Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

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.

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance in Dogs


There are a variety of different symptoms that may be visible in your pet. It is a good idea to be able to recognize these symptoms, so that you can change up their diet if necessary. Undigested lactose can lead to a variety of different adverse effects in your dog, including:

  • upset stomach
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration

If your dog experiences any of these after eating dairy products, then they are probably suffering from lactose intolerance. While some dogs can eat yogurt or cheese without having any side effects, others may not be able to do so. It may be time to talk to your veterinarian about your options.

Symptoms of 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.



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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

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One thought on “Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

  1. My dog has lactose intolerance as well. We found out when we left a jug of milf out and she jumped up and knocked it over, dumping it out on the floor, she drank pretty much all of it and ended up vomiting. We took her to the vet and they found out she had lactose intolerance.

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