can dogs drink milk

Can Dogs Drink Milk?

Most dogs can drink cow’s milk or goat’s milk, however some dogs may be allergic or lactose intolerant.

Dr. Stephanie Liff, DVM and owner of Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Clinton Hill Brooklyn, N.Y. 

“Can dogs drink milk?” sounds like a simple question and in a way it is. That said, you do need to be aware of the consequences of giving milk to your best friend. The good news is most dogs can drink milk but some are lactose intolerant. How can you tell?

The safest way to find out is in the form of a food allergen test that covers a broad spectrum of food items your dog may encounter including lactose. Your veterinarian can do this for you by taking a swab of your dogs saliva and sending it off to a food allergen test laboratory. This test will reveal which foods your dog may be allergic to including lactose. If you prefer you can take a swab yourself using a food allergen test kit supplied by one of the testing laboratories.

Types Of Milk

There are two types of milk that are readily available in your supermarket and those are cow’s and goat’s.

What Are The Differences Between Goat’s Milk and Cow’s Milk?

As you can see by the infographic above cows’ and goats’ milk contain almost the same amount of lactose. However you can buy a lactose free cows, milk alternative in most supermarkets.

How Can I Be Sure Milk Won’t Harm My Dog ?

The only surefire way to ensure milk will not harm your pet’s health is to make sure your dog is not lactose intolerant first or by giving your dog lactose free cow’s milk instead.

What Happens If A Lactose Intolerant Dog Drinks Milk?

Due to the deficient levels of lactase, milk ingestion can lead to GI upset including diarrhea and vomiting. Additionally, whole fat milk or other dairy products may contain too much fat and can also lead to diarrhea and vomiting too.

Dr. Stephanie Liff, DVM

The symptoms of a lactose intolerant dog drinking milk vary in severity. The symptoms can be anything from flatulence to sickness and diarrhoea. Also since all dairy products are high in fat too much can lead to pancreatitis, a very serious disease!


  • Don’t give your dog milk without testing for lactose intolerance first.
  • If your dog is lactose intolerant only give lactose free milk.
  • Lactose free milk and normal milk are high in fat as are other dairy products such as cheese, ice cream and cream so they should only be given occasionally in small quantities as treats.


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