Nothing feels better like waking up in the morning and digging into a bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal, topped with a concoction of fresh fruits, peanut butter, and other nutritious add-ons.
As a pet parent, you should know that it’s not unusual for your pup to share the same interest in what you are eating. But, can dogs eat oatmeal? It is nice to add to our dog's diet? Or are they better off munching on their favorite commercial dog food?
CanIs Oatmeal Good for Dogs?
Oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious breakfast staple that has been in American households for hundreds of years. It was introduced in America by the Scottish settlers in 1602.
And while some of us simply love to dig in a food bowl filled with oats, most are hooked to this healthy snack for its nutritional benefits.
Fortunately, the reasons that make hulled oat grains good for humans are also the same for dogs. When served in moderation, plain oats can benefit your furry buddy in several ways. Plain oatmeal is packed with proteins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants.
Oats also have a hearty dose of important vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, such as vitamin B, linoleic acid, calcium, phosphorus, and a lot more.
It is also a great alternative carbohydrate for canines with gluten allergies that makes them sensitive to grains or wheat.
Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal? Is it safe to give?
Oatmeal is safe for dogs as long as it is served plain and cooked. Or if you do add some toppings or mix other ingredients with it, make sure to stay away from chocolates, almonds, raisins, grapes, salt, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol since all of these are harmful to your pup.
When preparing oatmeal for your dog, mix it with warm water instead of milk because canines can be ultra-sensitive to dairy, and their bodies can’t break down lactose properly the way we, humans do.
Most dogs would experience stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea when they consume even a small amount of milk.
Again, remember to cook oatmeal first before serving it to your dog because raw oats can be harder for him to digest which can only upset your dog’s stomach. Uncooked oats can also be more difficult for your pup to chew and swallow, which can put him at risk of choking.
Additionally, never give your dog flavored oatmeal (e.g. blueberry, cinnamon, etc.), as it often contains more added sugar and it may even have xylitol or birch sugar, which is toxic to dogs. And while instant oatmeal can be easier and faster to prepare, it’s definitely not a healthy choice for your dog.
Before you purchase any oat, you should also read the label. Make sure that you are buying 100% whole grain oats as opposed to processed grains.
Apparently, whole grain oatmeal is more nutritious. The latter lacks the benefits that your dog can get from whole grains oats, and they can also be harder for your pup to digest.
Finally, avoid giving your dog too much oatmeal at once because it is high in calories, rich in fiber, and contains a lot of carbohydrates.
These can be a triple threat to your dog’s health causing unhealthy weight gain, stomach upset, and other health issues.
Health Benefits of Oatmeal for Dogs
As mentioned earlier, adding oatmeal to your dog’s diet can result in several health benefits when served properly and in moderation.
And this should not come as a surprise since too much of any human food can cause digestive issues to dogs. Just because you are devouring a bowl full of oats every morning, doesn’t mean that your canine companion should, too.
Then again, when done right, feeding oatmeal to your dog can give him the following benefits:
Promote Healthy Coat and Skin Health
Some of the key nutrients present in oats are the B vitamins and linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid.
B vitamins play an important role in keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy. In addition, linoleic acid is another potent fatty acid that supports skin health, and it can also help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier, reduce inflammation, and promote the healing of wounds.
Support Digestion and Regulate Blood Glucose Levels
Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fiber, which can help dogs (especially older dogs) with irregular bowel movements, and it can also regulate blood glucose levels. As a result, a normal blood glucose level can lower a dog’s risk for diabetes, heart problems, and other ailments.
May Lower Cholesterol Levels
Oatmeal can be beneficial for dogs with abnormally high levels of cholesterol, such as those with genetic or metabolic health conditions.
And this can be attributed to the presence of beta-glucan in oats, which is a type of fiber that has been associated with an improved heart condition.
However, more studies are needed to confirm the effects of beta-glucan in reducing cholesterol levels in dogs.
May Avoid Overeating
It’s not advisable to give your dog oatmeal in large quantities at once as this can just upset his stomach and increase his chances of being overweight.
However, if your dog is already overweight, he can benefit from eating a moderate amount of plain oatmeal a few times a week.
As we know, oats are rich in fiber, which can make your dog feel full longer. As a result, he won’t have the urge to dig on his bowl now and then, or to follow you around and beg for more food.
How Much Oatmeal Should You Feed Your Dog?
Your dog should be eating a balanced diet to ensure optimum health and safety. As a rule of thumb, you can add one tablespoon of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
How to Serve Oatmeal to Your Dog Correctly?
As discussed earlier, you should always cook the oatmeal first before serving it to your pup whether you give it alone, or sprinkle it on top of your dog’s food. And of course, let it cool down for a while before giving it to your dog.
After serving your dog oatmeal, don’t forget to observe his reactions, especially if it’s his first time. If you notice adverse reactions, consult your veterinarian immediately.