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Is Milk Safe For Pets?

So, Can Dogs Have Milk? When you think about a pet drinking milk you generally imagine a cat lapping at a saucer. However, cats should not actually be given milk and this comes as a shock to many owners. This often leads dog owners to wonder whether or not their puppy or dog should be getting milk. Knowing when you should give your pet milk, if at all, is important to keep them healthy.

Should Puppies Be Given Milk

Dog owners who have puppies will often think about giving their pet some milk. While a puppy will thrive on its mother’s milk they may have a hard time with the milk in your fridge. Cow and goat milk has a different composition to dog milk and your puppy’s stomach may not be able to handle it.

Mother’s milk will offer the puppy the sugar lactose which needs the enzyme lactase to digest. This enzyme is something that all puppies will have and the milk offers them the nutrients they need. However, milk from your fridge will not have the same nutrients and will not react to the enzyme in the same manner. It is recommended that you do not give your puppy milk after they have been weaned and while they are weaning to not give them cow’s milk.

Lactose Intolerance In Dogs

Like humans, it is possible for a dog to become lactose intolerant and giving your dog milk will cause them discomfort if they are. One a puppy has been weaned they produce less lactase and this is when dogs could become lactose intolerant. If your dog is lactose intolerant any dairy based products will trigger food allergies and symptoms of their intolerance.

What Happens If A Dog Drinks Milk

If you do give your dog milk they will not have the enzyme lactase to break it down during digestion. This will cause the lactose to pass through their digestive tracts undigested and the undigested sugar can cause diarrhea. They may also suffer from flatulence and discomfort as the bacteria in the colon ferment. Your dog may also start to vomit as their digestive tract becomes irritated by the undigested sugar.

If the milk you have given your dog is high in fat such as whole fat milk it could also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Some dogs also have the chance of developing pancreatitis if they eat high-fat dairy products that are not common in their diet. This is a serious medical condition and you will need to take your dog to the vet.

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