Can Dogs Have Dairy?

Dogs have a big sweet tooth and can be drawn to dairy products because of their sweet taste. However, are these products safe for them? Can you let your pup eat dairy safely?

The answer depends on your dog. Some can eat dairy products, such as ice cream or string cheese, with no problem, while other dogs can have violent reactions and acute digestive upsets after eating them.

Are Dogs Lactose Intolerant?

Puppies drink milk in the first months before they turn to solid foods. This is because they have an enzyme called lactase that helps them digest the nutrient lactose present in milk.

However, dogs slowly lose this ability as they grow older. Their inability to produce lactase prevents them from digesting dairy products, making them lactose intolerant.

Some dogs can handle small amounts of milk, but others cannot. You might notice your puppy heaving or drooling after eating dairy products.

You can test if your dog can digest lactose by giving them a little milk and then observing their reaction. Any negative reaction could indicate lactose intolerance, and you should stop giving them dairy products immediately.

Signs of lactose intolerance include bloating, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Do Dogs Have Milk Allergies?

Some dogs can have allergic reactions to the protein found in milk. A milk allergy can result in an immune reaction that presents itself as a rash, an itch, or hives.

Differentiating an allergic reaction and lactose intolerance can be difficult; the easiest way to do it is through their reactions.

It is an allergic reaction if your dog turns red or starts scratching itself. On the other hand, the dog is lactose intolerant if it seems gassy or has loose stool.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

The answer to this question varies depending on the type of cheese. Hard cheese, such as cheddar and parmesan cheese, is generally safe for dogs to eat. This is because they have a low amount of lactose, which most dogs don’t have problems digesting.

However, soft cheese, such as goat cheese and blue cheese, has higher lactose counts and can be dangerous to dogs. Their stomachs will have a hard time digesting it, resulting in complications.

It is best to avoid cheese altogether if your dog has milk allergies or is lactose intolerant. They can get an upset stomach even from the smallest amount of dairy, putting them in a lot of pain.

How About Milk And Other Dairy Products?

Whole and skim milk have about 11 grams of lactose per cup serving. This is a high amount that will most likely end in a digestive upset. Ice cream also contains high amounts of lactose, around 6 grams, which can still be dangerous to your dog.

Instead of giving your dog regular milk, opt for lactose-free milk instead. Low-lactose and lactose-free milk are safer and healthier for your pooch.


Most dairy products are not a dog’s cup of tea. They contain lactose that most dogs are unable to digest. If you must, give them only hard cheese or lactose-free milk. The lower the amount of lactose in dairy products, the less likely they will cause a stomach upset.

Remember, you still have to practice moderation when dealing with dairy products, regardless of the lactose content, to prevent digestive problems.

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