Dogs and Dairy: Do They Mix?

September 1, 2017 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Dairy, in and of itself, is not toxic for dogs, but it is not an ideal treat. Once dogs reach a certain age, their bodies don’t digest milk well anymore. Lactose intolerance can lead to issues such as gassiness, vomiting, diarrhea, and bellyaches. Each dog will have a differing level of intolerance. There are rare cases of dairy allergies, too, so be careful if you do give them a small dairy treat. Watch to see if there are any typical signs of allergic reactions such as itchiness or inflamed skin. A common issue for dogs and dairy is that many dogs are, to some degree, lactose intolerant.

Cheese has very little lactose in it, so it is less liable to cause upsets. Thus, cheese can be a convenient way to hide pills. Small servings of milk are also fine for dogs who do not have a big sensitivity to lactose. If even a small amount of milk gets them upset, it may be best to ditch dairy altogether. In all, dairy products are fine for most dogs in moderation, with one exception.

The main exception is ice cream. The lactose content is not the reason for the advisory, though. Many flavors of ice cream, such as any involving chocolate, are toxic to dogs. The high sugar content that ice cream has compared to other dairy products is also not ideal for pets. A better alternative is plain, unsweetened frozen yogurt. Regular yogurt can have just as much sugar as ice cream so be sure to read the label on yogurts carefully before buying.

Under the right conditions, and serving sizes, dairy can be a safe treat for most dogs, but not a recommended treat.

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