You probably know a few of the basics, like, chocolate is toxic and garlic might hurt him beyond repair, but did you know that there are specific dogs that shouldn't eat specific things? Did you know that your pup could be, unlike other pups, lactose intolerant?
It's true! Just like people, some doggos can have a harder time digesting lactose than other four-legged friends. If you didn't know, now you do, and we're here to explain all the signs you should look for, how to treat your doggo if you think he's lactose intolerant, and what you can do to avoid any severe episodes.
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Signs Indicating Your Dog May be Lactose Intolerant
If you regularly feed your dog cheese, milk, or anything else that contains lactose - a kind of sugar molecule that's broken down by an enzyme known as lactase - and don't survey any kind of different or odd behaviors, he might be just fine with digesting lactose. however, if you notice that your dog tends to be gassy, has loose stool, or vomits after eating dairy products, it's likely that he's not able to digest these things.
That being said, if you notice your pup has a lack of appetite, is having a hard time gaining weight, is itching a lot, and or shows sign of stomach pain after eating these products, it's highly likely that his little body just can't digest the lactose. It's important to note that dairy products aren't typically toxic to dogs, but they also are not a necessity in their diet, and can be harmful to pups that aren't able to digest them properly.
- Ears drop
- poor body condition
- itching and scratching
- no appetite
- diarrhea/ loose stool
- flatulence and abdominal gas
- tummy pain and discomfort
- weight loss
Lactose Intolerance and the Historical Effects its Had on Pups
Historically speaking, people started realizing doggos could also suffer from this condition relatively recently, thinking often that dairy was either entirely okay or just a toxic food group for animals. Historically, it has affected dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds, and genders. It simply just depends on your dog's ability to digest lactose and whether or not their bodies are equipped with the enzyme needed to do so.
How Does Lactose Intolerance Really Work?
Like we mentioned before, lactose is a nutrient that is found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose is a sugar that's made up of two sugar molecules that are chemically linked together, and in order to be digested properly, your pup's body has to be able to produce the right chemicals to break it down.
That right chemical is an enzyme called lactase, something that's produced in your dog's body that splits those lactose molecules and helps them digest properly. If your doggo doesn't produce that enzyme, that's when your pooch can be in trouble.
Milk and dairy products are not considered toxic for pups, and it's even possible that if your dog is emitting these signs, they may simply be allergic to the protein in milk products as opposed to the lactose. That being said, it's important you keep a watchful eye on your doggo's dairy intake, as dairy can be a real, present problem in the canine community.
How To Help Train Your Pup To Cope with Lactose Intolerance
For example, get him used to eating a specific kind of treat and make sure you find a new, dairy-free favorite for him! In addition, train your friends and family. We're sure they love your pup and don't want him to hurt, but sometimes those puppy eyes are too big and beautiful to deny a lick of the ice cream cone. Explain to your pup's surrounding people that that cone could cause more harm than help, and make sure he doesn't eat any of those treats.
Additionally, if your pup's food usually has some dairy in it, gradually get him used to new food and wean him off the dairy as soon as possible.
How to React if You Think Your Pup is Lactose Intolerant
Ask your dog-tor about how you can avoid any more lactose-related incidents
Go to the vet to help verify your suspicions
Buy only lactose-free dog food and treats
Avoid giving him dairy products
Know the lactose content in the treats you have been giving your pup to get a better idea of which ones make him feel worse