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Is Milk Bad For Dogs? Find Out In This Edition Of “Ack! Don’t Eat That!”

Is Milk Bad For Dogs | Ack! Don't Eat That! |

So, You Ask “Is Milk Bad for Dogs?”

Maggie | Leader of the Writer Pack @ PawsForHumanity.comGood question! And we’ve got it covered in this edition of “Ack! Don’t Eat That!” Since this is the first article in the series, let me introduce you to the concept.

About the “Ack! Don’t Eat That!” Series

Our “Ack! Don’t Eat That!” series focuses on your biggest food-related questions. Worried about feeding your dog something? Find out here! If there’s a specific food you’d like to see covered that hasn’t been featured yet, feel free to send us an email at or find us on Facebook to let us know. We will sniff out the research and post an article to cover your concerns in future editions of “Ack! Don’t Eat That!”

So, let’s get to it.

Is Milk Bad For Dogs | Ack! Don't Eat That! |

Is Milk Bad For Dogs | Ack! Don't Eat That! |

Is Milk Bad for Dogs? The Answer: It Depends.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to have a negative reaction to milk and other dairy products. According to Pet MD, symptoms can present in the form of excessive gas, diarrhea, skin rash and irritation, and even vomiting. Causes are typically lactose intolerance and even an allergy to milk protein.

As with humans who have these reactions, they are often caused by the sugars in dairy products called lactose. Lactose is broken down by an enzyme called lactase, and when a human or animal does not produce enough of it, the negative reactions may occur.

The ASPCA notes that the majority of dogs do not produce enough lactase to be able to handle milk and other dairy products. And, it has been found that some dogs are also allergic to the protein in milk. Weird, I know…because dogs love protein!

In general, milk and other dairy products are not good for dogs. It’s best to stay away from dairy all together and stick to a more pet-friendly nutrition routine.

But if your furry family member just won’t stop begging for that creamy, cool treat, give it in small doses and watch for signs of lactose intolerance. If Fido has the runs, gets bad gas, develops a rash or starts to toss his cookies, cut out the milk products entirely and see if that solves the problem. Of course, always consult your vet if the symptoms are chronic or don’t immediately improve.

My Dog Loves Ice Cream and Yogurt…Is That Okay? 

Hey, is that a trick question? Ice cream and yogurt are both dairy products. Similar to cow’s milk, these treats can cause the same symptoms in your dog if they are lactose intolerant or have a milk-protein allergy. Best to stay away or offer in small doses.

Don’t Puppies Need Milk?

Once a puppy hits the age of weaning from his mother’s milk, he no longer needs any form of milk. There is no need to find a dairy alternative, such as almond milk or coconut milk. He will be just fine without it, provided his main dishes are filled with the nutrients he needs. Talk to your vet to find the best dog food for your situation.

Even during the puppy stage, experts recommend staying away from cow’s milk. A mother dog’s milk is perfectly capable of sustaining a puppy. If no mother is in the picture, there are safer alternatives than dairy. Again, be sure to talk to your vet to see what he (or she!) recommends.

Dairy Intolerance and Protein Allergies Can Strike at Any Age

Kenneth W. Kwochka, DVM, Diplomate ACVD, cautions that dairy intolerance and allergies related to protein in dairy can crop up at any age. Studies in dogs showed symptoms appearing later in life despite a dog’s previous ability to tolerate the food.

Word to the wise…keep a sharp eye out for symptoms if you feed Fido dairy!

Fun Alternatives to Dishing up Ice Cream on Hot Days

It’s not all a downer, though. Ice licks are a great alternative! Simply grab a bowl, fill it with water and toss in a few treats and/or toys. Throw it in the freezer and in a few hours, you will have a tasty, cooling ice lick. No dairy needed!

Another idea is to make popsicles or doggie cubes. You can find some fun trays and toys on Amazon.

Here are a few links to posts on other sites that share recipes you can use to make your own frozen pup treats!

Of course, if they suggest using dairy in the recipe, you can leave that out or substitute it with something non-dairy.

Wrap Up

Stay tuned for more “Ack! Don’t Eat That!” articles so you can stay up to date on what you should and shouldn’t be putting into your furbaby’s body. Looking for non-dairy dog food? Check out this article on high-quality dog food for sensitive dogs, and please feel free to visit us on Facebook. We’d love to hear what other foods you’d like to have covered.

I’m off to go make myself a dairy-free ice lick! Ta-ta for now!