Should You Give a Dog Milk?

You may be tempted to feed your dog milk, especially when he's a puppy. However, many dogs suffer from lactose intolerance, so it is better if you avoid giving your dog milk. If your dog has no allergic reactions or intolerances, you can feed him milk.

Milk for Dogs

While dogs are young and are fed by their mother, they receive dog milk, which has a different composition from the commercial milk (which typically comes from cows). The dog milk contains a lot of proteins, fats and will also provide the antibodies necessary to prevent certain infections.

Puppies tolerate dog milk well, but may not be able to drink cow milk or other types of milk. This may be due to the fact that cow milk contains lactose, which many canines develop an intolerance to. Puppies may not be allergic to milk, but can develop a lactose intolerance starting from the age of three to six months.

Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

The reason why you should not feed your dog milk is the fact that it may contain lactose, and many dogs have allergic reactions to this substance. The symptoms of lactose intolerance or allergies will include:

  • Skin rashes, especially on the stomach area
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness

These symptoms may be identified after the dog has consumed milk or on the following day, depending on how allergic the dog is to lactose. If these symptoms are present in your pet, you have to get some tests and stop giving him milk. You should also avoid other dairy products such as yogurt, cream or cheese, which all contain lactose.

If your pet shows no negative reactions, you can give him milk. However, the dog can develop allergic reactions to lactose as he gets older, so it may happen that your dog is not allergic to lactose at the age of two, but will display lactose intolerance symptoms at the age of five.

Milk with No Lactose

There are differently formulated milk brands that contain no lactose or are made of soy. These can be given to dogs that are allergic to lactose, but some dogs may also be allergic to soy. Soy is among the top foods that cause allergies in canines.

How Important Is Milk for Dogs?

Dog milk is critical for the development of puppies, and a puppy should be fed by his mother during the first six weeks of his life. If the mother is not present, the puppy will receive specially formulated milk, but not cow milk.

Cow milk is not essential for the dog's diet, and dogs can live without drinking milk or consuming dairy products. Milk is rich in calcium, but the dog can get his calcium from other sources as well. If your dog is not allergic to lactose and enjoys milk and dairy products, they can be a part of his diet.