Although debatable, milk is generally nutritious and healthy for people. But sharing with a dog raises some eyebrows. Puppies drink it shortly after birth, but that doesn’t mean dairy is okay later in life.
The high protein, vitamins and minerals in milk needs to be weighed against the negatives. Lactose is a big factor. Consider that many dogs are intolerant because they may lack an enzyme to break down this type of sugar.
This aspect of dairy means your dog may not be able to properly absorb milk. On the other hand, there are some situations which may warrant providing a milk product to a vulnerable pet.
Can I Give My Dog Milk? Answer: Not Normally
Dairy drinks generally shouldn’t be given to Fido, but there are exceptions.
Many dogs are lactose-intolerant, while some aren’t fazed one bit by dairy consumption. Milk is not exactly toxic. You simply can’t know how your dog will react until their symptoms begin to surface. Milk-Bone Dog Treats are more appropriate. Understand that feeding pure milk to your dog has the potential to cause digestive imbalances.
There are, however, always special cases where providing a milk replacement can make sense.
Formulated Dairy Products
Esbilac’s Powder Milk Replacer is made specially for dogs and puppies. It’s much easier to digest and provides important vitamins and minerals. Sometimes this is necessary for dogs recovering from illness or surgery.
There’s also an similar and equally excellent weaning food product made just for puppies. So, you see, there are certain scenarios where a milk-like formula is appropriate for dogs. Most vets will agree.
The Problem with Milk
Lactose intolerance can cause vomiting and diarrhea (loose stools) among other gastrointestinal problems. If so, keep your dog well-hydrated by offering lots of fresh water. Pedialyte can also help for such an unfortunate episode.
Mild forms of lactose intolerance can also manifest in the form of gas. If your dog is gassy, you may hear rumbling sounds in their tummy. Dogs with gas may refuse to eat their food until the situation clears up.
So, there are signs of intolerance to certain foods or liquids including milk. If such symptoms continue, or worsen, be safe and consult with a vet as soon as possible.
Common Sense K9 Advice
Consuming a little milk isn’t life-threatening or even dangerous for most dogs. They may even tolerate it, but that does not mean you should be feeding them milk. This is a judgement call for pet parents. Most vets advise against milk, unless there’s a good reason to give it.
Different Dairy Decisions
There are many kinds of dairy these days. Soy milk should be avoided since it contains very high levels of protein. Your dog may not be able to digest this type of milk, though it’s not always obvious. Unfortunately, skim milk likely isn’t much better.
Ask yourself, what’s the reason for providing milk in the first place? A more canine-friendly dairy product is yogurt. It is more easily digestible for most dogs. Aside from this, and quality lactose-free milk, be very selective.
Tip: The lower the amount of lactose, the more likelihood a milk-based food will be tolerated.
Conclusion on Milk
Giving milk to your dog is normally a bad idea. Avoid adding dairy to a pet’s food regimen. Bowel irregularity and other digestive problems are possible. Regular milk, and dairy in general, may not agree with a lactose intolerant dog. Besides, most canines don’t need milk after the mother’s finished lactating. One exception is a quality milk-replacer for puppies. Otherwise, stick with fresh water.