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Most Dogs Are Lactose Intolerant, Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk?

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Mary Nielsen

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Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk

Soy milk may not be as popular as almond milk or oat milk, but it’s still a great plant-based milk alternative when traditional cow’s milk isn’t available or when you’re lactose intolerant.

And since dairy products often wreak havoc on a dog’s system, it’s easy to assume that it’s okay to serve soy milk to dogs. The question is: can dogs drink soy milk? Is soy milk safe for dogs?

While it’s tempting to give your dog a taste of whatever food or drink you’re having, responsible dog owners know all too well the harmful (or even toxic) effects of some human foods on dogs. This is why looking up the benefits and risks of a particular food (in this case – soy milk) is always a good idea.

So, give yourself a pat on the back. Taking this step just proves how much you love your dogs. And since you’ve done your part, DogFood.Guide is here to handle the rest.

Besides giving you what you want, we’re also here to tell you everything there is to know about soy milk, its effects on your dog’s health, and more.

Soy Milk & All Its Yummy Facts

Milk products made from soy and other nuts, aka “alt-milks,” have been filling up the shelves lately, and this is because a lot prefer this over regular cow’s milk. Why? 

Apart from the increasing demand for vegan diets, some people just like the taste of almond milk and oat milk. Also, the number of people with lactose intolerance has significantly increased.

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Now, many think that these non-dairy beverages are relatively new. However, plant-based milk has been around for ages. 

The production of plant-based milk – soy or soya milk to be exact – dates back to the 13th century. Deemed as the first plant-based protein drink to replace normal milk, a cup of hot, fresh soybean beverage is a must-have during breakfast (in China at least).

Soy milk is made from soybeans. Soybeans are often soaked overnight, ground, and then boiled. The result is a somewhat mealy, thick, cow’s milk-like liquid. 

Nutrition-wise, soy milk has its fair share of controversies. But one thing is for sure – soy milk is an excellent source of protein. In fact, among all the lactose-free milk alternatives, soy milk has the most protein. And just like your low-fat dairy milk, soy protein is a complete protein that contains all the nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). 

Besides that, soy milk also provides a variety of essential nutrients. Even though calcium is not naturally found in soy, you’ll find a great selection of commercial soy milk brands fortified with vitamins and minerals, calcium included. Other nutrients you can expect to get from this drink include the following:

  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
Most Dogs Are Lactose Intolerant, Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk? 1

Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk?

The short answer is Yes. Soy products, in general, are non-toxic to dogs and provide a couple of benefits. Truth be told, many commercial dog foods in the market adds soy to the mix.  

So, yes. You can let your dogs have small quantities of soy milk every now and then as an occasional treat. Note, however, that this may not apply to all. After all, dogs’ nutritional needs vary.

Like any food, drinking soy milk has its pros and cons. Yes, its nutritional value is alright, and your dogs may get a few health benefits from drinking it. Then again, food with soy-based ingredients, in general, is not a requirement in a dog’s diet, and giving your dog soy milk has its risks. If you wish to find out more, read on.

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Nutritional Benefits Of Soy Milk To Your Dog

Soy milk, especially those fortified with nutrients, provides vitamins and minerals that can help improve your dog’s health. Here are a few of the rewards your dog can reap if you give your furry friend a sip of this yummy drink:

It’s Packed With Protein – Soy Protein!

Veterinarians, according to VCA, sometimes recommend supplements that contain soy protein. This is because this plant-based protein contains isoflavones – a compound classified as phytoestrogen.

Like female hormones in humans, isoflavones also react like a subtle form of estrogen. It is known for its antioxidant load and antimicrobial and anti-inflammation properties.

In humans, it is said that this lowers the risk of getting estrogen-sensitive cancers. However,  further studies are still needed to prove this claim. On the other hand, anecdotal reports show that soy milk’s isoflavone content may help dogs:

Lower Bood Cholesterol Levels 

A few studies suggest that isoflavones lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. And since high cholesterol often increases the risk of heart disease, consuming soy milk may reduce this.

Improve Heart Health

Apart from reducing the risk of heart disease, they say that soy isoflavones can help improve the blood vessels’ elasticity and reduce inflammation. 

Reduce Urinary Incontinence

If your dog cannot control his bladder, giving your pet some soy milk might help. This non-dairy protein has also been used to treat hormonal conditions like urinary or urethral incontinence and prostatic hypertrophy.

Most Dogs Are Lactose Intolerant, Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk? 2

Possible Dangers Of Soy Milk To Dogs

Now that you know all the good stuff your dog can get from this beverage, it’s high time for you to discover all the possible risks involved should you decide to let your dogs have soy milk. 

Food Allergy

While almonds and almond milk are not a common cause of food allergies in dogs, soy is. 

Yes, you read it right. You’re probably aware that most dogs can’t digest milk. It’s the same for soy milk. Although soy is a common dog food ingredient, many dogs are allergic to it. 

If your dog is allergic to soy, you can expect your dog to exhibit the following symptoms after eating something with soy-based ingredients:

  • Itchy skin
  • Excessive scratching and licking
  • Hives
  • Tummy problems (like vomiting and diarrhea)
  • Swelling of eyelids, lips, or earflaps
  • Paw or ear infection

Gastrointestinal Issues

Now, an allergy is not the only thing you need to worry about. Apart from your dog’s immune system going haywire, it’s also possible for your dog to experience GI problems caused by intolerance. 

Food intolerance isn’t like an allergy. An allergy is a response of your dog’s immune system to an allergen, while intolerance is your dog’s inability to digest something. 

When it comes to food intolerance, an upset stomach is an adverse reaction you can expect. Other symptoms also include vomiting, diarrhea, and gas.

Sugar-Related Problems

Many soy milk products contain added sugar. When consumed in large quantities for long periods, that extra sugar in your dog’s body can result in various sugar-related issues. This includes weight gain and tooth decay.

Presence Of Artificial Sweetener

Instead of using natural sugar, some manufacturers opt to use artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Unfortunately, xylitol is detrimental to dogs and can cause poisoning. Its effects include hypoglycemia, weakness, seizures, collapse, and even death.

May Include Other Harmful Ingredients

Besides xylitol, other soy milk products may contain chocolate and carrageenan. Both are known to have adverse effects on dogs.

Most Dogs Are Lactose Intolerant, Can Dogs Drink Soy Milk? 3

Tips On How To Feed Soy Milk To Your Dog

If you’re planning to give your adult dogs soy milk, make sure to do the following. These tips will ensure that your dog is kept out of harm’s way.

  • Ignore the sweetened version and pick the plain variants
  • Give your dog a few sips, and then check how your furry friend reacts
  • Serve occasionally and in limited quantities
  • Always seek veterinary guidance before introducing a new food 

Final Verdict

True, giving your dog a sip of soy milk is A-Okay. But, just like any food, this should be given only after you’ve taken into account all its possible side effects and after talking to an expert who can provide veterinary advice.

As a fur parent, if your dog likes something, you’re not always obliged to give in, especially if it puts your dog in danger. If you wish to lengthen your dog’s life, it’s best to focus on giving your dog a diet that provides all the nutrients they need.

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