Written By: Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, cVMA | Professional Services Veterinarian, Wild Earth
Oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious pantry staple found in 75% of American households.
Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and a hearty dose of dietary fiber, it’s a great go-to meal. Whether you prefer your oats rolled, milled, or steel-cut, the health benefits are undeniable.
Have you wondered whether your canine companion can join you for a bowl of oatmeal?
Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal?
Yes, dogs can eat oatmeal safely and can actually gain some important nutritional benefits from oatmeal, but there are some guidelines you should follow.
The Benefits of Feeding Oatmeal To Dogs
First, let’s answer this simple question: Is oatmeal good for dogs? The answer is, yes. In fact, the same things that make the hulled oat grains good for humans are also the reasons they’re great for your pooch.
Oats contain soluble fiber which helps to maintain a healthy gut, nourishing both the gut microflora and the intestinal cells. Soluble fiber also helps keep your dog’s bowel movements formed, and helps regulate blood glucose levels, which can help lower the risk of diabetes and cardiac disease. In addition to its high fiber content, oatmeal also boasts an array of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that keep your dog looking and feeling their best, including:
- Vitamin A
- B Vitamins
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In addition, oatmeal contains linoleic acid. This is an omega-6 fatty acid that contributes to your dog’s healthy skin! Learn about our Complete Protein Dog Food that features oats!
How to Prepare Oatmeal for Your Dog
Now that you know it’s safe to serve, how should you prepare oatmeal for your dog? Let’s take a look at a few guidelines to follow.
Keep It Simple
The best way to introduce oatmeal into your dog’s diet is to keep it as simple and bland as possible.
While we might have gotten used to the fancy flavored packets available at the grocery store, our pets don’t need any of those additives or extra sugars. Some brands of instant oatmeal can even contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, that are known to be toxic to dogs.
That being said, stay away from those boxed flavored varieties, and stick to plain oats instead. You can include some of their favorite fruits and vegetables (in moderation) to help make it more flavorful and enticing.
Stick With Whole Grain Oatmeal
Before you check out, read the label on your container of oats.
Make sure the variety contains 100% whole grains, as opposed to processed grains. These lack many of the health benefits that whole grains offer. If possible, stick with organic oatmeal varieties, as well. These will be devoid of pesticides and other chemicals and will boast a higher nutritional count than other commercially prepared oatmeal.
Cook the Oats
To prepare pet-friendly oatmeal, simply cook the oats with just water. Never serve your dog raw oats as it might look like a tasty, crunchy snack, but uncooked oats can be incredibly difficult for your pup to handle. Not only are they a challenge to chew and swallow (leading to a choking hazard), but they’re also very hard to digest.
Don’t add any milk or sugar to the mixture, and don’t adorn the finished product with any special toppings such as nuts or brown sugar. Dogs are especially sensitive to dairy, as their bodies aren’t able to break down lactose as easily as ours can so that is why we recommend you stick with water. You can add some fruit, such as blueberries or bananas, but make sure only to add in small amounts.
Made this way, oatmeal is a great, wholesome snack for your dog, as well as a delicious meal topper. It’s also a smart way to sneak in a few extra nutrients.
Make sure the oatmeal has reached room temperature before you serve it. We might prefer ours hot, but you could burn your dog’s sensitive tongue and gums if you serve it that way to him.
Dietary guidelines reveal that 3.5 ounces of raw oats contain 8% water. To increase the water content, even more, you can add a little warm water to the oatmeal after it has finished cooking.
Keep in mind that while it’s a yummy treat, oatmeal should never serve as a total meal replacement for your pup. It might be packed with certain nutrients, but it’s still lacking many of the vitamins and minerals dogs need for healthy growth and development. Remember that additional foods should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake.
Know the Right Portion of oatmeal for dogs
While plain oatmeal can be beneficial to your dog, it’s important to only serve it in moderation. One cup of plain, cooked oatmeal contains around 150 calories, which could easily push your pup beyond their recommended daily amount.
In terms of caloric needs, most active dogs only require around 25 to 30 daily calories per pound to maintain a healthy weight. That means if your dog weighs 30 pounds, they will need about 750 calories the entire day… and this is only if they are active.
Knowing this, stick to just a spoonful or two when you’re dishing it up. A good rule to follow is to serve one tablespoon of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
How to Serve Oatmeal to Your Dog
As with all new foods, we always recommend you speak to your veterinarian before offering it. If they give the green light, start off by feeding a small amount to gauge how your dog responds to this new food.
Remember oatmeal is high in fiber, so feeding too much could cause some unwanted tummy troubles – especially if your pup isn’t used to high fiber food. Feeding your dog foods that contain a high amount of fiber can upset their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
On the other hand, if your pup is already experiencing GI or bowel issues, a moderate amount of oatmeal can provide an extra dose of fiber necessary to help ease his discomfort. Older dogs, in particular, tend to have a more difficult time keeping their bowels regular, and a spoonful of oatmeal can offer the gentle nudge they need.
Additionally, oatmeal can be a great snack for dogs who are overweight as it can help your pup stay fuller longer and avoid overeating.
Our Oat-Based Products to Try
Mixed with other yummy, nutritious ingredients including dried yeast, pumpkin, flax, spinach, chickpeas, and cranberries, our dog food features 31% complete protein and balanced nutrition made with zero meat. That means it is not only healthy for your dog, but they are better for the environment and the welfare of farmed animals too! Our treats combine oats with pumpkin, flax, peanut butter, and tasty koji for a treat your dog will love any time of day!
Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, cVMA
Dr. Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva is the Professional Services Veterinarian here at Wild Earth. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Brown University, and attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in general practice, on telehealth platforms, and in animal rehabilitation. She has worked tirelessly to gain expertise in the field of canine nutrition through numerous certifications and coursework, and plans to pursue her Masters in Animal Nutrition.