Can dogs drink milk?

Original Question: Dr. Greenway my 3 year old Labernese loves milk. At night before bed I give her about 2-3 tablespoons of milk in her dish. Is this okay? P.S. Love your show on Saturday mornings on CFRB - Kimberlee

Can dogs drink milk? Mar 5, 2018

Hi Kimberlee,

I actually get this type of question a lot. People ask me if a certain type of treat or food is okay for their pet to eat. The most interesting thing is that veterinarians can never really answer this question. If the food item is toxic to an animal then the answer is easy, you just can’t feed it. But if it’s not known to be toxic, then it really depends on your individual pet and how it processes the food item. For example, I will have a lot of people tell me that they’re going to start feeding their pet lamb and rice diet because their dog is allergic to a lot of ingredients. But what happens if the dog is allergic to lamb? The response is not going to go very well.

So when we want to feed our pets a new treat we need to take it slowly. My advice is to give a tiny amount of the new food item, in your case the milk. Literally start with a few licks of it. Give this amount every day and don’t change anything else about the diet. Then monitor the stools very carefully while you continue this process for about two weeks. Monitor your pet for other things that might indicate that they could be sensitive to that item, such as itchy, vomiting, lethargy, behavioral change, excessive water intake, excessive urination, or anything else that just seems odd. If there are no changes that you can identify then I would consider that treat to be acceptable and you can continue to give it in moderation.

The place where people get into trouble is when they want to offer a really fantastic treat all at once. A classic example is when someone has a barbecue party and they throw the dog a massive piece of meat. That dog likely has a really consistent diet and then all the sudden he gets this huge meal of high fat and high protein. This can really create massive digestive problems, not to mention create medical issues like pancreatitis or stimulate allergies.

Thanks for your question. All the best.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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Can dogs drink milk?
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Can dogs drink milk?
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My advice is to give a tiny amount of the new food item, in your case the milk. Literally start with a few licks of it. Give this amount every day and don't change anything else about the diet. Then monitor the stools very carefully while you continue this process for about two weeks.
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Healthcare for Pets
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