By Andrew Fischer

Is Milk Good for Labradors?

Milk in big quantities isn’t really suitable for Labradors. Except for Labrador puppies who need to drink mother’s milk.

Giving your Lab too much milk might give him a bit of diarrhea. Many dog’s have intolerance to cow’s or goat’s milk, since it’s not made for their species, so they don’t have enough enzymes to digest bigger quantities of milk properly. 

However, a small amount of milk for an occasional treat is fine. Milk is quite a safe treat in smaller quantities (a couple of tablespoons of goat’s or cow’s milk). The best way to give milk to your dog is by toning the milk down with water.

If you find your Labrador has sloppy poos after drinking milk, stop giving it to him. 

How to serve milk to your dog

Milk provides valuable sources of nutrients (it’s a great source of protein and calcium) so it’s fine to give your dog some milk from time to time. 

A couple of tablespoons are a pleasant reward for your Lab without the side effects of overindulgence.  

I talked with my vet about this issue and he told me that the best way to give milk to your pup is by toning the milk down with lots of water. 

A one month old puppy ideally should be fed only it’s mother’s milk. For puppies that are more than 8 weeks and less than 6 months old, always give milk that is diluted with water in the ratio 1 (milk) : 4 (water).

Cow milk is preferable to Goat or Buffalo milk.

To older dogs you can give up to 150 ml of cow’s milk a day. If you find your Lab has sloppy poos, diarrhea and other health issues after drinking milk, stop giving it to him.

When you prepare a meal for your Labrador like chicken or egg mixed with potatoes you can add some milk and lots of water in it. 

Avoid offering your dog a whole bowl of milk in one sitting, because it can cause vomiting, loose stools and diarrhea. 

Curd is preferred over milk

It’s usually not recommended to give puppies cow’s milk at least for 3 months as it’s too difficult for them to digest it. 

In general, dogs can digest curd and paneer much easier than milk. 

Puppies also prefer curd over milk. You should also mix it with water. 

Ensure the curd is fresh and not sour.

How about dairy products like ice cream?

Dairy products in general have a multitude of negative effects. They can cause similar health issues (just like milk) when consumed in bigger quantities. 

Ice cream is also not a healthy food for your Labrador, but a small amount for an occasional treat is OK. One or two dessert spoons of vanilla ice cream would be fine for a treat. Avoid giving your dog a chocolate ice cream.

What are the side effects for dogs that drink too much milk?

A whole bowl of milk in one sitting can cause your dog to vomit or develop diarrhea. Constipation or bloating may also arise. Those symptoms can be quite serious to very small puppies as it can dehydrate due to the diarrhea/vomiting. 

Milk is high in fat and sugars which in excessive amounts can cause obesity or inflammation in the pancreas. 

Some dogs are also lactose intolerant, which means they are unable to digest milk. Without lactase (enzyme that is essential to the complete digestion of whole milk), a dog simply cannot digest dairy products. In such a case acute intestinal symptoms always arise.