Almond milk, like other nut milks, is a popular alternative to cow’s milk. People may turn to alternative milks because these beverages are lower in calories than cow’s milk or because people believe they are healthier than regular milk. Some people, like vegans, prefer to avoid animal products whilst others are lactose intolerant or are allergic to dairy products and cannot drink milk from a cow. This is why lactose-free and dairy-free alternatives like nut milks, such as almond, cashew, or walnut milk have become popular.
This alternative milk trend has led many dog owners to ask, “can dogs drink almond milk like their humans can?”. The short answer is yes, almond milk can be added to your dog’s diet in moderation, but there are many factors to consider if you’re thinking of giving your pup some of your almond milk.
Let’s take a further look into the implications of giving your dog almond milk.
Are nut milks safe for dogs?
Almonds are safe for dogs in limited amounts and almond milk is like a diluted form of almonds. It’s made by grinding almonds very fine and mixing the ground almonds with water, creating a creamy slightly nutty-tasting drink.
Almond milk contains more water than almonds (and by the way, it doesn’t really contain any milk, as in the beverage from a cow). Too many almonds or too much almond milk might upset your dog’s tummy but a small amount won’t hurt.
Almond milk may be easier on your pup’s tummy than cow’s milk but milk from a cow contains lactose and, according to the American Kennel Club, many dogs are lactose intolerant, in which case drinking milk may cause stomach pain, bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. Almond milk is naturally lactose-free.
Keep in mind that while almonds are safe for dogs, not all nuts are. Macadamia nuts are actually toxic to dogs, according to the ASPCA, and other nuts may be harmful as well. While almond milk is safe for your dog in small amounts that does not mean all nut milks are safe.
You should also note that whole nuts present a choking hazard for some dogs. If you want to feed your dog almonds or other dog-safe nuts, make sure to chop them into appropriately-sized pieces for your pup. Even safe nuts should be fed in very small amounts, if at all, because they tend to be high in fat and may increase the risk of your dog developing pancreatitis.
Can dogs drink almond milk of any variety?
This is a very important question. Almond milk comes in many varieties and flavors. Dogs can drink small amounts of plain, unsweetened almond milk but you should avoid sweetened almond milk and flavored varieties like chocolate almond milk or vanilla almond milk.
Plain almond milk can taste rather bland, so it is often sold in sweetened varieties. Artificial sweeteners may be unhealthy for your dog.
Note that the Food and Drug Administration says the artificial sweetener xylitol, sometimes called birch sugar because it is made from the bark of birch trees, is toxic to dogs and can lead to serious illness or even death.
Real sugar is not good for dogs, either, and can add unneeded calories to your pup’s diet. Most flavored varieties of almond milk have sweetener added, but plain almond milk may also be sweetened. Check the ingredients on the label to make sure there is no sugar or artificial sweetener added.
The same is true for soy milk. It is also safe for dogs in small amounts, but make sure to only feed unsweetened, unflavored varieties.
What kind of almond milk is best for your dog?
Flavored varieties of almond milk may contain ingredients that are actually toxic for dogs, such as chocolate.
According to McGill University, chocolate contains a couple of chemicals that are toxic to dogs, such as theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals are safe for humans. Many of us ingest caffeine daily in our coffee and most of us probably enjoy the occasional chocolate bar. In dogs, however, these chemicals act as a diuretic and a heart stimulant, and they can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even heart failure.
The severity of the effects varies depending on several factors, including the size of your dog and the amount of chocolate consumed, but in some cases, eating even a small amount of chocolate can be deadly for dogs.
Chocolate almond milk should never be given to your dog and you should contact your vet immediately if your dog ingests any amount of chocolate.
Read the label carefully to make sure you’re giving your dog plain, unsweetened almond milk. Make sure you check the ingredients; don’t just rely on what it says on the front of the carton.
How to make your own dog safe almond milk
If you prefer, it’s easy to make your own almond milk and that way you know it has no unsafe or unhealthy ingredients in it.
In order to do this, you need to:
- soak one cup of plain almonds overnight in cold water.
- The next day, drain them and put them in the blender with four cups of fresh cold water. Blend until it’s creamy and smooth. You’ll have some almond pulp in the bottom of the blender; use cheese cloth to strain the almond milk before storing it in the refrigerator.
- Many recipes call for adding a pinch of salt or some vanilla extract or other ingredients to homemade almond milk, but don’t add anything if you’re making almond milk for your dog.
Can Puppies Drink Almond Milk?
While the answer to the question can dogs drink almond milk is yes, the answer is different when it comes to puppies.
Puppies should drink their mothers milk until they are able to begin eating solid food, at about three-and-a half to four-and-a-half weeks of age. If a mother dog is unable to nurse her puppies for some reason, a special puppy formula should be used.
Neither cow’s milk nor goat’s milk will meet the nutritional needs of growing puppies. Almond milk won’t, either. Puppies should not drink milk intended for humans or for any other animals.
Once puppies begin eating solid food, they still should not be given any type of nut milk. While almond milk itself probably won’t hurt them, it will take the place of more nutritious foods in their little bellies. Getting the proper nutrition is crucial for normal development in growing puppies. Consult your vet if you need more information about the best diet for a puppy.
So Is Almond Milk Good for Adult Dogs?
Now that we’ve answered can dogs drink almond milk, let’s ask another question. “Should adult dogs drink almond milk?”.
The truth is that almond milk has little nutritional value for dogs. One cup of almond milk contains just over one gram of protein (not that you should be giving your dog a whole cup of almond milk). You might be surprised to hear that it doesn’t contain more protein because almonds themselves are a good source of protein, but it’s important to remember that the beverage contains much more water than actual nuts. Cow’s and goat’s milk contains about eight times as much protein.
Almond milk does contain a fair amount of calcium and a lot of vitamin E, both of which are good for your dog, but your dog will get these nutrients from any quality dog food in the necessary amounts. See our guide to find out more about dog nutrition and for some essential dietary tips.
Almond milk won’t give your dog a lot of nutrition and it certainly isn’t a necessary component of a dog’s diet.
Healthy treats for your dog
You can also make your own healthy dog treats by blending a few tablespoons of plain, unsweetened almond milk with fruit (things like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, pumpkin, or watermelon), then freezing the mixture in ice cube trays. As with all treats, feed them to your dog in moderation.
Cats can also drink almond milk in moderation, in case you’re wondering. Since cats tend to be smaller than most dogs, they should receive smaller amounts of this treat. Make sure to only give your cats plain, unsweetened varieties of almond milk, and save this treat for adult cats, not kittens. Like puppies, kittens should only drink their mothers milk.
So to summarise, you can safely give your dog small amounts of unsweetened almond milk as a treat if you like, but almond milk should not make up a large part of your dog’s diet – especially as it adds no nutritional benefit. Offer a few tablespoons occasionally with meals or between meals as a special treat or serve it over dog food if your dog prefers.
See our related post: Can Dogs Eat Applesauce?