Can Dogs Drink Milk for Upset Stomach or Constipation?
Isn’t it funny that when it comes to pets and the topic of milk we usually conjure up images of a puppy merrily lapping up his bowl of milk! But is it really okay to give dogs milk and more importantly is milk actually healthy for our four legged best friends?
Well the answer to this query is more than just a simple yes or a no. So before you choose to feed milk to your dog or avoid it entirely, the following information and guideline will help you make a well informed decision for your pet.
Some Dogs Can Drink Milk and Some Cannot
Yes that’s right the answer to whether dogs can drink milk can differ from one individual dog to another. The reason being that while milk is not seriously harmful or toxic to dogs your pet might not be able to digest it properly as they may suffer from lactose intolerance just like humans. On the other hand it is also possible that drinking milk once in a while suits your dog entirely which should mean that they show no symptoms of gas, bloating or loose stool after a milk feed.
All dogs drink milk and very happily so but due to the possibility of lactose intolerance in your pet it is important to ascertain whether milk is suitable for them or not.
Can Dogs Be Lactose Intolerant?
Yes just like people your pet too can be lactose intolerant and not be able be able to digest milk properly. So let’s try to understand what the term lactose intolerance actually means. Simply put it is the body’s inability to process lactose which is a sugar found in milk. When this lactose sugar goes into our body it is broken down with the help of an enzyme called lactase.
Most dogs lack the digestive enzyme lactase which makes it unable for them to digest milk leading to varying degrees of reactions which can be mild or even severe in some cases. If your dog exhibits symptoms of too much gas, bloating, vomiting, loose stools, excessive itching and skin rashes or even lethargy after a feed of milk it means that they suffer from lactose intolerance.
Milk and Milk Products That You Can Try
Yes all milk sources are different which is why a puppy feeding on its mother’s milk is great for its growth but giving them cow’s milk not so much! The ASPCA recommends dog owners to opt for commercially available low lactose content milk for their pets. Another important point to remember is that cow’s milk is very high in lactose as well as fat which makes it more difficult for dogs to digest it.
Opting for goat’s milk is a healthy substitute for your dog as it has a very low lactose content which makes it suitable for even lactose intolerant dogs in most cases. Additional benefits of giving your pet goats milk includes its high vitamin and calcium content both of which are very good for your dogs overall health when given occasionally and in small amounts. Milk byproducts like yoghurt and cheese are very also very rich in calcium while being low in lactose. Just be careful about artificial colors and additives in yoghurt and high salt content in cheese which can be very harmful for dogs.
So, whether you should feed your dog milk depends on multiple factors. Firstly if your dog shows any symptoms of lactose intolerance check the quality, source and form of milk you are giving them. Switching to low lactose milk substitutes or goats milk is a healthy alternative for dogs. If your dog tolerates milk well remember to give it only in small amounts and only occasionally as a treat. But if your pet still shows symptoms of unease like excessive gas, loose stools or vomiting after feed its best to seek your vet’s opinion and avoid milk altogether.