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PAWS Eats

People Wonder Whether Buttermilk Is Good For Dogs

If your dog has lost his/her appetite, giving a little buttermilk probably won’t hurt.

(Photo: Jotvinder Singh)

Many discourage giving dairy products to dogs because they may be lactose intolerant. Buttermilk is lower in lactose than regular milk, and it does contain bacteria that may help the digestion of lactose. Of course, it’s possible that dogs may not be lactose intolerant, so they wouldn’t have trouble with regular milk.

If your dog has lost his/her appetite, giving a little buttermilk probably won’t hurt. Start small, and if your dog likes it and tolerates it, then it ought to be okay. If it seems to upset your dog’s stomach more, then I would definitely stop and try something else.

As always, it’s best to consult your vet, but if your dog doesn’t seem very sick or if you can’t get to a vet right away, then buttermilk might be a home remedy to try in small doses until you know your dog tolerates it.

Probiotics provide powerful health benefits for dogs by maintaining adequate levels of “good” bacteria in the intestines to counteract “bad” bacteria responsible for a host of infections and illnesses. Since the canine digestive tract is comparable to the functioning of a dog’s immune system, keeping intestines stocked with probiotic bacteria is essential to a dog’s lifelong health and well-being.

Buttermilk is an excellent source of probiotics because live cultures are added to help ferment sugars in buttermilk. You will need to give your pet buttermilk fresh, since heating or cooking buttermilk destroys the “good” bacteria. Like soft cheeses and yogurt, buttermilk also contains lactic acid bacteria beneficial to the health of a dog’s GI system.

Powdered buttermilk can be bought in select stores and sprinkled on wet food. In addition, buttermilk powder can help eliminate “tear staining” in dog breeds susceptible to runny eyes, such as English bulldogs, cocker spaniels, boxers and poodles.

It’s a dairy product, which contains lactose. Many dogs don’t produce the enzyme required to break lactose down, and are thus intolerant. It isn’t harmful per se, though if he’s gotten into some it may produce some bad gas and diarrhea.