Can My Pet Drink Milk?

Our fur babies are an extension of our families. And like our families, we often want to shower them with food and treats—even if it’s more indulgent than healthy. However, when it comes to milk, you could be unintentionally causing harm.

Keep reading to discover if your pet can drink milk and alternatives to try.

Is Cow’s Milk Safe for Cats?

Most adult cats are lactose intolerant and should not have cow’s milk or dairy products.

You’re probably familiar with the image of stray cats circling a single saucer of warm milk and the old lady that cares for them. So it may come as a surprise that your cats shouldn’t have milk.

Lactose is a sugar present in milk. When kittens are first born, they have an enzyme called lactase that helps them break down the lactose and use it for nutrients and energy. However, kittens lose this ability at around four weeks old as their mother begins the weaning process.

In other words, kittens can drink milk, but they quickly lose digestive tolerance for it. So, it’s best to avoid giving milk to your cats altogether.

Is It Safe to Give Milk to My Dog?

Adult dogs can have milk in small amounts as long as they aren’t lactose intolerant. It’s important to remember that dogs can have dairy allergies similar to humans. Small licks of ice cream or spilled milk here and there may not be harmful, but you should closely monitor your dog in the hours after for any adverse reactions.

Signs your dog may be lactose intolerant:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach

Keep in mind that too much milk can cause these symptoms to occur even if your dog isn’t lactose intolerant. Unlike kittens, puppies can only drink their mother’s milk. Giving them cow’s milk can cause gastrointestinal upset, so it’s best to avoid it.

What Dairy Products Are Safe for Dogs?

Yogurt is safe for dogs that don’t have milk allergies and dogs that are not lactose intolerant. Many people give their doggos yogurt with active cultures to help digestion and general health. If the sugar and fat content is low, small dogs can have 1-2 teaspoons of yogurt, while larger dogs can have up to 2-3 tablespoons. Because store-bought yogurt usually has sugar and other additives, making your own is the best way to control the ingredients.

Follow this recipe for your very own plain, sugar-free homemade yogurt:

Also, try making your own yogurt treats your doggos will love:

When you take care of your pets, they take care of you. Investing in healthy meals and exercise will help them live long, happy lives. When it comes to giving your pets milk, small amounts are okay but avoid it for your cats. And provided your dog doesn’t have allergies or lactose intolerance, yogurt can be beneficial for your doggo’s gut health. If you’re lucky enough to drink milk, try these yummy, weeknight-worthy recipes.  Just remember to grab the a2 Milk from a grocer near you.

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