Well, it depends on your dog’s specific chemistry…
Some dogs enjoy a dairy treat with no apparent problems, whilst others experience a range of intestinal symptoms in changing severity, such as wind, pain, diarrhoea or vomiting. So…..
….Can dogs drink milk?
It basically depends on how your dog digests lactose. You may have heard of lactose intolerance in humans. Lactose is a nutrient found in milk comprising of two sugar molecules chemically bonded together. This is where the problem arises for dogs, as in order to be digested the lactose must be first broken down into basic sugars.
It is essential for your dog to produce its own lactase enzyme to digest the lactose found in milk, and dog’s can not reliably do this. If you notice loose stools or your dog develops gas after consuming dairy products, then he’s probably lactose intolerant. Do not experiment with puppies or seniors by giving them cows’ milk at such a vulnerable life stage.
Lactose is present in varying amounts in dairy products. Fresh milk contains an approximate percentage of 5% lactose. Chedder cheese contains less than 2%. Typically the more fat in the product, the less lactose. Small amounts of cheese are actually a good snack for your dog if well tolerated, although it can be high in calories. Cottage cheese and yoghurt (fermented or cultured dairy products) are easier on your dogs’ gut as the fermentation process breaks down the lactose.
Lactose free milk was created for humans that are lactose intolerant, or have a sensitivity to it – it was not created for dogs! Actually we are the only species that drinks another species’ milk.
In rare circumstances a dog may have an allergy to a milk protein.
Can dogs drink milk from other sources than a dairy cow?
If you are looking to try your dog on something different to drink as an occasional indulgence, there are milk treats which you can give your dog such as TopLife formula, available is some supermarkets.This is specifically formulated for dogs from goats’ milk – which can be far easier to digest than cows’ milk. However there is no evidence that a dog needs to drink milk after they’re a newborn puppy.
Puppies will drink their mother’s milk, but once they’ve weaned themselves they no longer need milk of any sort. Weaning can start from the age of 3 weeks and usually complete by the age of 7 weeks. For orphans or puppies whose mothers reject them, you can purchase a puppy milk replacer suitable for the first few months of life. Puppy milk is easily digestible and can also benefit convalescing dogs, nursing mothers and senior dogs. Puppy milk will boost their immune systems and provide readily available nutrition. Discuss with your Vet if you are considering giving your dog puppy milk replacer.
Can dogs drink milk…? The answer is that they do not need to drink milk as it is not a natural food for them. The digestion of milk depends on a dogs varying ability to produce lactase to breakdown the lactose found in milk and may risk some bad side effects. A dog will receive all of it’s nutrition from dog food. Treats can be in the form of specially made dog biscuits or dog chews.