Can Dogs Taste Cow's Milk?

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Introduction

Cow's milk has been a popular fridge staple for thousands of years. Although it has declined in popularity over the last few years due to the introduction of almond milk and dairy alternatives, many people still enjoy this beverage, use it in cereal, ice cream, coffee, and so much more. 

Since you might have milk on hand most of the time, you may have been wondering if you can share milk with your dog occasionally. Although it is generally fine for dogs to consume cow's milk on occasion, some dogs may suffer from lactose intolerance and not be able to consume cow's milk at all. Even if your dog is not lactose intolerant, you will want to limit their cow's milk intake regardless. 

Signs of a Dog Liking Cow's Milk

If your dog is not lactose intolerant, that means that they can have milk and dairy in smaller quantities and not suffer from any adverse side effects. If your dog likes cow's milk and other popular dairy products like yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, you will be able to tell your dog likes them because he or she will eat them without any hesitation. 

After they finish the milk or milk product you give them, they will likely bark or whine for more, drool, paw at you, or stare at you with alertness and eagerness. Some dogs will even pace around in front of you, run in circles, or, if you are lucky, they will just patiently wait for their next bite or lick of yummy milk!

However, if you find your dog does like like milk or other cow's milk products like yogurt or cheese, they will take a lick and completely ignore the food and walk away. Perhaps they will sit in front of you, hoping you will give them something else they like to eat. 

Some dogs will also snarl, growl, or expose their teeth to the food to show their disgust - we call it the "ugly face!" It may be entertaining to watch, but take that as a sign they do not want to eat the food, so do not force them to eat it. Not all dogs like cow's milk and that is completelt fine. 

Body Language

These are some signs you may notice if your dog likes cow's milk:
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Howling
  • Pacing
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Paw raised
  • Ears up

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you might notice if your dog likes cow's milk:
  • Pacing around you and the milk
  • Pawing at your leg
  • Eating all of the food
  • Begging for more

History of Cow's Milk and Dogs

Milk has been consumed and used in other kinds of food in human diet since 10,000 BC. In Ancient Egypt, they ate and drank milk and other dairy products on a regular basis. However, milk was only available to the wealthy, to priests, and for the royal family. Therefore, we do not expect that milk was ever shared with dogs or other animals since it was expensive and seen as a luxury. It is important to note that the milk consumed generally came from animals like goats and camels. 

During the 5th century, milk and dairy products started gaining popularity in Europe. Most of the milk until this time did not come from cows, but came from animals like sheep, camels, and goats - just like we saw during the time period in Egypt. 

As we approached the 14th century, cow's milk gained a lot of popularity and other forms of animal milk became a bit less popular, although other forms of milk were still consumed. Cow's milk was introduced to the Americas not too long after as well. 

Milk became more popular as time went on and it became easily available for people from all levels of life and not just the wealthy. Today, we now have huge dairy farms that produce milk and milk products on industrial scales. This makes it much easier for us to incorporate milk not just into our diets, but into our dog's diets as well if they are not sensitive to lactose. 

Science Behind Dogs and Cow's Milk

Most dogs can drink cow's milk and have no issues with their ability to digest it. Their stomachs can digest the enzymes in milk with ease, contrary to what some people believe. However, you may find that your dog is lactose intolerant, which means that cow's milk can upset their stomach and give them other tummy issues that are not fun for your or your pup. 

Other issues associated with lactose intolerance are irritated skin, vomiting, loose stools, redness, and gas. If you think your dog is lactose intolerant because they get diarrhea or terrible smelly gas after eating things like cheese or yogurt, you will want to stop giving them any form of dairy 

However, if your dog can digest milk and lactose, milk does have some benefits for your dog's body. Milk has a lot of calcium, which will make your dog's bones and teeth strong and healthy. Milk also contains vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and phosphorus - all of which have wonderful benefits to your dog's metabolic processes. These vitamins and minerals can be especially important for very young or very old dogs. 

The Best Way to Give Cow's Milk to Your Dog

If your dog can have milk safely with no adverse effects, you can find yummy ways to incorporate milk and dairy products into their diet, although you do not want to add too much. When choosing a milk, make sure it is organic and grass-fed if possible. Yes, these are more expensive but they have many more health benefits and don't have any growth hormones, antibiotics, or GMO's. 

Conventional milk generally comes from overcrowded dairy farms and cows who are treated poorly, leading to lower-quality milk. Although there is some controversy around raw milk, finding a safe, organic, and non-pasteurized raw milk from a trusted local farm will provide even more beneficial nutrients for your dog's body. Speak to your vet before proceeding with this option. 

Another form of milk you can try with your dog is goat's milk. This is very nutrient-dense, although it will be much harder to find in your local stores. 

Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is also another great way to give your dog milk products. You can mix plain and organic yogurt in your dog's meals. Another fun way to add yogurt to their diet is to put it into a rubber toy or an ice cube tray and freeze it. You can add in any mix-ins you want, such as blueberries, peanut butter, apples, greens, bone broth, or any other nutritious foods your pup loves. 

After the mixture is frozen, your dog can enjoy this cool and creamy snack. They are sure to love it! This is a particularly good treat for dogs who get really hot in the hot summer weather. 

How to React if Your Dog is Lactose Intolerant:

  • Do not give them more dairy products.
  • Avoid all forms of dairy.
  • Speak with your vet.

Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Cow's Milk:

  • Give raw and organic milk if possible.
  • Don't overfeed milk and dairy.
  • Make sure your dog isn't lactose intolerant.

We Want to Hear About Your Dog Drinking Cow's Milk!