There’s no doubt that every husky owner has given their pup cheese as a treat at least once, but are huskies lactose intolerant, and should treats like cheese or milk be avoided?
The majority of huskies, like most dogs, are lactose intolerant as they lose the ability to produce lactase after they grow out of their puppy stage. This means treats like cheese, milk, and even yogurt should not be fed to them or only fed in very small amounts infrequently.
Keep reading to learn what will happen to your husky if you feed it too much lactose and what to do if that happens.
Why Huskies Should Avoid Lactose
Huskies should avoid large amounts of lactose simply because most huskies are lactose intolerant. In fact, it’s very common for pretty much any dog to be lactose intolerant.
Lactose intolerance in dogs is caused by a deficiency in lactase, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose to make it digestible.
Dogs develop lactose intolerance because they lose the ability to create lactase after they grow out of their puppy stage, as the enzyme is only useful while they are still feeding on their mother’s milk.
Although snacks like cheese are popular to feed to your dog – and I’ve been guilty of this myself several times – they are not suitable to feed in large amounts.
But what exactly happens if you feed your husky too much lactose, and what is ‘too much’ in the first place?
How Much Is Too Much?
Before we get into the symptoms of feeding your husky too much lactose, let’s clarify what ‘too much’ actually means.
Some huskies tolerate lactose better than others, but you should only give them a few teaspoons of milk as a treat or a very small piece of cheese, for example. Any more than this is likely to trigger a response and give them diarrhea or an unsettled stomach for a day or two.
Most husky owners find out the hard way and feed their huskies some cheese or milk as a treat and have to deal with the consequences the following day.
I would recommend feeding any lactose-containing treats in small amounts and seeing how your husky reacts. Start with a few tablespoons of milk or a small piece of cheese as a treat and see how they react.
Some huskies can actually handle lactose quite well, so there’s a chance that your husky might be fine with more than usual.
What Happens If Your Husky Has Too Much Lactose? (& What To Do)
If your husky eats too much lactose and they are intolerant to it (which is highly likely), then you will see a few symptoms:
- Diarrhea/Loose Stool
Fortunately, these symptoms will pass in a relatively short amount of time (24 to 48 hours), assuming you didn’t feed your husky an excessive amount of lactose.
A great tip for settling your husky’s stomach is to feed them rice, specifically cooked white rice. White rice might not be as nutritious as brown or wild rice, but it does a great job of settling dogs’ stomachs.
My veterinarian actually recommended rice for one of my dogs recently, and it’s a great method for settling their stomachs.
Common Snacks That Contain Lactose
Here are some of the most common snacks you might be feeding your husky that contain lactose.
- Milk – Milk does actually have some benefits as it is high in protein and calcium, but it should be avoided due to its high lactose content (milk actually contains the most lactose out of all dairy products).
- Cheese – Cheese is one of the most popular snacks for huskies, but it is an unhealthy choice not only due to its fat content but also due to lactose.
- Yogurt – Yoghurt is another common treat that some people like to feed their huskies as they think that it can help their stomachs, but it actually does the opposite.
- Ice Cream – On a hot day, some people like to feed their huskies ice cream to help them deal with the temperature. This is a bad idea as it contains lactose as well as lots of sugar, flavorings, and fat that will upset their stomach. (Read our full guide for feeding huskies ice cream here)
I know as well as anybody how important it is to have treats on hand for your dog. If you’re looking for treats to give your husky that doesn’t contain lactose, here are some to try:
- Regular dog treats – Regular dog treats are the best alternative to treats that contain lactose.
- Lactose-free milk – Other milk that contains no lactose, such as almost or oat milk, is okay for huskies to drink as an alternative, but they should still not be given in large amounts. Dog milk does tend to be better than lactose-free options, but this is only recommended for husky puppies.
- Chicken – Chicken is a great option for huskies as it is high in protein and other nutrients and low in fat. You should always cook chicken and remove any bones before feeding it to your husky to reduce the risk of bacterial issues or parasites.
- Peanut Butter – The classic dog treat. Peanut butter is a great option for huskies; just be careful because it is super calorie dense, so you only need to give them a small amount.
What About Dairy-Free Alternatives?
Most dairy-free alternatives are not suitable for huskies because they contain certain ingredients that are harmful to huskies, such as macadamia nuts or sweeteners like xylitol.
Most huskies are lactose intolerant, and feeding them treats like milk or cheese in moderate to large portion sizes can lead to stomach issues.
There are alternatives like soy or oat milk, but it’s generally best to avoid these and stick to water for liquid and regular dog treats instead of cheese.