A lot of dog owners feed their puppers cheese and some people promote yogurt to help dogs suffering from diarrhea. Some even give their dogs a cup of milky tea daily and a puppuccino from Starbucks. But is it really safe for dogs to drink dairy?
It goes down to how you would define ‘safe’. Most of the dairy products found in the market pose no lasting threat and damage in most dog breeds. But that doesn’t mean it won’t cause any harm at all.
The root of the problem that causes all of this is a type of sugar called Lactose that is found in milk. In order to break down lactose, human bodies would need an enzyme called lactase. Levels of this enzyme would vary from mammal to mammal as we need lactase to digest our mother’s milk.
The natural way that we lose the ability to create lactase is through aging. It just won’t make sense producing an enzyme we no longer need.
Humans though are a different case. More specifically, some people in the population are the exception. In some cases, people naturally gained something called “lactase persistence” wherein those enzymes were still produced well into adulthood because those populations continued to drink milk even when they no longer needed them.
So, what about the dogs? Well, as mammals they’re born with the lactase enzyme in order to feed off of their mothers. About 3% are lactose in a dog’s milk and the puppies are born with the ability to create enough lactase to cope with it.
As the puppies grow and eat solid food, most of them can no longer digest lactose as they gradually stop making lactase. This would mean that most dogs are lactose intolerant.
But this does not mean that it is automatically dangerous for grown-up dogs to drink milk. It would simply mean that drinking milk can result in diarrhea and flatulence since they can no longer process milk or are “lactose intolerant.”
Other symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs include:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
But in most cases of short-term intake, the symptoms are self-limiting- once the lactose stops, diarrhea clears up and all goes back to normal.
Naturally, some dogs will react more differently than others, and some may even need a helping hand to stop diarrhea.
Just make sure to provide them water if they are lactose intolerant and accidentally consumed dairy products as diarrhea can cause severe dehydration.
What Happens When You Feed a Puppy Some Cow’s Milk?
It was previously mentioned that dog milk contains about 3% percent lactose. In comparison, a cows’ milk contains approximately 5% lactose. This is higher compared to that of a dog. This would mean that 2% excess lactose can make puppies sick. Depending on how much the puppies were given – if it’s enough that it overwhelms the enzymes in their system, they’ll get symptoms of lactose intolerance which was stated above.
That is why it is vital to get a canine milk replaced instead of using cow’s milk for hand-rearing puppies.
Is It Okay to Feed Your Dogs Cheese?
Because of how cheese is processed and made, cheese oftentimes contains lower levels of lactose than a cow’s milk. This might be enough for your dogs to eat.
But just how it was previously stated, different dogs adjust to different amounts of milk and cheese. So, bear that in mind.
Let us also not forget the high amounts of fat found in cheese which can cause severely painful pancreatitis.
Yikes! What About Yogurt?
Just like how cheese goes through an intricate process, yogurt also goes through a complex process that reduces the amount of lactose. But not all lactose is gone for good. Yogurt contains some “good” bacteria that are good for humans to consume, dogs also get to enjoy the benefits of yogurt and get a digestive cleanse or better digestion.
But that’s just too good to be true. There are no research and facts that back up that the ‘good’ bacteria found in yogurts actually helps dogs get better digestion. So, it is best avoided to feed your dog’s yogurt due to the sure and lactose content found in yogurt, unless you know your dog can cope, steer away.
Surely, Tea Would Be Okay, Right?
I suggest you spill them. Of course, not where your dogs can drink them. You probably have realized that all the products so far can harm your dogs, so what makes you think tea is good?
Tea has caffeine and caffeine can damage your dog’s health. As far as studies show, dogs gain no benefits whatsoever from drinking tea. Well, at least they are not missing out.
So please don’t give them tea!