You’ve probably heard that some people cannot digest cow’s milk – and that includes dogs. But is this also true for your dog? Like humans, some dogs may be more prone to developing problems with lactose (the sugar found in dairy products). Fortunately, there are plenty of other great sources of calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients available to your dog.
However, if you suspect that your dog has a sensitivity or allergy to lactose or another component of cow’s milk, you should consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet. Lactose intolerance is a common condition in humans and other mammals. In people and dogs, the enzyme called lactase breaks down lactose sugars so they can be digested.
With continued exposure to dairy products after weaning from mother’s milk, however, the production of lactase decreases in many individuals.
In those who continue to drink milk after weaning and those with a natural deficiency of the enzyme, undigested sugars like lactose remain in the digestive tract, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating and diarrhoea. If you think your dog might be intolerant to certain components of cow’s milk or other dairy products, read on for more information.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs: What You Should Know
Lactose intolerance is not a disease, but rather a condition that occurs when a person or animal has difficulty digesting lactose, the main sugar in dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhoea.
If your dog has a true lactose intolerance, symptoms will be triggered by any amount of lactose, even small amounts that are normally tolerated by most people. Most people with lactose intolerance can eat small amounts of dairy products without a problem.
Lactose-reduced dairy products may also help. Lactase enzyme replacement pills or drops also can be taken to help digest lactose. People with lactose intolerance should drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in fibre to prevent abdominal cramps.
How to Tell If Your Dog Is Lactose Intolerant
There are a few ways to tell if your dog is lactose intolerant and should avoid dairy products. The first is by noting any digestive problems your dog experiences after eating or drinking dairy products.
If you observe your dog experiencing symptoms like frequent visits to the bathroom, diarrhoea, or excessive gas, you may want to rule out lactose intolerance as a cause. Additionally, you can conduct a simple blood test at your vet’s office to check for low levels of lactase.
This is a quick and cost-effective way to test for a deficiency in lactase production and determine if your dog should avoid dairy altogether.
Possible Symptoms of a Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
As with humans, symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs may vary between individuals. Common symptoms that can indicate a sensitivity to lactose include: – Vomiting – Diarrhoea – Abdominal pain – Excessive gas – Increased thirst – Increased urination
Bottom line: Is Your Dog Lactose Intolerant?
If your dog has experienced any of the above symptoms after eating dairy products, it could be a sign of lactose intolerance. While some dogs may have no observed or digestive symptoms, they may still have a lactose intolerance.
If you have any suspicions, you should talk to your veterinarian about the best dietary option for your dog. While some dogs may have no observed or digestive symptoms, they may still have a lactose intolerance. If you have any suspicions, you should talk to your veterinarian about the best dietary option for your dog.
How to Manage a Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
If your dog has been diagnosed with a lactose intolerance, you want to avoid dairy products at all costs. This includes milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, whey, and other dairy byproducts. However, you can still provide your dog with all the essential nutrients they need with plenty of other foods.
Protein – Dogs need protein to build muscle, repair tissue, and sustain energy throughout the day. Protein provides amino acids, which are essential to building proteins in the body. There are many great sources of protein, including chicken, salmon, eggs, and cottage cheese.
Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates, such as rice, corn, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, provide energy for the body. Not only that, but they are important to maintaining a healthy digestive system.
If your dog has been diagnosed with a lactose intolerance, you need to avoid dairy products at all costs. While it may seem tough to find suitable alternatives for your dog, there are plenty of great non-dairy protein, carbohydrate, and calcium sources out there.
Although some dogs may be able to tolerate a small amount of dairy, others have no tolerance whatsoever. In these cases, dietary changes may be necessary to maintain a healthy digestive system.