Goat’s milk is one of the most popular kinds of milk consumed around the world and has gained popularity in the United States as a healthy adjunct to feed dogs. But is goat milk really healthy for dogs? And what are the benefits of goat milk for dogs?
As with any new food, it is key to pause, do the research and check what the science says before you feed anything new to your dog. To assist you with that, here is a veterinary perspective on goat’s milk for dogs.
What is Goat’s Milk?
Goat’s milk comes from domestic goats. According to the USDA, goat’s milk and cow’s milk are similar with a few differences:
Goat milk is higher in protein, calories and calcium compared to the cow milk.
It has higher prebiotics and probiotics, which allows a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
Goat milk has higher levels of niacin, potassium, and vitamin A than cow’s milk but, it has lower levels of vitamin B12, selenium, and folate compared to the cow’s milk.
Goat milk might be easier to digest than cow’s milk because it has comparatively lower levels of lactose, a sugar that many dogs and people cannot digest.
In human medicine, studies have shown that goat milk has shown to help reduce inflammation in people with allergies or other inflammatory conditions and lower cholesterol . Few claim that the smaller size of fat globules in goat’s milk compared to cow’s milk also makes goat’s milk more digestible. Nonetheless, unless you are feeding raw milk, most milk is homogenized, which reduces the size of fat globules in both cow’s milk and goat’s milk to about the same size.
Is Goat Milk Good for Dogs?
As of now, there are no objective, research studies available that proves or disproves the health benefits of feeding goat’s milk to dogs. Mostly what you read is anecdotal, stemming from personal experience or marketing hype from companies whose goal is to sell you goat milk. That being said, pasteurized goat’s milk will likely not cause any negative side effects and is safe when fed in small quantities to most adult dogs.
Benefits of Goat Milk for Dogs
Goat milk contributes the following nutritional benefits to dogs:
It’s a good source of hydration. The major component of goat’s milk is water, the main advantage of feeding goat’s milk to a dog is promoting healthy hydration.
It consists of healthy fat and protein. Goat’s milk has high amounts of fat, which can be used as an energy source for underweight or active dogs, and high in amino acids and proteins, which benefits muscle building and repairs damaged tissues.
It supports a healthy gut and strong bones. Goat’s milk has calcium to build bone strength and high prebiotics and probiotics to support healthy gut bacteria.
People also use goat’s milk as a supplement to help with common inflammatory ailments, including gastrointestinal issues, allergies, cancer and osteoarthritis, but does it really help? Let us look at some of the science in more detail below:
Goat’s Milk for Dogs: From the science point of view
Some of the common beliefs surrounding feeding goat’s milk to dogs and what the science says are mentioned here:
“Potassium in Goat’s Milk helps Intestinal issues and reduces the stomach acidity”
It is false. All dairy products, including goat’s milk, may be inflammatory, and inflammation is often a major driver of digestive problems. Goat’s milk has whey proteins, sugar and hormones, which may cause inflammation. Goat’s milk will not change the acidity of a dog’s stomach, and if your dog has any existing digestive issues, it is advised not to give your dog any dairy products, including goat’s milk.
How Much Goat’s Milk for Dogs is Safe?
When feeding goat milk labelled for dogs, feed the amount listed on the label for your dog’s weight. If you are feeding human goat milk products, as with any treats, goat milk must be less than or equal to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake, and the other 90 percent should be a food labelled balanced and complete by AAFCO.
If your dog shows any negative side effects, it is advised to reduce the quantity of goat milk you are feeding or to totally stop feeding it.
Side Effects of Goat’s milk for Dogs
Goat’s milk is not for all dogs. Few dogs may develop negative side effects, including loose stool, diarrhoea or intestinal gas, and goat’s milk doesn’t suit these dogs. Also, if your dog has any of the following medical conditions, goat’s milk is not good for your dog:
Pancreatitis or history of pancreatitis
Obesity (goat’s milk has high in calories and fat)
Inflammatory conditions such as digestive disorders, osteoarthritis, auto-immune disorders, skin or cancer conditions
Where to Buy Goat’s Milk for Dogs
Goat’s milk can be bought at grocery stores, health food stores, online retailers and pet stores. You can feed dogs both the goat milk marketed for humans and the goat milk marketed for dogs.
The key factor is to purchase good quality goat milk that has been pasteurized to exclude harmful bacteria. Generally, goat milk sourced from goats that are organically raised and fed grass on pasture is of better quality comparatively.
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