Well, it’s exactly what you think it is: milk from a goat. Goat milk has been a household necessity for people worldwide for over a century. It’s now gaining magical momentum in the United States too. It’s not only readily available and beneficial for human consumption, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for canines too.
In today’s article, we’ll talk all things milk, all things that produce milk (well kind of), and how goat milk can be beneficial for you and fido!
Over the last century or so, researchers have closely examined milk derived from very different species. As i’m sure you’re wondering, what separates one from the other?
Thorough analyses have shown that the composition and nutritional content of milk varies from species to species. This variation is specialized to cater to specific needs of specific species.
Cow milk and goat milk do have comparable compositions, but they do differ in some ways.
Most likely, at least once or twice, you’ve heard someone say that they were allergic to cow milk. To get very technical here, they aren’t actually allergic to the milk itself, but the alpha-s1-casein protein found in the cow milk.
On the other hand, goat milk has little to none of this protein, thus, there’s less allergic symptoms to be had.
Cow milk contains beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin proteins, these are directly associated to allergic reaction symptoms.
Studies show that goat milk is easier and quicker to digest, due to its smaller fat globules, looser curd formation, and its higher concentration of fatty acids. Not to mention it’s less allergic reaction abilities.
The fat molecules found in goat milk are only ⅕ the size of those found in cow milk. So what does this mean? Dogs with digestive issues should be able to easily enjoy goat milk, without the allergy issues.
Goat milk can be digested easily by most mammals. Hence, why goat milk has been frequently called the “universal milk”.
Feline and canine milk has higher protein and fat contents than ruminant animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. This contrast is because carnivorous cats and dogs have very different dietary needs than goats and cows. Whichever species it may be, their physiological needs determine the protein and fat make up of their milk.
Well, yes, no, maybe so. Like us humans, all dogs are different.
While some doggos have no issues digesting whichever milk, others may experience severe gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea. It really comes down to how your dog is able to process lactose.
More and more frequently, we’re hearing about lactose intolerance, with humans and animals alike. It wasn’t too long ago that commercials appeared daily, promoting milk and its magical ability to strengthen our bones. Fast forward to today, we’re finding out that more and more individuals are switching to lactose-free milks or even milk replacements, such as oat or almond milk.
Pasteurization and lactose intolerance are directly correlated, yes! As pasteurization grew, so did issues of lactose intolerance.
Here’s the lowdown:
Lactose is a milk sugar, pretty much. In order for it to be digested easily, lactose needs to pair with the enzyme lactase in order to split it into simple sugars. The pasteurization process destroys the lactase enzyme.
For those who don’t produce the lactase enzyme, digesting pasteurized milk can be super uncomfortable. But, noted in many studies, they can digest raw milk without any major issues. As we mentioned above, it really just depends on the individual or pup I should say.
Raw milk sold for human consumption is highly illegal! The milk in your fridge right now? It’s pasteurized.
Pasteurization removes dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli that may cause severe illness. In addition, pasteurization removes the beneficial bacteria too. It removes the natural digestive enzymes, destroying the chemical makeup of calcium that is found in raw milk.
There’s not much we can do in regards the legality of raw milk for human consumption. However, raw milk for pets is completely legal and can be highly beneficial for their health.
Raw or unpasteurized goat milk has a whole slew of amazing benefits for your four-legged furry baby.
Raw goat milk contains:
These digestible probiotics can help in the treatment of chronic illnesses, such as:
Raw goat milk is jam packed with probiotics! Probiotics aid in treating digestive problems, including diarrhea, colitis, and IBS.
Goat milk is even more beneficial than probiotic pills or powders because of its quick ability to be absorbed.
The amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fatty acids, and trace minerals present in raw goat milk are enough alone to help your pup’s overall health and immune system.
It also contains high amounts of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, and selenium, boosting the immune system.
The same digestive enzymes present in raw goat milk can also serve as a natural anti-inflammatory for your pup’s joints. It can help improve circulation, helping alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
Speaking of anti-inflammatories, raw goat milk has anti-inflammatory properties that can help in making medication and side effects a thing of the past.
Dogs can get yeast infections in their paws, mucocutaneous areas, ears, and can make your dog extremely uncomfortable. Goat milk contains high levels of caprylic acid - a yeast fighter.
Fermenting goat milk may add even more nutritional benefit!
This adds extra probiotics, combining the existing vital nutrients to help treat chronic ailments.
This fermentation process has been around for thousands of years! But, only more recently, studies have started to demonstrate and understand the health benefits of fermentation.
Additional chronic issues that may improve with fermented milk includes:
While paw parents are unable to reap the beautiful benefits of raw goat milk, they can enjoy a fermented milk product - kefir.
Kefir looks similar to yogurt, but has a few boosted upgrades.
Kefir contains over 30 different strains of healthy bacteria and beneficial yeasts. These strains work to regulate and eliminate harmful pathogenic yeasts in the body.
When your body has a high volume of yeast, problems can occur, human or doggo. But, kefir can be an absolute game changer here.
Fermented goat milk and kefir can be found at most supermarkets and grocery stores. However, in order to make sure that it is fresh and GMO-free, we recommend getting it from your local farmer’s market.
Paw parents can also look online to find out how to make homemade kefir. It’s easier than you think!
Yep, it’s a thing! You can combine these two when making your own kefir at home. We recommend starting off with half of the recommended dosage and increasing slowly over time. Low and slow will help your pup get used to the additional gut flora and other nutrients in their GI tract.
The more and more recognition goat milks gets, the more and more local health food stores and wellness shops are stocking and restocking their shelves with it.
Regardless of what type of goat milk you choose to purchase, you can add it to your dog’s food!
It’s been recommended that the amount of goat milk you give your puppers aligns with their weight. Low and slow can apply here too!
Pet Weight: Goat Milk Serving:
< 20 lbs 2 oz
20 - 40 lbs 4 oz
40 - 60 lbs 6 oz
60 - 80 lbs 8 oz
80 lbs > 10 oz
When most people think of milk, they think of cow milk or a mother’s breast milk.
Not many people would consider an animal drinking another species’ milk, well in the US that is. However, it may come as a surprise to you that we are massively the minority country in this thought process about milk.
Worldwide, humans are enjoying raw, fresh, and fermented milk from a variety of species, such as reindeer, camel, buffalo, yak, and donkey milk.
Goat milk is actually the most consumed milk in the entire world! Even above cow milk, yep!
With the amazing benefits of goat milk, for both you and your four-legged friend, it’s no wonder that goat milk is getting more popular day by day.