Dairy products and milk likely make up a large part of your diet. From ice cream to cheese to yogurt, dairy is everywhere. You know that cats have a special love for milk and they can drink it safely, so can dogs also have milk? Is milk good for a dog and does it have any health benefits?
Just likes humans, dogs can either digest milk and its enzymes fine or they cannot, which means they may have a milk intolerance. If your dog is not lactose intolerant, they can consume a limited amount of dairy products and milk completely safely.
Signs of a Dog Liking 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 milk and milk products like milk, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, they are going to eat any of those products without any hesitation and they will not turn their nose up to the food.
Once they have a taste of the food, they will like bark or whine for more, drool, paw at you, or stare at you with wide eyes and alert ears. Some dogs will even pace around in front of you or just patiently wait for their next bite.
If your dog does not like milk or does not like the form of dairy you give them, they will take a lick and either go back for more or completely ignore the food and walk away - or wait for you to give them something else. Some dogs will also snarl, growl, or expose their teeth to the food to show their disgust! It can be entertaining to watch, but take that as a sign they do not want to eat the food and do not force them to eat it.
History of Milk and Dogs
Milk has been around as part of the human diet since around 10,000 BC. In Ancient Egypt, milk and other dairy products were consumed regularly but were only available to the wealthy, to priests, and for the royal family. It is very unlikely that milk was given to family dogs since it was expensive and only reserved and served to the wealthy and to royalty.
Around the 5th century, milk and dairy products started to become just as popular around Europe as well. Most of the milk until this time did not come from cows but came from animals like sheep, camels, and goats. However, by the time the 14th century rolled around, cow's milk was finally more popular than any other form of animal milk and that is when dairy cows were brought to The Americas as well.
Milk only grew more popular from there and was easily available for people from all levels of life. 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 Milk
Most dogs can drink goat and cow milk and have no issues with digesting it. However, some dogs will have a lactose intolerance, which can upset their stomach. Other issues associated with lactose intolerance are irritated skin, vomiting, loose stools, redness, and gas.
However, if your dog does fine with milk and lactose, milk does have some benefits for your pooch. 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.
The Best Way to Give 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.
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 04/13/2018, edited: 04/06/2020