boy drinking milk

Can puppies drink milk that humans drink?

You have a puppy and you are wondering if I can feed that little soul milk that humans can drink? or you found a little puppy somewhere in the street. Now, it’s time to feed the puppy and you are thinking can I feed him/her milk that’s in my fridge?
The answer to these questions is not a straight one but in short, it could be bad for the puppy if you try to give him a big bowl of milk (that is not dog milk) to fill his stomach. If you want to know why it is bad for your puppy and which milk you should give him/her then continue reading the article.

1. Why is milk bad for puppies that humans can drink?

What kind of milk do you get in your imagination when you think of milk? It can be cow milk, goat milk, sheep milk, or you can take your mind towards plants and say almond milk or soy milk.
Most of us will think about cow or goat milk and that is the animal juice most of us would have drunk in our childhood. We will see all kinds of milk, what they have in them that is different from dog milk and why it would be bad or good for your puppy but let first have a look at sugar that is found in all kinds of milk known as “Lactose”. Lactose is one of the biggest factors that can cause bad things to your puppy if it is higher than a certain amount.

2. What is Lactose?

There is sugar in milk generally known as Lactose. To digest and breakdown Lactose our bodies produce an enzyme called “Lactase”. Lactase breakdown Lactose so that our body can digest it.
As we start to grow and decrease the milk intake, lactase production in our body decrease as we don’t need that enzyme much and this cause a problem in most of the people when they grew up: Now they are young and their body does not produce much lactase and whenever they drink milk or take any other dairy product their body can’t handle the lactose and it causes the gas, bloating and diarrhea. This intolerance of lactose by the body is known as Lactose-intolerance. Puppies and dogs do not produce much lactase to digest a lot of lactose. So, puppies can also get affected by this lactose intolerance after drinking cow/sheep milk.

3. Lactose Intolerance in Puppies:

Now we know, the inability of the body to handle lactose is “Lactose intolerance” and it is caused by the low production of an enzyme called Lactase.
A puppy’s body can produce a certain level of lactase as it is designed to intake his/her mummy’s milk and his/her mummy’s milk has lactose that is certainly lower than cow/sheep milk.
When a puppy drinks milk that has lactose higher than the dog’s milk then the little one’s body would not be able to break down all the lactose in it and would have a bad impact on his health.
Puppies with these digestion issues may experience Gastric issues including gas, bloating, loose stools, and diarrhea.

4. Comparing Dog Milk and Milk Humans can Drink

To make a comparison between Dog milk and any other milk that humans can drink, we will compare Lactose levels between milk and elements, the protein that can cause any kind of allergy or have side effects on a puppy’s health.

According to this Research published by AVMA, the average Lactose in 100 grams of dog milk is 2.92g or 2.92% lactose in dog milk, and the puppy body can easily digest lactose if it is around 2-3%.

1. Cow Milk

cow milk
Lactose in Cow Milk:

According to ScienceDirect and FAO research, when we look at the lactose level of cow milk, on average it contains about 4.8% of the lactose in it.
This shows that cow milk has double the lactose as it is in canine milk.
So we should think about cow milk before feeding it to the puppy.

Allergic proteins in Cow Milk:

According to this research, Cow milk contains Casein alpha S1 and S2 proteins that are subjective to allergic reactions. In this research, it is also mentioned that cow milk has other proteins like alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, BSA, and lactoferrin, as well as the four caseins. All of these proteins can cause allergies.
If your puppy is sensitive or does not have a strong immune system, it is a better idea to keep cow milk away from him and look for other alternatives.

Now you must be thinking, what about goat milk?

2. Goat Milk

goat
Lactose in Goat Milk:

According to this Research, when we look at the lactose level of goat milk, on average it contains about 4.3% of the lactose in it.
This shows that goat milk has less lactose as it is in cow milk but way more than canine milk.

Allergic proteins in Goat Milk:

As we know according to this research, Cow milk contains proteins that can cause allergy but this is not the case with goat milk as goat milk has a very low amount of those proteins.
So goat milk will not cause any allergy to your puppy in case he is sensitive.
Now, you are in a better position and can tell cow milk is not very good for your puppy and so is goat milk but goat milk is not as bad as cow milk.
So if your puppy is not lactose intolerant you can give a little bit of goat milk to your puppy.

5. How to tell if your puppy is lactose intolerant?

It is very difficult to determine if a puppy is lactose intolerant until he drinks a little bit of any milk other than canine milk. A lactose intolerant puppy can show the following symptoms after drinking milk:

  • Loose Stools
  • Gas
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If your puppy showed any of these symptoms after having milk then it is clear that your puppy is lactose intolerant and he should not be given any milk other than canine milk and any dairy product.

6. What to do if a lactose intolerant puppy drinks milk?

If your puppy is lactose intolerant and drank milk that he should not drink then there is a great chance he will get any of the diseases described above.
If he drank milk in a small amount then he might have Gas or loss stools, if this is the case your puppy will be fine soon and there is not much need to worry.
But if your puppy drank milk in a large amount then there is a need for your attention and you should plan to take your puppy to a vet doctor as soon as possible or at least consult with the doctor regarding the situation.

7. What about plant-based milk?

almond milk

Now you might be thinking if Cow and Goat milk are not good for your small puppy but we have plant-based milk like almond or soy milk, what about that. So, let’s check out plant-based milk

1. Can puppy drink almond milk?

As almond milk does not have lactose in it so you can say that I can feed it to my puppy but this isn’t a good option for your puppy too.
Almond milk is not good for your puppy as it is very hard to digest and will upset your puppy’s stomach.
Almond milk can also contain some ingredients that are harmful to your puppy. These ingredients include Chocolate, Gums, Carrageenan, Xylitol, and artificial sweetener.
Moreover, it is recommended that you should never try to wean your puppy on almond milk.

2. Can a puppy drink Soy milk?

Soy milk does not have any lactose in it so there is no need to worry about lactose intolerance and stomach upsets but same as almond milk you should not wean your puppy on soy milk.
Soy milk is one of the top foods that can cause your puppy an allergy. Soy milk does not have all the necessary ingredients in it, that your puppy needs to grow well with good health.
So, you should never try to wean your puppy on soy milk or almond milk.

8. Which Milk you should feed your puppy?

The first option for your puppy should be his/her mummy’s milk but in case if the mummy is not there to feed the puppy or there is some problem with the mummy then you should feed your puppy special dog formula milk, which you can get from a pet shop or veterinary clinics.
Newborn puppies should be fed this milk every 2-3 hours for their first 4-5 weeks. After 5 weeks, you can start feeding your puppy solid food mixed with the milk to soften it. You can give this food time a day to fulfill your puppy’s stomach and his body requirements. At the age of 8-9 weeks, your puppy would be totally weaned and mature enough to eat hard food without blending it in milk.

Conclusion

Now that you know why dog and goat milk is bad for your puppy and how it can affect your puppy. Moreover, we found that plant-based milk like almond and soy milk is also not a good option to wean your puppy.
The best option to wean your puppy is to use a special special dog milk , made for puppies that do not have their mummy available to feed them her milk.
So use dog formula milk for your puppies instead of feeding them milk that humans can drink.