Each owner wants to diversify the pet’s menu. Therefore, it is important to know which foods are healthy and which are strictly prohibited. Milk is one of the most controversial foods. More than one generation of breeders argues about its benefits. A responsible owner should understand the question: is milk good for a dog?
Is Milk Good for a Dog or Not?
Dog breeders often argue about the question – is milk good for a dog. One “camp” is convinced of the benefits of the product, the other repeats about the danger. It all depends on personal experience. Many dogs have strong stomachs and are good at absorbing lactose. But there are also many who have experienced vomiting, diarrhea and poisoning.
In theory, this is the case: milk contains lactose (natural sugar), which is processed by a special enzyme – lactase. It is difficult for an adult dog to digest this product because there is not enough lactase in the body.
Puppies’ intestines contain more essential enzymes that can break down natural sugars. The practice has shown that the reaction to lactose is individual. If the animal does not have allergies, and the gastrointestinal tract is in good shape, it is allowed to offer milk as an afternoon snack.
The constant use of milk (especially homemade and fresh milk) negatively affects the state of the liver!
The consumption of natural sugar is not recommended for adult dogs, regardless of breed. For allergy sufferers, lactose is doubly dangerous. The risk zone includes representatives of small breeds: pugs, lapdogs and papillons. Light-colored dogs (bulldogs, setters, dalmatians, terriers, labradors and others) are also considered allergic. Their diet must be properly balanced.
Which Kind of Milk Is More Useful?
If the owner decides to supplement the dog’s menu with a small amount of milk, he must choose the right one to give.
Goat milk has established itself as a relatively safe product. The composition includes many useful substances, and the lactose content is less than that of other species. The product is better absorbed by the body, and if the pet does not have problems with the gastrointestinal tract, it is included in the main menu.
Cow’s milk has a higher lactose content. The owner must carefully monitor the condition of the pet. If the animal does not show allergic reactions, he is offered a “drink” as an afternoon snack.
Mare’s milk is poor in protein and fat, but rich in lactose. Veterinarians advise to refuse it. Kumis made on the basis of this “variety” contains ethyl alcohol, the use of which can lead to poisoning. Some companies produce mare’s milk with a reduced lactose content. It is perfect as a snack.
Store-bought milk is most preferred. It is low in fat and low in natural sugar. All products are pasteurized, which reduces the risk of infectious diseases.
Is Milk Good for Puppies?
If the mother is unable to feed the newborn puppies, and weaning occurs too early, they continue to be artificially fed with goat or cow milk. A chicken egg is added to it at the rate of 1:500 ml.
The second option: specialized milk powder, which is a “baby formula”. After the puppy gets a little stronger and learns to lap up liquid from a bowl, you can offer him milk and bread. This usually applies to monthly babies. You can give your puppy milk for up to three months. Then it is transferred to kefir, yogurt and cottage cheese.
Females during pregnancy and lactation need special nutrition: the body needs protein. In order for the gestation to end safely, it is recommended to include milk in the diet. A pregnant or lactating dog can be given up to 1 liter per day.
Is Milk Good for Adult Dogs?
Each dog reacts differently to lactose. If the animal does not show signs of allergy, you can occasionally give it milk diluted with water.
Some manufacturers make a lactose-free product that will not harm the dog’s health.
It is highly undesirable to give milk with dry food! The preservatives used in the production of “drying” have a pathogenic flora that will multiply if combined with lactose. This can lead to poisoning and disruption of the intestines.
It is also not recommended to cook porridge with milk. The dish will turn out to be high-calorie and will be poorly absorbed. Such cereals can be prepared only during the rehabilitation period. It is recommended to dilute them with water in a 1:1 ratio. If the animal needs to gain weight, lean porridge will not cope with this task.
People who prefer tea with milk should not treat them to their pet. Caffeine is poison for a dog. It causes serious poisoning and even death. Lactose only enhances the effect.
When and How Much Milk to Give to a Dog?
Serving size depends on the age and size of the dog. Veterinarians recommend giving milk to puppies as follows:
- in 1-2 months – no more than 100 ml;
- 2-3 months – no more than 200 ml;
- at 3-4 months – no more than 250 ml;
- at 4-5 months, babies are transferred to kefir.
An adult dog can be given up to one glass of milk a day. However, it is worth considering the size of the animal. There will be a lot of this amount for small breeds, but not enough for large ones.
For example, a month-old German Shepherd puppy needs up to 500 ml of milk per day. A similar serving size lasts up to five months. Alabai needs a comparable amount: a puppy from two to five months receives 400 ml of the product.
Small breeds of dogs (dachshund, spitz, york, chihuahua, etc.) are especially susceptible to allergies, so it is better to replace milk with kefir or yogurt (at 3 months). If the owner wants to include a product in the diet, it must be milk from a store at the veterinary clinic.
What to Do In Case Of Poisoning
In case of poisoning, milk should not be given, since it does not belong to light foods.
During the recovery period, dogs are given low-calorie cottage cheese, oatmeal in water, dietary meat, liver and yogurt.
Milk is prescribed only in case of mercury or lead poisoning: protein helps to remove heavy metals from the body.
Other Fermented Milk Products
The benefits and safety of fermented milk products are due to the fact that yeast converts lactose into lactic acid, which has a beneficial effect on digestion. An additional plus: high content of proteins, minerals and probiotics.
Useful foods include:
- Cottage cheese. “Supplier” of calcium, potassium, phosphorus. They strengthen the skeleton, are responsible for the condition of hair and teeth.
- Kefir, yogurt. They contain less lactose and are beneficial even for adult dogs. Kefir normalizes the digestive tract and stabilizes the intestinal microflora. Therefore, in the dispute “milk or kefir” the winner will be the latter.
- Cheese. Known for a wide range of vitamins and minerals. You can give it in small amounts: a large portion will cause diarrhea. It is recommended to use it as a reward during training.
List of harmful dairy products:
- cheese (in large quantities);
- fermented baked milk (provokes “fermentation” in the intestines);
- ice cream (made on the basis of milk fat, palm oil and sugar);
- sour cream (very high in calories and poorly absorbed);
- cream (high in fat).
Lactose tolerance is variable. It depends on the health of the dog. Cottage cheese and kefir have a beneficial effect on digestion and are absorbed even by adult dogs.
However, even in this you need to know when to stop: “milk” replaces a full meal, so it can be given only once a day (for example, as an afternoon snack). A varied menu is good, but safety should be a priority.
Hope you got the answer to the question: is milk good for a dog.