Milk is a popular drink with many people. It belongs in muesli as well as in cocoa or is sipped hot with honey if you have cold symptoms. Many dog lovers wonder if dogs should also drink milk?
Ingredients in milk - healthy for dogs?
Milk is a natural all-rounder with lots of healthy nutrients. It is known for its high protein content and also contains minerals such as calcium, chloride, potassium and phosphorus. Vitamins B12 and B2 in cow’s milk have a supporting effect on blood formation.
However, milk contains much lactose, and it is precisely this ingredient that can cause problems in dogs. In order to break down lactose, the enzyme lactase must be present. While most dogs still produce this enzyme when they are puppies, they lose it as they grow up. The result is that lactose can no longer be broken down and lactose intolerance develops.
Side effects when dogs drink milk
Whether you dog should drink milk depends largely on how well it is tolerated. Due to the lack of the enzyme lactase, dogs can react with numerous side effects to the consumption of milk. Digestive complaints are one of the most common reactions.
- Stomach cramps
Dogs can also develop an allergy to the milk protein, which can manifest as itching of the ears and paws and chronic inflammation. If the dog is fed milk for a long period of time, diarrhoea can also become chronic.
Puppies, on the other hand, can digest milk well and hardly react with any physical side effects.
This is how you can tell whether your dog is allowed to drink milk
Generally, dogs are allowed to drink milk. It is not poisonous for them, only not recommended because of possible intolerance. You can test whether your dog can tolerate milk by giving him small amounts to drink, a maximum of one tablespoon per day; half the portion for smaller dogs. Before taking the test, however, bear in mind that your four-legged friend may react with side effects.
Products that are low in lactose and good for your dog:
- Cottage cheese is rich in protein, low in fat and low in lactose.
- Quark contains valuable sour milk bacteria and is a tried and tested alternative in the dog bowl - here too, the lactose content is very low.
- Yoghurt is also very popular in dog food and contains very little lactose.
- Buttermilk can also be fed, but the lactose content is significantly higher here, so give it only in very small quantities.
- Cheese - almost all types of cheese naturally contain hardly any lactose and can be given to the dog as a small snack between meals.
- Cow's milk is not recommended, but there are plenty of alternative dairy products for dogs.
Dairy products that dogs shouldn't drink
In addition to pure cow's milk, there are other milk products or milk-like products that the dog shouldn't eat or drink:
- Whole milk
- Condensed milk
- Sour cream
- Cat milk
- Baby milk
- Goat’s milk
Vegetable alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk can also trigger an allergic reaction in dogs and should not be tested on them.
Are dogs allowed to drink milk? We can answer with yes, but consumption is usually associated with intolerance and digestive problems. Low-lactose products like cheese, quark and yoghurt are good alternatives.