Raw Goat Milk for Dogs: Pros and Cons

Raw Goat Milk

Fresh, raw, and fermented milks have been relished by people all over the world throughout history. These are derived from a wide range of animals, including goats. You might be surprised to find that goat milk (rather than cow milk) is the most widely consumed milk on the planet.

Researchers have discovered that the content of milk varies by species. So much so that goat milk may be an excellent alternative to cow milk when cow milk isn’t available.

So, today, I’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of goat milk, as well as how to feed it to your dog.

Of course, if you can, we do highly recommend goat milk for your dog. But, we also understand that every dog is different and some dogs’ systems simply may not do well with it. That’s why we are going to dive into the precautions first.

goat
Raw Goat Milk for Dogs

Sometimes…Goat Milk Doesn’t Agree with Your Dog

There are four primary reasons why you should think twice about adding goat milk to your dog’s diet.

Lactose Intolerance 

You want to be sure your dog isn’t fully lactose intolerant before you start introducing dairy to her diet. If she has had problems with cow milk, that doesn’t necessarily mean she will experience digestive upset with goat milk. But, if the reaction was extremely negative, this may be a cause for concern when considering goat milk

Dairy can cause digestive problems in dogs, just like it can in humans. This occurs when their systems are unable to tolerate lactose, a milk sugar found in dairy products. Lactase, a digestive enzyme, is required to break down these sugars in your dog. Regrettably, not all dogs produce sufficient amounts of this enzyme. As a result, dogs may develop dairy sensitivities and allergies.

As a result, dogs may develop dairy sensitivities and allergies.

If you’re not sure if your dog has a sensitivity to dairy, start with little amounts at first. Keep an eye out for negative reactions and discontinue if you notice any. Lactose intolerance manifests itself in a variety of ways including:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Bloating 
  • Abdominal discomfort 
  • Gas 
  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite

The good news is that your dog may be able to digest goat milk better if she only has slight lactose intolerance. This is due to the fact that goat milk has 12% less lactose than cow milk.

Other characteristics of goat milk make it more digestible. When we discuss the benefits of goat milk, I’ll go into this in further detail.

Fat Content of Goat Milk 

As you may be aware, the packaging of cow’s milk shows various percentages; usually between 1% and 3%. This refers to the milk’s fat content.

The fat content of goat milk is typically around 4%. That’s more fat than most individuals consume from cow milk, and the majority of it is saturated.

Due to worries about cholesterol, most people strive to avoid eating too much saturated fat. 

Saturated fats don’t have the same effect on dogs, so this isn’t a problem. That said, the saturated and unsaturated fats in your dog’s diet should be balanced. If you feed goat milk to your dog, make sure to balance out the saturated fat with healthy unsaturated fats.

If your dog has (or is at high risk of) pancreatitis, you should limit the amount of fat he eats. Pancreatitis, or pancreas inflammation, necessitates a low-fat diet.

Higher Calories in Goat Milk

Cow milk has less calories than goat milk. A cup of goat milk contains 170 calories, but a cup of cow milk includes only 90 to 150 calories.

crop person pouring milk into glass on table
Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

If you’re giving your dog milk (goat or otherwise), you’ll need to change her diet to accommodate the extra calories. This can help you avoid overfeeding your dog and lower the danger of obesity.

Skin, Digestive Issues, and Inflammation

Dairy products have the potential to cause inflammation. One of the main causes of skin and intestinal disorders is inflammation. (In reality, it plays a role in the development of many chronic diseases.)

Proteins, hormones, and sugar are among the ingredients in milk that induce inflammation.

Whey proteins, which are found in milk, are one of the main causes of inflammation. Whey proteins are found in both goat and cow milk, but goat milk has a larger concentration. In terms of sugar content, goat milk is lower than cow milk, however the difference is only 1 gram per cup.

If your dog has a history of skin or stomach problems, it’s best to avoid dairy products altogether.

Why Goat Milk Is A Better Choice Than Cow Milk 

Vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids are all found in goat milk.

When compared to cow milk, goat milk is a better source of 

  • Protein 
  • Fat 
  • Phosphate 
  • Calcium 
  • Potassium 
  • Vitamin C 

However, this isn’t the sole advantage of goat milk.

Easier To Digest 

We already discussed how goat milk contains less lactose than cow milk. However, lactose intolerance isn’t the main cause of milk sensitivity in dogs (or people). Goat milk has a number of characteristics that make it easier to digest than other types of milk.

One of the main reasons goat milk is easy on the stomach is the sorts of proteins it contains. There are two types of protein that can be found in milk: 

Caseins (about 80% of the total protein)

In cow milk, alpha-s1 casein is a significant protein. It can induce inflammation and is one of many proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in your dog. Because goat milk has a lower concentration of this protein, it may be less prone to cause problems.

You may also be familiar with the terms A1 and A2 milk. This is a reference to the beta-casein proteins found in cow’s milk. A2 milk includes solely A2 beta-caseins, whereas regular milk contains both proteins. A2 milk is said to provide more health benefits, including being easier to digest. Goat milk includes only A2 beta-casein, which may help with digestion.

Serum Proteins

Cow milk differs from goat milk in terms of beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin (whey proteins). This could also be the cause of any food reactivity your dog has with cow milk.

Cow milk has a long variety of allergen-inducing proteins. According to studies, it contains around 20 distinct proteins that can induce allergic reactions. Cow milk is difficult to digest for a variety of reasons. There are a number of reasons why goat milk may be tolerated better than cow milk. Smaller fat globules, larger amounts of small and medium-chain fatty acids, and looser curd formation are all characteristics of goat milk.

All of this enables your dog to digest goat milk considerably more rapidly and efficiently. In fact, goat milk can be digested in 20 minutes. Its lipid molecules are one-fifth the size of those found in cow’s milk, making it easily digestible even for dogs with digestive difficulties.

Probiotic And Prebiotic 

Probiotic bacteria are good bacteria that help your dog’s general health. They could be ingested or taken as supplements. The living microorganisms (AKA probiotic bacteria) pass through the digestive tract of your dog. They’ll colonize in your dog’s colon if they survive the severe environment of her digestive tract.

The gut contains over 90% of your dog’s immune system. As a result, maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria is critical for your dog’s overall health.

However, these beneficial microbes require nourishment in order to function properly. Prebiotics play a role in this. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that aid in the growth and survival of helpful microorganisms.

Probiotics can be found in unpasteurized milk. Oligosaccharides, a type of prebiotic found in goat milk, are also present. Goat milk also contains six times as many natural prebiotics as cow’s milk.

Prebiotic content may be increased by fermenting goat milk to make kefir and yogurt. Because the fermentation process can convert milk carbs into oligosaccharides, which are a type of prebiotic, this is the case.

More Calcium 

Calcium is required for the neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immunological, and endocrine functioning of your dog. Goat milk has 330 mg of calcium per cup. This is much more than the 100 to 275 mg found in a cup of cow milk.

Better Nutrient Absorption 

Copper and iron are trace minerals that are essential for your dog’s health. Iron is necessary for optimal body function and gives oxygen to your dog’s organs and muscles. Copper is required for iron absorption as well as the prevention of anemia. Anemia is a blood condition in which the body lacks sufficient oxygen.

Cow milk has been shown to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb copper and iron. With goat milk, however, this is not the case.

Magnesium and phosphorus digestibility can also be improved by goat milk. These minerals are crucial for bone development as well as other activities.

Fermented Goat Milk 

Fermentation can provide additional nutritional benefits. Kefir and yogurt are made from milk that has been fermented.

close up of milk against blue background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Despite the fact that fermented milk and dairy items have been consumed for thousands of years, we’ve only recently began to comprehend how they aid in the treatment of current chronic ailments like:

  • Arthritis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Colitis
  • Intestinal pathogens
  • Neurologic disorders

Fermented foods are popular because they are said to be high in probiotics. However, this isn’t totally accurate. Fermented foods contain probiotics, but they’re weak strains that won’t make it past your dog’s digestive tract.

That implies that by the time they reach your dog’s colon, they’re already dead. As a result, they are unable to colonize and give probiotic advantages. Fermented foods, on the other hand, are still beneficial to your dog, albeit for a different purpose.

Fermented foods are high in prebiotics, which nourish the good bacteria in your dog’s gut. But, they also have postbiotics, which are bacteria that are produced during the fermentation process. Postbiotics are metabolites that have health-promoting properties.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are one of the most important postbiotics, since they prevent harmful bacteria from developing, keep the cells of your dog’s gut lining tight together to prevent leaky gut, strengthen the immune system, and reduce inflammation.

Adding raw fermented milk to your dog’s diet can also provide enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and trace minerals, all with whole foods rather than supplements.

Fermented dairy products are also generally easier for your dog to digest so she is getting all of the nutrients she needs.

How to Give Your Dog Goat Milk 

As you can see, goat milk has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. If you decide to try goat milk, make sure you get a high-quality product.

The nutritional value of goat milk is determined by the goats’ diet and overall health. Goats that are organically maintained, grass-fed, pastured, in a low-stress environment, and devoid of antibiotics and GMOs produce far better milk.

You should also seek out raw goat milk.  The nutritious value of milk is reduced when it is pasteurized or spray dried.  Pasteurized milk is indigestible to many people and dogs that lack the lactase enzyme. Raw milk, on the other hand, is often not an issue for them.

Published by AmberLDrake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

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