Dogs love eating and drinking anything they can find around. The problem is that they have sensitive stomachs that might be unable to handle some of the things they eat. For example, have you seen your dog thirsting over dairy products, although you know they cannot handle it?
Most dairy products contain milk, which has lactose. This is a complex sugar that needs the enzyme lactase for digestion. Lactase breaks lactose into simple sugars that the body can digest.
Unfortunately, dogs lose this enzyme as they grow older and transition to regular foods. This leads to lactose intolerance, which is why you sometimes see your dog vomiting or passing loose stool after drinking milk or eating some string cheese. To deal with this, you get them lactose-free milk. After all, if the milk doesn’t have lactose, it should be safe for dogs, right?
Dogs and Lactose-Free Milk
Although it might seem like the answer to your dairy problems, lactose-free milk is not as good for your dog as you might think.
A little lactose-free milk once in a while will not hurt your dog, but it is better off sticking to its regular diet and water. Lactose-free milk can trigger a stomach upset as it is still a dairy product.
Can Lactose-Free Milk Be Beneficial to Dogs?
In certain circumstances, lactose-free milk can be a good idea. It can come in handy when dealing with a dog with vitamin deficiencies or a chronic disease. The milk can act as a source of essential vitamins and help them get the nutrition they lack.
Lactose-free milk contains calcium, a necessary mineral in developing your dog’s teeth, muscles, and bones. The milk is also less likely to cause gastrointestinal disruption than whole or skimmed cow milk.
It is, however, important to get expert help from your vet first, as your dog can still react negatively to the milk even in these situations. There might be better options than the milk.
If you have to use it, give your dog a modest amount on rare occasions. Better yet, dilute the milk to lessen its negative impact.
Alternatives to Lactose-Free Milk
Instead of giving your dog lactose-free milk, you can turn to safer options that provide him with essential nutrients without the downsides.
You can instead give your dog:
- Clean Water- It promotes organ functions, keeps them hydrated, and doesn’t have negative effects. Ensure your pet has a bowl of clean water at all times.
- Plain Yogurt- You can share plain yogurt with your dog, as long as they are lactose tolerant. Don’t give it sweetened or flavored yogurt as these can contain harmful ingredients. Yogurt can act as a home remedy and a snack between feeding times.
- Dog-Friendly Milk – Pet milk is designed specifically for pets and is safe for them to consume. It is vital for young puppies who can only drink liquids. Alternatively, give your dog plant-based milk, such as almond, coconut, and oat milk. They have less sugar and lactose content and are safer for your pup.
Although it can be safe for them, avoid giving your dog lactose-free milk as much as possible. It is still cow’s milk and contains some lactose content. Instead, you can go for dog-friendly milk alternatives and dairy products but control how much they consume.