Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast choice that provides plenty of nutritional value and is a staple food in most homes. This meal is produced from hulled oat grains and is available in different varieties such as milled, steel-cut, and rolled.
Health-wise, oatmeal provides a nutritious boost to every diet, thanks to its high protein content and dietary fiber. It also contains vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6. So, besides the oat meal’s remarkable taste, these health perks are undeniable.
As we can see, oatmeal is a perfect choice for a well-balanced human diet. But can dogs eat oatmeal? Is it safe for your four-legged buddy? Let’s find out!
Can My Dog Eat Oatmeal?
Yes! Your dog can eat oatmeal but in moderation. Serving oatmeal to your pup will add plenty of nutritional benefits to their diet. However, you should pay attention to the cooking procedure and the amount your dog eats.
Health Benefits of Oatmeal to Dogs
Some of the potential health benefits of oatmeal to your dog include:
Boost Skin Health
Oats are a good source of vitamin B, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acid. Vitamin B plays a vital role in skin health as it helps in producing healthy skin cells. Linoleic acid is also essential for skin health and can assist in maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier, promote wound healing, and ease inflammation.
Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, with more than 4gms of fiber in every cooked cup of 240g. The fiber maintains gastrointestinal health by supporting the gut microflora. Note that gut health is one of the cornerstones of your pup’s immunity. So, a healthy gut microbiome will help boost the immunity system.
Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
If your furry buddy has a high cholesterol level either from genetic health conditions or metabolic conditions, oatmeal will be helpful. That’s because it is a good source of beta-glucan, which is a fiber linked to improved heart health. The soluble fiber helps regulate the dog’s bowel movement and blood glucose level and lowers the risk of cardiac disease and diabetes. It also plays a vital role in lowering cholesterol levels.
How to Properly Feed Your Dog Oatmeal
Ensure that oatmeal is suitable for your pup by buying the right variety and cooking it properly. Here is a guide to help you:
1. Make it Simple
Keep it simple and bland when introducing oatmeal into your pup’s diet. Maybe you are used to the fancy sweetened packets you buy at the local grocery stores, but your dog doesn’t need any additive or extra sugar. Some oatmeal brands contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which are harmful to pets. So, opt for plain oats rather than purchasing fruit-flavored or maple-flavored varieties.
2. Whole Grains are Ideal
The variety you choose should be 100 percent whole grain. Processed grains lack nutrients that whole grain oats provide. Besides, they can be challenging for your Fido to digest.
3. Cook It
If you want to prepare dog-friendly oatmeal, cook it with water only. Don’t serve your fur baby uncooked oats or sprinkle the grains over its meal.
It may seem like a crunchy, delicious snack, but raw oats can be challenging for your pup to handle, as they can’t easily chew and gulp them.
Also, avoid adding sugar or milk to the meal, and don’t decorate it with any toppings like berries, brown sugar, and nuts. Most dogs tend to be sensitive to dairy products since their bodies can’t break down lactose easily.
Oatmeal is a perfect wholesome treat for your pooch when appropriately prepared. It is an ideal way to add water and essential nutrients to your dog’s diet.
According to dietary guidelines, 3.5 ounces of uncooked oats contain 8 percent water, which is enough for your dog. However, you can add warm water to your oatmeal once it has cooked to increase its water content.
Even though it’s a delicious snack, oatmeal shouldn’t serve as a meal substitute for your dog. It may be jam-packed with various nutrients, but it lacks other essential minerals and vitamins your dog needs to live a healthy life.
Here is how to cook oatmeal for your dog:
- 2.5 cups of water
- 1.5 cups of natural rolled oats
- Boil water in the saucepan
- Add rolled oats and stir until it properly mixes
- Allow it to boil, reduce temperature to a simmer, and stir frequently
- Cook for up to 8 minutes until the oatmeal absorbs the water and becomes thick.
4. Serve it in Small Portions
Oatmeal is a perfect source of fiber content, but it can lead to gastrointestinal issues when your dog eats a lot of it. For example, it might relieve constipation in small amounts but cause diarrhea, vomiting, and bloat if your dog eats too much of it.
Avoid the unpleasant effects by offering your dog a tablespoon of oatmeal for every 20 pounds of its body weight. So, don’t treat oatmeal as a consistent dog meal, but as a treat. It needs to be part of the balanced diet for your canine friend instead of the sole source of nutrition.
What Can I Add to My Dog’s Oatmeal?
- Peanut Butter: Many dogs love peanut butter. So, a ½ tablespoon of all-natural, no sugar added variety will make a perfect addition.
- Fruits: Cut a dog-friendly fruit like bananas or blueberries into small pieces, add to the oatmeal, and mix.
- Pureed Pumpkin: Make your oatmeal more fiber-full by mixing it with pureed pumpkin.
- Cinnamon: This has natural anti-inflammatory properties and improves the food’s flavor without adding calories.
- Plain Yogurt: Plain or standard yogurt is a delicious addition to oatmeal. It offers vitamin and calcium boosts to oatmeal.
- Sunflower Seeds: These seeds are superb antioxidants and healthy for your dog. Sprinkle a few shelled sunflower seeds on top of the oatmeal. Ensure they are unsalted.
How to Serve your Dog Oatmeal Correctly
Ensure the oatmeal is at room temperature before giving it to your dog. While you may like your oatmeal hot, it can burn your Fido’s sensitive gums and tongue. Add one cooked egg if you want to boost the protein content in the diet.
When introducing oatmeal to your dog for the first time, start with a small amount and evaluate how the dog handles it. Even though it’s unlikely that your dog will have any severe effects, call your vet instantly if you see any reaction. Wait for at least 24 hours to be sure.
If your dog enjoys the meal and seems to handle it well, add it to its diet and increase the serving.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog Oatmeal
Even though plain oatmeal offers numerous health benefits to your pooch, you should serve it in moderation.
Giving your pet too much food with high fiber content can upset their stomach and cause vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea.
Additionally, if your furry friend has bowel or GI problems, a moderate quantity of oatmeal is enough to offer an extra dosage of fiber required to ease the discomfort. Older dogs tend to experience some difficulties in maintaining their bowels. So, a tablespoon of oatmeal will provide the gentle nudge they require.
Oat has high carbs and contains some calories that might result in excessive weight gain and strain your dog’s joints. So, make sure it eats oats in moderation.
If your pooch is overweight, you can add oatmeal to their diet twice a week to help the dog stay full longer and avoid overfeeding. That’s because of the high level of fiber it offers, which assists your pup in avoiding the nagging feeling of eating every minute.
Oatmeal is a nutritious addition to your Fido’s diet when cooked well. Ensure your dog eats well-cooked plain oatmeal, prepared only with water. Start small and increase the intake steadily after ascertaining that your pet reacts positively to it.
However, note that you should only include oatmeal as part of your dog’s balanced diet, and please do not use it as a replacement for a commercial dog meal.
Furthermore, it’s essential to consult your vet before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet, particularly if they have some underlying health issues.