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Goat Milk for Dogs: Health Benefits, Risks, and a Pupsicle Recipe

Goat milk can safely be given to dogs as an addition to their diet and offers some health benefits such as essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

A glass and jug of milk sit on a wooden surface.

Goat milk can safely be given to dogs as an addition to their diet and offers some health benefits such as essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Goat milk is a nutrient-dense ingredient that may have many health benefits for your dog. Because of its growing popularity, pet parents are seeing it not only recommended by holistic veterinarians and their fellow pet owners but also found in local pet stores in various forms and options.

Let's break down the pros and cons of goat milk, its various forms, its many health benefits, and the best ways to incorporate it into your dog's diet.

A glass and jug of milk sit on a wooden surface.

Is Goat Milk Safe for Dogs?

There are several things for pet parents to consider before they decide to give goat milk a try. Overall, goat milk is generally regarded as safe to feed your dog on a daily basis. Goat milk is lower in lactose than cow milk; it has smaller fat globules and a unique protein structure, making it easier to digest for many dogs. These unique protein structures are A2 casein protein, which doesn't cause the inflammatory or gastrointestinal issues associated with A1 casein, primarily found in cow's milk.  

Goat milk may not have a proinflammatory protein structure, but it does have small amounts of lactose (milk sugar). The most common cause of food intolerance in dogs is dairy products due to lactose. Dogs with lactose intolerance lack the lactase enzyme that breaks down the lactose in dairy products. Simply put, ingesting these foods may cause digestive issues and may show symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, or loss of appetite.

Puppies will eventually stop producing lactase when they no longer need their mom's milk, typically between 4 and 6 weeks old. This doesn't mean the pancreas can't produce lactase, so many adult dogs can still regularly enjoy small amounts of dairy, like goat milk, without any uncomfortable symptoms.

Potential Health Risks of Goat Milk for Dogs

All foods can cause different reactions in different animals; however, finding quality goat milk with minimal processing can lower potential health concerns. If you want to give your dog goat milk, focus on finding a reputable company that uses responsible farming practices. Companies with the best quality goat milk will raise their goats with a focus on a species-appropriate diet while creating a natural habitat to graze and roam. Goat milk produced like this will lead to a healthy, nutrient-dense product. 

There are two types of goat milk on the market, raw and pasteurized. Pasteurization aims to remove harmful bacteria by heating up the milk. This process alters the nutrients in the end product while eliminating harmful bacteria. Raw milk has 50% more bioavailable vitamins and minerals than pasteurized milk, as well as beneficial enzymes and probiotics. However, there is an increased possibility for higher levels of pathogens and harmful bacteria.

Both raw goat milk and pasteurized goat milk contain a natural prebiotic known as an oligosaccharide, which supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria called "bifidobacteria." Dogs with a healthy, robust digestive tract and immune system typically do well on raw goat milk. If you have a dog with a diagnosed disease, immune-mediated illness, or cancer, trying out the pasteurized option would be a great place to start.  

Health Benefits of Goat Milk for Dogs

As a species, dogs have specific protein, fat, vitamins, and mineral needs to support their body's health. Goat milk is an excellent option for dogs because it has species-appropriate health benefits, and is a good source of high-quality proteins (amino acids), fats (essential fatty acids), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and iron), and vitamins (choline, vitamin D, Vitamin K, vitamin C, B12, B6, B2, B1, and vitamin A). 

There are many ways goat milk can benefit a dog's body. The fatty acids and triglycerides found in goat's milk and the quality of amino acids and minerals are essential in creating a healthy skin and coat. The skin is a large, metabolically active organ with high protein and other nutrient requirements. Dysfunction and skin disorders can develop if a diet lacks amino acids, fatty acids, or minerals.

 Another system that goat milk can support is the skeletal system. The process of bone formation requires an adequate and constant supply of nutrients, such as proteins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, potassium, and zinc. So, giving your dog goat milk could help prevent hip and joint diseases, TPLO surgeries, osteoarthritis, and even help protect your dog's teeth! Goat milk is also a great addition to a dog's healthy diet, providing the necessary hydration for nutrient absorption and detoxification.

How to Choose a Goat Milk for Your Dog

Many varieties of goat milk are available at all kinds of stores, from your local supermarket to the pet store and online. Options include freeze-dried options, powder supplements, and raw options, which can be found in the refrigerated or frozen section of a pet store or grocery store.

Freeze drying is a low-temperature dehydration process that involves freezing the product and lowering pressure to remove moisture. Studies have shown that freeze-dried foods often retain over 90% of the original fresh food's nutrition. Freeze-dried options are often preferred by pet owners who travel with their dogs or for pet owners who use only a tiny amount of the product with their dog over a long period, so there is no worry about the fresh product going bad before it is fully used. If you choose a freeze-dried option, follow the rehydration recommendations found on your product. 

Finding a quality brand of goat milk that will be healthy for your dog is one of the most important aspects of purchasing a goat milk brand. We recommend contacting your local pet store to find their options. Another option is to check out a local health food store or farmer's market. These options are great ways to find a high-quality product locally.

How to Introduce Goat Milk to Your Dog's Diet

First, determine which type of goat milk, raw or pasteurized, is right for your dog. Next, start with a small amount. Add around 1 tsp of fresh goat milk to your pet’s food per meal. Stick with this amount for 3-5 days. If you don't notice any gas, bloating, diarrhea, or allergy-like symptoms, including itching, hives, rashes, shaking of the ears, goopy eyes, etc., try increasing to 2 tsp per meal. Continue this process until you get to the recommended dosage found on the back of the product.

If you notice gastrointestinal issues or allergy symptoms at any point, back down to a lower dosage or eliminate it from your dog's diet. Splitting the recommended amount between your pet's meals will lower any possibility of unwanted symptoms while still allowing your dog to benefit from goat milk in their diet.   

Goat Milk Pupsicle Recipe

Once you introduce goat milk into your dog's diet, you can introduce it in fun ways. One fun method is making your dog homemade pupsicles! Using an ice cube tray, fill each ice cube up ½ way with goat milk (raw or rehydrated freeze-dried option of your choice). Then add in ⅛ tsp coconut cream and a 1-inch piece of fruit (berry, pineapple, banana, mango, kiwi, etc). Freeze and then pop out a treat for your dog each day! You can also check out our Kong recipes for more ways to incorporate goat milk into your dog's daily routine.

A hand holds out a frozen treat for a dog.

Goat Milk Supplements for Dogs

Many pet owners now see dog supplements made with goat milk powder as an active or inactive ingredient. All supplements include ingredients designed to help the body absorb the primary ingredient in the supplement. This is often called a carrier agent. The most commonly used carrier agents are maltodextrin and gums. However, Inulin, alginate, and modified starch have also been widely used. Instead of those manufactured ingredients, we would much rather see a healthy, species-appropriate, whole-food ingredient, which is why we use goat milk powder in The Daily. This nutrient-dense carrier agent is also highly palatable and used in such low amounts that most dogs thrive on this super supplement.

Potential Risks and Precautions of Goat Milk for Dogs

Even though most dogs experience various health benefits from goat milk, you should check with your holistic veterinarian or pet nutrition counselor to ensure it's the right choice for your dog. It is essential to choose the right option for your dog (raw or pasteurized) based on their age and current health needs so that your dog is receiving all the benefits and none of the risks. Introduce this new food-based ingredient slowly, and watch for any uncomfortable symptoms that might suggest that your dog has an allergy to or sensitivity to goat milk. There are many excellent food-based ingredients for pet owners to give their dogs.

Give goat milk a try, and let us know the benefits you see with your dog!  

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