Many canine companions love dairy products. But, can dogs drink milk? In short, maybe. Like many human foods, it should only be given to your dog in moderation. It’s also important to note that a lot of pups are lactose intolerant, and drinking milk can cause intestinal upset.
How Much Milk Can Dogs Drink?
Milk is a safe treat in small quantities. A few tablespoons of cow’s milk or goat’s milk on an occasional basis can be a nice reward for your dog without the side effects of overindulgence. But, you should probably hold off on offering your dog an entire bowl in one sitting, as it can cause unpleasant reactions, including diarrhea, vomiting, and loose stools.
The beverage is high in fat and natural sugars, which is another reason to feed it to your pup in small quantities. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can lead to obesity and pancreatitis, which are serious conditions.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
Dairy products are a leading source of food intolerance in dogs, and many canines are lactose intolerant, which means they have difficulty digesting milk. Some lactose intolerant dogs have trouble drinking milk, but can handle dairy products like cheese and plain yogurt, which are typically easier to digest than straight milk. Others have adverse reactions to dairy in general.
How to Tell If Your Dog Is Lactose Intolerant
Dogs can have varying degrees of lactose intolerance; some might experience only mild symptoms, while other cases may be more severe. The most common symptoms are:
Many owners don’t find out that their dogs are lactose intolerant until they feed them milk. Trying to determine if your dog is lactose intolerant can also be tricky if your pup has consumed a large amount of milk, as this can also trigger vomiting and diarrhea in dogs that are not lactose intolerant. However, if your dog shows signs of these symptoms after drinking a small amount of milk, you should find a different treat.
Always consult your veterinarian before introducing anything new into your dog’s diet. For a look at more foods dogs can and can’t eat, watch the video below:
Here at the AKC, we field many queries from anxious dog owners about what is and isn’t safe for their canine companions to eat. Questions range from the obvious (“Can dogs eat steak bones?”) to the trendy (“Can dogs eat quinoa?”) Check out more “Can dogs eat…” articles on AKC.org to see which foods are and aren’t harmful to your dog.