Just like people, all dogs have unique dietary restrictions. One of the largest areas of contention among experts until recently has been the role of calcium in a dogs diet. Aside from RAW vs Cooked, wet vs dry, or natural vs processed, the finer details can get lost in the chaos. The bottom line is, calcium is beneficial to dogs, and in respect to that, milk may not be as bad as its reputation.
But there is a danger in giving your domesticated dog foods that human consume; some human foods are actually toxic to dogs even if they love to gobble it up. Onion, garlics, chocolates, apple pits, and grapes are the few of the things that people eat that a dog should avoid due to the inherent toxicity to dogs. Some foods that are nutritious to humans may not be as nutritious as it is to dogs and not appropriate for their diet.
At the same time, some foods we associate with ‘people’ food are superior for dogs than the typical kibble you find at the grocery store. Calcium and Milk falls into this category.
Besides protein, Dogs need calcium, too.
Since dogs are active, they need a lot of protein to sustain their energy and build of their body and it should be the most primary ingredient of every food that they eat. Most high end dog food will have variations of protein and meat as the primary food source. Food meal in the form of chicken, fish and lamb are common. Grain is generally acceptable in the lower range. But the amount of calcium varies wildly by breed. Calcium, and milk, promotes strong bones and teeth in dogs. But it can accelerate bone growth. In some breeds this can be very detrimental.
As a general rule, you want to avoid too much calcium for large breeds when they are puppies. Calcium (And milk) early on can increase the risk for bone issues as the large breed dog ages. This is the reason most commercial dog food brands have a special large breed puppy formula.
Other Reasons Dogs Can Have Milk
Calcium also plays a role in blood coagulation and lack of it may cause coagulation problems that may be life threatening to your pooches. It also avoids eclampsia in lactating dams. A good source of calcium are dairy products like milk and cheese so, if anyone is asking if Can dogs have milk, the answer is absolutely yes – but in moderation.
Milk is generally safe for a dog, in fact there are milk products that are specifically produced for your canine buddy but just like you, your dog can have or develop lactose intolerance. Lactose in milk is a type of sugar and if your dog’s digestion cannot break it down, then this could lead to an upset stomach that may result to severe diarrhea which can be fatal if left untreated because it may lead to dehydration.
This is the most common issue with dogs consuming milk. The aversion to lactose in dogs is common and if you give your dog milk often, you will most likely experience digestive issues.
Just as you are concerned about giving your dog adequate calcium that it needs, you should also be concerned about not giving it too much because high level of calcium in dog’s blood will lead to hypercalcemia. When a dog has a level of 11.5 mg of calcium serum in his blood, it is considered hypercalcemic and symptoms of this condition are the following:
- frequent urination
- swelling in neck
- bladder stone
- comatose in extreme cases
So, this should be a warning in giving too much milk to your pooches aside from problems with lactose intolerance.
The occasional sip of milk will not hurt your best friend. But you need to be moderate. A limited amount of milk is a great source of calcium and a wonderful treat. Milk is safer for smaller breeds, but as a result they must consume less milk to avoid a lactose aversion. Larger breeds can have milk but it is important to avoid milk until your large breed dog is out of the puppy phase of development.