Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or 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.

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.

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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.