There are two types of myths. One type can feature Roman or Greek gods, and you likely learned about them in school. The other type is essentially misinformation. It’s when something that is commonly believed is wrong.
No, frogs won’t give you warts. You aren’t likely to pee the bed if you play with fire. However, myths often have a kernel of truth in them, even if they are mostly false. Milk giving dogs worms is one of these myths.
Will milk give a dog worms?
The answer to this is no, in most cases. Worms can be passed from mother to baby through her milk, however. The answer isn’t quite that simple, either. It is possible for milk to be contaminated with worms, which can then be passed to your dog, or you yourself. However, it is uncommon.
It’s believed the myth arose because of a fact. A mother can pass worms to her puppies through her milk. Before the internet age, when science wasn’t so readily accessible, people were left to observe and draw their own conclusions.
Puppies often had worms, and they drank milk. Many puppies were not only given milk from their mother, they also received some of the milk their owners drank. It’s easy to see how owners could believe that the puppies got the worms from milk.
Adult dogs can have worms as well, of course. If the adult dogs were also given milk, and had worms, the connection would seem even stronger. The milk must be causing the worms!
Stomach Upset From Milk
Before you give your pooch a tall glass of milk, you should know that many of them don’t tolerate it well. It can cause stomach upset in dogs, including diarrhea and vomiting. These symptoms are also common if your dog has worms, which may be another reason for the myth.
How Do Dogs Get Worms?
Dogs can get worms from many sources. Generally, they ingest them in the form of larvae. Most worms that affect dogs can be transmitted by feces. In simple terms, this means that if your pooch has a poop snack, they can get worms.
If the dog who presented the gift had worms, they will be in the poop. If your dog eats it, they will ingest the worms. Once in the digestive tract, they can grow and multiply.
Tapeworms can be contracted from eating an infected flea. The flea carries tapeworm larvae. When your pooch eats a flea, the tapeworm larvae is ingested. The worm will attach itself to your dogs’ intestinal wall, and grow.
They can also pick up worms from dead animals. If the dead animal had worms, they will be present after death. If your pooch eats the dead animal, they will also ingest the worms.
One of the most innocuous places dogs pick up worms is from the soil. Essentially, a dog or other animal infected with worms takes a poop. Your dog comes along, after all signs of the poop itself are gone. They are simply nosing the soil, perhaps on the trail of a rabbit or field mouse.
Unfortunately, the soil your pooch is nose deep in can contain worms. The worms that were in the poop from the other animal can stay in the soil. Your dog can then pick them up from the soil.
Most worms must be ingested by your pooch to infect them, but they’ve been honing their technique for millenia. If your pooch gets soil on their face, their natural inclination is to lick it off. This causes them to ingest the worms.
Lastly, some worms can be contracted from human foods.
Worms from Milk
There are a few species of worms that can survive in milk. Store-bought milk is pasteurized, meaning it is boiled. This kills any parasites and bacteria, along with some of the milk’s beneficial qualities.
Milk is typically contaminated by feces that contains worms or other parasites. Once it’s in the milk, it can be passed on to anyone who drinks the milk.
This is very rare, especially today. It may have been more common before pasteurization occurred. After all, contamination can happen. Sterile milking and pasteurization make it highly unlikely for your dog to get worms from milk.
If the cow has worms, they will not be passed on to the milk. If the milk comes into contact with feces containing the parasite, then it will be contaminated.
Symptoms of Worms
The first signs of worms in your dog will likely be gastrointestinal. Diarrhea and vomiting are common. Diarreha can be bloody or contain worms. Vomit can also contain worms, particularly adult ones.
If the infestation continues, your dog will likely lose weight, even though they are eating well. This is because the worms take nutrition away from the dog. Vitamin deficiencies and anemia can also occur, particularly in young or immunocompromised dogs. This can also cause them to have a dry or dull coat.
Their belly may be bloated or swollen. They may scoot their butt on the floor frequently, because the worms cause the area to itch.
In severe cases, worms can cause difficulty breathing or coughing. This occurs because the worms have entered the lungs.
What happens if a dog drinks milk?
Dogs love milk, but it’s not good for them in large amounts. Small amounts are ok in moderation, but there are a few unpleasant things that can happen if your dog drinks milk.
Once dogs are weaned, they are not meant to drink milk. In fact, most animals can’t process milk after childhood. Even a significant portion of humans fall into this category.
This occurs because the dogs lack the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. Without the enzyme, drinking milk can cause stomach upset.
The most common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. Gas and abdominal pain can also occur. Lactose intolerance varies from mild to severe. Some dogs can drink milk, or have only mild symptoms, while it can cause severe stomach upset in others.
Fat and Sugar
Milk has a high level of fat and natural sugars. This is ok for your dog in small amounts. However, too much can also cause stomach upset. Your dog can eat many things that would make you shudder in disgust without problems.
However, a change in their diet can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. If your pooch isn’t accustomed to lots of fat or sugar, it can upset the delicate balance of their digestive tract.
It can also cause pancreatitis, which can be a serious condition. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. It will then release digestive enzymes. These enzymes can damage the pancreas and nearby organs.
Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, and lethargy. They may also have a hunched back and abdominal pain.
Milk allergies are one of the most common in dogs. If your pooch is allergic to milk, they may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Itchy skin is also common. This can include red or dry, scaly patches on the skin. They may also develop a runny nose.
Other Dairy Products
If you want to give your pooch the occasional dairy snack, but worry about lactose intolerance, there’s good news. Some dairy products contain low amounts of lactose, making them safe for most dogs.
These foods include yogurt and cheeses. The process of creating the yogurt or cheese actually breaks down the lactose. It can then be digested, even if you don’t have the lactase enzyme.
Keep in mind that lactose intolerance is very different from a milk allergy, despite the similar symptoms. Milk allergy is caused by an allergy to a protein found in the milk. Low lactose or lactose free products are safe if your pooch is lactose intolerant.
If they have a dairy allergy, however, these products can still cause symptoms.
What food can give a dog worms?
It’s the last thing you want to think about. Could their be worms hiding in your favorite food? We know they can survive in milk, although it’s a very rare issue these days.
Can they survive on or in other people foods? Yes, there are people foods that can give dogs worms. It’s far from the most common way your pooch can get worms, but it does occur.
Pork tapeworm can come from contaminated pork. It’s much more common in less developed countries, with poor sanitation practices. However, it’s not unheard of in the U.S.
Often, people or dogs get pork tapeworm from meat that is raw or undercooked. If you feed your pooch raw pork, there is a risk of pork tapeworm, Getting the meat from a reliable source may help reduce this risk.
Beef can harbor the aptly named beef tapeworm. Just like the pork tapeworm, it’s more common in less developed countries. Feeding your pooch raw or undercooked beef can increase their risk of the tapeworm.
Contaminated meat can also contain the dog tapeworm. This worm can be found in beef, pork, or sheep.
You probably aren’t surprised to learn that meat can contain parasites. However, they can also be hiding in your produce. Produce, including fruits and vegetables, can carry parasites that come from contaminated soil.
The soil contains the parasite. When the produce comes into contact with the soil, some of the parasites are transferred to the food.
Washing your fruits and veggies before consuming them, or giving them to your dog, can prevent infection with the worms. Some types of tapeworms can live on produce, as can roundworms, which are one of the most common worms that affect dogs.