Lactose free milk might sound like a good alternative to giving your dog regular milk, but should you give it to them, and do they even need it?
Some people love their milk so much that they buy lactose free milk to compensate for being lactose intolerant. Obviously the body is saying no, but it’s such a staple in our society that we’ve found ways to circumvent it. But the same is not true for a dog, and there’s just no reason to be giving them any sort of milk at all. Some dogs might seem to like milk as they’re drinking it, but then you see the results later in the form of diarrhea, or even vomiting. That might have put the idea in your head that lactose free would be better for them.
Nutritionally speaking, your dog isn’t benefiting much from the milk you’re trying to give them, no matter what form it comes in. The milk people did a great job with their Got Milk? ad campaign and now lots of us think that it’s beneficial to drink milk. This is still debatable, but for a dog there’s no debate. They just don’t need it at all. So if they don’t need it, and can’t process it correctly, why go out of your way to try and fix the situation?
Can I Give My Dog Lactose Free Milk? Answer: Not Necessary
Your dog doesn’t need regular milk or lactose free milk because they’re getting all of their nutrients and vitamins from their dog food. Instead of buying lactose free milk, which is typically more expensive than ordinary milk, put that money towards better quality dog food to ensure that they’re getting everything they need. After that they’re on autopilot as far as what to feed them, and you don’t have to worry about supplementing their diet with anything else but clean water.
Dogs and Lactose
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.
Dogs and Milk
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.
Why We Even Have Lactose-Free Milk
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. But 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.
So to recap, your dog doesn’t need lactose free milk, and it’s not the best thing to give to them, even as a treat. If you want to give your dog a treat there are specially formulated dog biscuits that will provide them with an extra dose of vitamins and minerals in addition to what they’re receiving from their dog food.