The first thing to understand is what Ensure is and why humans use it. Ensure is a supplement drink filled with vitamins and minerals. It’s often used to help people gain weight if they’re underweight or heal quickly after an injury.
Ensure is filled with lactose, which many dogs are intolerant of, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking of giving your dog this mix for any reason.
Of course as with anything made for human consumption, check with your vet before offering to your dog. Your vet will have the full medical history of your dog and will be able to advise if this is the way forward and if so how much you can offer to your dog according to their size.
Overall there isn’t anything dangerous to dogs in Ensure, except the lactose. It’s only vitamins and minerals so it isn’t considered harmful if your pet gets hold of it.
Can I Give My Dog Ensure? Answer: Yes, but check readers’ comments below as this is debatable
While Ensure has been formulated for human consumption, there may be times you want to give it to your dog. Owners of older dogs are sometimes looking for ways to promote health for their dog as they age; maybe they’re struggling to maintain weight or are taking a long time to heal after an injury.
If your vet agrees there is no harm in offering this to your dog now and then, start with small amounts. While the formulation has been changed with a lower lactose level, too much lactose in a dog can lead to severe diarrhea.
Help Your Dog Bulk Up
Some dogs are naturally skinny, this may be due to a nervous disorder where they shiver and shake so much their metabolisms need to burn more fuel or maybe you have a dog that refuses to drink water and you know that fruit juice or milk are not alternatives.
Start by introducing your dog to Ensure slowly, small amounts mixed will reduce the risk of diarrhea. If your dog develops diarrhea it may be worthwhile reducing the mix further or stop giving it to your dog altogether.
Skinny dogs will benefit from the extra minerals and vitamins that Ensure will be able to offer them, ensuring that they have good health no matter how thin they are, it may even help them bulk up.
Lactose and Diarrhea
The main side effect that dogs will have from drinking Ensure is diarrhea caused by the lactose in the mix. While the majority of dogs are lactose intolerant, the worst side effect you can expect to see will be diarrhea.
Ensure has decreased the amount of lactose in their shakes, but there is still enough to effect a dog. Remember this formulation has been designed for human consumption not for animals.
If your dog develops diarrhea make sure that they drink plenty of water to reduce the risk of dehydration and stop the formula until their stomachs have settled.
Whenever you offer your dog something designed for human consumption, you want to monitor them closely to insure there are no changes to their behavior or health.
If your dogs starts vomiting or gets diarrhea, it’s advisable to stop offering the shake and contact your vet. Make sure they drink plenty of water to stop dehydration. If your dog’s symptoms are so bad it can’t keep anything down, you will want to monitor them very closely for signs of dehydration.
Dogs can become dehydrated very quickly. Pull the skin up between the shoulder blades, if it takes a couple of seconds to go back into place, your dog could be suffering with dehydration and may need medical attention.
What Makes a Shake A Good Choice?
If you have an older dog that is suffering after an accident and isn’t recovering as quickly as it should, you may want to help them along. By offering them a shake that can improve recovery but can cause other symptoms, you need to decide which the best option is.
You may feel that your dog being able to move around freely is more important than having a dog with severe diarrhea, but bear in mind that older dogs may not digest the lactose as easily as their younger counterparts and you may be doing more damage than good.