The question of can german shepherds drink milk or not is not black and white. It involves several different factors such as the dog’s ability to digest lactose, the dog’s age, health, etc. It is suggested, in my case, not to feed milk to your german-shepherd because most german-shepherds are lactose intolerant.
To better understand how milk affects german-shepherds and whether it is even safe for them or not, we need to look at different things. Some of these include the components of milk and how they work when they enter a dog’s body, how a dog reacts to lactose consumption, and the benefits and risks of drinking milk.
To analyze this further, we will first be discussing what milk contains.
What does milk contain?
Beginning with the most basic part, what exactly does milk contain? Milk is made of several different nutrients, chemicals, and minerals. However, the basic compounds of milk, which can be described very easily, are explained below.
- Water: The water content in milk makes it liquid and easy to drink.
- Fat: Milk has a very complicated composition of fats; it contains both saturated and unsaturated types of fat. While saturated fats help the nutrients get better absorbed in a german shepherd’s body, unsaturated fats aid indigestion.
- Lactose: Lactose is the sugar content in milk. Our bodies contain an enzyme called lactase which helps absorb lactose and digest it. Some German shepherds do not have enough lactase, so they are lactose intolerant.
- Casein: This is the main protein in milk and processes several foods.
- Whey Proteins: This protein from the watery portion of milk becomes evident when the curd is separated from milk.
- Minerals: Milk is a good source of several different types of minerals.
Types of milk
Milk comes in several different types, as listed below.
- Whole milk: This is milk at its highest fat content, about 3.25 percent.
- Low-Fat milk: A bit low in fat than whole milk, but the fat content is still higher than 2 fat.
- Two percent milk: This contains 2 percent fat.
- One percent milk: This contains 1 percent fat.
- Skim milk(fat-free): This contains the lowest calories and is still milk.
- Organic milk: This milk must be following the laws laid down by the government regarding the ethical treatment of cattle.
- Raw milk: Milk is taken from an animal and not pasteurized yet. So basically, this is unpasteurized milk.
Reading this, we understand that milk can be available in many forms. However, what stays constant in all types is that all of them contain lactose. Now, what exactly is lactose? The next part will be containing details regarding that.
What is lactose?
Now that we know that lactose is a major part of milk and a major determinant of whether your dog can drink milk or not. We must also learn what exactly lactose is.
Simply explained, lactose is a sugar found in all mammals’ milk. It is made up of sugar molecules such as glucose and galactose. Lactose may be absorbed from a dog’s intestine into its body because it is broken into these two molecules.
Lactase is an enzyme that absorbs glucose and galactose from the cells lining the small intestine. Lactase is found in the small intestine’s lining cells. Once absorbed into a puppy’s body, these molecules give her the energy she requires to be a curious and playful puppy.
As a puppy’s gut matures, it will gradually stop drinking milk from its mother, and the enzyme (lactase) will go from its body. A puppy will stop drinking its mother’s milk at this period.
As a result, an adult dog’s intestine no longer produces the enzyme that breaks down milk, which is why they can develop lactose intolerance.
What do we mean by lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance should be considered a carbohydrate intolerance because lactose is the predominant carbohydrate found in dairy products. It is one of the most common and recurring digestive problems in dogs, and it occurs when a german-shepherd suffers from an allergic reaction to milk or dairy products.
Lactose content in cow’s milk is between 4.5 percent and 5%. This is relevant to dogs because a dog’s milk contains approximately 3.1 percent lactose.
What this means for a dog is that when it drinks cow’s milk, the percentage of lactose it must metabolize is larger than when it drinks milk from its mother. This can occasionally be too much for a dog’s digestive system, resulting in lactose intolerance.
Many pet parents are unaware of their german-shepherd being lactose intolerant until they feed it milk. Trying to figure out if your dog is lactose intolerant might be difficult if your dog has drunk a lot of milk. This is because a high amount of milk can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs that aren’t lactose intolerant as well. However, if your dog develops similar symptoms after ingesting a small amount of milk, you should switch to a different treat.
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
If you think that your german-shepherd may be lactose intolerant, you should watch out for the following symptoms to make sure of it.
- Loose stools
- Pain in the abdominal area
If you figure out that your german shepherd may be suffering from one of the above symptoms, book a vet appointment for a checkup and make sure to give it medicines until they get fine.
Is goat milk safe for german-shepherds?
To know whether goat milk is safe for your german shepherd or not, you first need to know what the problem is with cow milk.
Why is cow milk bad for german-shepherds?
Lactose intolerance affects most domestic dogs in variable degrees, with older dogs having a harder time digesting lactose than younger dogs. Giving milk to dogs, especially adults, can promote inflammation in the intestines, resulting in gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Cow’s milk has a high carbohydrate content and, if given frequently, can predispose a dog to diabetes mellitus. Finally, casein, a protein found in cow’s milk, can induce an allergic reaction in dogs. When a dog’s body generates an immune response against a component of the food they consume, they are said to have a food allergy. Depending on the severity of the reaction, allergic reactions to milk might emerge as persistent skin problems or gastrointestinal difficulties.
Because of the above reasons, it is not ideal for giving cow’s milk to your dog. Goat milk, on the other hand, already has lactase in it, which helps your german-shepherd to digest the lactose content in milk easily. At this point, we will be discussing the benefits of goat milk for german shepherds.
Benefits of goat milk for german shepherds
Goat milk can be a better option of milk for lactose-intolerant german shepherds.
The lactose level of cow’s milk is the most prevalent reason it is not recommended for dogs. Lactose intolerance is a natural trait in dogs, and it gets worse as they get older. Drinking cow’s milk can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms for german shepherds because of their inability to digest lactose.
On the other hand, goat’s milk contains an enzyme called lactase, which aids in the digestion of lactose. Goat’s raw milk contains a higher quantity of this enzyme, making it easier to digest and reducing dogs’ risk of gastrointestinal disorders.
There is a lesser risk of your dog experiencing allergic reactions from consuming goat milk.
Cow’s milk includes complex proteins that can activate a dog’s immune system, resulting in an allergic reaction and a slew of other symptoms. Because these complicated protein molecules aren’t found in goat’s milk, they’re safer and easier to digest.
Your german-shepherd can easily digest goat milk.
Aside from the various protein molecules and enzymes found in goat’s milk, the fat molecules in goat’s milk are also substantially smaller than those found in cow’s milk. Compared to typical cow’s milk, these qualities in goat’s milk make it more highly digestible. Dogs can benefit from being highly digestible in a variety of ways.
The nutrients in goat’s milk will be adequately digested, absorbed, and utilized by the dog’s body as a result. This also reduces the chance of gut irritation, which prevents symptoms like diarrhea.
Finally, goat’s milk is easily digested since its natural enzyme content aids in digesting other foods in the dog’s diet, resulting in improved gastrointestinal health.
Goat milk is abundant in its nutrient content.
Goat’s milk is high in vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids, enzymes, and other trace components needed for a dog’s health. The majority of them are also found in cow’s milk. However, the risk of triggering gastrointestinal symptoms and their low digestibility result in inadequate nutrient absorption.
When you offer your dog goat’s milk, this is not the case. Its excellent digestibility guarantees that all important nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids, are properly absorbed, assisting in meeting your dog’s daily nutritional needs.
Goat milk also helps regulate your dog’s intestinal pH level.
Each part of a dog’s gastrointestinal tract has a different pH level. Maintaining the proper pH in the gastrointestinal tract is critical for proper food digestion and absorption.
Hyperacidity (a fast drop in the stomach’s pH) is a common problem in dogs, and it can cause vomiting and indigestion. Goat’s milk includes a lot of potassium, which helps manage and counteract gastric acidity. Giving goat’s milk to dogs can help them maintain a healthy stomach pH and avoid hyperacidity.
Cow milk can be dangerous for your dog, and as you just read, goat milk can be beneficial for your dog. You may want to know what other types of milk german shepherds can drink?
Is almond milk safe for your german-shepherds?
Almond milk is a non-dairy, plant-based beverage that you may believe is suitable for feeding your dog. However, while almonds are not harmful to dogs, they are difficult to digest and cause stomach issues.
Furthermore, almonds are heavy in fat, which is unhealthy for dogs, and feeding them to them might lead to obesity. If at all possible, avoid giving your dog almond milk.
If you absolutely must, consult your veterinarian first. If the doctor says it’s fine, make sure it’s unsweetened, as most almond milk contains sugar and occasionally xylitol, which can be fatal to dogs, and only feed it in small amounts.
So please don’t take the risk of feeding almond milk to your dog; it is not worth it.
Is it safe for german shepherds to have soy milk?
Because it is non-dairy and plant-based and thus does not contain lactose, some people consider soy milk a safe alternative to giving their dog normal milk. For nutrition, several commercially marketed dog diets include soy-based components.
However, if at all possible, avoid giving your dog soy milk. If you really must, make sure you acquire your veterinarian’s permission first, as some dogs are allergic to soy in varying degrees. Furthermore, most soy milk contains added sugar and is high in calories, both of which your dog should avoid.
Can you feed oat milk to your german-shepherd?
When you ask the question of whether oat milk is safe for your dog or not, the same concepts and restrictions apply. Another non-dairy milk alternative is oat milk. Because oats are not toxic or dangerous to dogs, they can drink oat milk – but only in little amounts and only once in a while.
Is coconut milk safe for german-shepherds?
For lactose-intolerant people, coconut milk is very popular. Can dogs, on the other hand, drink coconut milk? Again, the consensus is that coconut milk is safe for your dog as long as it is consumed in modest amounts and only on occasion.
While your German Shepherd may not be lactose intolerant, give it milk after its mother’s milk has run out. Experimenting to check if your dog has lactose intolerance will make your dog uncomfortable, if not worse — the advantages do not outweigh the potential harm.
Hence, before taking the decision of feeding milk to your german shepherd, make sure to go through all the potential risks attached to it. Secondly, always stay in contact with your dog’s vet when you are about to make any such decision.