Is Milk & Dairy Safe for Dogs to Share?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Dog and cat enjoy milk and cookies at Christmas

Dogs can be made uncomfortable from a variety of things, including seasonal allergies to certain types of food. While most dogs will enjoy an ice cream cone or beg to clean out that cup of yogurt their human just finished, dairy and other products containing lactose content may not sit well with certain pups' digestive systems.

"Dairy products are not toxic to dogs; however, they are not necessary in their diet and may cause undue discomfort to your pet," Dr. Rachel Barrack told The Dodo. "Well-balanced dog food will contain all the calcium requirements your dog needs."

While drinking their mother's milk is initially necessary to help young dogs grow, the need for milk becomes unnecessary once a dog has been weaned, especially milk from other species like cow's milk and goat's milk. Lots of dogs cannot digest lactose, which leads to adverse reactions.

How do you know if your pup is lactose intolerant?

Gas is the most common symptom after your dog drinks milk, along with abdominal pain, stomach upset, bloating, nausea, loose stools, and even vomiting and diarrhea even when they consume small amounts. Because there is no current medication to treat lactose intolerance in dogs, the best course of action is to prevent your pooch from ingesting any dairy.

If your best friend seems to drink milk with no problem, be sure to keep flavors mild and avoid the usual harmful ingredients like chocolate, raisins, and most nuts that may cause allergic reactions. It's suggested sticking to plain vanilla if pet parents share their ice cream cone with their four-legged friend or give them small quantities of cheese as a treat in the dog's diet.

Dog owners should always be cautious when feeding their dogs human foods. Milk products and dairy products can have side effects and cause digestive upset. Be mindful that you're not introducing food that could cause food allergies. Symptoms of lactose intolerance are flatulence, digestive issues, and an upset stomach.

A bowl of milk may be a bad idea even for a dog that eats everything! A pet nutrition expert will tell you the same thing!

Bottom line: Veterinary care for something that included whole milk in the ingredients isn't worth it.

Do you think your dog is lactose intolerant? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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Is Milk & Dairy Safe for Dogs to Share?