Can I Give My Dog Lactose Free Milk?

Can I Give My Dog Lactose Free Milk?Lactose free milk may seem like a healthy change of pace for your dog. After all, pets usually drink only plain old water which seems like a boring beverage. Before you take this line of thinking further, consider some important factors regarding this milk alternative.

Humans consume a variety of liquids that make sense for them including lactose free milk. The same cannot be said for the family dog. While this type of milk isn’t necessarily harmful, the fact is there’s usually no valid reason to be giving this liquid to a canine.

Nutritionally speaking, your dog isn’t likely to benefit from the milk you may want to share. This is true regardless of the form it comes in, lactose free or not. Sure, your pet pooch may enjoy lapping it up but diarrhea or vomiting is a small possibility.

Can I Give My Dog Lactose Free Milk? Answer: Not Necessary

Pets, with or without lactose intolerance, don’t need anything but fresh water in their bowls.

The merits of milk, even as it applies to people, is continually up for debate. Dogs, however, benefit most by drinking water since it’s the best way for them to stay well-hydrated. Of course, there are always exceptions. Such special situations, warranting any kind of milk, should be confirmed by a vet. Under normal circumstances, it is inappropriate to be supplementing your dog’s liquid intake with lactose free milk.

Dogs & The Lactose Factor

Most dogs are not lactose intolerant, and the ones that are are mostly just sensitive to lactose. It’s very rare to find a dog that can’t handle a little bit of milk and dairy products without an upset stomach. But giving your dog milk or dairy is a very unnatural thing for them, and would never happen out in the wild.

Why is a comparison to wild dogs so important? Because even though dogs have lived with humans for quite some time, they’re still very similar in genetic make-up to their wild counterparts. Dogs get some lactose when they’re puppies by drinking their mom’s milk, but they don’t stay on it long enough to make it a permanent part of their digestive system.

When Milk Matters

Puppies have no trouble drinking their mother’s milk, but quickly wean themselves off of it and no longer need milk of any sort from that day on.

No matter how desperate and hungry a wolf or a coyote gets, you won’t find them running up to a cow to try and get some milk. Instead they’d just kill the cow and eat it. It may sound gruesome but it’s the natural order of things, and it would take thousands more years to get dogs to start producing the enzymes needed to properly handle milk as adults.

It’s Not Trouble-Free

Lactose free milk was created for humans that are lactose intolerant, or have a sensitivity to it. Since we’re the only species around that drinks another species’ milk, it’s big business to cater to those that still want to drink milk, even though their body is naturally rejecting it.

There’s no evidence anywhere that a dog needs to drink milk after they’re a newborn puppy, and so you don’t have to go out of your way to make sure that your dog gets some. Your dog doesn’t need regular milk or the lactose-free kind because they’re getting all of their nutrients and vitamins from their regular chow.

Conclusion on Lactose Free Milk

Your dog does not need to be consuming lactose-free milk. It’s not a suitable liquid to provide them with, even as a treat. If you want to give your pet pooch something different then consider a healthy food instead any type of milk product. This is true regardless of if your dog is lactose intolerance or not.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Patsy March, 2016

I had to give my Chihuahua lactose-free milk this morning because he was not eating or drinking water. I was afraid he might become dehydrated. So far he is okay and not vomiting. I would not give him any dairy products otherwise. I hope it was safe to do this as a way to get fluids into him.


Donna February, 2016

My 5 year old Yorkie has been on Cesar food for 3 weeks and she loves it. It fills her up pretty good. She’s had diarrhea 3 times in 5 days and will only drink lactose-free fat-free milk. So I’m letting her have just a little bit, sporadically, with some rice and chicken which she has no interest in unless the milk is with it. I’m taking it slow and it seems to be working.


Lindsey June, 2015

I’m looking for something to help my dog that’s suffering from reflux. Antacids that the vet has given interact with his other medications he’s on which he also needs. Any ideas?


Pam March, 2015

I add a little bit of milk on my dog’s food. That is the only way I can get her to eat it. Her food is for diabetic dogs but she eats it all up.


Anne February, 2015

I have a litter of 4-week old Boxer puppies. I’m trying to wean them off my bitch and I thought lactose-free milk was okay to give them for a couple more weeks.


Roy March, 2013

There are some cases where giving milk is life or death of a dog. Let me explain. Some dogs may at some point stop drinking water, no matter what you try they still will not drink. I have such a dog.

One way to get him to drink is to add milk to his water, as dogs love milk or any dairy product. This is a most efficient way to get them to drink. Lactose free helps by not making him so prone to getting an upset tummy.


Terence March, 2014

Hi Roy. Whether it’s lactose free or normal cow’s milk, it’s still not healthy for dogs. Cow’s milk is the perfect food for baby calves.

Doctors say cow’s milk can lead to iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, increased frequency of colds and flu, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and possibly even lung cancer.

Each species of mammal produces its unique type of milk designed specifically to strengthen the immune system and provide nourishment for their babies, which are weaned after their birth weight has approximately tripled.

The milk of each species appears to have been specifically designed to protect the young of that species. Cross-feeding does not work. Milk has something for everybody – higher blood cholesterol, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Why not try adding honey instead of lactose-free milk? Even though your dog might like the lactose-free milk, it does not mean it’s good for the dog.


Tim February, 2015

It doesn’t have to be beneficial if it’s keeping his dog alive. Drinking milk is getting water into the dog which was Roy’s point.


Darryl November, 2015

I think you’re right, Tim. We are not talking beneficial here, we are talking fluid intake!


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