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Almond milk is delicious! We love it and it is very popular in vegetarian and vegan diets. Every day, new recipes are created, and the more we make them, the more we want to share them with our furry family members! However, is almond milk safe for dogs?
The answer is yes, but only unsweetened almond milk in moderate amounts.
As a Veterinary Medicine student, I am always curious and concerned about animal-related health issues. Therefore, I spent hours searching and studying credible, scientific journals to find out the answer to this query, which I will share in this article.
To understand the details, read on to find out more about:
- How almond milk is produced
- The benefits of almond milk
- Possible toxins (for dogs) in almond milk
- Tips on feeding your dog almond milk
- FAQs on feeding dogs almond milk
How Is Almond Milk Produced?
Almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water, blending the mixture, and filtering out the solid almond paste. Therefore, they contain relatively low calories, making them suitable for dogs to drink without gaining too much weight.
Most commercial brands will enrich their milk with vitamins, minerals, and proteins. As almond milk is produced for humans to drink, some of these additives may be dangerous for dogs, further discussed below.
In any case, make sure you check the milk packaging and are confident that your dog is not allergic to any of the listed ingredients. Most will only have almonds and water, but some can contain xylitol or additives like gums, artificial flavors, lecithin, or carrageenan.
Benefits of Almond Milk
Almond milk is an excellent source of nutrients such as vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin D.
However, do note that almond milk should not be the primary source of these nutrients for your dog.
Vitamin E is necessary for its anti-inflammatory properties and to help keep your dog’s detoxing system strong!  It prevents free radicals from attaching themselves to parts of the body that can negatively impact your dog’s health, such as possible health failure. 
Vitamin E also helps in cell metabolism and keeps muscles toned. A lack of this nutrient can lead to muscle degeneration and reproductive problems.
Calcium, on the other hand, is mainly used by the body to build bones. It is the main component in bones and is also necessary for food digestion and nutrient absorption in the intestine.
Calcium also plays a vital role in the nervous system – it allows the opening and closing of channels in the cell to let in molecules and helps the electric system in the body.
Calcium is especially important in lactating and pregnant dogs because so much is extracted from their bones to redirect it towards helping fetus growth .
Being in the sun can help your dog activate this vitamin so that it works correctly. Therefore, do bring your dog out for walks under the morning sun for the best returns!
Vitamin D is also involved in bone metabolism. It helps balance out the levels of phosphorus and calcium in the body.
Too little vitamin D in the diet can lead to heart failure and a higher risk of developing bone disorders .
Possible Toxins (For Dogs) In Almond Milk
While almond milk is perfectly safe for human consumption, it is not the same for our furry family members. The two ingredients commonly found in almond milk but potentially toxic to dogs are carrageenan and xylitol.
Carrageenan is extracted from seaweed and is incredibly toxic for dogs. It has been known for causing inflammation in the intestine .
This substance is used in laboratories on canine subjects to induce gastrointestinal issues and mimic the human response. It has also been associated with bowel cancer and affects the immune function against specific pathogens, thus not letting it protect the body as well as it would without this chemical.
Sometimes, manufacturers do not have to declare this is in a product because it is used in very low quantities. However, dogs are a bit more sensitive to chemicals, and just because it does not affect us doesn’t mean it won’t affect our dogs.
Remember that not all brands of almond milk contain carrageenan. If you feel like you need to give your dog almond milk, contact the manufacturer and ask them about all of the ingredients used to produce the milk before feeding any to your dog.
Xylitol is one of the most dangerous foods you can feed your dog and is frequently added to almond milk as a sweetener.
Upon consumption, your dog can suffer from hypoglycemia, which means their blood sugar gets very low, and may even result in severe liver failure . These are extremely dangerous conditions that can put your dog’s life at risk.
It can begin as something simple like weakness, depression, and vomiting. But afterward, the symptoms will start to get stronger and stronger. Seizures, high heart frequency, or diarrhea might begin to appear, indicating severe organ damage.
Keep in mind that xylitol is present in products that advertise ‘sugar-free’. Therefore, make sure you read the food label before buying and feeding your dog any ‘sugar-free’ almond milk!
Some Tips When Feeding Your Dog Almond Milk
Listed here are some guidelines you can follow to ensure that your dog is consuming almond milk safely.
Feed only unsweetened almond milk
Your best bet at keeping your dog safe when feeding almond milk is to feed only unsweetened almond milk that does not contain any sugar, xylitol, or carrageenan.
Also, try to feed unflavored almond milk. Flavored almond milk, such as vanilla and chocolate, might contain alcohol and cocoa respectively, which are also toxic for dogs.
An example of a good choice of commercial almond milk is the Elmhurst Unsweetened Almond Milk, which contains only filtered water and almonds.
If you want to keep your dog safe but still providing it with almond milk, buy almonds and make the milk by yourself. All you will need are the almond nuts, a blender, a sieve, and some water.
Start in small quantities
For small dogs, try a teaspoon, and for large dogs, you can use a standard spoon.
There are two reasons why you want to start in small quantities.
Firstly, you want to know if your dog has an adverse reaction to almond milk. In the worst-case scenario, where your dog is allergic to almonds, consuming a smaller amount gives you more time to bring your dog to the veterinarian and causes lesser damage to your dog’s body and health.
Secondly, your dog may not necessarily like almond milk. Pouring a bowl for your dog and having it sniff, take a lap, and turning away will put the whole bowl of milk to waste.
If your pup is wagging its tail and waiting for another spoonful from you, then you can be assured that it is enjoying almond milk!
FAQs About Feeding Dogs Almond Milk
This section will address some of the frequently asked questions dog owners have regarding feeding their dogs almond milk.
Is it necessary to feed my dog almond milk?
While a little bit of unsweetened almond milk will be good for your dog, it is not necessary in a dog’s diet.
Your dog will likely get all of the nutrients it needs if you feed them commercial dog food brands and their corresponding health supplements for dogs with health issues.
When should I feed my dog almond milk?
Milk can be quite filling, so you may want to consider feeding your dog almond milk after they have finished their meal as an add-on dessert.
Alternatively, you can feed it as a treat between meals.
How much almond milk can I feed my dog?
Depending on your dog’s size, the amount of milk you can feed will vary. Small dogs should receive lesser quantities than large dogs.
As a rule of thumb, half a normal-sized cup is enough for an average-sized dog for a couple of days.
Are there any alternatives to almond milk?
Yes, some alternative options will be soy milk and oat milk.
Do remember that the same rules of feeding unsweetened and unflavored milk to your dog apply to these two options as well.
Can I feed my dog cow milk?
Most dogs are lactose intolerant, and all milk from mammals contains lactose, meaning milk from cows, goats, sheep, buffalos, and other mammals is usually not suitable for dogs to consume.
Lactose intolerance means that lactose is not broken down by the enzyme called ‘lactase’, and it ends up being processed by the bacteria (or microbiome) present in the intestine. This process will produce lots of smelly gases and bloating, so you will have a bit of trouble with the smellies!
Also, most commercial brands of animal milk are flavored, and flavored milk may contain additives that are toxic to dogs.
Therefore, it will be good to avoid animal milk as a whole.
Is almond milk safe for dogs? Definitely, but only unsweetened and unflavored almond milk, and it is more of a treat instead of a necessity. The safest almond milk you can feed is the almond milk that you make by yourself at home.
Always consult a veterinarian if you are still unsure about feeding your dog any almond milk. Also, start with small amounts and increase when you know that your dog likes almond milk and can take it safely.
Remember – almond milk is meant to be a treat, not a staple nor a regular part of your dog’s diet, so do feed it in moderation.