Alana here again.
I’d like to continue the subject of nutrition that I started earlier this week on the topic of goat’s milk. By now, many cat owners have heard that cats could not and should not drink cow’s milk, but have you heard that your cat or dog can and even should drink goat’s milk?
For those familiar with milk in its raw state, cow’s milk separates into cream and a more watery milk if left to settle and must be shaken to combine them. This is where homogenization comes in; although a few small studies suggest that homogenizing milk may be harmful to one’s health, companies do this so people don’t have to shake the milk before drinking it. (I’d prefer to shake it if there’s any doubt.) Goat’s milk, on the other hand, does not ever separate (Edit: 6/30/15 Goat’s milk can eventually separate, but does not do so as easily as cow’s milk), does not need to be shaken, and does not require homogenization. Due to its smaller molecular size, goat’s milk is more easily digestible (it takes about 20 minutes to digest, compared to 3 hours for cow’s milk). In addition, raw milk (cow OR goat) contains the necessary enzymes to aid in its own digestion, something pasteurized milk is lacking. This is why those of us that are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk but cannot digest processed milk.
Goat’s milk is a, or possibly THE, most nutritionally complete food. In fact, the American Journal of Medicine states that goat’s milk is “the most complete food known.” It does not stimulate the production of mucus (cow’s milk does) and can counteract inflammation. It also seems to have some antiviral properties that can benefit and enhance the immune system, and has a nutritional and compositional profile very similar to human mother’s milk. It is often well tolerated by infants, adult humans, and cats and dogs. Rescueguide.com advises that orphaned kittens should be fed goat’s milk when their own mother’s milk is unavailable.
In my personal experience, goat’s milk has been extremely welcome in the diet of my cats and dog. Though they can be picky eaters, the occasion is rare that they turn down a bowl of goat’s milk. Two of my four cats have sensitive stomachs, one of them extremely sensitive. If he strays from his diet at all, the result is usually regurgitation of his meal, yet he’s able to easily tolerate goat’s milk without a problem. When Crepes was having herpes flare ups as a kitten, the change in her diet from a highly-processed, grain-based diet to an all raw diet that included goat’s milk cleared up her symptoms entirely and she no longer suffers from any respiratory issues.
WHERE TO GET IT
Goat’s milk tends to be seasonal; the goats do not produce milk year-round, so farmer’s often freeze their surplus to be able to accommodate customers during the off-season. You may not be able to find fresh goat’s milk, but the frozen variety works, as well. Ask your local pet store if they carry it in their frozen section.
Your cat or dog may benefit from the inclusion of goat’s milk in their diet, or they might simply enjoy it because it’s tasty!
If you’ve tried it, what did you think? What did your pet think? Let me know!