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Can Dogs Drink Milk? The Answer May Surprise You!


We’ve heard it from our veterinarians, family members, friends and neighbors. Milk is harmful to dogs, right? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no, and the choice to give your dog milk should be an educated decision that we make for our pets. Balance the pros and cons carefully before letting your dog have his own bowl of dairy. SO lets find out together the answer to “can dogs drink milk”.

My Dog Drank Milk, This Is Dangerous, Right?

can dogs drink milkNot necessarily. Giving your dog cow’s milk does carry it’s own risks of causing tummy upset due to the lactose. In cow milk, fat is actually a large globule that causes bloat, cramping and discomfort even in humans when we drink it. These large globules of fat is what makes cow’s milk so hard to digest, taking up to 24 hours to get through the human’s system! With a dog’s much shorter digestive tract, it can cause even more tummy upset than it does in a human. Furthermore, cow’s milk has a large percent of lactose, also called sugar. This large amount of sugar is what ends up causing lactose intolerance.

However, we all know that cow’s milk is not the only one available on the market. Goat’s milk is becoming popular among health conscious individuals as a better and more ideal choice for our own bodies to digest. The lactose is substantially smaller and can be fully digested in only 20 minutes! Furthermore, there is actually more calcium in goat’s milk and it even tastes better to most people and pets. Milk produced from a goat has numerous health benefits for both humans and dogs, with little to no side effects like cow’s milk. Goat’s milk has the advantage of a 35% medium-chain fatty acid that helps it digest easily, quickly, and boost health. Additionally, goat’s milk has a much smaller count of lactose, and the vast majority of humans who are intolerant have no reaction to goat’s milk!

Lactose Free Milk for Dogs?

dog milkWhile you can give your dog lactose free cow milk, you’re also taking away a large portion of the benefits milk provides to begin with. Whole milk, or vitamin D milk, holds the most vitamins, proteins and minerals in their most digestible and useful form. Milk that is lactose free, or even reduced fat has far fewer benefits to drinking it in the first place, making the entire process virtually pointless for a dog.

On the other hand, whole milk is thicker, creamier and should be given in smaller amounts. Consider the purpose of milk to begin with; it is a liquid food meant for growing baby animals. Milk is literally a liquid meal, and a dog on a homemade or raw diet would benefit greatly from adding a small amount to his diet in food or homemade dog treats. Vitamin B complex, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E and many, many more are found in goat’s milk and all greatly benefit both humans and dogs who ingest it!

Think Safety First with Dairy

Goat milk may carry a large portion of benefits and very little, if any, risks for dogs but you must also take great care in the amount you dog drinks as well as where it is sourced. Make sure the goat’s milk you use is pasteurized by a trustworthy source, or sanitize it yourself on the stove top. Raw milk of any type carries dangers of bacteria once harvested from an animal, and you don’t want to risk your dog’s health!

Too much of a good thing is always bad, even when it comes to healthy goat milk. Keep amounts of milk small and consider it a supplement along with a healthy and balanced diet, never as a meal unto itself. Drinking too much can cause diarrhea, and if you decide to let your dog drink cow’s milk the portion should be even smaller to help reduce the chances of bloat. Treat your dog with dairy for both his health and happiness, but do so in moderation!

Photo Credits: Dogs Data and Crasstalk

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  1. Gary Hart says:

    we have a Yorkshire terrier she’s around 11 years old , for the last few years we have been giving her lactose free milk.
    only just recently i realised i was causing her problems, by giving her lactose free.
    we had ran out of her usual milk and at 7pm she knows its bran flakes and milk time. I gave her cows milk, what a transformation,previously she was disinterested in her food every morning, don’t know how many times we would lie on the kitchen floor and pretend to eat her food,trying to coax her to eat it, also on her morning walk some days she would eat due laden grass. she now jumps up excitedly for her food every morning and doesn’t eat any more grass.
    it is a pleasure to see her excited for her food and I am sorry it took me so long to realise my mistake.
    Lactose is not for all dogs.
    Gary UK

    • betty says:

      I own a 16 yr old chihuahua with heart congested failure and now he is at the appropriate weight which is 6lbs 4ozs.

      This past year we finally got him to eat a healthier diet which is science diet senior toy dry dog food.

      So recently we noticed his ribs are showing alot, but increasing food or water didnt work. Went to the vet had an exam done. Hes healthier then eve.

      He runs around with the lg dogs everyday. Climbs 13 steps to get to the bedroom which he seems to enjoy because sometimes he goes up n down them for no reason yapping his head off. Recently we took the dogs on a trail hike and some people tried to say he wouldnt be able to do it well he did the whole hike plus stopped and got some water from the river. Now we did have to carry him at the end because the steps were to wide.

      Anyways, my point is my vet had me add vitamin D milk but only 3ccs whenever he wants it. He loves it and his bowels are much better as well. Only problem is his ribs still show.

    • That is so weird to hear because cow’s milk is on the list of foods not to give you pet, just like chocolate and grapes are no-nos. Dogs are lactose-intolerant. Also grains are not a good food for pets, which includes cereal. Bran flakes also have sugar, not good for pets if you can avoid. I would think between the lactose and bran, she would have tummy problems and loose stools. I sure hope this keeps going well for you.

  2. Claire Collins says:

    I watch this video on youtube and this lady mashed up banana and mixed mink with it and put it into ice tube contaners and froze it for her dog would that be safe for my dog?

  3. Olivia says:

    Oh no! I didn’t know that milk was bad for some dogs. I just gave my teacup yorkshire terrier about 4 or 5 tablespoons of cow milk! Do you know if it is okay for a teacup yorkie to have cows milk?

    • Vince says:

      Hi Olivia and thanks for the comment :). We can’t give specific advice like that. You may want to reach out to your vet with this question. My guess is your Yorkshire will be just fine but I’m not a vet. Thanks and I hope all is well 🙂

  4. Darleen says:

    Are pizzle sticks really animal private parts, why would you feed pets this ?

    • Vince says:

      Hi Darleen, Bully Sticks are made of pizzle sticks which, yes is a bull penis.

      My dog loves them and if you think that is disturbing, you are going to be really grossed out that humans actually eat them as well, even raw lol. You will not find myself eating them but it is done.

      I think of it like this. My dog loves them and there is no waste.

      This is a good article topic, I’ll see what I can do to do some good research on this soon.

      • Tracy says:

        OMG! My Shih-poo loves these! I of course had no idea until now what they were made of! 🙁

        • Vince says:

          Tracy, if your dog likes them, I would not not stop. They are not bad for them, just the cringe factor.i like to think about that at least no part is being wasted.

  5. Vesna says:

    Hi, my swiss white sheperd simply loves milk. I make him breakfast adding milk and water, 1:2 cups, to his portion of food. He doesn’t have any stomach problems because of it, he eats it nicely and he poops normaly, but I am kind of afraid because many people had told me that it is unhealthy.

  6. Audra says:

    If people are looking for a way to moisten their dog’s dry food use chicken broth. It works well on hill’s science diet chicken & rice dog food small bite. Before that Sam my 5 year old silky terrier wouldn’t eat his food. He is a rescue.

  7. NIRALI says:

    Hello! I give my 5yr old german shepherd cow’s milk (2%) mixed with water about 3 times a week and he absolutely loves it! He poops fine afterwards too, but I’m getting worried that maybe it’s not good for him?

  8. Liz says:

    I give my 2 year old black lab Sadie 4 oz. of 2% cows milk every morning after her breakfast and she loves it! Never any discomfort or problems pooping, very regular.

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