Can dogs drink plant-based milk?

Always read the label
Almond, hazelnut, oat and rice milk served with nuts over brown texture background. Top view, flat lay.
Can dogs drink plant-based milk?

We all want to spoil our pets now and then give them a little treat or two. Generally speaking, dogs should only really ever drink water. Let me explain and find out if dogs can drink any of the plant-based milk products on the market, let’s find out which vegan milk alternative is the safest one.

Plant-based milk is considered safe for dogs; however, it may contain some toxic ingredients to dogs. They should avoid soya milk, coconut milk and brands that include stabilizers, like Xanthan gum or even replace sugar entirely with the human-made sweetener. You should never substitute their daily water amount for plant-based milk. Dogs need to drink water for hydration to stay healthy.

What does plant-based milk mean?

Plantbased milk, alternative milk, nut milk, or vegan milk is an alternative to milk produced from an animal’s mammary glands. Manufactured by a water-based plant extract and does not contain any dairy. Plant-based options are commonly drunk by vegans, or by someone who is lactose intolerant. There are many types of plant-based kinds of milk. See our list below and whether or not your dog can drink each one or not.

Varieties of plant-based kinds of milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a milky-white liquid and used as an alternative to dairy milk. Coconut milk is made from mature coconut pulp, which has been shredded and blended and mixed with hot water then drained. Coconut Milk is different from tinned coconut juice. Coconut juice is from the middle part of the coconut.

Coconut milk in a bottle with coconuts whole
Coconut Milk

Can dogs drink coconut milk? It would be best if you did not give your dog coconut milk. Coconut milk can cause some dogs an upset stomach; this is down to the coconut’s high oil content.

Soya Milk

Soya milk comes from blending, then boiling soybeans together and mixing them with water. Soya milk has lots of added nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, folate, and retinol. Please, be aware that allergies to soya milk can be quite common in dogs.

Glass of soya milk with froth on bamboo mat with spilled soya beans.
Soya Milk

Can dogs drink soya milk? Soya milk is okay for some dogs; however, many dogs appear to be prone to have allergies towards this type of milk. I would recommend that you do not give your dog soya milk unless you’re sure it does not pose a risk to your dog’s health.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is nutty in flavour, has a creamy milk texture made by soaking the cashew nuts, blending and adding water. It’s then drained and packaged for consumption. Cashew milk is a good source for vitamins like calcium, B2, B12 and vitamin D.

A cold glass of cashew milk next to a pile of cashews isolated on a white background.
Cashew Milk

Can dogs drink cashew milk? Cashew milk in moderation is safe for dogs to drink. However, please be aware that water is always best for dogs, also adding milk to a dogs diet adds extra calories.

Oat Milk

Oat Milk is a creamy oat tasting milk with lots of nutrients like fibre, calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin. It is produced by soaking whole oats and mixing in water.

 Oat milk and rolled oats. Organic vegan non-dairy plant-based milk in a glass.
Oat Milk

Can dogs drink oat milk? Dogs can have oat milk once in a while, do not feed your dog oat milk every day and depending on your dog’s size will depend on how much you can give your dog. Oak milk is high in fibre and can cause stomach upsets in dogs.

Rice Milk

Rice milk has the least nutrients out of the selection of plant-based kinds of milk. Rice milk is generally a popular choice for lactose intolerant and humans or pets with a nut allergy. Its produced by boiling the rice, be it brown or white then draining the excess liquid to create the rick milk. Rice milk has the highest environmental impact on the planet from all plant-based milk on the market.

A glass of rice milk with rice grains on a wooden table - vegan milk
Rice Milk

Can dogs drink rice milk? Although rice milk is not detrimental to your dog’s health, in small amounts, it can; however, lead to obesity due to the number of carbs it has per portion.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is produced from a plant ( Cannabis Sativa) using their seeds is blended up and mixed with water. Hemp milk is mixed with sugar and salt to give it added flavour. Hemp milk is an excellent source of calcium and can effectively replace cows milk, and its much similar in taste to cows milk. Currently not readily available in all shops, you can get your hands on some more giant retailers and online. There have been reports of improvement in dogs from hemp to treat pain like arthritis, seizures, inappetence, and cognitive dysfunction.

Jar with hemp milk on table
Hemp Milk

Can dogs drink hemp milk? Dogs can drink hemp milk in moderation; however, I think you should seak personal veterinary advice before you offer it to your dog, also taking into account the sugar content along with the salt content.

Pea Milk

Pea Milk has one of the most complex manufacturing processes of all the plant-based kinds of milk. It made by harvesting yellow spilt peas and milling them into flour, and the liquid protein is then separated from the starch and pea fibre leaving creamy pea milk, and guess what it doesn’t even taste like peas.

Vegetable pea milk in a milk jug and peas in a glass jar. Gluten-free, lactose-free product.
Pea Milk

Can dogs drink pea milk? Dogs can only drink pea milk in moderation; however, you should check the carton’s back for nasty ingredients such as high sugar contents, high salt, and artificial sweeteners. Each brand will be slightly different.

Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnuts milk is produced from hazelnuts that have been roasted, then soaked and blended with water. It’s a very nutty flavour with a creamy texture. Hazelnut milk is high in calcium as well as folate.

A glass of hazelnut milk with hazelnuts on a wooden table - vegan milk
Hazelnut Milk

Can dogs drink hazelnut milk? Its never recommended to replace your dog’s water with plant-based milk; however, Hazelnuts milk is safe for dogs in moderation only. Ensure it an unsweetened version, or your dog will have too much sugar or artificial sweetener, which is extremely toxic to days.

Tiger Nut Milk

Tiger nuts are little root vegetables, and they are high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus and rich in vitamin E and C. They are made by soaking the tiger nut in water and blending. Has a nutty flavour that creamy and naturally sweet and is perfect for nut allergies.

Tiger nuts flour and glass of milk
Tiger Nut Milk

Can dogs drink tiger nut milk? Tiger nut milk shouldn’t cause your dog any health problems if provided in moderations, be aware of the ingredients that can vary across brands, never give your dog artificial sweetener, so check the back of the carton to check for any harmful components.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is similar to cashew milk, its made by soaking, blending almonds with water and draining the liquid to create the milk substance. It’s naturally high in the antioxidant and vitamin E.

Glass of Almond milk with a heap of almonds on white background
Almond Milk

Can dogs drink Almond milk? Dogs can drink a small amount of almond milk, but be cautious of the calorie content since its high in fat, your dog must not consume too much. Make sure you read the label making sure its the unsweetened version, giving your dog human-made sweetener can cause serious health issues.

Things to check before you serve your dog plant-based milk

Check the label for the break down of ingredients, each company that manufactures the milk will make slight amendments, and some may have more salt and more sugar than another brand. They may add stabilizers like guar gum, or gellan gum to thicken up the liquid. Or they may even replace sugar completely with the human-made sweetener these are bad for your dog.

Always read the label.

Artificial sweetener

Never give you dog plant-based milk that replaces sugar with sweetener. The sweetener is highly toxic to dogs. They must not ever have artificial sweeteners in their diet. It can cause life-threatening illnesses such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, and kidney failure.

Artificial sweetener LABEL names to check for:

  • Saccharin
  • Stevia
  • Sugar alcohols (Xylitol)
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Advantame
  • Neotame (Newtame)

Stabilizers

Stabilizers can irritate your pet’s stomach lining; these are used to thicken up the milk and give it an improved mouthfeel.

Stabilizers LABEL names to check for:

  • Carrageenan
  • Pectin
  • Gellan Gum
  • Guar Gum
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC)

Seek extra medical advice

If in doubt, please call and ask your veterinary for professional personal advice for your dog. You can get a better understanding of recommendation from your vet that knows your dog and understands if your dog has any underlying illnesses that could affect them if they drink plant-based kinds of milk. You can also get a home dog allergy test to confirm if your dog is allergic to certain ingredients. Dog allergy tests can eliminate any plant-based kinds of milk they cant have

How much plant-based milk can I give my dog?

 

Maximum bowl amount

Twice a week only

Size of Dog

Recommended Amount

Toy

20ml

Miniature

30ml

Small

50ml

Medium

75ml

Large

100ml

Extra-large

110ml

Allergy Symptoms in dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Itchiness
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids

Any signs of the above symptoms you must get in touch with a veterinary professional.

The safest plant-based milk to give your dog

Plenish Cashew Milk - 100% Organic, Dairy-Free & Unsweetened - Value Pack (8 x 1 Litre)

MADE FROM THREE PURE INGREDIENTS - 100% organic cashews, filtered water, a pinch of sea salt - and that's it!

 

As this article confirms, giving your dog plant-based milk carries some risk, but if you still feel you need to give your dog plant-based milk, the safest option out of all the above varieties would be Cashew milk. However, I personally would only ever recommend you provide them with water its the safest option. Sorry doggies out there, sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind. I know this too well speaking from experience – Sharing your food with a dog and the risks involved.

Jack Russell Dog drinking from a bowl on a summers day
Cashew milk wins, although water is still better.

Can puppies drink plant-based milk?

Puppies should not consume plant-based milk. Puppies need their mother’s milk to grow up healthy. You must check with your veterinarian for further advice.

Summary

Now we know that Cashew milk is one of the safest options, and we understand how much is the okay amount to give them. We know by checking the labels and looking for the listed ingredients above. This should help your decision when choosing a plant-based milk product for your dog. Please remember that water is still the best and should never substitute plant-based milk for their water. Are you still concerned about giving your dog plant-based milk? If so, think about getting an allergy test or better still contact your veterinarian a  more personal approach when introducing new items to your dog’s diet.

Pet Sensitivity and Intolerance Test

It's easy to do, send a bit of your dog's fur in the prepaid envelope and await the results. The test includes against gluten, wheat, milk, eggs, cheese, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, duck, rabbit, shellfish, salmon, trout, cod, tuna, soy, pea, carrot, yeast, liver, venison, barley, millet, maize flour, oats, rice, and rye.

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. She is a qualified dog groomer and currently studying canine behaviour. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016.