Can Dogs Digest Milk

Can dogs have milk

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Dogs have their mother’s milk when they are puppies. That means the answer is right in front of us. Isn’t it? But the truth is, it’s not as straight forward. So, can dogs digest milk? Let’s find out.

When it comes to milk and dogs, milk is a very controversial subject. Some say milk is great for dogs while others say, milk is the reason for many canine health problems.

Can Dogs Digest Milk?

As puppies, they digest their mother’s milk. During this time, their body is producing enough lactase to digest milk, which contains lactose. This is why it is easier for puppies to digest milk.

This is why many abandoned or lost puppies can survive on goat milk or cow milk.

The amount of lactase they produce decreases drastically but the time they become 6 months old. This is why adult dogs are not able to digest milk as well as they used to back when they were puppies.

Dogs love milk. If you give them a bowl of milk, they will readily accept it. But that is exactly why you should keep the milk away from them.

Can Dogs Be Lactose Intolerant?

Yes, dogs can be lactose intolerant however not all dogs exhibit the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhoea
  • Flatulence

It is not easy to determine if your dog is very sensitive to milk because if your dog has a bowl full of it, they can easily fall sick. If your dog becomes sick even after a few spoons of milk, it’s very likely that they are allergic to the milk.

What Happens When My Dog Drinks Milk

When your dog drinks milk there is very little lactase in their system to digest it. As a result, the milk directly flows from the stomach to the large intestine without getting digested at all.

The lactose in the milk causes flatulence and maybe even diarrhoea. If your dog has too much milk regularly, the undigested fats may lead to pancreatitis – which is very serious and needs to be treated on time.

Remember that if they have pancreatitis once, they are likely to have it again. Frequent episodes of pancreatitis may lead to diabetes. It is also a very painful illness, hence you should take it very seriously.

Alternatives To Milk?

So, your dog likes milk but since it’s not good for them you want to switch to something else. Let’s assure you that most dogs are fine with other dairy products because dairy products contain a small amount of lactose. It’s very rare for dogs to be allergic to milk protein, in which case they won’t be able to digest any milk product, but for most others, they should be fine with a few other dairy products.

Products like cheese, yoghurt, curd (dahi), cottage cheese, etc are great for dogs. In fact, many families in India give their dogs dahi regularly during the summers, because it is great for their digestion. All the above-mentioned products have very little lactose making it easy for your dogs to digest and get nutrition from them.

If you’re upset you can’t share your milk with your dog, don’t be! They may beg they may plead, but trust us when we say they don’t need it. When you give them milk, it glides right down to their colon. What’s the point in sharing something if it only makes them sick.

Instead, you can share a small shred of cheese, a bit of dahi, yoghurt etc.

Things To Keep In Mind When Sharing Human Food

There are some key factors you must keep in mind when you are sharing packaged dairy products with your dogs. You must make sure they are free from:

  • Artificial colours
  • Artificial Flavours
  • Sweeteners like Xylitol – this sweetener works excellently for humans but it can be poisonous for dogs. It is commonly found added in yoghurt and peanut butter.

Lastly, please keep in mind that dairy products are not a part of their regular diet. Dogs benefit far more from having animal-based protein than they do from having milk-based products. Please make sure that the amount of milk or other dairy products in their diet is a bare minimum. 

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About Dheepakh

About Dheepakh

Dheepakh is a dedicated pet parent. His love for his dogs turned him into a pet food enthusiast. He has dedicated all his life to understand pet food nutrition and is eager to learn everyday.

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