Yes it is controversial. Even though milk is known for its nourishing value and is healthy, giving milk to dogs is arguable. You might want to argue that the first food he is introduced to is milk – as they drink milk from their mother as soon as they are born. Even after knowing this fact, what if it is still harmful and that too at the later stage!! It is a universal perspective that each and every diary food may not be given to already healthy and fit pups.
Even though milk has high proteins, vitamins and minerals, it might be better to check whether it is totally safe to give milk.
Accordingly when a new dog pet owner asks – can dogs drink milk? The answer you can expect is – “no”. But there is an exception to this statement as well. Exception been, there would be few dogs that can digest milk very well.
Can A Dog Drink Milk?
Be a bit prudent here –
It is literally common sense to understand that a little amount of milk can never be dangerous or harmful to the dogs. Sometimes, dogs can even bear such nuisances. But the question is, if at all he is suffering even from a slightest discomfort, it isn’t good and eventually neither are you. This uneasiness ultimately is exposing the dog’s body to bacteria. Keep in mind, once the bacteria is exposed, it becomes difficult in the later part to identify which bacteria it is and so it is challenging to treat any acute discomfort, your dog must be going through.
So why take a chance. If your dog is specifically allergic to either the milk or the milk products, then it’s better to simply prevent these products.
It is likelihood that some dogs may have reactions to milk or milk products particularly related to intestinal suffering like gas, diarrhea or vomiting. Moreover there are some specific dog related milk products that could work as a great alternative. For instance – Esbilac’s powder milk replacer has the nutrients that are needed for a growing dog minus the lactose. So depending upon the dog’s breed, age and health, the vet can guide you as to how much milk can be given.
So how come milk who has such nutritional value can go wrong. Well, it’s all about how much of the special nutrient of milk can be consumed and digested by the dog – the lactose. Milk contains lactose in higher quantities.
Why Is Lactose Bad?
Basically in simple words lactose is kind of a sugar. It has negative markings because of the double dose of sugar it has in it – two sugar molecules chemically allied jointly. So when a dog tries to digest the milk, he also needs to first break the lactose in parts so he can without difficulty absorb sugars. Now this can happen only with the help of a special enzyme called lactase. Lactase splits the lactose to help absorb sugar appropriately without any reaction. So if the dog has this enzyme, he can very well digest milk. However the absence of this enzyme causes him to suffer from various intestinal and other issues.
So Is It Possible For A Dog To Undergo Discomfort Just Like Humans From Lactose Intolerance?
Medically, without the enzyme, it is simply difficult to digest milk or any milk product. This results in a severe intestinal discomfort almost immediately. This is what lactose intolerance is all about – lack of ability to digest milk and is exactly the same way it is with humans. There are zillions of individuals suffering from lactose intolerance almost every day. So a word of caution here – if ever you notice that your dog showcases any one of the below mentioned reactions, he is certainly not able to digest food.
- Developing gas
- Loose motions soon after he drinks milk or any such gastrointestinal issues.
Now if he already has consumed milk and suffers from any of these, the first thing you need to do is keep your dog hydrated as much as you can. The best way is to give him loads of fresh water to drink. You can even try an alternate to milk that is Pedialyte which is a better solution while suffering from intestinal discomfort.
Another side effect of lactase intolerance is the dogs get gassy. You can make that out by simply putting your ears close to his stomach and if you get that rumbling sounds, you know that he is gaseous. When dogs suffer from gas, they usually will deny anything you offer. They just don’t like anything to eat as they get those cramps. These indications clearly states that your dog is just not up for milk or milk products. And if the situation gets worse, it’s time for you to rush to the vet! Immediate treatment will help reduce the discomfort and also stop it from getting worse.
Understand Lactose – Content In The Food
If you can keep a check on the lactose content in the food, you will save your little pup from any kind of reaction to lactose. Just a head’s up – some of the dogs might also be allergic to the proteins in the milk. But this is one of the rarest cases you might ever come across. Milk should never be considered harmful for dogs. But dogs with lactose intolerance should be kept away from the milk and milk products. But here’s what you can do – most of the times it’s the content of lactose that causes the reactions. If the milk or milk products contain higher amount of lactose, it is bound to affect your doggy’s intestines.
Some piece of good news – not all products have higher amount of lactose in them. For instance – cheese have the lowest amount of lactose and works as a good treat for your dog. Talk about cottage cheese or American cheese or even Swiss and Cheddar cheese – they have 0 – 3grams of lactose per serving. Whereas one serving of milk has about 11 grams of lactose in it – now you know why your dog would have issues. The next in line with a higher amount of lactose per serving is ice-creams followed by yoghurt with 6 and 5 grams of lactose respectively.
Now-a-days we have so many variations in the milk products such as Soy milk, lactose-free milk, yoghurt with low lactose and sugar etc. you can try these too.
List Of Food Items Which Does Not Go Along Well With Dogs.
Avocado – you might think that the guacamole is good but an avocado contains persin which if taken in good amounts can be harmful to your little canine buddy. And if you have avocado plant at home, see to it that your dog doesn’t eat any of the leaves because this toxin persin exists in the leaves, the fruits and the seeds too.
Onions and garlic can have serious issues with your pup’s health. They affect their red cells which can cause anemia. The key is to keep these ingredients away. Just a small amount once in a while is fine.
Even macadamia nuts are absolutely harmful. These nuts are a complete no-no because even a small quantity as low as 5 nuts is enough to form poisoning resulting into muscle quaver, weakness or paralysis, puking, increased temperature, irregular heart beats. Also any food item having these nuts can be fatal too. For instance if you have a chocolates with these nuts they can prove fatal.
Any food item consisting of xylitol makes to the list of food that the dog cannot have. So this means candy, gum, toothpaste cannot be given to the dog. This substance increases the insulin supply which isn’t good for his health. The blood sugar goes down leading to liver failure. Some of the early symptoms are seizure, weariness, no-coordination etc.
We usually have the habit of giving out the leftover food on the table to our little pups. More so, these are either bones or meat fats. These fats can cause pancreas problems whereas the bones can choke them. So it’s better not to feed them such stuffs.
Peach and plums aren’t good for the dogs because of the seeds they contain. Seeds can lead to obstructing the intestines. Besides, these seeds also have a substance called cyanide which is even dangerous to humankind. We know we shouldn’t been eating the seeds but your little friend doesn’t know that. He might just put it in his mouth as a part of his treat. But it could have repercussions.
However he can always have fruits like apples, bananas, watermelon. They are sweet to taste and doesn’t harm your little pup. Plus they provide good amount of nutrients too. But just remember whenever you offer your little pup any fruit or vegetables never give them the seeds.
Vegetables such as carrots, green beans, cucumber and baked potato are all good treats. You can also try giving them cooked rice or cooked pasta. They simply love it and its filling too. A simple yet tantalizing dish for your buddy could be – plain cooked rice with boiled chicken pieces. This is a good option for calming any gastro – intestinal issues too.
Eggs if boiled are the best food but if given raw can lead to skin problem because raw eggs contain some bacteria E.coli. These bacteria’s can cause food poisoning. Even raw meat and raw fish has bacteria’s that can lead to food poisoning. Some of the fishes such as salmon, trout may have parasites which causes fish disease. Neglecting these diseases can cause death within two weeks. So keep in mind whenever you are treating your little one with meat, eggs or fish, thoroughly cook them to kill these parasites.
Don’t get your dog used to salt and keep him away from salted foodstuffs like chips, French fries or even pretzels. Excessive intake of salt can cause poisoning related to sodium and ion which leads to puking, loose motions, depression and at time due seizure it can cause death too.
Try and keep your dog away from the kitchen. Kitchen is a place where you kind find all sorts of food items right from baking powder to baking sodas and some other toxic substances like nutmeg or spices that your dog cannot digest.
Dogs especially pup’s love tea, coffee and caffeine products! Again, caffeine can be bad for their health and can cause death too. And to top it up, there isn’t any antidote to this one. So beware, don’t get them used to caffeine taste. Indications of caffeine poisoning could be irregular or faster breathing, restiveness, irregular heartbeats, muscle shiver, fits and at times bleeding too. So all the products that contain caffeine should be avoided at all costs which also includes chocolates, colas even drinks like red bull.
Might come as a surprise to you, but grapes even raisins should be avoided too! There isn’t a clear indication as to what substance in grapes causes kidney failure. Consuming grapes in small amount should be ok, but if gone overboard then he might have continuous nausea followed by weakness and depression.
Milk and the delicious milk products which are one of the favorite of any humankind can be harmful to our little pets. Eliminating these products is the best way to keep your pups away from any kind of gastronomical problems. But at the same time, a little variation in these products can provide them the right nutrients and at the same time take care of their lactase intolerance issues too.
So here’s the sine qua non- if the diary product or milk product has lesser amount of lactose and he has absolute lesser chances of getting any kind of reactions from the milk. Get your dog a low-lactose milk and milk products and he should be just fine. In fact one of the favorite dog treat could be cheese with lowest lactose ever. Now you know what to do instead of asking can a dog drink milk?