Is It Safe to Give Raw Milk Products to Your Puppies?

Jane Messineo Lindquist, Puppy Culture

24 Oct 2023 | 5 minute read

This is our seventh generation of raw fed puppies, digging into a dish of raw goat milk

Raw milk and fermented foods are used a lot in Puppy Culture and in our courses for puppy owners and breeders. The question often comes up about the safety of raw milk products. Here's some food for thought about the raw vs pasteurized milk debate. 

Baseline Facts

I'm not going to go into the multitude of proven health benefits of raw milk. It's just a fact, pasteurizing kills a lot of the healthful flora in milk and raw milk confers more health benefits.  But pasteurizing also can potentially prevent some bad outcomes. Bottom line, pasteurized milk is less healthful but potentially safer.  Is it worth the risk of giving it to your puppies?

Seeing Both Sides

There is no one answer and both sides are "right" in some sense. It really comes down to your personal risk vs benefit analysis, and I think for most people that is going to be informed by their particular world view.

And most world views have some truth to them - yes, raw milk products are responsible for a ridiculously small number of problems and arguably those problems are linked to improper collection, storage and handling, so the hysteria about raw milk products is out of proportion.

But it’s understandable why people have concerns. At one time milk borne illness was a real public health problem that was virtually eradicated by the process of pasteurization. Remember, however, that those health problems were at a time prior to widespread refrigeration and before the concepts of sterilization and even washing hands was fully understood and implemented.

Pasteurization was a boon to public health at a time before refrigeration and sterilization or even the importance of general cleanliness was understood.

Today, your actual risk of getting sick from raw dairy products appears to be virtually zero - from Wikipedia:

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control between 1998 and 2011, 79% of the dairy-related outbreaks were due to raw milk or cheese products.[35] 

They report 148 outbreaks and 2,384 illnesses (284 requiring hospitalizations), as well as two deaths due to raw milk or cheese products during the same time period.[35]


So, over a 13-year period in the United States, 2 deaths out of 300,000,000 people, and 21% of them were not even from raw milk products, they were from milk products that had been pasteurized.  So a miniscule risk, and even pasteurized milk products present some infinitesimal risk.

Our experience with raw dairy has been uniformly positive. Our dogs all eat raw goat milk products and they routinely live well past the average life expectancy for our breed. Here’s Nora, a couple of weeks shy of 15 years old. She still likes to scamper and play every day.

In Conclusion

The decision is an easy one for us. We feed our puppies raw milk products from a local dairy and observe good sanitation and storage procedures.

But all this having been said, if it's YOU or YOUR PUPPIES that are the 1 in 150 million that get sick from raw milk, statistics are meaningless. So, we've given you the considerations, but the ultimate choice is up to you!

For further reading and citations to the studies and findings mentioned in this article:

Dr. Group, DC (2015): Pasteurized vs. Raw Milk: Which One Is Healthier for You & Your Family?
Available at:

Sarah Smith (2022): Two Types of Raw Milk
Available at:

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About the Author

Jane Messineo Lindquist (Killion) is the director of "Puppy Culture the Powerful First Twelve Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppies' Future" as well as the author of "When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Impossible Dogs" and founder of Madcap University.

Jane has had Bull Terriers since 1982 and she and her husband, Mark Lindquist, breed Bull Terriers under the Madcap kennel name.

Her interests include dog shows, dog agility, gardening, and any cocktail that involves an infused simple syrup.

Visit Jane's Websites

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