The DogPeople Blog
  1. Dogs and ice cream (lactose intolerance)

    Dog health lactose problems

    Murphy enjoying a dog friendly ice-cream

    Hopefully the British summer has not yet completely passed with the family holiday season now in full swing.  At the height of a hot summer’s day we all like a cooling treat and your canine pet is no different.  They sit longingly gazing as human family members slowly lick their favourite ice cream, especially the ones with chocolate coatings!

    Most responsible owners know not to allow their dog to eat chocolate as it’s among several things that can seriously damage dogs’ health but how many know whether ice cream is OK for their pets to eat?  There is probably no definitive answer as some dogs have more lactose tolerance than others; some are completely intolerant.  Dogs are just not made to deal with lactose.  Their mother’s milk has much less than cows’ milk and most dog’s ability to digest dairy products reduces after they are weaned.  And it’s not just the lactose that’s a potential problem with ice cream for your best friend; what about all that sugar and fat?  Maybe if you have an under-weight lactose tolerant dog an ice cream now and then is a good idea; if not perhaps it’s best to restrict him to a token lick of the wrapper, cone or stick.

    All is not lost though.  There are a few manufacturers of dog ice cream!  Murphy really enjoyed a dog friendly cheese flavoured ‘doggi yoggi’ treat last year when on holiday in North Wales.  He licked his yoghurt based iced treat from its tub whilst his people ate their regular ice creams in peace.

    Moving away from ice cream, other treats with lactose should be considered carefully too.  Cheese is probably Murphy’s favourite temptation.  This can be very helpful if a stubborn pill won’t go down but he only gets it in moderation.  Apparently hard cheeses have less lactose than softer ones – but might be higher in fat.  Murphy is as fit as the proverbial butcher’s dog but his cheese intake is still much more restricted than he would like.  He never has cheese with little extras like garlic or chives; many additives can be dangerous for your dog so avoid them all!  Another of Murphy’s passions is yoghurt.  Apparently, this has much less lactose than milk but, again, our Airedale boy is allowed no more than to lick out a near empty pot or lid.

    So the message is a little lactose is OK for your dog as long as he retains enough tolerance to digest it properly; and avoid fatty or sugary treats, especially if your companion is a bit on the porky side.

    Dog friendly ice cream

    Enjoying a dog cheesie yoggi ice-cream on holiday