Cereals look like colorful kibble that a lot of kids and even adults love to eat for breakfast. Other than the sweet morning punch that they provide, the sound of crunching cereal and their fruity smell is also irresistible not just for us humans, but also for our furry friends. But can dogs eat cereal? Is cereal safe for dogs?
Can Dogs Eat Cereal?
It depends. Most cereals are safe for dogs to eat, while some contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. However, in general, cereal doesn’t provide nutritional and health benefits for our pups, and it’s also packed with so much sugar. Hence, while dogs can eat some breakfast cereal brands, it is not advisable to incorporate them into your pet’s regular diet.
Cereal is loaded with empty calories that can lead to weight gain, obesity, and other health issues. Too much sugar in your dog’s diet can also contribute to tooth decay, gum problems, and canine diabetes.
So, while most cereals are safe for dogs to eat, these crunchy and sugary human foods are unhealthy for your canine companion. And they lack any nutritional value that can justify their inclusion into your dog’s diet.
Is Cereal Good for Dogs?
At best, even the healthiest cereal isn’t that healthy for doggy consumption. Some cereals such as Bran Flakes are rich in fiber, which is beneficial for your dog’s digestive system, as well as helpful in lowering his blood pressure and cholesterol. However, as mentioned earlier, most cereals are just empty calories that are devoid of any nutritional value.
This means that dog owners should avoid feeding their dogs cereal as much as possible to prevent health issues in the long run. Or even worse, pet parents should never substitute regular dog food with cereals even if the latter are branded as healthy human foods.
Nonetheless, if you still want to give your dog cereal, make sure to look for a dog-friendly brand, check its ingredients, and don’t forget to only give it as an occasional treat. Again, even the healthiest and most popular cereal brand won’t stand a chance with premium kibbles in providing your dog with a complete and balanced diet.
Is Cereal Bad for Dogs?
Yes, cereal can be bad for dogs. How bad can it be? Well, let us count the ways below:
Cereal is rich in grains, which can be bad for dogs
Cereals are loaded with grains, which can be unhealthy for dogs. Foods that are rich in plant-based materials and grains are generally harder for a dog’s tummy to process. Hence, feeding your canine companion with cereals can most likely cause an upset stomach.
Additionally, dogs don’t need a diet that is rich in grains. Instead, they should be fed a well-balanced diet that contains protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Also, a lot of cereal brands are highly processed with added additives on them, which is another red flag as far as your dog’s health is concerned.
It is also worth noting that some dogs have wheat, gluten, and grain allergies. And most commercial cereals contain wheat or corn. If you suspect that your dog is allergic to any of these two ingredients, then, it’s best to avoid giving your pup any type of cereal.
Cereal is loaded with sugar
Dogs need sugar, but they are already getting enough from their food, which is usually from grains, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Hence, the added sugar from cereal is not necessary, and more importantly, it is not healthy.
Below are some of the side effects of feeding your dog sugary cereals:
- Dental Issues
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
Cereal may contain ingredients that are bad for your pet’s health
The primary concern with cereal is the possibility of it containing ingredients that can cause life-threatening side effects to your dog. Below are some of the toxic ingredients that are present in some cereals, and can endanger your pet’s health when consumed:
Raisins. Raisins are known to be poisonous to dogs. A few pieces or even one grape of raisin can cause kidney failure in canines. Sadly, cereal brands such as Raisin Bran Cereal, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, Total Raisin Bran, and Post Raisin Bran, are packed with this toxic ingredient.
Chocolates. Chocolate is another popularly known toxic (or even fatal) ingredient for dogs because of its theobromine and caffeine content. Both of these compounds react with the nervous system and can increase your dog’s heart rate.
Smaller dogs can experience more severe symptoms compared with larger dogs, but still, it’s best to stay away from chocolate-covered cereals no matter how small or large your dog is.
Dogs can experience chocolate poisoning when they consume huge servings of chocolate-coated cereals or cereals that contain chocolate. Below are the signs and symptoms of chocolate toxicity that you should watch out for:
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Increased heart rate
- Seizures, muscle tremors, and heart failure (in severe cases)
Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute, a common ingredient found in low-sugar or the so-called “healthy” cereals. The problem with xylitol is that dogs can't process it efficiently unlike us, humans. Dogs have trouble distinguishing xylitol and sugar. Hence, their body releases insulin when it is consumed. And since there is no sugar present, this results in low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
Below are the signs of hypoglycemia that you should watch out for:
- Lack of energy
- Body weakness
Nuts. Some nuts can contain ingredients that are toxic for dogs. In particular, you should especially avoid giving your dog cereal that contains macadamia nuts, walnuts, hickory nuts, and pecans. That said, all nuts are high in fat content, which can predispose your pup to obesity and pancreatitis.
Nut toxicity is serious, and some of the signs that you should watch out for include muscle weakness, seizures, and muscle tremors. If you intend to give your pup peanut, stick to the safer options, which include cashews, and peanuts. Nonetheless, you should only give these nuts in moderation, or as occasional treats.
Dry cereal can be a choking hazard
Compared with us humans, dogs love to eat quickly as possible, which is reminiscent of their ancestors’ behavior in the wild. Moreover, dogs don’t chew and taste their foods the way we do. Their throats can also expand to accommodate larger chunks of foods, and digest them inside their stomach.
However, dry or lumpy cereal can get lodged in your dog’s throat and cause choking. And even if your pup manages to swallow the dry and lumpy cereal, it can still get lodged inside his digestive tract, which can cause obstruction.
Cereal is usually served with milk, which can be bad for dogs
Almost everyone eats cereal with milk. However, it’s not advisable to give milk to dogs because most adult canines are lactose intolerant and are not capable of processing dairy products properly. So, when you give your dog cereal with milk, there’s a high chance that he will experience vomiting and diarrhea, as well as stomach pains and smelly gas.
If your dog is not lactose intolerant, it is still not recommended to give him milk regularly because it contains high amounts of fat and sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Cereals That Are Ok for Dogs?
Dogs can live and thrive without eating cereals, but still, there are healthy variants that they can consume if you feel like giving them cereals occasionally. These cereals are made of 100% whole grain with no added sugar:
- Oatmeal Made With Water
- Dry Shredded Wheat
Can Dogs Eat Oat Bran Cereal / bran flakes?
Yes, Oat Bran is one of the few kinds of cereal that provide some nutritional value for dogs. Oat Bran is rich in fibers that may be helpful for weight loss and healthy digestion. It also helps with lowering their cholesterol & blood pressure levels while increasing their energy. However, you should also consider that your dog's diet already contains enough fiber. So, the extra fibers from cereals are not necessary.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Toast Cereal?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch can be safely eaten by dogs, but since it is high in sugar, you should think twice before giving it to your dog. And if you do, you should only give it as an occasional treat.
Can Dogs Eat Coco Puffs Cereal?
It's not advisable for dogs to eat Coco Puffs Cereal. Not only is it full of sugar but it contains chocolate which can be dangerous for dogs, as well.
Can Dogs Eat Fruit Loops Cereal?
It is not recommended to feed your dogs Fruit Loops Cereal. While they're not harmful, they are packed with a mixture of sweeteners and preservatives that are harmful to dogs, which can cause indigestion and vomiting.
Can dogs eat cereal flakes / bran flakes?
If your beloved pet is now allergic to corn, then yes, you may give corn flakes a bit. However, bear in mind that cereals are rich in carbohydrates, so you are feeding empty calories that actually does not provide long lasting energy.
can dogs eat chex cereal?
Yes. Chex cereal is rice-based and thus safe for our pets, but, it is not enough as a meal replacement. Chex has close to none nutritional value, and we highly recommend high protein diet for your beloved dogs.
can dogs eat kix cereal?
In moderation, yes. Just as a treat every now and then since Kix contains high sugar & carbohydrates with no nutritional value for dogs.
Other Cereals That Are Not Recommended for Dogs
Below are other cereals that are not recommended for dogs because of their high sugar content and zero nutritional value:
- Apple Jacks
- Bran Flakes
- Cap'n Crunch Breakfast Cereal, Crunch Berries Cap'n Crunch Breakfast Original Cereal
- Corn Flakes
- Frosted Flakes
- Golden Nuggets
- Honey Nut Cheerios
- Lucky Charms
- Rice Krispies
- Special K and Special K Red Berries
Cereals That Could Be Fatal to Dogs
Below are cereals that contain ingredients that can be fatal to dogs. If your dog has eaten any of the following, you should try to calculate the amount and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Your vet will determine the next steps to do depending on your dog’s size, breed, weight, and amount of cereal consumed.
- Coco Krispies
- Cookie Crisp
- Granola Containing Raisins, Chocolate, and Toxic Nuts (macadamia, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios)
- Raisin Bran Crunch and Raisin Bran
- Reese's Puffs
So, can dogs eat cereal? Again, it depends on the type of cereal. Most cereals are safe for dogs to consume, but even the healthiest type won’t be that beneficial to your dog. In general, cereals are just empty calories for our pups, so, it’s best to simply stay away from these human foods and keep them to ourselves.
Besides, there are cereals that contain chocolates, raisins, and other ingredients that are toxic for dogs. If we are used to giving them cereals, then, it’s possible that one day we may mistakenly give them a small amount of cereal containing these ingredients, which can prompt an emergency visit to the vet.