Can dogs drink milk? You may be surprised to know that cow’s milk isn’t actually good for dogs, but that doesn’t mean milk is completely off the table. Goat’s milk for dogs is a healthier, tastier option for pets, and is loaded with nutrients that support digestion.
A tall glass of milk seems like a normal beverage for us, but for your dog it could lead to a digestive disaster. We’ve all heard the warning that you shouldn’t feed your dog (or cat) milk, but why? Are they lactose intolerant?
Technically, yes, but it turns out that the reason they shouldn’t drink milk has to do with the animal it comes from and how it’s made.
What's so Bad about Cow’s Milk?
Milk has become a controversial topic, even for humans, because of it's digestibility and farming practices. Despite it's bad rap, milk is still a staple in many households. How could something as normal as milk be bad for dogs? To understand why cow’s milk is not good for dogs, we have to look at what is done to it to make it safe for us.
There’s a reason we don’t drink milk straight from the cow. Partially because that sounds super gross, but mostly because it could make us sick. Fresh cow’s milk is loaded with bacteria that our dainty human bodies just can’t handle. To break it down further, we need to talk about lactose and casein.
Our milk is pasteurized. Pasteurization is a way to kill off any harmful bacteria in the milk. This is done by heating the milk to a temperature that the bacteria can’t survive. This makes the milk safe for us to drink, but it's also what makes the milk not so good for your dog.
When you cook the milk to pasteurize it, you are killing off good bacteria and enzyme, as well as the harmful stuff. This is where the lactose intolerant rumour comes from. To break down lactose, a naturally occurring milk protein, dogs need the milk enzyme, called lactase. When the milk is cooked, that enzyme is eliminated, leaving lactose that is very difficult for your dog to digest.
This is one of the reasons that dogs tend to have lactose intolerant-like symptoms if they consume too much of a dairy product. Their bodies just can't digest the lactose properly.
There are two types of casein, A1 and A2 beta-casein. A1 casein is hard to digest and can be linked to allergies and digestive issues, while A2 is considered to be easier to breakdown, and therefore better for dogs and cats.
The protein in cow’s milk contains as much as 80% A1 beta-casein, which is another reason why many dogs react poorly to cow’s milk.
Why is Goat’s Milk for Dogs Any Different?
It turns out raw goat’s milk is a universally tolerated milk for mammals. Any mammal can consume raw goat’s milk safely, so next time you want to treat your dog to a bowl of milk, reach for goat’s milk instead.
The key here is that the goat’s milk is raw or unpasteurized. Goat’s milk for dogs is more than just a treat, it’s a nutritional aid. The bacteria in raw goat’s milk is excellent for supporting digestion and reducing symptoms of allergies and inflammation.
Raw or fermented goat’s milk is loaded with lactase to make the milk sugars easy to breakdown and digest. In addition, goat’s milk contains A2 beta-casein, which is much easier to digest and is not linked to the same issues as casein found in cow’s milk.
You don't have to be a goat farmer to have access to fermented or raw goat's milk. Goat's milk has become a popular and widely available supplement for dogs. Goat’s milk is most commonly sold in frozen liquid formats, but if you are travelling or if you prefer to make your goat's milk as you need it, then look for a powdered form of goat's milk.
Check out some of our favourite brands:
Benefits of Goat’s Milk for Dogs
Not only is goat’s milk safe for dog’s, but it’s healthy and highly recommended! The biggest and most desirable benefit of goat’s milk is it’s digestive properties. Goat’s milk is loaded with probiotics that help to support digestion by increasing the population of healthy bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract.
Supporting your dog's digestion helps to improve nutrient absorption, boosts immune system, and aids in filtering out toxins. In addition, goat’s milk also provides:
- Moisture - vital to all systems in your dog's body
- Calcium - component of bone, strengthens muscle, and supports blood clotting
- B vitamins - support a healthy metabolism, digestion, and hormone regulation
- Vitamin A - maintains eye health and cell function
- Protein - provides amino acids needed to run the whole body
5 Tips for Feeding Goat’s Milk for Dogs
It’s commonly fed as a stand-alone side-dish, but these creative feeding tips are a great way to make goat’s milk fun and exciting, especially for picky pets who get easily bored with their food.
1. As a Meal Topper
Spruce up any diet by dousing it with a little bit of goat’s milk. This delicious dog cereal is a great way to add more moisture, probiotics, and flavour. Kibble diets benefit the most from this moisture boost, but goat's milk can also compliment a raw diet.
2. Rehydrating Freeze-Dried
Instead of rehydrating your dog’s freeze-dried food with plain old water, use goat’s milk instead. The additional nutrition will bolster the meal. This is a great tip for picky pets who need a little more encouragement to maintain healthy eating habits, and those who would benefit from the digestive boost.
3. Frozen Dog Treats
Use goat’s milk in your favourite frozen dog treat recipe. Goat’s milk can replace the more common base in frozen dog treats, yogurt. Mix it with pureed fruit, dog-safe peanut butter, or bone broth for a tasty and nutritious snack.
If your dog loves a stuffed Kongs, then goat’s milk will also be a welcomed addition to that recipe. Mix it with treats, kibble, broth, or canned food before freezing for a cool and long-lasting snack.
4. Whipped “Not-Cream” Puppuccino
If you’ve ever been through the Starbucks drive through with your pooch, then you’ve probably treated him to the infamous “secret-menu Puppucino.”
While this treat is tasty and adorable, it uses whipping cream made from cow’s milk, and might not agree with your dog’s tummy. We put together a dog-friendly alternative to this creamy treat using egg whites and goat’s milk.
- 1 eggs white
- 1/4 cup goat’s milk
- 1/8 tsp (or less) of lemon juice
- In an electric mixture (or by hand if you’re Popeye), beat egg white, and lemon juice on high. This will take 3-5 minutes, at least.
- The mixture should start to look creamy and fluffy. Continue beating until the creamy mixture starts to look glossy and smooth.
- Gently fold in the goat’s milk until just combined. Serve immediately.
This recipe is definitely more work, and is not going to be an everyday treat, but is a super cute recipe for special occasions like birthdays and puppy play dates. Customize this recipe by adding is a splash of bone broth or chicken stock for an extra tasty surprise.
Sprinkle on some finely crumbled dog cookies to get that truly Instagram ready look.
How Much Goat’s Milk Should Dog’s Have?
All good things in moderation, as they say. Yes, goat’s milk is good for dogs, but too much of a good thing can be bad.
Goat’s milk is a great nutritional supplement, but shouldn’t interfere with their regular, complete, and balanced diet. If you want to supplement daily, try to stick to about 2 oz or less per 20 lbs.
Does your dog love goat’s milk? Let us know how you feed goat’s milk to your dog.