Most people know that lactose intolerance is something that is somewhat common among people, but they don’t realize that it can affect their pets as well. In fact, lactose intolerance in pets is actually quite common. This is defined as an adverse reaction to dairy products or milk. Dogs that are affected by lactose intolerance will be lacking a key enzyme known as lactase, which is needed to help them digest the lactose in the dairy products. It is really similar to human lactose intolerance. Here is everything you need to know about lactose intolerance in dogs.
What You Can Do About Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
There are a few things that you can do if your dog is lactose intolerant. One of the main things that you will want to do is avoid giving them dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Next, you need to make sure that you know the lactose content in their daily dietary intake. On average, dairy products like cheese and yogurt don’t contain as much lactose as milk. Generally, regular cow or goat milk contains 4-5% lactose, while dog’s milk is around 3% lactose. The high levels of lactose found in cow and goat milk can be overpowering for dogs if they aren’t able to digest it. This is typically what leads to the negative reactions and upset stomach.
Another great idea is to look for dog food that is made of limited ingredients, and lactose free. Milk and other dairy products are considered an allergen, so hypoallergenic dog foods will usually not contain these ingredients. By switching to a limited ingredient diet or hypoallergenic diet, you can usually avoid the negative impacts of lactose intolerance in dogs altogether.
Does Boiling Milk Make it Safe?
One question that we are often asked is whether or not boiling milk will make it safe for dogs with lactose intolerance. The answer is no. Even boiling the milk will not have an affect in your dog’s ability to handle it. It doesn’t change the amount of lactose found in the milk. Oh, and while boiling it isn’t safe, skim milk is also not an appropriate alternative, because it still contains a good amount of lactose. Therefore, if your pet is lactose intolerant, it is best to keep milk out of their diet for good. There are many other ways for your pup to get calcium and other vitamins and minerals that come from milk and dairy.
As you can see, lactose intolerance in dogs can really be an issue. The truth is, more often than not dogs have a sensitivity to lactose. Even if they can handle it in small quantities, it is not likely that any dog can handle it in larger quantities. Once a dog has been weaned, their ability to handle lactose is usually around 10% of the peak ability. If your dog has been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, or if you have a feeling they might be, then go ahead and make changes to their diet and talk to your vet about other options that may be available for ensuring that your pet gets adequate nutrition, without the fuss that comes along with lactose intolerance.