The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.

My old website can be found at I am no longer updating the site, so there will be dead links. The static information provided by me is still sound.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or or or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dogs and Milk Revisited

Dogs are mammals. That means they lose the ability to digest milk as they grow older, just like virtually every other mammals, including humans. Like lactose intolerant humans, dogs can have a small amount of milk without it creating symptoms. It's still a good idea not to take chances. If you want to give your dog dairy, find a lactose-reduced treat, like the Frosty Paws I mention in Ice Cream Sandwiches for Dogs or the Pup Ice I recently blogged about in Puppermint Lactose-Free Ice cream.

I'm mentioning this again because of a post on, Is it safe to give Milk to your Dog?, by Michelle Tarkeshian. If you search for lactose or milk allergies or similar subjects, as I do, you'll see lots of posts that fall under the rubric. They're not experts, though. They're volunteer bloggers, just as I am. You need to judge their experience and expertise for yourselves, but I consider most of what they write on subjects of concern to us to be amateur level at best. They may do some research, but that doesn't necessarily mean they understand what they're researching.

Take Tarkeshian's post.

Is it safe to give milk to a dog? A few weeks ago I was trying to think of a new treat I could give my dog. I started thinking about cats and how they drink milk, so I decided I could give it to her. As a dog owner I am always trying to think of new treats that will mix it up a little, and milk seemed like a good idea. Then I started thinking about if it was safe for her.

Some dogs lack the enzyme beta lactamase. This enzyme helps the digestive system break down "lactose" the sugar that is in milk. Because some dogs lack this enzyme they are lactose intolerant, but some dogs are not.

First, cats are just as lactose intolerant as dogs. Veterinarians do not recommend giving milk to cats. At best cats can drink a small amount. Some cats will have more symptoms than others, just as dogs do. Still, care is the watchword. I don't understand how any pet owner who posts on a public blog pretending to be expert can not know this.

Many of you who have read my book or my science posts might also wonder about the use of beta lactamase. I did. I had to look it up. Beta lactamase has no connection to breaking down lactose. The enzyme is beta galactosidase. Unfortunately, a few seemingly authoritative sites online do give this information. Some are British, so it might be a case of alternative labeling.

Whatever the enzyme may be called, the reality is that almost all adult dogs lack it and so are lactose intolerant. Please don't give your dogs (or cats) milk. Find a lactose-free alternative.

Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're right, no dogs can tolerate lactose. Not just 'some dogs'. It's best not to give them any milk products voluntarily.