What Happens if a Dog Drinks Milk: Dairy for Dogs?

Have you ever given your furry friend a bowl full of milk, and wondered if it’s safe? This article will explore what happens when dogs drink milk, and whether or not it’s a good idea to give it to them. Dogs are known for having a keen sense of taste, and many enjoy the creamy texture of milk. However, it’s important to know the potential health risks that come with consuming dairy products, so that you can make informed decisions about your dog’s diet.

Why Do Dogs Love Milk?

As puppies, dogs are fed with their mother’s milk to provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and develop. This sets the stage for their love of milk as they get older. The creamy flavor and texture of milk are irresistible to many dogs, which is why they beg for it at mealtime.

Is Milk Safe for Dogs?

While puppies can safely consume their mother’s milk, as they get older, their ability to digest lactose decreases. Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk, which can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea in dogs. In addition, some dogs may be allergic to milk, which can cause more severe symptoms such as itching, skin irritation, and respiratory issues.

It’s important to note that not all dogs will have adverse reactions to milk. Some dogs can safely consume small amounts of milk without experiencing any side effects. However, it’s important to monitor your dog’s reaction to milk and other dairy products to ensure that they do not experience any health issues.

What Happens if a Dog Drinks Milk?

If a dog drinks milk, it can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating. This is because dogs lack the necessary enzymes to break down lactose, which can cause a build-up of gas in their digestive tract. In addition, consuming dairy products can also lead to obesity and other health issues if given in excess.

Benefits of Dairy for Dogs

While milk and other dairy products should be limited in a dog’s diet, they do offer some health benefits if given in moderation. For example, plain, unsweetened yogurt can provide active cultures and probiotics, which can help with digestion and boost the immune system. Cheese is also a good source of protein and calcium, which can help support strong bones and muscles.

Best Dairy Products for Dogs

  • Plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • Small amounts of cheese
  • Skim milk, in small amounts

It’s important to note that any dairy products given to dogs should be free of added sugars and sweeteners, as these can cause health issues such as obesity and dental problems.

Alternatives to Milk and Dairy Products

If you want to give your dog a treat without the health risks of dairy, there are plenty of alternatives that you can offer. For example, fruits and vegetables like blueberries, apples, and carrots make great snacks that are low in calories and high in nutrients. Lean meats such as chicken and turkey are also a good source of protein for dogs.

Best Snacks for Dogs

  • Blueberries
  • Apples (without seeds)
  • Carrots (raw or cooked)
  • Liver treats (in moderation)
  • Lean meats (chicken, turkey)


While dogs may love the taste of milk and other dairy products, it’s important to limit their consumption to avoid potential health issues. Dogs lack the necessary enzymes to break down lactose, which can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea and bloating. However, if given in moderation, plain, unsweetened yogurt and small amounts of cheese can offer health benefits such as probiotics and protein.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I give my dog milk? While it’s not recommended to give your dog milk, some dogs can tolerate small amounts. However, it’s important to monitor their reaction and avoid dairy products with added sugars and sweeteners.
  • What should I do if my dog drinks milk? If your dog drinks milk and experiences digestive issues, such as diarrhea or vomiting, it’s important to monitor their symptoms and contact a veterinarian if they become severe.
  • What are the best alternatives to milk for dogs? Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are great alternatives to milk and other dairy products. These snacks offer nutrients and protein without the health risks associated with dairy.


AKC Staff. (2021, June 17). Can Dogs Drink Milk? American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-drink-milk/

Hill’s Pet. (n.d.). Can Dogs Drink Milk? Hill’s Pet. https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/nutrition-feeding/can-dogs-drink-milk

Levy, J., DVM., & Arcaraz, V., DVM. (2018, May 31). Lactose Intolerance in Dogs. VCA Hospitals. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/lactose-intolerance-in-dogs

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