Many people own both cats and dogs. Many of these owners often wonder if it’s safe to feed their pets either cow’s milk or canned tuna fish. Is it OK for your dog to drink cow’s milk, or should you stick with cat milk?

Let’s look at the facts. It is not appropriate for any animal — be it a dog, cat, or human — to drink another species’ milk. Cats and humans have different nutritional requirements than dogs and require different types of food.

Cats cannot digest the lactose in cow’s milk, which can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea. Ingestion of large amounts has been associated with pancreatitis.  

Dog milk, on the other hand, is suitable for not only cats but puppies as well. It’s important to note that cow’s milk or even goat’s milk cannot be substituted in place of dog milk because they contain different levels of particular nutrients than dog milk and may result in malnutrition and illness.

For example, the calcium: phosphorus ratio differs between both cow and dog milk. Additionally, a cat’s blood sugar levels aren’t maintained as easily when fed a diet high in carbohydrates — something that cow and goat milk contain substantial amounts of (13 g/100 ml and 12 g/100 ml respectively).

Cats, whether young or old, require food that is specific to their nutritional needs. The best way to meet those needs is by feeding them specially formulated dry kitten food (which has the proper calcium: phosphorus ratio) and wet food rich in quality protein such as chicken.

If you are looking for a substitute for cow’s milk, look for an alternative specifically made for kittens — or better yet — make your own using this recipe: Kitten Milk Recipe.

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