Can English Bulldogs Drink Milk? Everything You Need To Know About Dairy and your Bulldog

Bulldog puppies, like most baby mammals, rely on their mothers’ milk to give them key nutrients during the first few weeks of their lives. But as they get older, should milk still be a part of their diet? Can English bulldogs drink milk and is it good for them?

As long as your bulldog is not lactose intolerant, milk is safe and not toxic for your dog. Many English bulldogs have sensitive stomachs and are lactose intolerant, so test to see how your dog will react to milk in small doses. Milk is high in sugar so only give it to your bulldog in moderation.

If your English bulldog has a sensitive stomach or is lactose intolerant, he/she will not be able to consume any dairy products. (And check out this post if you’re curious about whether or not your bulldog can eat cheese.)

English bulldog sitting in front of a bowl of milk
Photo by The Bulldog Blog

Should bulldogs drink milk when they’re puppies?

Bulldog puppies survive of their mother’s milk and rely on it as their sole nutrition until they’re about six to seven weeks old. If the puppy cannot be nursed for any reason, you could substitute their mother’s milk with store-bought milk, however this will be missing the key nutrients and natural immunization that only their mother’s milk can provide.

In general, puppies can feed on milk for up to eight weeks, but they can begin consuming soft foods as early as when they are four weeks old.

Should bulldogs drink milk when they’re adults?

Adult bulldogs can consume milk if they are not lactose intolerant. However, it’s best to give them milk in moderation, as too much lactose can cause diarrhea or vomiting. As always, we recommend checking with your vet before introducing new items to your dog’s diet.

Should bulldogs drink milk when they’re old?

As bulldogs age, their digestive system becomes weaker and their stomach becomes more sensitive. This is why it’s best to avoid dairy and milk products when your bulldog gets older, as they might not be able to digest even small amounts of lactose. While it might be okay to give them some milk every now and again, it’s probably best to avoid including dairy in your dog’s diet.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose is a sugar type present in milk. It consists of more than one molecule, and that is why; it needs to be broken down to digest. Most bulldogs, like humans and other animals, can produce an enzyme which can break this lactose molecule. However, some bulldogs might be lactose intolerant, or unable to produce that enzyme to break up the lactose molecule.

And it’s not just milk, but sadly, if your dog is lactose intolerant, he or she will likely have to avoid other dairy products, including butter, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.

So, if your dog shows symptoms of being lactose intolerant, the best step is to remove dairy of any form from their diet. But, how do you know if you dog is lactose intolerant?

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in bulldogs

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can start to show within 30 minutes to up to two hours after your dog has digested the dairy products. Dogs will usually experience some discomfort, but will generally not be any threatening situation from eating dairy of they are lactose intolerant, unless the symptoms continue for an extended amount of time. Symptoms might include:

  • Excess flatulence (check out our post on tips to reduce your bulldog’s flatulence)
  • Toilet accidents around the house
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration and excessive thirst
Diary cows inside a barn
Photo by Roman Melnyk

Is milk healthy for English bulldogs?

When drunk in moderation, milk can add some nutritional value to your bulldog’s diet.

What is the nutritional value of milk?

Nutritional value (per 100 gms)

Calories: 42

Fats: 1 g (1 percent)

Carbohydrates: 5 g (1 percent)

Protein: 3.4 g (6 percent)

Apart from this, milk also contains calcium, magnesium, and other important nutrients.

What happens if English Bulldogs drink too much milk?

If your English bulldog consumes too much milk, it can lead to a wide variety of problems. These problems include:

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Upset stomach

• Dry skin

• Shedding

• Frequent bowel movement

• Bald patches

• Excessive scratching

• Itchy skin

Some of these symptoms might not happen immediately upon consumption of milk, but might occur after prolonged milk consumption. It’s best to contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Can English bulldogs drink other animal milk?

In general, as long as your dog is not lactose intolerant, then he or she should be able to consume not just cow’s milk, but milk of other animals as well. Goat’s milk, for example could be a good alternative for your dog, as it contains lower levels of lactose when compared to cow’s milk.

However, goat’s milk does contain higher quantities of calcium and potassium, which might not be good for your dog in high amounts. How your bulldog reacts to other milks, and whether your bulldog even likes milk alternatives, will differ by case by case. It’s best to test them out in small quantities and always consult with your vet before doing so.

Can English bulldogs drink non-animal based milk? Are these dairy-free alternatives good for your bulldog?

One of the ways to replace dairy products in the diet of your dog is to go with non-animal based or dairy-free milk. Some of these options include:

• Soymilk products: This can be a good alternative for your dog if he or she is lactose intolerant. However, there is some debate on the levels of estrogen present and it’s impacts on your dog’s body, so it’s best to consult your vet before switching to this option.

Nutritional value (per 100g)

• Cal: 54

• Total fat: 1.8 g (2 percent)

• Carbohydrates: 6 g (2 percent)

• Protein: 3.3 g (6 percent)

• Almond milk: This is another great alternative that contains no lactose, so is much easier for your dog to digest. However, it contains greater levels of fat, so be sure to moderate your dog’s intake.

Nutritional value (per 100g)

• Cal: 30

• Total fat: 2.5 g (2.5 percent)

• Carbohydrates: 6 g (1 percent)

• Protein: 1 g (1 percent)

If your bulldog puppy is allergic to milk, what are some dairy-free alternatives?

While it’s easy to eliminate milk and dairy products from your bulldog’s diet when he or she is an adult, what do you do if they are lactose intolerant as puppies? Here are some dairy-free alternatives that will provide your puppy the nutrition it needs:

  1. PetLac: This is a powdered mix that will help your puppy grow. It contains amino acids, minerals, and vitamins with none of the lactose to cause your puppy any problems.

2. Esbilac: This formula mimics the natural quantity and nutrient value of a mama bulldog’s milk. It consists of essential vitamins and minerals and is easy to digest.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a milk replacement:

• Age requirements of your bulldog:

Some of the alternatives are suitable for your English bulldog when he/she is only a few days old, while others might work when they are at least eight weeks old. You need to be aware of what nutrients your bulldog needs at his or her various life stages, and provide them with the best diet that is most suitable for their needs.

• Nutrient value:

Similarly, it’s best to understand the nutritional value of any alternative you choose – does it have the right amount of vitamins or minerals? Are there any ingredients that might cause discomfort or lead to your bulldog gaining weight?

• Consistency and texture of the alternative:

Some alternatives might come in solid or in powder form, and you’ll have to see which consistency is best for your bulldog. This might be more a matter of taste and what your dog prefers, and some replacements might just require more prep time that others.

So, to conclude, milk is completely safe for English bulldogs that are not lactose intolerant, and there are many dairy-free substitutes available for your dog, if he or she is intolerant to lactose.


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