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Should I Feed My Pet Goat’s Milk?

Posted 01.02.18 by Katie Wooden, DVM

Recently goat’s milk has become one of the more popular supplements in the pet world. It has been touted to improve digestion, help with allergies, packed with protein and fatty acids, and even cure cancer. It is widely available in pet stores and online. However, is it really helpful or even safe?

Goat’s milk has never been scientifically studied to prove it’s role in canine or feline health, so we really don’t know if it is helpful or harmful. Unfortunately, it’s claims of being a cure-all for many common pet diseases are just part of advertising. Most veterinary nutritionists do not feel that goat’s milk is beneficial to an animal’s health. In fact, many nutritionists recommend avoiding goat’s milk, especially the raw variety.

Raw goat’s milk refers to it being unpasteurized. Unpasteurized milk is a possible source of potentially harmful bacteria, such as Listeria and E coli.  These bacteria can cause serious and even life-threatening illness in pets and humans. Due to this risk, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) discourages the feeding of raw animal-source proteins to cats and dogs.

Pasteurized goat’s milk is definitely the safer option. However, many pet’s have difficulty digesting dairy once they are weaned as babies, so goat’s milk may lead to gastrointestinal issues in some pets. It is also can be a significant source of calories and protein and fatty acids. If you choose to feed your pet goat’s milk, nutritionists recommend ensuring that it does not take up more than 10% of your pet’s daily calories.

If you are interested in giving your pet’s goat’s milk, we recommend only using the pasteurized variety. It is probably best given to healthy pets that are not overweight, since it will add extra calories to their daily intake. If you are wanting to help improve your pet’s digestion or allergy issues, please talk to your veterinarian. There may be other supplements available that will be more efficacious and safer than goat’s milk.

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