Can I Give My Dog Milk?

Can I Give My Dog Milk?Although debatable, milk is nutritious and healthy for people. But sharing some milk with your dog raises some eyebrows. Of course, dogs drink it from their mothers shortly after birth. That does not necessarily mean it’s okay for them to consume it later in life.

Dairy products, in general, are questionable for already healthy pups. The high protein, vitamins and minerals in milk needs to be weighed against the negatives. First and foremost, milk products contain lots of lactose.

Most dogs lack the necessary enzymes to break down this component so it can be properly absorbed. On the other hand, there are some situations which may warrant providing milk to a vulnerable pet dog.

Can I Give My Dog Milk? Answer: Not Normally

Most say that milk and milk-based products should not be given to dogs but there are some exceptions.

In general, dogs have relatively poor levels of tolerance to lactose. Many pets are lactose-intolerant to varying degrees while some canines aren’t phased one bit by dairy consumption. You simply can’t know until Fido’s symptoms begin to surface. It’s important to understand that feeding milk to your dog has the potential to cause digestive imbalances.

That said, there are some excellent dairy products which are specially made for dogs and puppies. These are much easier to digest and provide important vitamins and minerals. For example, Esbilac’s Powder Milk Replacer helps to ensure proper development and growth for dogs recovering from illness or surgery. They also have a related weaning food just for puppies. So there are, in fact, certain situations where it makes good sense to provide milk. Most vets will agree!

The Problem with Milk

Severe cases of lactose intolerance can cause vomiting and diarrhea among other gastrointestinal problems. If this happens, it’s critical to keep your dog well-hydrated by offering lots of fresh water. Pedialyte can also treat such an unfortunate episode and may actually be a much better alternative to milk.

Mild forms of lactose intolerance can also manifest in the form of gas. If your dog is gassy, you may be able to hear some rumbling sounds in their tummy. Often times, dogs experiencing gas will refuse to eat their food until the situation clears up. This is a clear sign of intolerance to certain foods that you’ll hopefully notice. In any case, if the symptoms continue or worsen, it’s wise to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Common Sense Advice

Consuming just a little milk isn’t life-threatening or even likely dangerous for dogs. In fact, they may even tolerate it. However, even if your best buddy suffers only mild forms of diarrhea, you’ll still be exposing them to some bacteria as a result. Bacteria-related problems are often difficult to diagnose later on. If you know that your dog is somewhat intolerant, it’s best to eliminate milk from their diet altogether.

Different Milk Products

There are so many variations of dairy these days. Soy milk should be avoided since this type contains very high levels of protein. Your dog probably can’t digest this type of milk protein but it may not be so obvious. Unfortunately, skim milk isn’t really much better. You must ask yourself, what’s the reason for providing milk in the first place?

A more canine-friendly dairy product may be yogurt, which is probably more easily digestible for most dogs. Aside from this, and quality lactose-free milk, be very selective. Have an objective and game plan when it comes to your dog and milk. Your best bet, and if you have a good reason to do so, is to go with a highly rated canine milk product as previously explained.

Conclusion on Milk & Dairy

Milk, and its many delicious variations all of which are meant for humans, can possibly do your dog more harm than good. It’s best to eliminate milk and dairy from their food regimen if they’re having some digestive problems. Regular milk, and dairy in general, may not agree with a lactose intolerant pet. Besides, dogs don’t typically require milk after a mother bitch has finished lactating. There are, however, cases where special milk can be beneficial for recovering dogs and puppies in particular.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsty July 19, 2015

I sometimes give my Rottweiler milk. However, I never give it to her straight, it always gets mixed in with the water already in her bowl and it’s usually just a touch. She loves it and has never had any problems.

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Chuck July 2, 2015

My dog gets a little milk for a treat. For years there’s been no discomfort or other negative results. Now and then he also enjoys a tablespoon of french vanilla ice cream. Again, no bad reactions and he’s not overweight.

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Cale Davinci June 9, 2015

Most claims that milk is not good for dogs are based on anecdotal evidence. Lactose intolerance is an assumption, nothing more. Both humans and dogs are mammals which means they both have an inborn ability to digest milk. As we age, we lose some of this ability but for most of us this is not a problem. The replies on the internet are often biased toward people having had bad experiences with their dogs. The reason is that usually the people who end up replying are those who have had such experiences. They will usually be the ones searching about that subject.

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Ray May 15, 2015

It probably depends on your dog. I have a 15 year old dog from street blood heritage. She loves milk, no problems. I have a 7 year old Rottweiler and I don’t dare give her milk. She sleeps in our bedroom and I learned my lesson.

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Lola April 28, 2015

One of my dogs has no issue with milk. The other, even the slightest bit of milk will send her into stomach distress. Lots of grass eating, vomiting and lethargy. It usually takes a day or two for her to return to normal.

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