Can a German Shepherd Drink Milk?

There’s a lot of confusion about if a German shepherd should drink milk or not. It gets even more confusing when you hear several German shepherd owners arguing based on their experiences.  If you’re a new German shepherd who has plans to give your buddy some milk, you may wonder if to try it or not.

Fret not; we’re here to help.

Can a German shepherd drink milk?

German shepherds can drink milk. It can be cow, goat, or soy milk. Nonetheless, it should be given in moderation. The best still is to dilute it with water. A vet should be consulted to ensure that your GSD is not lactose intolerant. Even so, milk could cause allergic reactions that could make your German shepherd vomit or have diarrhea.

Can a German Shepherd Drink Milk?

German shepherds are prone to lactose intolerance which makes them allergic to milk. However, weaned German shepherd puppies can drink milk in small quantities if it is diluted. After all, their bodies comfortably produce the enzyme lactase.

This chemical breaks down all lactose hence causing no adverse impacts on the puppies’ bodies. German shepherd dogs, on the other hand, have an inability to break down lactose. So, what happens if a German shepherd dog drinks milk? He is likely to throw up or have diarrhea within the next 12 hours.

Depending on your dog, milk may be helpful or life-threatening. It’s, therefore, vital to have a say from your vet before feeding him to confirm if he is lactose intolerant.

Is Milk Good For Your German Shepherd Puppies?

No! Milk is not good for your German Shepherd puppy unless they’ve stopped breastfeeding completely. Here’s why. A sucking puppy gets approximately 3.1 percent lactose from its mother’s milk.

Can a German Shepherd Drink Milk?

Milk from cows, for example, contains approximately 4.5 to 5 percent lactose. This means that there’s more lactose to be metabolized. Unfortunately, puppies don’t have enough lactose to break down the cow milk as well as that of their mothers.

 Consequently, they may have health complications such as indigestion problems. So, if you want to give your German Shepherd pup milk, please do so after weaning.

Why Milk Is Not Good For German Shepherd: Signs of Lactose Intolerance

The inability to break down lactose makes milk a bad choice for most German shepherd dogs.

Furthermore, milk contains a high amount of fat. High fat intake causes diarrhea and vomiting in German shepherd dogs.

Besides, high fat intake also makes GSDs obese. In extreme cases, high or daily milk intake causes pancreatic problems in GSDs.

Here are the various health complications your GSD is likely to have when given milk:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Unwillingness to eat
  • Body lashes on some body parts
  • Delayed growth
  • Fatigue and body weakness

What Kind Of Milk Can German Shepherd Dogs Drink?

If your German shepherd shows no allergic reactions after taking milk, you can give it to him in moderation.

However, not all milk is good for your German Shepherd dog.


Most processed foods, including dairy, contains Xylitol. Whether taken in small or large quantities, Xylitol can cause dangerous health issues in your dog. In some cases, death!

So, before you give your German Shepherd processed milk, find out if it contains Xylitol.

Grain Milk

Unlike other breeds, German shepherds are more prone to grain milk. Even so, rice milk has no negative impacts on their bodies as German shepherds eat rice, too. If anything, rice milk may be good since rice is one of the foods used to soothe their stomach when they have a stomach upset.

Nonetheless, grain milk from foods such as oat and hemp is likely to cause allergic reactions in German shepherd dogs.

Walnut and Macadamia Nut Milk

One of the major causes of poisoning in German shepherd dogs is walnut milk, claims Nationwide Pet Insurance. This is particularly the case if the milk was extracted from black walnuts.  

Macadamia nut milk is equally toxic regardless of the amount it is taken in.

What Benefits Can Milk Have to Your German shepherd dog?

Though not all German shepherd dogs can take milk, those that take it in moderation may benefit.


Milk contains various healthy nutrients that can be of help to your dog.

Let’s take a closer look:


Like us, Calcium is essential in your German shepherd’s body. Your GSD needs calcium so that he can have a healthy nervous system.

Good hair growth and maintenance of the teeth is as a result of enough calcium in the German shepherd dog’s body. They also have a strong heart and well-built muscles.

Furthermore, calcium does improve your dog’s eyesight too.

Vitamin b12 (Cobalamin)

Milk is a good source of vitamin B12. Like Calcium, vitamin B12 keeps the nervous system healthy. It also helps in the growth of blood cells as well as their formation in your German shepherd’s body.

Also, vitamin B12 aids in the digestion of food and helps the brain function appropriately.


German shepherds need proteins for the provision of amino acids.  Amino acids are essential for the healthy growth of tendons, skin, cartilage, hair, and ligaments.  Enough protein in German shepherds aids in the growth of strong muscles, which may help eliminate cases of hip dysplasia when your buddy ages.

Protein also helps greatly in the production of hormones.

Vitamin D

Milk has vitamin D, which your German shepherd dog needs for the regulation of phosphorous and calcium in their body. Also, Vitamin D helps in calcium and phosphorous retention in the body.

Even so, high milk intake is equal to high vitamin D levels in the body. This could have adverse health effects on your German Shepherd dog. Watch out.

Can German Shepherd Drink Goat Milk?

While goat milk has the same nutrients as a cow's, it is much easier to digest. Due to this, most German shepherd dogs have no allergic reactions when they take goat milk.

That’s not to say that you should give your German shepherd goat milk every day or in large quantities. So, yes, German shepherds can make goat milk as it is safe for them.

Can German Shepherd Drink Coconut Milk?

As we mentioned previously, processed foods may be unsuitable for German shepherd dogs. Such is coconut milk! This is because it contains additives that you may not know about. Besides, it’s highly processed.

However, German shepherd dogs are okay with coconut water. Give it in moderation.

Can German Shepherd Drink Almond Milk?

Most German shepherd dogs have difficulty digesting almond milk. Even when given in small portions, almond milk may not be a good choice for GSDS.

Can a German Shepherd Drink Milk?

It would be wise to avoid almond milk unless your vet approves it. Even with approval, never give your German shepherd more than a couple of teaspoons of almond milk. Remember not to make it a habit. It might help to skip several weeks before the next milk intake.

Can German Shepherd Drink Soy Milk?

Soy, in particular, is good for German shepherd dogs, and so is its milk. That’s why most German shepherd food contains soy.

Since most GSD is made of soy, it would be unwise to give your buddy soy milk. Too much soy, whether in solid or liquid form, would have adverse effects on your German shepherd’s body.

For example, soy has high levels of calories and sugar. These can make your dog obese. Besides, too much sugar could result in diabetes and tooth problems.

So, we highly discourage giving your German Shepherd soy milk. 

Is Cheese Bad For German Shepherd?

Cheese has vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin A, phosphorous, protein, fatty acids, and calcium, which are essential for the healthy growth of your German shepherd dog.

As such, German shepherds can eat cheese. Remember not to give him in high quantity as such could cause health problems, for example, excessive weight gains, lactose intolerance, pancreatic diseases just to mention but a few.

However, if your German shepherd is allergic to dairy products such as milk, do not give him cheese. The same applies if he is overweight, has a kidney problem, or has a sensitive stomach.

What’s the Right Milk Quantity to Give a German Shepherd Dog?

There’s no right milk quantity to give a German shepherd dog. Milk from cows, goats, and other sources has a different amount of lactose. That makes it impossible to have the exact amount.

On the other hand, your German shepherd dog is unique and should be treated as so. If your GSD is skinny, there may be a need to boost his weight gain by giving him milk as a source of calories. His life doesn’t depend on milk, though. So, even in this situation, be moderate.

For a normal dog, several tablespoons would be ideal once a week or in a month. You can reduce the quantity if you notice he is gaining lots of weight than is necessary.

The Verdict

Can a German shepherd drink milk? Yes, but moderation is key! Do also remember that the health risks associated with milk outweigh the benefits thereof.

It would, therefore, be necessary to give your German shepherd a few teaspoons of milk every once in a while or do away with it completely.

For German shepherd puppies, you would be doing more harm than good to give it milk if its mother is able to produce enough milk.

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