Is Goat’s Milk Healthy for Your Pets?

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?

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The Mighty Goat

 

DIGESTIBILITY

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.

BENEFITS

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.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

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!

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.naturalnews.com/031586_raw_goats_milk_health.html

http://dancingdogfarm.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/benefits-of-drinking-goats-milk/

http://www.roseofsharonacres.com/raw_goat_milk_benefits

 

Nutrition: My Thoughts

Hi, Everyone. Alana writing here. I wanted to do a quick post about nutrition, and Crepes is still sleeping off her birthday party, so I thought now would be a good time.

Not a good nutrition plan.

Not a good nutrition plan.

As my bio says, I’m a big believer in quality nutrition, both for myself and for my pets. I am not a dietician, nor am I medically trained in any way. However, I have done quite a bit of research on my own time and, having put into practice the things I’ve learned, come up with some ideas on what I feel is a good way to eat for myself and my little friends.

Just as a background for all of you, I myself was having a good number of food allergies over the last few years. None of them registered on tests at the doctor, but they caused me a number of problems including allergic rashes on my face (how embarrassing), digestive discomfort (also embarrassing), weight that I couldn’t lose, and frequent headaches. I am an avid Crossfitter and decided to give the Paleo diet a try. For those of you not in the know, the Paleo diet includes proteins, fats, lots of vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. As much as possible should be organic. What’s excluded? Dairy, added sugar, wheat, and grains. I gave it a go for awhile. How did I feel? Good enough to continue with it. I sleep better, lost a large amount of fat and gained muscle, rarely have headaches, and almost never get sick. I tried adding dairy back into my diet, and it turns out that I ought not to do that. I think I’ve found something that works for me, but what about my pets?

Good for us, but not really for them. (Even if the box says "Cat 1")

Good for us, but not really for them. (Even if the box says “Cat 1”)

A few years ago, I noticed that they were fat. All of them. As kittens, Rocky and Niles ate the usual canned food/free fed dry food diet obtained at any grocery store. As they got older, they started to slow down. I switched them to a grain free diet, but still allowed them to free feed. As I found out later, grain free does not mean carb free, and my little guys were still rather pudgy. My local pet shop here (Liz’s in Chicago) persuaded me to try a raw diet. I wasn’t sure at first, but when I put it down on the floor, none of them refused it. Not one. Even the dog, who has a peculiar eating ritual that includes regularly ignoring her food, loved it. I kept them on it and, after their carb withdrawal subsided, they really perked up. They’ve all slimmed down to a healthy weight. All of them have more energy and sleep less. The fourteen year olds run around more than they did when they were seven. Rocky has regained his jumping abilities, which were diminishing as he got heavier and slower, and Mrs. P no longer looks like a mini zeppelin.

The biggest change I noticed, however, was in Crepes. When we adopted her, she was very sickly. We were told she’d never be able to breathe normally. Her sniffling was so loud, we could find her just by listening for her labored breathing. She regularly got eye infections and always seemed ill. After adopting her, we put her on the raw food diet, too, and started giving her raw goat’s milk. Within weeks, her sniffling disappeared, her eye infections cleared, and she now seems just as healthy as the other cats. Similarly, a few years ago I brought a friend’s cat into the vet. He was suffering from constant herpes eye infections that were painful and weeping. The doctor diagnosed him with FIV and said to “keep him comfortable” because it wouldn’t take long. We changed his food. That was five years ago and since then, he’s rarely ill.

Am I a doctor? No. A scientist? Nope. But I eat. Every day. And I watch what my pets eat. Carefully. And I am a firm believer that diet should be clearly examined and carefully thought out. Healthy foods may cost more, true, but in the long run, it may save money in vet/doctor’s bills.

So tell me, what are your thoughts?  I’m curious to know what other people are doing out there and if you’ve ever had any success stories with a change of diet.  What do you feed your pets? (Please note, my comments box might not be working because of some Host Gator migration issues that still haven’t been solved. Please feel free to comment at http://facebook.com/catinthefridge