (lactose) and, therefore, makes it more tolerable. If your dog is older or you are concerned about his health, giving him milk isn’t a good idea.

Cow’s milk isn’t a toxic food for dogs, experts say. Even so, lactose intolerant dogs can suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, loose stools and digestive problems that can make them seriously ill. If your dog is one of these, it’s best to remove the milk from its diet immediately. You can try giving them more digestive options, such as these:

  • Yogurt
  • Lactose-free milk
  • Milk with lots of water
  • Goat’s milk

Dogs don’t depend on dairy products for good nutrition, so don’t worry if your pet won’t accept them. Foods such as cottage cheese or buttermilk are also suitable as a source of calcium, as long as the dog can tolerate them.

Dairy products are one of the least tolerated foods for dogs, which means they aren’t easily digested. For this reason – despite these other options – there are some that can’t consume dairy products in general and it isn’t advisable to insist.

Can a dog drink milk?

Dairy not recommended

Some breeds of dogs are more sensitive to the dangers of milk. For smaller dogs, you may not have to worry too much about this, but large dogs can get very sick from this type of food.

Dogs can have varying degrees of lactose intolerance. Some experience only mild symptoms, while other cases can be quite serious.

Some dairy products aren’t recommended in any case, due to their high fat and sugar content. Some of them are the following:

  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • Fresh cream

If dogs can drink milk, what quantity is recommended?

Many dogs love dairy products. Even so, as with many other foods, if you want to give your dog milk, you should do it in moderation. If your pet isn’t intolerant but you give them a lot of milk, it can also trigger vomiting and diarrhea. On the other hand, if they react badly to milk in small amounts, it’s better to look for other types of treats or snacks.

If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, milk will be safe in small amounts. A few tablespoons of cow’s or goat’s milk from time to time can serve as a reward without bringing side effects to the animal.

However, never offer your dog a full bowl of milk. A very high amount of lactose can cause unpleasant intestinal reactions, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and loose stools.

Finally, it should be noted that milk has a high content of natural fats and sugars. This is another reason to give it to your dog in small amounts, as too much fat in its diet can lead to obesity and pancreatitis, says the American Kennel Club.

Dogs can drink milk specially made for them

When puppies are separated from their mothers, it’s common to think that giving them cow’s milk is a good substitute for maternal milk, but, according to experts, this isn’t the case. Drinking milk can cause gases and serious illnesses. Therefore, it’s better to give them special milk for dogs or puppies.

When it comes to choosing what type of milk dogs can drink, it’s not just health that needs to be considered. Their nutrition and diet are also very important in keeping them healthy throughout their lives.

There’s no doubt that milk exclusively made for dogs can be a healthy drink for dogs, but there are many different types of milk you can choose from, in addition to this ´type and cow’s milk. For example, you can also opt for rice or almond milk, always after consulting each option with a canine nutritionist.

However, dog milk is always the best alternative, states My Dog Health. It helps them digest their food better, allowing them to eat more often, have more energy, and get the proper nutrients they need for good health and vitality.

A puppy drinking milk.

Dog milk can be found both in liquid and powdered form and is a great way to make sure your pet gets the best possible diet for its size and age. In almost all cases, this will be a much healthier alternative to cow’s milk.

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