Can dogs drink almond milk?
In human nutrition, almond milk gradually becomes a decent substitute for cattle milk. Humans, especially those above ten years, don't readily digest the high amount of lactose in cow milk. Thus, almond milk presents a great alternative to it. The next issue is: is almond milk safe for your dog? Read on to find out more on almond milk, its compatibility with dogs, and precautions you should take while giving your dog.
Almond Milk–Composition and benefits
Cow milk, and other forms of animal-derived milk products, are known to be relatively high in saturated fats and calories. The high-calorie content is harmful, especially for adult dogs. Thus, it caused the need to switch to the now popular plant-derived milk, especially almond milk.
Unsaturated fatty acids are great for keeping your dog's heart healthy. They also don't build up in the body, which helps maintain your dog's weight decently. Almond milk, as implied above, contains low amounts of saturated fats–which you could refer to as 'bad' fats–and high levels of unsaturated fatty acids.
Feeding your dog almond milk helps it maintain a good coat and healthy skin. Almond milk also contains the essential vitamin E, promoting good skin tone in dogs. In addition, it contains vitamin B2, which helps facilitate proper brain functioning and slow cognitive decline.
Other vital nutrients almond milk gives are magnesium and calcium. Magnesium attracts water molecules to the gut during digestion. Therefore, it aids in smooth digestive processes and relieves constipation. Calcium is excellent for keeping your dog's bones strong and healthy. It also helps with maintaining a good muscle tone.
It's also great to know that since almond milk doesn't have as much lactose, it's suitable for lactose-intolerant dogs. It serves as an excellent alternative if your dog loves milk products.
All in all, almond milk doesn't boast the amounts of essential vitamins and minerals present in most animal-derived milk. However, it's a healthy replacement if you want to cut down on calories for your dog.
Is almond milk safe for my dog?
Considering all factors, almond milk is safe for dogs as long as it is plain and unsweetened. Sweeteners in milk products pose significant dangers to dogs, as they are often quite toxic to the dog's system.
Plain milk doesn't contain any additives. Several store-bought almond milk brands contain additives. Some of them include vitamins and minerals that benefit your dog. Other additives, like preservatives and flavorings, could harm your dog. You should avoid buying such almond milk brands.
A lot of almond milk brands also contain artificial sweeteners, like Xylitol. Many are considered unsafe for dogs, while Xylitol is especially dangerous to them. Even in small quantities, it could cause liver damage.
In considering almond milk for your dog, it is best to ensure it is plain and unsweetened to be safe for it.
How can I safely give my dog almond milk?
Almond milk is a naturally human-grade diet. Hence, like other human beverages, it is best to be careful while giving your pup.
While you should ensure the milk doesn't contain additives, you should monitor the amount your dog takes. Too much almond milk could cause diarrhea in dogs. Even though it helps with indigestion, almond milk in excess could upset your dog's gut. It could also lead to obesity if you let your dog take too much almond milk too often.
Several veterinarians recommend you exclude almond milk from your dog's diet. On the other hand, with a bit of caution, you could keep giving it without any health challenges. The safest manner of administration is giving your dog a little almond milk occasionally or as a treat. That way, it doesn't accumulate excess calories and keeps getting its milky nourishment.
What to do if my dog takes almond milk accidentally?
If your dog accidentally laps your household almond milk, your first step should be to read through the ingredient list. As stated above, it's okay if it doesn't contain artificial sweeteners or harmful additives.
However, it is a different case if it does contain such additives. You should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible because the additive could be toxic to your dog. In case your dog takes the milk sometime before you notice, here are some symptoms of xylitol poisoning:
- Lack of coordination and frequent stumbling
Almonds themselves are a very healthy food. They are the second most-consumed nuts worldwide, after peanuts. Hence, they are quite common to get anywhere.
Almond nuts contain more nutrients than milk would provide, especially fats and fiber. But dogs can't eat them because their teeth structure won't allow them to chew them properly. Consequently, it could choke them if they swallow it whole. This is why giving the milk only rather than the nuts is advisable.
While you might find the store-bought almond milk brands easier to use, almond milk is a recipe you could try out on your own. This further ensures it is free of any additives whatsoever.
For the recipe, you would need a blender, cheesecloth, and some almond nuts, depending on how much milk you want. The procedure is as follows:
- Soak the nuts in water for two days.
- Rinse and blend them with some water.
- Pour the paste into a cheesecloth and squeeze the milk into a clean bowl.
After this, the almond is ready for your dog–and you can rest assured that it is safe! You can use the recipe for almond milk in your dog's homemade meals.
In summary, almond milk is not harmful to dogs. However, you have to ensure it doesn't have additives before it is safe for your dog. Additives, especially sweeteners, could pose grave health issues in dogs.
Also, almond milk is not essential for dogs. They can do without it, although you can give it as a treat infrequently. You can also find a recipe for preparing your homemade almond milk to ensure the milk is safe for your dog.