Definition of Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a fairly common digestive disorder in dogs that involves an adverse reaction to milk and dairy products. Affected dogs don’t have a key enzyme, called lactase, which is necessary for them to be able to digest lactose, one of the main sugars in milk. Undigested lactose can’t be absorbed, so it stays in the intestines and causes upset tummies, bloating, nausea, vomiting and a large amount of diarrhea. Severe dehydration can also occur. Different dairy products can affect dogs in different ways. Cheese, for example, can cause constipation in some lactose intolerant dogs, causing them to strain while defecating and produce small, hard, dry feces. However, many people supplement their dog’s diet with yogurt or cheese without any adverse consequences. Owners should just be aware of the signs of lactose intolerance so that they can eliminate dairy products from their dog’s diet if lactose seems to be a problem.