In recent years, soy milk has become more commonplace in the American diet. With its potential health benefits and its versatility as a substitute for other kinds of milk, it’s become a staple in many households. If you’re a fan of soymilk, chances are that it is present at your home most of the time. In such a case, you might feel the urge of feeding this milk to your dog as well but might have been unsure if it is safe for them. Don’t worry though. We’re here to clear your doubts on the question “Can dogs drink soy milk?”
The short answer is: Dogs can drink soy milk, but only sometimes. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and this case is no different. However, if you want to feed this milk to your pup, we recommend you go through this article first. Before we move on to how you can feed soymilk to your pup, let’s explore a bit about lactose intolerance in dogs.
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Is Soy Milk Safe For Dogs?
Not really. A dog’s digestive system is nowhere near as complex as a human’s, and their nutritional needs aren’t quite the same either. As such, soy products are not on top of the list of things they should be consuming.
Dogs lack lactase (the enzyme necessary to digest milk sugars) so soy milk is not a good option for them. The protein components found in soy milk can also cause stomach upset, gas, and diarrhea in pets. If you have a dog that is allergic to dairy products, you should avoid giving them soy milk as well.
Soy milk may be an alternative to cow’s milk and other dairy products for humans, but it isn’t a good choice for dogs (especially if they are lactose intolerant). On top of that, soy milk contains isoflavones, which may cause hormonal problems in dogs (unlike dairy, which does not contain these).
If you have a dog that is lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products, soy milk may not be the most suitable option for them. It may also be best to avoid soy milk if your dog is on medication or recovering from an illness as it contains phytoestrogens that can alter natural hormone levels.
How Much Soy Milk Should I Give to My Dog?
A dog should only have soy milk in extremely small amounts. Soy milk can sometimes be used as a substitute for other kinds of milk in pet foods, although this is not always the case. If you are using it as a substitute for your own products, make sure you monitor your dog carefully and stop giving it if they seem uncomfortable with the amount of soy milk you’re providing them.
For occasional treats, you can give your dog 2 tablespoons of soy milk per 10 pounds of body weight without any issue. However, dogs that are lactose intolerant should not be given dairy products at all (soy included).
What Can I Substitute for Soy Milk?
If you do have a dog that is struggling with discomfort or illness, soy milk is not the best option to give them. Instead, look into lactose-free products like almond milk, or coconut milk because they contain fewer proteins and fats than soy milk and dairy-based products. Store-bought or homemade raw diets may be another option for dogs with stomach sensitivities (especially if soy is a known allergen).
However, it is always best to avoid homemade diets as human food companies may use unhealthy ingredients and you can’t control the ratio of ingredients that are used. Instead, look into raw diets or cooked foods that are formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs. (a vegan or a meat-based diet).
Not every dog will be able to consume raw diets due to their species-specific gut issues, but many of them can and it’s worth a shot.
If your dog has allergies to both soy and dairy, you can try using rice milk instead, but remember that dogs do not have the necessary enzymes to digest it properly.
As for people with dogs that enjoy their soy milk on a daily basis, you might want to consider switching their brand or buying one made for dogs instead.
Soy Allergy in Dogs
Soy allergies in dogs are fairly common, affecting up to 20% of all dogs at some point in their lives. Dogs are usually allergic to the protein (or proteins) found in soy products like soy milk, soy protein, tofu, textured vegetable protein, chocolate with soy flour, or ingredients that contain soy. The skin on your dog may also have an allergic reaction. This can range from mild to severe, and a dog experiencing an allergic reaction will usually have hives, cold-like symptoms (including sneezing), or a runny nose.
The more protein your dog eats, the stronger their allergy will develop. As such, if your dog does have a soy allergy or lactose intolerance it is best to avoid giving them soy milk.
Soy can cause some dogs to suffer from a variety of negative effects and soy toxicity symptoms which are relatively dangerous, especially in large breeds.
It is safe to say that giving your dog soy milk is highly unadvised if you have a dog with a known dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. If you are going to give soy milk to your dog, only provide small amounts and avoid giving large amounts at once.
Keep in mind that soybeans and many soy products contain small amounts of naturally occurring toxins, including lectins that can damage the liver and kidneys if given in large quantities. There are soy pet foods out there with the same ingredients as regular fare but in lower quantities. Just check the label of your favorite brand to make sure it’s formulated properly before feeding it to your pooch. Also, it is better to offer almond milk instead as it is much healthier than soy.
Thank you for reading the article.
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How often do you feed soy milk 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.