Staphylococcus aureus is the most common contagious pathogen associated with bovine subclinical mastitis. Current diagnosis of S. aureus mastitis is based on bacteriological culture of milk samples and somatic cell counts, which lack either sensitivity or specificity. Identification of milk proteins that contribute to host defense and their variable responses to pathogenic stimuli would enable the characterization of putative biomarkers of subclinical mastitis. To accomplish this, milk whey samples from healthy and mastitic dairy cows were analyzed using a label-free quantitative proteomics approach. In total, 90 proteins were identified, of which 25 showed significant differential abundance between healthy and mastitic samples. In silico functional analyses indicated the involvement of the differentially abundant proteins in biological mechanisms and signaling pathways related to host defense including pathogen-recognition, direct antimicrobial function, and the acute-phase response. This proteomics and bioinformatics analysis not only facilitates the identification of putative biomarkers of S. aureus subclinical mastitis but also recapitulates previous findings demonstrating the abundance of host defense proteins in intramammary infection. All mass spectrometry data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD007516.