Having a dog in your house can actually be one of the most beneficial things in your life. Apart from being a wonderful companion, dogs can also help you get rid of a series of health problems, including depression and anxiety, help you be more aware of your sensitive side and even help you interact better with others.
Moreover, dogs are also extremely useful for children suffering from autism and for blind people and they can also help children recover better after surgeries, injuries or traumas. Thus, it comes as no surprise that you would want anything that is best for your dog, including enough room to walk, and run, enough time to spend outside, a good place to sleep, constant care, pampering and love, as well as a balanced diet and a training plan.
Moving back to your dog’s diet, there are numerous aspects to take into consideration, depending on your pooch’s age, size, breed and daily regime. Pups require a healthier dietary plan, rich in fibers, minerals, calcium and proteins in order to ensure a strong bone structure and a luscious fur, while adults require less food, more water and rest, as well as more physical activity. And, since you already have hundreds of dog food varieties to choose from, you might think that is enough.
Unfortunately, dry food, no matter how healthy and nutritious is, will not ensure the right amount of vitamins and minerals for your dog, and you will also have to feed him real food, including meat, bones, fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, when it comes to milk and dairy products, there are some concerns raised. Are milk and dairy products good for your dog? When should you feed your dog milk and when you should not? Read below and find everything you need to know:
Milk consumption in humans versus dogs
Milk represents one of the most nutritious and healthy foods for people. Obviously, ever since they are born, both humans and dogs consume milk from their mothers, but this doesn’t mean milk is necessarily helpful in the future development. Milk and dairy products are extremely rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and calcium, meaning they can help you achieve strong bones, strong teeth and ensure you a harmonious development.
However, feeding your pups milk might not be the best option, especially if we are talking about already healthy and joyful pups.
Milk and dairy products are rich in lactose, and most dogs lack the necessary enzymes in the body to break down lactose until it is properly absorbed. While only about 25% of the total human population is lactose intolerant and has to avoid eating dairy products or drinking milk, most dogs have this intolerance in a higher or smaller degree.
Can you feed your dog milk?
The quick answer to this question, although debatable, is a normally no. As many dogs are lactose intolerant, eating any type of dairy products or drinking milk could cause severe body unbalances and lead to further health complications. This is why you should take this assumption for granted and not feed your dog milk waiting for his reactions.
However, keeping your pup’s bone system strong and ensuring him a healthy dentistry might require the consumption of larger amounts of calcium and proteins. There are numerous dairy products specifically designed for pups and dogs that can be easily digested and ensure the right amount of nutrients. Milk replacers and weaning food specially designed for puppies represent the most common ways to keep your dog healthy and strong, and they can be easily purchased at any pet shop or vet cabinet. Moreover, these supplements are really useful when your dog is recovering from surgeries or illness.
Milk side effects
There is a whole plethora of side effects should you decide feeding your dog milk, depending on his grade of lactose intolerance. Severe cases can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, while milder forms of lactose intolerance can manifest in the form of gas or bloating. In severe cases of lactose intolerance it is best to give your dog loads of fresh water to eliminate the toxic systems out of his body.
When it comes to gas, usually dogs refuse to eat anything else until these are gone, so, if you notice your dog doesn’t touch his food, watch his behavior for a little while to make sure he didn’t eat, by accident, milk or any dairy products. If the bloating or the gas do not fade away in a couple of days, it is best to consult your veterinarian and eliminate some of your dog’s daily foods.
Can dogs drink other types of milk?
Soy milk represents a delicious human alternative for those who have lactose intolerance, but might not seem like the best idea to feed it to your dog. Thus, soy milk should be avoided as it is rich in proteins and your dog might not be able to digest it easily. Skim milk is pretty much the same, so avoid this type of product as well.
When it comes to goat milk, there are different opinions. And, while most dogs are lactose intolerant, they are mainly intolerant to a specific enzyme found in pasteurized milk rather than the one found in raw milk. Adding a raw type of goat fermented milk to your dog’s daily dietary plan might provide him with all the good nutrients, anything from antioxidants to essential fatty acids, concentrated vitamins like K2 and minerals. You could start by giving your dog around 50 ml of raw goat milk and observe his reactions. If he doesn’t suffer from bloating, gas, diarrhea or any other health issues usually related to lactose intolerance, consider introducing the aliment in his dietary plan once-twice a week, no more than 100 ml.
Other types of dairy products like kefir and yogurt might be more canine-friendly, as well as qualitative lactose-free milk. These ingredients are also extremely nutritious and could provide good vitamins to your dog so, unless you notice side effects from them, you can consider slowly introducing them to your dog’s eating routine.
However, bear in mind that you do not have to feed your dog too much of the same product, and make sure not mix milk or dairy products with fibers or raw, fresh vegetables.
Keep moderation and consider slightly varying your dog’s menu once-twice a month.
If you own a proudly healthy and joyful pup or dog, there is no reason why you should feed him milk or dairy products. There are numerous other delicious variations which do not contain high amounts of lactose and, thus, can be more easily sustained by your dog’s digestive system.