Can Dogs Drink Buttermilk? The Good and Bad

Buttermilk is a highly-praised dairy product rich in several health-boosting nutrients. With such a remarkable reputation, it is only logical to wonder what about buttermilk and dogs? Is buttermilk a dog-friendly drink? 

Can dogs drink buttermilk? Yes, dogs can drink buttermilk as this dairy product is rich in healthy nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamin B12. However, buttermilk is not part of the dog’s natural diet and must be fed in moderation. Also, some dogs might be sensitive to the buttermilk’s lactose. 

In this article, we will talk about buttermilk for dogs. We will discuss the pros and cons of giving your dog buttermilk. Then we will go through the potential outcomes of giving your dog buttermilk and what to do in case of accidental and substantial ingestions. 

Can Dogs Drink Buttermilk

What Is Buttermilk? 

Buttermilk is a specific type of fermented milk. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid that remains after the butter is churned out from cultured cream. Considering the modern practices in the dairy industry, today, buttermilk is cultured separately. 

Buttermilk is thicker and lumpier than regular milk. It also has a distinct acidic tang but is not sour. In terms of taste, it is similar to tart or plain yogurt. Interestingly, most dogs seem to be intrigued by the buttermilk’s taste, texture, and scent. 

Is Buttermilk Good/bad for Dogs?

Since buttermilk is not toxic to dogs and dogs are allowed to consume moderate amounts of buttermilk, it is best to say that there are both good and bad sides. 

Namely, whether buttermilk is good or bad for your dog depends on responsible feeding – how much you give and how often you serve it to your pup. There are also some individual factors such as the dog’s age, overall health, and ability to digest lactose. 

Why Is Buttermilk Good for Dogs?

Buttermilk is loaded with health-boosting nutrients, and dogs seem to love its unique taste. Plus, the product is readily available, and it is simple to add to the dog’s menu. Here are some of the reasons buttermilk is good for dogs. 

Excellent protein source 

With 8 grams of protein per cup, buttermilk is a rich protein source. Although dogs are carnivores and need meat-sourced proteins, milk makes an excellent addition to the overall protein intake. 

Rich in vitamins and minerals 

Buttermilk contains significant amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. In terms of vitamins, buttermilk is rich in vitamin B12, and in terms of minerals, it is particularly loaded with calcium and potassium. 

Improved oral health 

Buttermilk has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent gum disease in dogs. Also, the calcium content supports strong teeth and improves overall oral health. 

Low cholesterol and blood pressure 

The unique blend of nutrients in buttermilk helps keep the blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels within the normal ranges. 

Combats constipation 

Buttermilk is loaded with healthy bacteria (probiotics) and dietary fiber (prebiotics). These nutrients support gut health and will keep the dog’s bowels regular. 

Why Is Buttermilk Bad for Dogs? 

With so many health benefits and boosting nutrients, why not make buttermilk a regular addition to your dog’s menu? 

Well, buttermilk is not on the dog’s natural food pyramid, meaning it can be troublesome if fed excessively – in large amounts or too often. Here are some of the potential risks and reasons buttermilk can be bad for dogs. 

Digestion problems 

All dairy products are tricky when it comes to digestion, and buttermilk is no exception. Some dogs have no trouble processing buttermilk, but for others, it can be too much. 

Lactose intolerance 

It is no secret that dogs are lactose intolerant. Although buttermilk contains less lactose than most dairy products, its content is still enough to cause issues in extra sensitive dogs.

High in sodium 

Buttermilk can be high in sodium. Luckily, a dog would have to drink copious amounts of buttermilk to experience potential side effects – dehydration and increased thirst. 

What Happens if My Dog Drinks Buttermilk?

What happens after a dog drinks buttermilk depends on several factors, including the amount of buttermilk and the dog’s ability to digest dairy products. 

In the best-case scenario, your dog will enjoy the many benefits of buttermilk without experiencing any side effects. Worst-case scenario, your dog will develop an upset stomach and require a plain diet until the gastroenteritis resolves. 

In general, you should give your dog a small amount of buttermilk and then wait to see how its stomach handles the new food. If there are no signs of digestive upset, you can give a bit more next time. 

On the other hand, if your dog is sensitive, skip the dairy products completely. Instead, you can use lactose-free milk, such the plant-based and tasty oat milk

When used responsibly – in the right serving portion and occasionally, buttermilk is safe for puppies too. Puppies have unique dietary requirements, and interestingly, buttermilk fits the profile perfectly. 

What Should I Do if My Dog Drank Buttermilk?

It depends on whether your dog is lactose intolerant or not. It also depends on whether your dog’s stomach is sensitive and prone to irritations. If the buttermilk is likely to cause issues, you should feed your dog a bland diet for several days. 

Usually, there is no need to see the vet since these digestive upsets are milk and can be solved at home. However, if diarrhea persists and you are thinking about using Pepto Bismol, Imodium, or some other over-the-counter medication, it is advisable to consult with your trusted veterinarian. 

One particularly good product is the Vet’s Preferred Advanced Anti-Diarrhea Liquid. In addition to treating diarrhea, it reduces pain and is fast-acting. Plus, the liquid form makes it simple to use, even in dogs with fussy appetites.  

Summing Up: Can Dogs Drink Buttermilk 

Yes, dogs can drink buttermilk as long as its use is responsible. By responsible use, we mean giving moderate serving sizes and frequency. 

Responsible feeding results in many health benefits while skipping on the potential side effects. On the other hand, giving excessive amounts of buttermilk is likely to wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system. 

All in all, when it comes to buttermilk for dogs, moderation is the key. 


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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