Lactose Intolerance In Dogs - What To Do If Your Dog Has Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose Intolerance in Dogs - Yes, you read that right. Just like humans, your dog can also have a dairy intolerance.

In fact, dairy products happen to be one of the leading sources of food intolerance in dogs.

Dogs With Lactose Intolerance
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As beneficial as some components of dairy products can be to your dog, they can harm them too.

From fat to sugar - many dairy products like cheese are rich in these components that are not the safest for any dog's stomach!

But before we figure out “What lactose intolerance in dogs is”, let’s look at "What lactose is".

Important Discussion Points In This Guide

  • What Is Lactose?
  • What Is Lactose Intolerance In Dogs?
  • Signs Of Lactose Intolerance In Dogs
  • What To Do If Your Dog Has Lactose Intolerance?

What Is Lactose?

The primary sugar found in mammalian milk is called Lactose. This sugar molecule to break down, for the body to absorb nutrients, needs an enzyme called Lactase.

New-born puppies and other infant mammals have a steady production of this enzyme, lactase when feeding on their mother’s milk. But once puppies and other mammals pass their infant stage, the production of the enzyme lactase decreases drastically.

This decrease in Lactase leads to intolerance of dairy in dogs.

What Is Lactose Intolerance In Dogs?

As the production of Lactase decreases in adult dogs, milk (lactose) is no longer properly broken down by their digestive system, resulting in symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Causes Of Lactose Intolerance In Dogs

Lactose Intolerance in dogs causes water to be drawn to the sugar inside of the colon, which results in watery loose stool or diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal distress symptoms.

Unlike allergies which have to do with your dog’s immune system, lactose intolerance in dogs affects your pet’s gastrointestinal processes.

The undigested sugar that passes through your dog’s GI tracts after they consume milk can lead to symptoms of lactose intolerance like - vomiting or diarrhoea.

Lactose Intolerance In Dogs

Some of the other symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs are:

Signs Of Lactose Intolerance In Dogs

The symptoms that indicate lactose intolerance in your dog can vary from bloating or a loss of appetite to vomiting and diarrhoea.

No matter the symptom, if your dog has an intolerance to dairy products - it is no doubt an uncomfortable experience for them!

As a pet parent, to better understand and aid your dog in such a situation - a few common signs to look out for lactose intolerance in dogs are: 

  • Diarrhoea - Diarrhoea or Loose Stool happens to be one of the most common signs of lactose intolerance in dogs. As the undigested sugar passes through your dog’s GI tracts causing distress, this can lead to diarrhoea. If you find a change even in the colour or consistency of your pet’s stool - it could be an indication of lactose intolerance.
  • Lack of Appetite - A dog with GI distress will find it hard to consume their daily meals. If your dog is not interested in their favourite meals - this could be due to their GI issues.
Symptoms Of Dog Lactose Intolerance
  • Nausea/Vomiting - Though vomiting is common in dogs, if they throw up frequently after consuming dairy it can indicate a food intolerance. Vomiting in dogs with lactose intolerance is a result of changes in the gut after consumption of dairy.
  • Flatulence - Just like vomiting, passing gas is common in dogs. But if there is an excess of flatulence by your pet - this could be a sign that your dog is lactose intolerant - especially if this takes place after they consume dairy. This is due to the undigested sugar in your dog’s tummy, the fermentation of bacteria in their colon results in flatulence and discomfort.

A few other signs of lactose intolerance in dogs are weight loss, excessive bloating and weakness.

Though these symptoms are not life-threatening, if left unattended for a long time - they can cause serious issues to your pet.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Lactose Intolerance?

If you suspect your dog to have lactose intolerance, you can start by eliminating all dairy products from their daily diet.

Do not feed them any dairy treats like cheese or even give them a taste of that ice cream that they have been eyeing.

Through this process, you will be able to ascertain if your dog is intolerant to dairy products.

Caring For Dog With Lactose Intolerance

During the phases of GI distress, you can also feed your pooch a bland diet of rice and poultry to help get their digestion back on track. If a bland diet does not control your dog’s vomiting or diarrhoea - visit your Veterinarian immediately.

Your Vet will help you confirm if your dog has a serious case of lactose intolerance and would suggest a diet plan tailored for them accordingly.

As pet parents, irrespective of if your pet has lactose intolerance or not, it is best to feed your dog dairy products in moderation. Never let your dog over-indulge on a cheesy treat or a bowl of milk.

Remember, Moderation is Key when it comes to Dairy for Dogs.

Now that you have learnt about lactose intolerance in dogs, check out this blog to know If Milk Can Be Added To Your Dog's Diet.

Happy Pet Parenting!

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