Drinking goat milk is increasingly becoming popular for both humans and pets. For years, cow milk has been the go-to milk but it is slowly falling out of favor with the general public.
The increasing popularity of goat milk is for good reason. The milk is packed with nutrients and is especially loved for its probiotic content. It also has a lovely flavor that is bound to please even the pickiest of dogs.
There are so many ways you can incorporate goat milk into your dog’s diet. You can use it to top a meal, add it to frozen treats, ferment it further to make kefir or yogurt, or give it plain to drink. If you have not tried goat milk for your dog, this is your sign to at least think about it.
What is Raw Goat Milk for Dogs?
Goat milk is milk from goats. Obviously! But what is raw goat milk?
We use the term raw to define foods that are not cooked for example raw sweet potatoes means the sweet potatoes are not cooked. However, in milk, the term raw has a slightly different meaning.
Milk due to its high moisture content provides the ideal environment for harmful bacteria to grow. If not stored properly for example under refrigeration, milk goes bad very easily.
To prevent this, a process known as pasteurization is applied to milk. During pasteurization, milk is heated to high temperatures to kill the bacteria present and prevent them from multiplying.
Milk that has undergone this process is known as pasteurized milk while milk that hasn’t is called raw milk.
Raw goat milk is basically goat milk that has not undergone pasteurization.
Some milk-lovers take the definition of raw milk even further. For it to qualify as true raw milk, it has to be grass-fed (the goats are the ones actually fed on grass, not the milk) and free of antibiotics.
Raw Vs Pasteurized Goat Milk
You might ask yourself if pasteurization kills harmful bacteria, why does anyone advocate for raw milk? Similar to antibiotics, pasteurization cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria. When milk is heated at such high temperatures, the heat destroys harmful bacteria along with the good bacteria.
Good bacteria are not the only beneficial component that is destroyed during pasteurization. The heat also destroys enzymes and vitamins and reduces the digestibility of the milk.
For all these reasons, some people have chosen to stick with unpasteurized or raw milk to give themselves and their dogs the best version of milk possible.
The decision on which milk to use is obviously yours. However, giving raw milk to your dog guarantees that she gets the best out of her meals.
The main concern with raw milk is bacterial infection, however, if you find a trusted supplier, you can get high-quality raw milk that will keep your dog safe. There are several reliable raw milk suppliers available especially in areas near dairy farms.
Raw Goat Milk Vs Powdered Goat milk
Even though powdered milk may not be pasteurized, the process of drying also requires exposure to high heat. The heat would also have the same effect on the composition of the goat milk.
It is therefore advisable to use raw goat’s milk over powdered whenever possible.
You can use powdered milk in recipes that call for it but always stick to the raw version otherwise.
Any dairy products that require heating greatly affect the natural composition of milk. Whenever possible, limit the amount of heat applied to milk and milk products.
Health Benefits of Raw Goat’s Milk as a Probiotic
- Since it is not heated at high temperatures, raw goat milk has a high concentration of probiotics. All the probiotics that are naturally present in goat milk are maintained in raw goat milk. Even better, the probiotics keep on multiplying until your dog drinks the milk.
- Raw goat’s milk contains all the nutrients in their natural amounts. The milk can provide nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, phosphorus, magnesium, and of course protein. It also contains trace minerals like selenium.
- Raw goat’s milk is more digestible than cow milk. Since the fat droplets in goat’s milk are much smaller, they are much easier to digest than those of cow’s milk. This can be especially beneficial in dogs that have issues with digestion and nutrient absorption like in inflammatory gut diseases.
- Lactose intolerance. Has your dog been missing out on the wonderful flavor of milk because of her lactose intolerance? Goat’s milk may just be the answer. Since raw goat milk still contains the lactase enzyme (the enzyme responsible for the digestion of lactose), it makes the digestion of lactose easier for your dog.
- Fatty acids. Goat milk is a rich source of short and medium-chain fatty acids. The milk also contains trace amounts of essential fatty acids which are very important for preventing heart disease.
- Weight gain. The high-fat content of goat’s milk can help promote weight gain in underweight dogs. Dogs with a low appetite can also benefit from goat milk’s high-calorie content.
- Unlike other milks, goat milk has an alkalizing effect on the body due to its high mineral content. It is crucial for the body to receive alkalizing foods because high acidity promotes the development of diseases like kidney stones and osteoporosis.
- Lower risk for allergic reactions. If your dog has an allergy to casein, they may be able to tolerate goat’s milk because it has a low casein content. Introduce goat milk to your dog in small amounts to reduce the risk of a severe allergic reaction.
- Anti-inflammatory. As if all these benefits are not enough, goat milk is also an anti-inflammatory food.
Risks, Considerations, and Precautions
While raw goat milk provides so many health benefits, it can cause some negative effects if not handled well. Like we saw above, raw goat milk is not pasteurized. For this reason, it has to be handled extremely carefully to make sure it is safe for consumption.
If a farmer, supplier, or distributor is negligent in their handling process, their goat milk may become a hotbed for bad bacteria to breed.
To produce high-quality raw goat milk, the goats have to be raised in a healthy environment. They have to be fed on high-quality pasture. The nutrient content of a goat’s milk is heavily influenced by the type of food it eats. Goats fed on processed animal feeds produce lower-quality milk compared to their grass-fed counterparts.
The goats that produce the milk you choose to buy should also be free of antibiotics. When animals are pumped with antibiotics, they develop strains of bacteria that are resistant to bacteria.
When your dog drinks that milk continuously, they may consume some of those strains. Next time your dog has an infection and you give her antibiotics, they may be less effective.
When choosing a raw milk source, do thorough research to make sure you are getting the best product for your dog. If you live near a farm, pay them a visit if possible.
If you cannot access a farm, find out where your supplier is sourcing their milk from. It may seem like a lot to do but the payout is definitely worth it.
Ways to Feed Your Dog Raw Goat Milk
After seeing all the health benefits your dog will get from raw milk, you may have decided to introduce it to your dog’s diet. But how?
No need to worry, raw goat milk is very versatile and can easily be incorporated into your dog’s diet in a variety of ways. Some of the ways you can give goats milk to your dog include:
- A plain drink in a bowl
- As an ingredient in baked treats like cookies
- In frozen treats like popsicles
- As a topper for dog food
- As yogurt or kefir after allowing the fermentation process to continue
How Much Raw Goat Milk Should You Give Your Dog?
If you are giving your dog goat milk for the first time, it is best to introduce it slowly. You can start by diluting it before giving it to your dog. You can also give it on alternating days. This will help you determine if your dog will tolerate the milk.
Recipe Ideas for Raw Goat’s Milk for Dogs
Frozen Banana Berry Bites
- ½ a ripe banana
- ½ cup of berries. Black, blue, or strawberries work well. Feel free to use a mix of berries.
- 1 cup of goat milk
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- Place the banana, berries, and goat’s milk in a blender
- Blend until smooth
- Pour the blended mix into an ice cube tray or popsicle mold
- Freeze until hard
- Serve your dog on a hot day for a cooling treat
Delicious Doggy Cookies
- 180ml of hot water
- 80g of extra virgin olive oil or margarine
- 75g of goat milk powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of salt
- ¼ cup of wheat flour
- ¼ cup of honey
- Combine the olive oil or margarine with the hot water and mix
- Slowly add the milk powder, egg, and salt to the oil mixture one item at a go.
- Add the flour and honey and mix to form a uniform mixture
- Roll the dough out and shape using cutters or your hands
- Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 300 degrees
Homemade Peanut Butter Treats
- ½ cup of raw goat’s milk
- ½ cup of smooth peanut butter
- ¾ cup of whole wheat flour
- ¼ Cup of rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of honey
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Mix the flour, oats, and baking powder
- Add the milk, peanut butter, and honey
- Mix to form a firm dough
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface
- Cut and shape with a cookie cutter or with your hands
- Bake for about 20 minutes
- Allow to cool and serve
Our Final Thoughts
In conclusion, raw goat milk is not only a good source of probiotics but also a source of nutrients. Compared to pasteurized milk, it provides so many more benefits to your dog’s health.
Some of the ways raw goat milk will improve your dog’s health include boosting immunity, boosting the health of the digestive system, lowering the risk for chronic diseases, and promoting growth. If you are looking to boost your dog’s nutrient intake, raw goat milk is definitely a good addition to her diet.
Take extra precaution when choosing a supplier for raw milk. Your supplier should uphold high standards of hygiene to ensure the highest quality milk possible. Consult your vet before starting on a raw milk diet to make sure it is the best decision for your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is goat’s milk a good probiotic for dogs?
Yes, goat milk is an excellent probiotic for dogs. However, only raw goat milk contains high quantities of probiotics.
What are the benefits of goat’s milk?
Goat’s milk is a source of nutrients like calcium, is a source of probiotics, promotes growth and weight gain, improves digestive function, and so on.
Will goat’s milk give my dog diarrhea?
Different dogs react differently to goat’s milk. Some dogs may have no reaction at all to the milk while others could develop negative symptoms such as diarrhea. Introduce the milk slowly to see if any bad reactions occur.
Is raw goat milk better than pasteurized goat’s milk for dogs?
Yes, raw milk contains more nutrients and probiotics than pasteurized milk. Raw milk also causes less allergies and intolerances than pasteurized milk.
Where can you purchase raw goat’s milk from?
You can get goat’s milk directly from a farm if you live close to one. If there are no farms in your area, you can get it from a retailer.