Can I Feed My Puppies Baby Formula? (Plus Is It Safe for Older Dogs?)

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Just like your toddler, a family dog can get into anything in the blink of an eye. So what happens if they get the baby’s bottle?

Human baby formula is not recommended for dogs or puppies. One of the biggest reasons is that many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means they do not have the enzyme needed to process cow milk, a primary ingredient in baby formula. Your baby’s formula also contains iron and other vitamins that can be toxic for your dog in large amounts.

Keep reading to find out how formula can affect your dog. 

Is baby formula safe for my dog? 

Baby formula is not considered safe for your adult dog, but how it affects them depends on their size and how much formula they ingest. If you simply spill a small amount of formula on the ground or if your dog gets into the remains of a bottle, he would most likely be fine. According to the Animal Poison Control Center, consuming small amounts of formula one time might cause some gastric pain, but is not usually concerning.

These are the most common effects of drinking some baby formula:

  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Consuming a larger amount at one time can cause more issues. If your dog gets into a container of powdered baby formula, call your vet immediately for medical advice. Powdered formula is concentrated and contains more lactose, vitamins, and minerals compared to its ready-made counterpart.

If your dog tolerates milk and is not lactose intolerant, you may be tempted to include formula in their meals regularly, but feeding your dog formula on a regular basis could cause issues such as malnutrition and vitamin toxicity. 

These are some symptoms of toxicity:

  • Agitation
  • Convulsions
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney failure

Is baby formula safe for my puppies?

Baby formula is not safe for puppies! It can cause major health issues and even death for young puppies.  

Human baby formula is not a suitable replacement since it isn’t engineered to meet a puppy’s nutritional needs. The puppy would not be able to digest the formula and end up malnourished.

Just like in adult dogs, formula can cause them to have gastric pain, vomiting, and diarrhea due to lactose intolerance. This is more problematic for puppies as well as smaller dogs because they can dehydrate faster than larger dogs from vomiting and diarrhea.

Now, what if a small amount of power falls on the floor or a small amount spills? Just like adult dogs, it may cause gastric pain and minor diarrhea, but your puppy would most likely be okay. Definitely observe your little guy and call your vet if in doubt!

If your puppy gets into a half-filled bottle or if you’re uncertain how much they actually consumed, call your vet immediately to get guidance on what to do. Dehydration is a major concern for puppies so doing so quickly is important.

Can a dog drink baby formula?

While there wouldn’t be long-lasting effects for most adult dogs who drink formula once, including it in their diet on a regular basis is not recommended. Even if all a dog experiences is diarrhea, that could lead to dehydration, especially in smaller dogs. Dogs and humans have significantly different needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals and too much of one could cause toxicity in your dog. 

Humans need more iron than our canine counterparts. If your formula is iron-fortified, it will contain more iron than is considered safe for a dog, and could potentially cause your dog’s organs to fail.

When your dog drinks formula on a regular basis, he may suffer the following side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea
  • Malnutrition
  • Toxicity 

Can dogs drink Similac

People may wonder if Similac would be an option especially since there are Similac formulas that are low in lactose as well as plant-based. However, some of the same problems with regular baby formulas would still apply.

The biggest issue would be that baby formula is geared towards what a human baby needs. Since puppies need different amounts of iron than a human baby, as well as different kinds and amounts of vitamins and minerals to grow even these special formulas would not be safe for them.

If a puppy does not receive the nutrition they need they will become malnourished and won’t be able to develop as needed.

Is baby formula toxic to dogs?

There is a potential for baby formula to become toxic for dogs. If your dog accidentally ingests a small amount of formula, even a smaller dog, it will not be toxic. But over time the vitamins and minerals will build up becoming toxic to your dog.

Powdered baby formula poses more of a threat due to the fact it’s highly concentrated so it will be more toxic. Ready-made baby formula is cut down with water and would be less toxic for a dog. 

If you have a very small dog such as a chihuahua, it is especially important to call your vet immediately if they get into the baby formula. The toxic build-up will happen faster in these little guys than in a larger breed. Your vet would be able to guide you to the appropriate actions.

Is baby formula bad for puppies?

Baby formula poses a real danger for puppies due to their inability to process lactose as well as the lack of nutritional value. So what can you do if you have newborn puppies that need to be fed? The best option for your puppy would be to get a puppy milk replacement formula (like this one).

Using the correct type of formula is important for your dog because it is:

  • Specially engineered for puppies to easily digest
  • Contains the correct amount of vitamins and minerals a growing puppy needs
  • Contains all the nutrients they need to grow and develop
  • Does not contain lactose, which could be dangerous for a puppy

Make sure you grab the correct type of formula from the store. Puppy formula often has the same ingredients as baby formula so be sure to watch out. They may be in similar containers and the word formula may be misleading.

What will happen to my dog if it drinks baby formula

Remember not to panic if your dog drinks a small amount of formula. Other than discomfort and possibly diarrhea, there should be no long-term damage to your fur baby. For larger amounts, monitor them to ensure they are drinking water and staying hydrated but when in doubt, contact a vet.

If your dog gets into the baby formula container, it is imperative to get medical advice immediately from a vet.

Depending on how much baby formula was consumed, you may need to get medical treatment immediately, especially if you have a smaller dog. 

What will happen if I give my puppy baby formula

Giving your puppy baby formula is very dangerous for the puppy. Baby formula will not meet any of their nutritional needs. Without the correct nutrition, your puppy will become malnourished. 

Here are some signs that your dog may be malnourished:

  • Lack of weight gain
  • Dull coat
  • Fur/hair loss
  • Inconsistent urination and bowel movements
  • Skin disorders

If your puppy is displaying these symptoms, you should visit the veterinarian immediately.

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