You know that oatmeal is one of the best ways for you to start the day (it is packed with fiber, can help lower cholesterol and will keep you going until lunch), but what about giving a spoonful to your four-legged friend? We asked the pros: Can dogs eat oatmeal? Here’s what they said.
“Dogs can eat oatmeal,” says Rachel Barrack, DVM, founder of concierge practice Animal Acupuncture. In fact, oats are frequently found in commercially prepared dog foods as a carbohydrate alternative, she says. “Oatmeal is a great option for dogs with grain or wheat sensitivities.”
A quick note about grain-free diets: Dogs don’t need to eat grain-free, says Katja Lang, DVM, of Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group. “Grains are a digestible source of carbohydrates and can offer important nutrients, such as fiber and essential fatty acids,” she tells us. But if your dog has a wheat allergy, then a grain-free diet is beneficial. (FYI: This allergy is pretty rare. According to the Cummings Veterinary Center at Tufts University, Irish setters and border terriers are some of the only dog breeds susceptible to gluten allergies.)
But whether your pooch can tolerate grains or not, there are plenty of good reasons to let Bailey try some of your go-to breakfast. “Oatmeal is a great adjunct to a bland diet when a pet has diarrhea, and it acts as a binding agent,” Bernadine Cruz, DVM, tells us.
Oatmeal also contains vitamin B, which helps keep your dog’s coat healthy, and omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for skin health.
When preparing oatmeal for your dog, make sure it’s cooked, because raw oats can be irritating to a dog’s tummy. Also, prepare it with water instead of milk, which can be hard for dogs to digest. Don’t add any sugar or flavorings to the oatmeal, and remember that moderation is key (so give your pup a couple of tablespoons once or twice a week, not an entire bowl). Serve the oatmeal at room temperature to prevent your pup from burning his mouth.
Are there any foods I shouldn’t give Fido?
Yep, a lot of foods are actually toxic to dogs and can cause a variety of different reactions ranging from mild gastrointestinal upset to seizures and even death. But don’t worry, these foods are easy to avoid. Here are some foods to watch out for: grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, avocados, macadamia nuts, chocolate, alcohol, raw bread dough, mushrooms, moldy foods, raw potatoes, large quantities of salt and xylitol (typically found in sugar-free products). As a rule, treats and table foods should make up no more than 10 percent of a pet’s diet. One last thing: Remember to always check with your vet before offering your dog a new food.