Oatmeal is a common breakfast staple that’s favored for both its versatility and potential health benefits.
While it seems clear that oatmeal is generally safe for your canine companion, you may wonder whether you should use caution with some preparation methods and if it’s truly healthy for them.
Oats are rich in B vitamins and linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid (1).
B vitamins play a key role in skin health and may be involved in the production of healthy skin cells (2).
Meanwhile, linoleic acid is also essential for skin health and can help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier, promote wound healing, and alleviate inflammation (3).
Although these benefits have not been studied in dogs specifically, dog skin is similar to human skin.
Oatmeal is high in fiber, with over 4 grams of fiber in each cooked cup (240 grams) (1).
Fiber has been linked to a number of potential health benefits, especially in terms of digestive health.
Fiber moves slowly through your body undigested, adding bulk to stool to support regularity (4).
Although studies in dogs specifically are limited, research suggests that increased fiber intake may be beneficial for treating constipation (5, 6).
If your dog has high cholesterol levels due to metabolic or genetic health conditions, oatmeal may be beneficial.
This is because oats are a good source of beta glucan, a type of fiber that has been associated with improved heart health (7).
Humans studies have shown that oats could help reduce cholesterol levels, especially in people with high cholesterol (8, 9).
One study in 14 dogs observed similar findings, showing that supplementing with oat beta glucan for 71 days reduced levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol (10).
However, more large, high quality studies are needed to confirm whether oats may help lower cholesterol levels in dogs.
Although oats are a great source of nutrients, keep in mind that not all types are suitable for your furry friend.
In particular, raw oats can be difficult for your dog to digest and may cause stomach upset.
You should also steer clear of flavored varieties, which are often high in sugar and may contain ingredients that can be toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, raisins, or the sugar alcohol xylitol (11, 12).
Additionally, be sure to prepare oats with water instead of milk, as many dogs cannot digest lactose very well (13).
Finally, keep in mind that increasing their fiber intake too quickly can also cause unpleasant digestive side effects, including gas or bloating (14, 15).
To keep negative side effects at bay, it’s recommended for fiber intakes to increase slowly over time by 1–3 grams per day, as well as with plenty of water.
According to the American Kennel Club, you can typically feed dogs around one tablespoon (15 grams) of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds (9 kg) of body weight (16).
Given its rich content of soluble fiber, oatmeal has also become an increasingly common ingredient in many types of commercial dog food (17).
It’s especially popular among pet owners with dogs who have difficulty tolerating other grains, such as wheat.
Be sure to only feed dogs cooked oatmeal and opt for plain varieties prepared with water instead of milk.
However, keep in mind that oatmeal should be included as part of a balanced diet and not be used to replace commercial dog food.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially if they have any underlying health conditions.
A healthy breakfast choice that offers an abundance of nutritional value to humans, oatmeal is a staple found in many people’s homes. But, can dogs eat oatmeal? The answer is yes, but there are some things you should keep in mind before feeding your pup this snack.
Oatmeal is high in fiber and contains a plethora of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. “Served in moderation, oatmeal can benefit a dog in a variety of ways,” says Dr. Carly Fox of New York City’s Animal Medical Center. “It is a great alternative carbohydrate for dogs that may be sensitive to wheat or grains.” Oatmeal contains vitamin B, which helps maintain a healthy coat, and linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps to maintain the strength of dogs’ skin.
It’s also a great source of soluble fiber, which can regulate blood glucose levels and help dogs that have irregular bowl movements. But Dr. Fox cautions that feeding your dog foods containing a lot of fiber can lead to GI upset, whose symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.
Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal?
Yes, dogs can eat oatmeal safely and can actually receive some important nutritional benefits from oatmeal. But there are some guidelines you’ll need to follow. Learn about the nutritional benefits of oatmeal for dogs, along with a few considerations.
Keep It Simple
The best way to introduce oatmeal into your dog’s diet is to keep it as simple and bland as possible.
While we might have gotten used to the fancy flavored packets available at the grocery store, our pets don’t need any of those additives or extra sugars. Some brands of instant oatmeal can even contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, that are known to be toxic to dogs.
That said, the Thank Your Vet Organization recommends that instead of buying a big box of maple-flavored or fruit-flavored varieties, stick to plain oats instead.
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