“Can dogs drink milk?” or “Is milk safe for dogs?”
These are among the most frequent asked questions made by dog owners.
Many dogs suffer from lactose intolerance.
However, if your dog isn’t intolerant to milk and loves it, you can feed him small amounts of milk or dairy products as a treat.
However, over the years your dog still can develop lactose intolerance.
Puppies are fed by their mommy and drink her milk.
But can puppies drink cow’s milk? Can a puppy drink regular milk?
Dog milk has a different composition from cow milk.
The dog milk is rich in protein, fat and contains essential antibodies to prevent certain diseases.
Cow milk contains lactose, which many canines develop an intolerance to.
Lactose consists in two sugar molecules chemically connected.
In order to digest milk, the lactose must be fragmented into its two basic elements by a lactose-splitting enzyme known as lactase.
Most dogs aren’t able to produce lactase in their bodies, thus they cannot digest lactose properly, and suffer from lactose intolerance.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
These symptoms may be noticed immediately after the dog drinks milk or on the next day, depending on how intolerant the dog is to lactose.
What about free lactose milk?
Soy milk can be given to dogs that are intolerant to lactose, but some dogs may be allergic to soy.
Soy is between the top foods that cause allergies in dogs.
The importance of Milk
Dog milk is essential during puppy hood.
Puppies should be fed exclusively by their mother until six weeks of age.
If the mother is absent, puppies should have commercial dog milk formula.
Dogs can live without milk or dairy products.
They are rich in calcium, but the dog can get his calcium from other sources.
A premium dog food will offer your dog enough calcium and nutrients to keep his bones healthy and strong after weaning.
So, can dogs drink milk or not?
My advice is that if your dog tolerates milk, a small teacup as a treat will do no harm.
However, milk should never be used as a main fluid for a dog.
Fresh filtered, boiled or bottled water in a clean bowl is the best drink for your best friend.