When your schedule is packed, just grab a few granola bars, and you’re good to go. However, your furry friend with their sweet tooth might want to eat some too.
Since anything with whole grains is deemed healthy, giving them a bite might make sense. But, the question is: Can dogs eat granola?
True, granola is a perfect snack and breakfast choice – for humans at least. But in the canine world, the human foods that are good for us might just do the opposite to your dogs. In fact, some of the healthiest “people” food is toxic to dogs.
Keeping this in mind, it doesn’t hurt to regularly check the food your furry friends are eating and see if they’re indeed good for dogs to eat. Good thing, Dog Food Guide is here to answer all your can dogs questions, your granola-related queries included.
Everything You Need To Know About Granola
You’ll find granola products everywhere, and this is all thanks to James Caleb Jackson – an American physician who, in the year 1863, concocted the first breakfast cereal, aka “granola.”
Like muesli (another kind of cereal), granola is a mixture of rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. The big difference is granola is baked and mixed with honey, peanut butter, oil, sugar, or maple syrup to get that chewy and crunchy texture that we all love.
Now, you’ve probably heard that this is healthy. And in some ways, it is. Some can, in fact, be considered a health food.
Its nutrient profile all depends on the ingredients that make up the granola. Generally, you can expect granola to provide you with tons of fiber. Depending on the ingredients present, it can also provide you with other nutrients like:
- Vitamin E
- B Vitamins
Homemade Vs. Store-bought Granola
Want to know which is better between the two? The answer isn’t that simple because each one offers a couple of enticing benefits. Also, not all ready-to-eat granola are created equal. The same goes for homemade granolas.
However, if you wish to get an idea of how good one from the other is, here is a list of its pros and cons:
Store-bought Granola: What To Expect
- Since they’re ready-made, you don’t have to worry about prep time.
- These have a longer shelf life.
- It’s cheaper than homemade ones.
- Many granola bars and cereals are high in sugar and fat. We mentioned “many” since a few good brands are low in sugar and fat and offer high fiber and protein content.
Homemade Granola: What To Expect
- Be able to create a healthy one by choosing whole foods and adding less sugar and oils.
- Making your own granola bars will allow you to customize their taste according to your liking.
- Prep time can be a hassle if you’re too busy.
- The cost is higher since (most likely) you’ll opt to buy wholesome ingredients.
Can Dogs Eat Granola?
Crunchy, chewy, and sweet, for sure, your dogs will be up for a delectable chewing challenge whenever they see your granola bar. But, should you feed granola to your dogs? Can dogs eat granola?
The short answer is IT DEPENDS.
Granola (like other whole-grain treats) is not made equal. There are those which would bring more harm than good to your dogs. On the other hand, others are totally dog-friendly. Dogs can eat granola only if it’s the dog-safe kind.
Potential Risks Of Feeding Granola To Dogs
True, some granolas are good for your dog while others are bad for your dogs to eat. However, eating the right kind of granola also comes with risks.
Want to know how and when granola can harm your pet dog’s health? See all the possible risks dogs might face when eating granola:
Can Cause Gastrointestinal Upset
Made mainly of rolled oats and, at times, puffed brown rice, granola is known for its brimming levels of fiber. Feeding your dogs the right amount is indeed beneficial.
But once your dog eats too much granola, you can expect these dietary fibers to disrupt your dog’s gastrointestinal system and cause problems like diarrhea, gas, and vomiting.
May Bring About Unwanted Weight Gain
A calorie-dense food like this has to be eaten sparingly, especially if they’re the kind with too much sugar and fats. Like in humans, regularly eating foods with high fat and sugar content can cause weight gain, which can, later on, bring about other serious health problems.
Can Cause Sugar-Induced Health Problems
Apart from weight gain, your dog will likely develop diabetes, tooth problems like cavities, and heart disease when eating foods with too much sugar.
It Can Contain Harmful Ingredients
Nowadays, you’ll find granola cereals and granola bars in different sizes and flavors. So, apart from the rolled oats, some will also include puffed brown rice. These two (and other whole grains) are generally safe for dogs.
However, there are ingredients added into the mix that are harmful or even toxic to dogs. So, if you want your dogs to eat granola, you have to make sure that the granola product your dog is eating is free from the following ingredients:
Chocolate is toxic, and consumption of this can lead to chocolate poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, panting, excessive urination, tremors, and heart attack, or cardiac failure. Given its lethal effects, dogs should avoid chocolate granola bars at all costs.
Another typical granola dried fruit ingredient that you shouldn’t feed your dog is raisins. Since raisins are technically dried grapes, eating a small amount could make your dog lethargic – a sign that your dog suffers from grape toxicosis. Other symptoms include anorexia, dehydration, and tremors.
Granola sure tastes better with a helping of nuts. Unfortunately, not all nuts are good for dogs. Peanuts (peanut butter included) and cashew nuts are okay in small quantities. On the other hand, Macadamia nuts are deadly and should never be given to your dog.
Many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol that is extremely toxic to dogs. Ingesting small amounts of this sugar substitute can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure, seizure, and death.
Benefits Of Letting Your Dogs Eat Granola
Want to give your dog granola bars for behaving well? You may do so as long as it’s the right kind.
Now that you know all the ingredients that shouldn’t be included in your dogs’ granola, all you have to do is to find dog-friendly granola bars, and you’re all set. Eating granola, after all, does come with a few health benefits. What are those? Check out below:
One thing to like about granola bars and cereals is their high fiber content. Eating a healthy amount will help regularize your dog’s bowel movement, form their stools, and prevent irritable bowel syndrome.
Helps Limit Your Dogs’ Food Intake
Since granola is high in fiber and some are high in protein, dogs tend to get a feeling of fullness after munching on this so-called health food. So, if your dog has trouble maintaining its weight, giving them plain granola occasionally might help.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Oats are known for improving heart health by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. Since excess cholesterol in dogs can lead to a rare disease called arteriosclerosis, letting your dog eat an oat-filled granola bar now and then maybe good.
Improves Muscle Health
Some granola may contain calcium. An essential mineral to maintain dog health, calcium promotes muscle health and keeps bones and teeth healthy.
Dogs can eat granola as long as it is the dog-friendly kind. So, if you have xylitol-free peanut butter granola, honey granola, or whole-grain granola, you can let your dog have a bite. But do this sparingly.
Now, if you can’t find any dog-friendly granola, you can whip up your own. Alternatively, plain granola will do. Just sprinkle some on top of a teaspoon of yogurt or peanut butter, and voila! Your dog is in for a paw-some treat!