It may surprise you to learn that cats actually shouldn’t drink milk. As for dogs...well, whether they can drink it is a bit more complicated...
CAN DOGS DRINK MILK?
There is no simple yes and no response, rather a case by case evaluation to give a correct answer. Because our pets can be lactose intolerant or allergic to diary products, you may find that even a small amount of milk will have undesirable effects.
BUT DON'T PUPPIES DRINK MILK?
Yes, puppies are able to drink their mother’s milk because they have an abundance of lactase, an enzyme required to break down the lactose in the milk. But while this is fine for their mother’s milk, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can accept the cow or goat’s milk from your fridge.
IS MY DOG LACTOSE INTOLERANT OR ALLERGIC TO MILK?
Puppies have an abundance of lactase, but this will disappear as they grow older. If your dog is lactose intolerant, then consuming dairy may cause mild to severe GI upset in the form of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Because there are varying degrees, some dogs may feel symptoms more severely than others. Milk and dairy products can also trigger common food allergies in dogs, which can appear as itchy skin, redness and GI upset. Furthermore, your pet may be unable to cope with the high fat levels in full cream milk and could potentially develop a serious disease called pancreatitis.
SO WHAT IF MY DOG DRINKS MILK?
Small amounts of dairy won’t do your dog much harm. A lick of your icecream, or a lap of your smoothie, but large amounts can cause all the symptoms mentioned above within around 12 hours.
We recommend that you monitor your pet closely and seek veterinary advice if they start to show symptoms of intolerance or allergy.