Buttermilk is a low-fat dairy product that is fermented from pasteurized cream or skimmed milk. The taste of buttermilk is tart and slightly sour with a creamy mouthfeel. In the United States, buttermilk typically contains about 3% butterfat and has a calorie concentration of about 120 kcal/cup.
Now to answer your question ‘Can dogs drink buttermilk?’ Yes. Dogs can drink buttermilk. But there are a few things to be aware of before letting your pup lap up this yummy dairy drink. Though there are no real health risks for them, buttermilk does contain lactose that could cause diarrhea and other digestion problems if consumed too often or in excess. Let’s look further into the benefits and the possible problems of your dog having buttermilk.
Potential Health Benefits of Buttermilk for Dogs
Compared to regular milk, buttermilk has a much simpler sugar composition. Lactose makes up only about 0.5 percent of buttermilk whereas it can make up as much as 12 percent of regular milk. The low lactose content in buttermilk makes it easier for dogs to digest. When lactose is broken down in the digestive system, it becomes glucose. Glucose can be converted into fatty acids or used as an energy source. This is why dogs do well with buttermilk; it contains much less lactose fat compared to whole milk.
Buttermilk also contains a lot of good bacteria that aid with better digestion. The live cultures in buttermilk aid in the breakdown of fatty acids and the growth of beneficial bacteria. These live cultures help your dog to better digest and absorb nutrients from food and make stool much easier to pass.
Furthermore, dogs can benefit from the protein, potassium, magnesium, and calcium found in milk. Potassium helps reduce blood pressure, magnesium is good for cardiovascular health and calcium is an important part of strong bones.
Still, some dogs are lactose intolerant. If your pup has lactose intolerance, this could make them irritable or ill after drinking buttermilk. The same problem could occur if they drank too much of it or on a regular basis.
Possible Health Issues of Feeding Your Dog Buttermilk
Buttermilk, fed in moderation shouldn’t cause too many problems for your pup. But too much could definitely lead to some health problems. Here are a few cons that come with giving buttermilk to your dog.
Although buttermilk is lower in fat and calories compared to many different kinds of milk, if fed often, your dog can gain weight. Obesity is a real problem for dogs and it can lead to other health issues like heart disease, and pancreatitis. If you give your dog too much buttermilk, they could experience diarrhea or loose stools. You should also be careful about the sugar content. High sugar levels can lead to other problems like obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Unfortunately, though it contains good bacteria, the live cultures in buttermilk can make your dog sick if there’s too much of it. The live cultures multiply in the stomach and could cause serious damage. This is a rare occurrence and a lot will depend on how much your pup drinks at a time and if they have any underlying issues.
If your dog gets diarrhea or has an upset stomach, you should discontinue their buttermilk consumption. It’s also important to note that if your dog is showing signs of illness or if they are lactose intolerant, then they shouldn’t be eating buttermilk at all. Let them rest and clear up before you feed them something like this.
Lactose Intolerance in Dogs
If your dog is lactose intolerant, they’ll probably show signs of indigestion, bloating, or have irregular or loose stools. They are also likely to be fussy about their food and have gas after eating it.
The number one way of spotting if your dog is lactose intolerant or not, is by noticing how they react to milk. Give them some milk and see if their condition improves (or worsens) after drinking it. This can help you figure out whether your dog should be drinking buttermilk or not. If your dog shows signs of lactose intolerance, then it’s probably best to avoid drinking buttermilk.
Buttermilk is fine for your dog to drink if fed in moderation. But if you are giving it to your pup too often, make sure they are not lactose intolerant and watch out for the sugar content. The live cultures in buttermilk can also make your dog sick if there’s too much of it. If your dog has any problems with lactose intolerance or is showing any signs of illness, then they should not drink buttermilk at all. Let them rest and recover before you give them anything with lactose or live cultures in it.
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How often do you feed buttermilk to your dog? Did you know about the harmful effects? Or is your dog lactose intolerant? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community in the comment section below.