CAN DOGS DRINK MILK?

two milk bottles
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We are tackling all the common milk questions dog owners have. I found myself asking Google home way too many questions about what happens if my dog laps up a drop of cream, some leftover milk cereal and more. Here’s a cheat sheet for other dog owners who wonder the same things. 

Let’s Get the Plant Milk Questions Out of the Way First

Let us address this early on: yes, dogs can drink milk. However, just like humans, some of them are lactose intolerant. Now, let’s look into the other types of milk out there first. I noticed that a lot of people are wondering about plant-based milks as well. Not all of them are healthy for dogs. 

Can Dogs Slurp Coconut Milk?

Person holding coconut but in half
Photo credit Jonas Dücker

Coconut milk is non-toxic to dogs. The flesh, water and milk of the coconut are safe for dogs to consume. Our dog really likes it because it’s so fatty (that’s my theory). It does help make her coat shinier and softer so we can’t complain. 

Is Soy Milk OK for dogs?

Yes it is, but soy milk is high in calories and has added sugars that can lead to tooth decay or obesity if your pup laps this up on a regular basis. However, soy is one of the top food allergens in dogs. It’s not allowed for dogs with food allergies as it can irritate them further. 

Is Almond Milk Safe for Dogs?

Almond milk is technically safe for dogs. Basically, the homemade kind is safe for dogs in moderation. When it comes to commercially produced almond milk, some can be very dangerous. Artificial flavours and sugar are bad. Xylitol is downright dangerous. Small amounts of xylitol have the potential to kill your dog. 

So Your Dog Loves Cow Milk, Eh?

A cow's udder, teats and tail, pink, on green field, Dutch milk cow
Photo credit Megumi Nachev

Too much fat in your dog’s diet can lead to obesity and pancreatitis. This is the main warning when it comes to milk. After that we can talk about the sugar as well and the whole “some dogs are lactose intolerant” portion. But the truth is that dogs seem to love milk for the same reasons we do. It’s full of fat and sweet. If your dog licks a few drops, you should be fine. However, do not include milk as a regular part of your dog’s diet. 

Can Dogs Drink Evaporated Milk?

At first, I wanted to say no but, of course, I did my research. Every single question answered in our food cheat sheet has been individually researched. So, it turns out that you can absolutely feed evaporated milk to puppies. If you need to figure out how to feed puppies, here is the guide to bottle-feeding puppies. Go with goat’s milk because it is much more recommended and easier on the dogs’ stomachs.

Help! My Dog Ate Half a Can of Condensed Milk!

Canned milk or sweetened, condensed milk are usually tolerable, even to a lactose intolerant dog. Dr. Elaine, on the JustAnswer.com website, replied to a worried pet owner who was super worried about her dog eating half a can of condensed milk. “There isn’t anything in sweetened condensed milk that is toxic.” However, since it is full of sugar, she added, “I would expect you might see some diarrhea because of the sugar concentration. Unless your dog is diabetic, I wouldn’t worry about this being dangerous.”

Is Lactose Free Milk Better?

Honestly, no, not really. You can give your dog lactose-free milk in small quantities, just like regular milk. It’s not supposed to be part of their regular diet so it’s a nice treat but shouldn’t be your first choice. There are many other alternatives available for your dog. Keep the expensive lactose-free milk for yourself instead.

Can Dogs Eat Powdered Milk?

Yes they can, it’s actually an ingredient in some DIY dog treats. Because powdered milk is nutritionally the same as regular milk, minus the fat content, adding powdered milk to a homemade dog treat adds protein.

So What About Goat Milk? Is it Really Better for Dogs?

three goats
Photo credit L ley

Yes they can drink goat milk. Actually, goat milk is more recommended than cow’s milk for dogs. I looked into it and apparently, goat milk has smaller fat molecules than cow milk. This means that it’s digested faster and more easily. Goat milk causes less digestive issues for dogs. Raw goat milk is a source of easily digested probiotics if you decide with your vet that your pet needs those. 

Oops…Can Dogs Drink Cereal Milk? Asking for a friend…

Fruit Loops cereals
Photo credit Etienne Girardet

If your dog gobbles up a few pieces of cereal left with some milk at the bottom of a bowl, you should be OK. It’s not recommended to make that a habit, though. 

Can My Dog Snack on Cheerios and Milk?

We are not going to judge your lifestyle choices here. The safe option is to serve plain Cheerios flavours. I don’t recommend you to make that a habit as milk on the regular is not going to be fun for your dog. You may end up with a sick dog and a lot of diarrhea if you share your breakfast with your best friend.

What About Oatmeal With Milk?

You should know two things about feeding your dog oatmeal: cook it before feeding it to your dog and prepare it with water and not with milk, please. It’s safe to make it with milk but may cause some loose stools and nobody wants to deal with that.

Beyond Milk: Dogs and Dairy Products

Photo credit Content Pixie

Can Dogs Eat Cream?

Maybe. You are playing Russian roulette here. Some dogs are lactose intolerant, just like humans. This could go well or very, very, very bad. Always feed cream in moderation because it’s very fatty. If not, your dog could suffer from pancreatitis which is very dangerous.

Can I Feed My Dog Sour Cream?

You can feed your dog sour cream. It’s not toxic. If your dog is lactose intolerant, please pass on the sour cream or you may have to live through “a mild transient bout of vomiting or diarrhea”. I read that somewhere and found this way too classy to describe the stinky hell you could invoke by feeding sour cream to your dog. Same goes for crème fraîche. We should know, we are French, we love that stuff and can 100% guarantee that the results are the same as good old sour cream. Wondering about whipping cream? The answer is the same as sour cream and crème fraîche. 

Can Dogs Eat Whipped Cream?

Whipped cream is not toxic. Your dog can have a taste, but don’t make it a habit. Actually, this pretty much applies to us humans as well. That’s how to avoid overindulging. If you have a habit of sticking the whipped cream nozzle in your mouth to eat the whipped cream…you are not qualified to give your dog “a taste” of whipped cream. Put the can down and sit down. You are not alone. I do that too once in a while. We both should not give our dogs bad habits.  

Can Dogs Eat Butter?

Not really. Butter contains lactose and some dogs are lactose intolerant. Butter is mostly saturated fat and doesn’t offer any health benefits. 

Hypothetical question: what if my dog got into a tub of butter? 

If your dog got into a tub of butter, a belly ache is sure to come. We won’t judge, weird things happen when one lives with a canine companion. However, avoid that in the future since it causes weird gross poops. 

Bread and butter
Photo credit Jude Infantini

Can Dogs Eat Sunbutter?

We actually didn’t know about sunbutter. It’s been around for decades and is good for dogs. It is made from sunflower seeds though so no real butter here. It’s great for dogs but not really dairy. 

Can Dogs Eat Ghee?

Yes! Ghee doesn’t contain lactose. However, it is a form of butter so it should be fed to dogs in moderation. Just like butter, it’s high in saturated and unsaturated fats. Your dog can have some but in small quantities.

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