Can kittens drink dog milk? Can kittens nurse from a dog?

% solidsCalories per 100cc% Protein% Fat% Carbs
Feline milk replacer18100422526
Dog milk replacer125334214
This is a table showing the different compositions of cat, dog and cow’s milk. It explains why kittens don’t fully obtain the correct composition of nutrients they need from dog’s milk. You’ll see a range of figures on the internet for dog milk composition. The numbers here (for dog milk replacer) come from VCA Hospitals. The rest of the table comes from Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook. The authors of that excellent book state: “As you can see cow’s milk is not suitable for raising kittens. Dogs also cannot be substitute mothers.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
Ginger tabby rescue kitten suckling from his surrogate dog mother who willingly cooperates. Image: Screenshot from video below.

Kittens can drink dog’s milk for a limited time without harm in emergencies, which we see a lot on the internet in videos of cat rescues when it can be very successful. The answer to the second question in the title is, yes.

You will see a variety of answers to the question as to whether kittens can drink dog milk when nursing from a dog. This is because it depends on where you place the emphasis. There are good and bad aspects.

One way to research the question as to whether kittens can drink dog milk without any harm is to approach the topic from a different angle. It might be useful to ask the following question: “Will milk replacement for puppies work for kittens?”

We can then look at the formula for kitten and puppy milk to see how it differs. If the difference is substantial then we can say with confidence that dog milk cannot replace cat milk.

And as it happens, as you might expect actually, they are different because the nutritional requirements of cats and dogs is different. The old adage that the cat is an obligate carnivore while the dog is an omnivore tells us why there is this difference.

As mentioned, for a limited time, dog milk is okay for a kitten nursing on a dog but not for the long term because dog milk does not contain the proper nutritional balance needed by a kitten for their development.

Although, as you can see there’s nothing harmful in dog milk for kittens. It’s more a question of dog milk providing inadequate nutrition to kittens which would be harmful over a medium-to-long period.

The video below shows us the usefulness of a dog nursing kittens. It can be a lifesaver. It can help in the rescue of a kitten both in terms of nursing and beyond that in terms of a substitute parent for emotional and physical warmth.

My interest was piqued on this topic when I saw this video of a kitten obsessed with their surrogate dog mother. It was a highly successful parent/offspring relationship despite being an interspecies relationship during which the ginger cat successfully suckled at the dog’s breast. I asked the question, “Can kittens drink dog milk without harm?” I think I’ve answered the question succinctly.

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