Can Dogs Eat Oats? A Guide to All Things Oats
Can Dogs Eat Oats? Oats-olutely!
A breakfast staple for centuries, oatmeal or oats set you up for the day and carry a whole host of health benefits. But can you share some of those with your beloved pooch?
Can dogs eat oats or oatmeal? And if so, how much can they have? What’s the best way to prepare oats for your dog, and what health benefits can your pup expect?
Can Dogs Eat Oats? Contents
Can Dogs Eat Oats?
Yes, your furry little pal can eat oats.
This whole-grain cereal can be very good for your dog. However, preparation, type, and in moderation are points you need to be aware of.
Let’s take a look at the different forms of the humble oat:
Can Dogs Have Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is probably the most recognizable form of oats in family homes. This popular breakfast choice is made from raw oats (groats) and can come in several varieties — depending on how they’re processed:
Can Dogs Eat Steel Cut Oats?
As the name suggests, steel-cut oats have been chopped into smaller pieces with a steel cutter. This type breaks down easier as they’re cooked and significantly reduces the time you need to prepare the oatmeal.
Provided you make them correctly, your dog shouldn’t have any problem digesting this type of oatmeal.
Can Dogs Eat Rolled Oats?
Rolled oats have been softened, usually by steam, before being placed through large rollers. The result is a flat, almost flake-like oat which cooks much quicker and is easier to digest.
Rolled oats, when prepared and cooked, can be an easy way to feed your pup this whole grain.
Can Dogs Eat Instant Oats?
The fastest-cooking oatmeal, instant oats go through a lengthier manufacturing process. They’re steamed for the longest and then rolled even flatter.
And, yes, like both rolled and steel-cut oats, dogs can eat the unadulterated instant variety.However, there are some provisos with oatmeal, take a look at our section on When Are Oats Bad for Dogs?
Can Dogs Drink Oat Milk?
Like almond milk, oat milk doesn’t contain lactose — the only other ingredient is water. When consumed in small quantities, your pooch can benefit from the dietary fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals of oats as an alternative to dairy-based produce.
However, be sure to check the ingredients list on a carton of oat milk — some brands include sugars or artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful to your dog.
Additionally, because oat milk is high in fiber, excessive consumption could lead to digestive problems for your dog. To be cautious, start by offering a small amount of oat milk and observe how your dog responds before considering increasing the quantity.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Oats?
Although raw oats don’t contain any toxins, they will be incredibly difficult for your dog to digest and can give them an upset stomach.
Cooked forms of oats, like oatmeal, or when oats are baked into a tasty dog-friendly treat, can be a better way to share the benefits of oats with your canine companion.
How Are Oats Good for Dogs?
Oats are highly nutritious. This whole grain is rich in fiber and contains a whole range of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that can be beneficial to your pup’s health.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals found in oats, including iron, zinc, vitamin B, and the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid can help promote a healthier skin and coat for your dog. Linoleic acid in particular, can boost the health of your pooch’s skin, helps to alleviate any inflammation, and better healing of wounds.
Gluten-Free and High in Fiber
For dogs who may be sensitive to gluten, oatmeal is a great alternative source of carbohydrates. Rich in soluble fiber, oats can help regulate your pooch’s digestive system and can satiate their appetite — making them feel fuller for longer — always a good thing if you have an ever-hungry dog with weight issues!
Good for Cholesterol Levels and Improves Heart Health
Thanks to high levels of the fiber beta-glucan, oats can also help lower the cholesterol levels of your pup and offer benefits to heart health. Recent studies have found that a dog’s overall level of total cholesterol and health-damaging LDL cholesterol were reduced when their diet was supplemented with oat beta-glucan.
When Are Oats Bad for Dogs?
While oats can provide valuable nutrients for your furry friend, it's important to be mindful that not all varieties of oats or oatmeal are suitable for them.
As previously mentioned, raw oats can be challenging for your dog to digest and may lead to stomach upset — so they must be cooked first. And, interestingly, despite the potential benefits of oats for your dog's skin and coat, some dogs could be allergic to raw oats, resulting in dermatitis flare-ups.
Avoid giving your pooch flavored varieties of oatmeal. These kinds often contain high levels of sugar and may include ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, nutmeg, raisins, cocoa, or xylitol.
Remember, as with anything, moderation is crucial. Introducing too much fiber to your dog's diet too quickly can lead to side effects like gas, bloating, or diarrhea.
How Much Oats Should You Feed Your Dog?
When introducing new foods to your pooch’s diet, start off slowly. Too much of any human food can lead to gastro issues — diarrhea, gas, etc.
As a rule, the feeding ‘ratio’ is one tablespoon of oatmeal (ready-to-eat) for every 20 pounds in doggy weight. For example:
Extra small dogs (weighing less than 20 pounds) — 1 teaspoon to a tablespoon, one or two times a week.
Small dogs (under 30 pounds) 1 tablespoon, once or twice per week.
Medium dogs (30-50/60 pounds) — quarter of a cup, up to twice a week.
Large dogs — half a cup (maximum), up to twice a week.
Note: these are general guidelines. It’s always advisable to check with your vet before making any additions to the diet of your pup or if you notice any adverse reactions.
How Can I Feed My Dog Oatmeal?
When preparing cooked oatmeal for dogs, there are a few culinary tweaks you should make.
Always use water when making your pup’s oatmeal rather than milk or a non-dairy alternative. Also, avoid adding any butter or sugar to the oatmeal. Although milk, sugar, and butter can make oats more appealing to humans, most dogs don’t digest dairy too well, and your pooch certainly doesn’t need more sugar or fats.
On the Road
When you’re traveling or out for the day, you may be tempted to use instant oats.
If you do intend to give your pup oatmeal from a pouch or a cup, always check it’s a plain variety. In that, it doesn’t contain any added flavorings or sweeteners such as xylitol, which is toxic for your pup.
Oats can be a safe and nutritious addition to your dog's diet when given in moderation and prepared appropriately. The fiber and nutrients in oats offer potential health benefits, all in a tasty snack.Whether you enjoy cooking for your pup or simply want to make sure you give your dog a more nutritious diet, you may have asked — can dogs eat oats? The good news is, yes they can. Just ensure they’re properly cooked to get the paws up from your lovable pup.
Can Dogs Eat Oats? FAQs
Can Dogs Eat Uncooked Oatmeal?
Pretty similar to eating raw oats, when ingested, uncooked oatmeal can remain in your dog’s digestive system for extended periods of time, which may cause potential health issues.
Even though oatmeal is processed to make it more digestible, this only applies when cooked.
Are Oats or Rice Better for Dogs?
As grains, both rice and oats are safe for your dog to consume. You will often find these two ingredients are added to commercial dog food brands. Both are gluten-free, which can be a bonus for some dogs, high in fiber and they both contain minerals and vitamins beneficial to your pup’s health.
It’s a close call, but oats win out due to the extra fiber and minerals like linoleic acid, which can benefit their skin and coat health.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Oatmeal Every Day?
No, it may be a breakfast treat for us humans, but canines should only be fed oatmeal once or twice a week. Oatmeal is high in carbohydrates and relatively high in calories which can cause problems for dogs' digestive systems if fed oats too often.
Can Dogs Eat Oat Cookies?
Not all oatmeal is created equally, and not all oatmeal snacks can be considered safe for your pooch, no matter how appealing they look. Hidden toxins in many cookies including raisins, nuts, chocolate, nutmeg, or xylitol, which can be extremely harmful to your pooch’s health.
Even if the cookie doesn’t contain any of these toxins, the high levels of sugar, butter, and other fats often found in cookies can make your pooch sick.
Can I Mix Oatmeal With My Dog's Food?
Yes, an ideal way of introducing oats to your dog’s diet is to sprinkle some cooked oatmeal over the top of their food. Some healthier dog food choices, which are available commercially, even advertise oatmeal as a main ingredient.