It May Not Be Safe For Your Cat To Drink Milk – Here’s Why

BY | December 28 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
It May Not Be Safe For Your Cat To Drink Milk – Here’s Why

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While many of us believe that milk is every cat’s favorite, this may not be the case. Those cute pictures of cute kittens lapping up a bowl of milk may not be applicable to every cat. Why? Because as it turns out, cats cannot digest milk properly without getting sick, and some cats have it worse, as they are lactose intolerant.The standard cow milk that we drink has way too much lactose – often too much for cats to be able to digest. To some degree, most adult mammals are all lactose intolerant, including our feline friends. The body produces an enzyme called “lactase” that can help digest the lactose that is ingested. But after weaning, which is when breast-feeding stops and food from other sources is ingested, the amount of these lactase enzymes reduces, making it difficult to digest lactose.All these mean that cat’s bodies are biologically not equipped to be able to handle any kind of lactose. Lactose is basically sugar, and since undigested sugar attracts water in the intestine, it leads to diarrhea. Your cat may even experience flatulence and bloating as undigested sugar also gets fermented in the stomach.

Is milk nutritious for cats?

Even though milk may be healthy for humans, for cats, it does not provide any nutrition that cannot be gained from a commercial diet that is well-balanced. Milk is pretty rich in calories. A cup of whole milk contains about 149 calories, while a cup of skim milk contains around 83 calories.So, it’s much healthier if you occasionally feed your cat some milk, instead of including it in their everyday diet. It is recommended that cats are fed just 20 to 30 calories every day apart from their usual commercial diet. This may include commercial treats or human foods which are safe for them.If your cat takes in too much of these foods, essential nutrients from its main diet, which it needs to grow and develop can be diluted out. If it becomes a habit, it can even lead to obesity – a huge problem that pet owners and vets face today.

Will drinking milk reduce my cat’s water intake?

If you are a cat owner, you may have noticed that your pet tends to avoid water – whether it’s for a bath or for drinking. This is because unlike dogs, cats do not have the natural instinct to balance their water level, making it quite the task to get them to stay hydrated.As a solution, vets recommend that you feed them supplemented milk or wet food as an attempt to get them to drink. For this, cows’ milk that is lactose reduced is a good option as it is almost 89 percent water. Even if you feed your cat this, always make sure there is a fresh bowl of water that is easily accessible.

Are you pondering what can happen to dogs with milk? Don't worry we have got you covered. head over tp the next section to know more.

Is Milk Good For Dogs

There is a belief that meat and bones should be fed to dogs, whilst milk should be given to cats. So is milk really suitable for dogs?

How essential is Milk?

At a universal level no mammal in nature after weaning, consume milk. Thus it can be safely concluded that the same is applicable to dogs too and that milk is not an essential food for them. Looking positively at milk, it cannot be denied that milk is a good source of nutrients containing proteins, calcium and vitamins D and B12. But such nutrients are also available in regular dog food anyways. The best milk for dogs is goat or sheep's milk. Goat’s milk has a substantially lesser amount of lactose than cow’s milk, with much more calcium. And surprisingly, it is also tastier than cow’s milk. Besides, it is rich in vitamins B, D, K and E.

Can dogs handle Milk?

There seems to be no definite answer to this as some dogs do not digest milk and dairy products easily, which give them intestinal problems like gas, abdominal pain, loose stools, vomiting, and diarrhea. A specific nutrient in milk known as lactose is responsible for this. Most dogs are not lactose intolerant. However, it is very rare to find a dog that can't handle a little bit of milk. This does not apply universally. A few dogs can easily digest an entire bowl of milk without the slightest trace of indigestion, whilst for other dogs, a small cheddar piece can have disastrous results on the digestive system.

Lactose and Lactase

So what exactly is lactose? Lactose is a kind of sugar, with two sugar molecules closely linked together. This lactose needs to be broken up into two basic easy-to-absorb sugars, which is possible if a dog’s body is able to produce lactose splitting enzyme called lactase. This enzyme is not common in dogs and the same with humans, thus we have lactose intolerant human beings too. A small taste of cow’s milk can contain more lactose than can be handled by a dog’s digestive tract, so a pup fed on dog’s milk has better chances of digestion. Besides canine milk is completely different from cow’s milk. The good news is that not all dairy products contain the same amount of lactose.

Not different from Humans

As age advances, similar to humans, dogs lose their ability to digest lactose, due to decreased production of lactase by the body. Thus dogs and humans show similar traits to lactose intolerance. And for both species, a lot depends on the individual and the specific kind of milk under consumption.

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