It is very curious to observe the very contradictory opinions that are obtained when looking for information on whether a dog drinks milk. Some indicate that they can not only drink milk but that it is also recommended, while others indicate that it is not a good idea.
The truth is that they are all a bit right whenever we talk about adult dogs since puppies require more specialized care. We are going to review when a dog can drinks cow milk and how careful we should be.
Table of contents
- What is milk?
- What problems can give milk to a dog?
- Can dogs drink milk?
- Can puppies drink cow’s milk?
- What is the best milk for a dog?
- Can a dog eat dairy?
What is milk?
Milk is a liquid secreted by the mammary glands of mammals for feeding their young. The form in which much of the energy it contains comes in a disaccharide called lactose, formed by the union of two monosaccharides: glucose and galactose.
Beverages made from legumes and cereals such as soybeans, oats or almonds are not considered milk.
In general, milk is a mixture of fat and water that does not precipitate , but remains stable over time. This stability is obtained thanks to proteins (caseins) that have one end that interacts with fat and another that interacts with water.
So in all cases we have :
Within the milk, each species has a different composition since, depending on the species, the offspring will have some needs or others. However, the milk whose consumption is more widespread in human consumption is the milk of Bos taurus females or as it is better known, cow’s milk.
The specific composition of this once pasteurized or sterilized in its “whole” format is :
- 88.4% water.
- 3.8% fat.
- 3.06% protein.
- 4.7% carbohydrates.
It may seem that the percentages of nutrients are small, but if we exclude water we have:
- 32.75% fat.
- 26.37% protein.
- 40.51% carbohydrates.
In addition, proteins are of great biological value . It has vitamins A , D, E; B vitamins and vitamin C.
It is a well-known source of minerals, among which potassium and calcium stand out. The latter is also absorbed in an extraordinary way compared to other foods with higher calcium than milk itself, since it does not matter how much nutrient there is, but when it is absorbed.
Besides these minerals it also has zinc, iodine, iron, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium.
What problems can give milk to a dog?
Lactose intolerance : This is a condition derived from an enzymatic deficiency, specifically of lactase (it divides lactose into galactose and glucose) so that it can be absorbed.
The small intestine produces this enzyme during lactation and then stops, however, due to certain mutations many people and some animals continue to produce it.
When lactase stops being produced, it is not absorbed in the intestine and reaches the large intestine where certain bacteria can take advantage of it and proliferate above its usual concentration and cause diarrhea, flatulence and discomfort . In addition, lactose carries a lot of water and other nutrients that are dissolved, so it also conditions their absorption.
This is the most common problem due to milk consumption and it does not always resolve when it is stopped, but it is not the only one.
Dairy allergy: It should not be confused with the previous one, since its symptoms come from the response of the immune system and the previous one does not. Sometimes the symptoms can be similar, but in addition to diarrhea, there is itching, redness of the skin, and otitis. Less frequent are respiratory symptoms. Despite being a less frequent problem than the previous one, it is true that dairy products are frequent allergens.
Unlike intolerance, in which a sugar was the origin of the symptoms, in this case it comes from the milk proteins and the symptoms do subside with the withdrawal of the food .
Can dogs drink milk?
The answer will depend on the dog. The easiest way to find out is by giving this food a try, knowing the dangers this can have for your health.
Of course, we do not consider it to be a recommended practice at all, nor do we propose the possibility that an animal’s diet depends on this food, despite how nutritious it may be.
Can puppies drink cow’s milk?
This is a totally reasonable doubt considering the contents that we have developed. The answer is no and we will explain why.
Milk of all species does not have the same composition. This is the comparative composition of bitch milk and cow’s milk :
|Cow milk||Bitch milk|
|88.4% water||78.6% water|
|3.8% fat||9% fat|
|3.06% protein.||8% protein|
|4.7% carbohydrates||3.1% carbohydrates|
Cow’s milk has a composition that is very different from what a puppy takes from its mother and also the concentration of lactose is higher, so it could not digest all of it and it would end the problems already mentioned.
It is a tremendously sensitive stage in the life of these animals and diarrhea can not only compromise their growth, but also their survival.
What is the best milk for a dog?
If you still want to try, one option would be lactose-free milk . Its nutritional value is similar to normal since it is simply treated with lactase. It maintains the composition of other milks (but also, the amount of lactose it contains is higher than what they could digest).
As for the amount of fat in milk (whole, semi or skimmed) there is no specific recommendation. If they are given in small amounts to a healthy dog, they are less likely to cause problems.
As for the commercial house, there is no one that is more suitable than another. Under no circumstances should raw milk be given to a dog .
Can a dog eat dairy?
The answer depends on the dairy. In general, the more it is fermented, the less lactose it will have since this is the fuel that bacteria need.
In principle, it is not necessary that they be made of lactose-free milk, they will always be safer, but it does not compensate for the increased cost of these products.
Plain yogurts and aged or semi-aged cheeses can be safe. To see the effect on our animal, small increasing doses should always be administered and that the final amount does not leave any symptoms.
Another interesting product would be cottage cheese since it has little lactose. As for dairy allergy, this will occur in all products that come from milk, so a dog that has this condition will not be able to eat any dairy.