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  • Dr. Anirudh Mittal

Milk - Dog and Cat's Enemy

Updated: Sep 18

Many times I hear pet parents giving milk to their pets on regular basis. When asked, "Who told you to give milk". The most common answers I get is, "We are watching are parents giving milk to stray dogs and cats. Moreover, milk is nutritious! ".

Yeah that's right, milk really is a balanced diet and is nutritious, but do our pets really need milk?! Lets find out.


Giving milk to baby pets is in our culture, and we are following it from centuries now. To some extent, that is true. Milk really is a very important part of the diet for the infants, when the pet is a new born baby. At that time he can digest milk very easily.

As the your friend is ageing, the ability to digest milk also reduces gradually until your friend becomes an adult. After that his body neither require milk for energy nor it can digest milk. In some cases, milk intake can lead to diarrhoea.


Lets understand the science behind it!


Milk has a natural sweetness and that is due to Lactose Sugar which is present naturally in it. It's normal if you are not able to differentiate that natural sweetness that is why we have a habit to add additional sugar to make it sweeter.

To digest that Lactose sugar our body have lactase enzyme in the small intestine. This enzyme breaks the sugar so that it can be used by the body.


Most dogs and cats stop making this enzyme when they enter adulthood. As a result the sugar in the milk is not digested and utilised.


Now the question is, "How this undigested lactose sugar causes diarrhoea?"


Undigested lactose sugar draw more water from the body into the intestine leading to Diarrhoea. Generally this process takes 8 - 12 hours.

You must have heard from your family members or neighbours that they get loosies or they are unable to digest milk when they drink milk as such.

Now you know the answer because this same phenomenon happens to us also.


Some dogs/cats digest milk


Some pet parents say they are giving milk and nothing happens. That's probably because their pets developed tolerance for the milk.

Try offering some milk say 2tsp, if nothing happens then give milk. But always mix milk with water. There is no fix rule about dilution of milk. Minimum 50% dilution is required, you can go upto the extend where your pet is tolerating the milk.

Veterinarians will never recommend this as benefits are less than the health hazards.


Substitution of milk.


There is always an alternate way for everything. You can offer lactose free milk available in the market or you can substitute milk with curd. Curd should also be mixed with water (Half curd Half water) and it is easy to digest.


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