Breast milk is one of those things that you shouldn't worry too much about, but also shouldn't intentionally feed your dog. Milk, especially human breast milk, contains tons and tons of nutrients, but unfortunately, the composition of those nutrients (as well as the ratios) are not made up for dogs' systems.
Most presently, the lactose is out of whack. Your dog's body likely will not tolerate lactose well, and while it's unlikely that your dog will die from accidentally getting into the breast milk you've stored for your baby, it's also going to be a rather unpleasant, as well as a potentially dangerous, digestive experience for your pooch.
Signs Your Dog Got Into the Breast Milk
Drinking it isn't necessarily fatal, but it is dangerous and can cause cutaneous adverse food reactions for your pup. If you suspect your dog has accidentally gotten into the breast milk you've stored to feed to your (human) baby, there will probably be some pretty unpleasant gastrointestinal signs.
For example, expect lots of throwing up and loose stool. That's right, breast milk will give your poor pup diarrhea. You can also expect upset stomachs, weakness, fatigue, lethargy, whimpering, and general laziness while your pup heals up from their milk adventure. Typically, you won't need to take your dog to the vet for drinking a bit of breast milk, but if your pup has an adverse reaction that doesn't seem to go away, take your pup to the vet right away.
- Ears drop
- Lack of focus
- Nose wrinkled
- No appetite
- Howling or whimpering
- Upset stomach
History of Dogs and Breast Milk
As dogs grow into eating regular diets, all of the nutrients and antibodies that are found in their mother's milk are included, without the lactose. This is a better, more natural way for your dog to consume the nutrients they need than trying to get them from milk.
The Science of Breast Milk's Affect on Dogs
Human breastmilk has similar components to dairy products, specifically lactose, that make it bad for dogs. A lactose intolerant dog will be unable to convert lactose they digest into viable sugar (the case for most dogs) and they will likely experience intestinal distress, bloating, a loss of appetie, and severe gas.
Training Your Dog to NOT Drink Breast Milk
First, make sure your dog has a firm understanding of basic, obedience commands like "no" and "leave it." This will be incredibly handy if you ever see your doggo approaching a spare bottle you left lying around the house that's full of milk.
Next, train your pup not to beg or lunge for food or drinks. Often, unintentionally, your dog can knock something out of your hand and gobble it up, so it's important your dog knows this is a no-go. It's also important to crate train your pup. This way, if you're not home, or if you need your doggo to behave during feeding time, they'll have a safe space to relax and wait and not get into anything curious while you're preoccupied with feeding your baby.
It's also important to train your pooch to stay out the kitchen, the fridge, and the pantry. Just as people train their pups to leave the furniture be, teach your dog that the kitchen (where you store your milk), is no place for pooches.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe From Breast Milk:
Store the milk somewhere your dog cannot get it.
Refrain from leaving bottles around the house.
Talk to your dog-tor about what to do if your dog drinks breastmilk.
If your dog drinks breastmilk, call your vet. Don't try to induce vomiting. Follow your vet's instructions.