Goat milk has long been considered the “universal milk” because it can be digested easily by many species. This is due to both its lower lactose content and smaller protein and fat molecules than cow’s milk. In addition to its ease on the stomach, goat’s milk also has higher amounts of vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, and niacin, making it a winning choice when choosing a dairy-based supplement for your pet.
Another important factor to consider when selecting milk for your pet is whether it is raw or pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a specific temperature to kill pathogenic bacteria. Pasteurized milk is what you are familiar with purchasing at the grocery store, however many communities around the world consume raw dairy for it’s superior health benefits. Raw dairy when properly handled is considered a low-risk food for humans, and our pet’s digestive systems are very well equipped to handle bacteria loads that would otherwise make us sick thanks to their highly acidic stomachs and short digestive tracts, meaning raw dairy is considered to be quite safe to give to pets without worry.
Raw milk has about 50% more bioavailable vitamins and minerals than pasteurized milk, as well as a wide array of beneficial enzymes and probiotics which are known to have benefits to the immune system and gastrointestinal tract.
Why should you give your pet raw goat milk?
Not only is raw goat’s milk a great source of vitamins and nutrients for your pet, but it’s also a great way to keep them hydrated while providing many other health benefits. Some of the ways goat’s milk can improve your pet’s overall health are:
Allergies: Goat’s milk contains natural antihistamines, which can help ease allergic reactions and symptoms such as itching and inflammation. Allergy symptoms are exacerbated by an over-reactive immune system, and the probiotics from fermented raw goat milk help to support healthy immune function.
Bone and Joint Health: Milk’s benefit to bones is well known, but it is also rich in vitamin K2, which controls the binding of calcium in bone and tissues, and may also benefit dental health. Raw milk is also the best source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that slows down the body’s degenerative processes. These two nutrients provide a protective function to soft tissues and joints, for ease of mobility as your pet ages.
Cancer: Goat milk is a good source of taurine, which has important functions in the brain, eyes, digestion, and heart. Taurine is an essential nutrient for cats as they cannot synthesize taurine and must receive sufficient amounts from their diet. But further to these many health benefits of taurine, it also has antineoplastic effects, which means it inhibits or prevents the growth and spread of tumors and malignant cells.
Digestion: Raw goat milk’s ease of digestion makes it a great dietary supplement for pets with issues such as IBD and leaky gut, for an extra boost of nutrition that doesn’t put a strain on their compromised digestive tract. Fermenting raw goat’s milk adds beneficial bacteria and probiotics to support the immune system, aid in healthy digestion, regularity, and reduced gas. Raw fermented goat milk is an especially helpful addition for pets who have just come off a course of antibiotics, as they deplete the natural gut flora in the process of killing off pathogenic bacteria.
Yeast: Goat’s milk contains high quantities of caprylic acid, which is antimicrobial and used to inhibit yeast growth. In addition to this, the probiotics and enzymes in raw goat’s milk will help to foster a robust colony of healthy gut bacteria, further reducing yeast.
How to add raw goat milk to your pet's diet
Goat milk comes in many different forms to suit what is most convenient for you, and your pet’s individual taste preferences.
Raw milk is the most popular and readily available option for pets. This form of milk is the least processed, and is often either fermented or has probiotics added to increase its benefits to the digestive and immune system. Raw milk is a great way to add an extra boost of hydration to your pet’s diet and can be frozen in molds for a tasty treat, with easy portion control.
Powdered milk is a convenient shelf-stable option for those who only give goat’s milk sometimes, when traveling, or when freezer space is at a premium. Powdered milk is also a great option for pets that can be particular about food textures. If they don’t like liquid milk, you can usually mix the powdered into their meal without any issues. Powdered milks can sometimes be found with other supplements blended in for an even bigger nutritional punch!
Goat cheese is a fun option for your pet, and something different than the regular treats they get every day! Use as a high-value treat or for a special occasion and feed in small amounts, as goat cheese will be higher in fat than milk.