Oatmeal for Dogs: Sharing Breakfast With Your Canine

dog oatmeal porridge breakfast, fun food art for kids

As a child, your mama probably said “Eat your oatmeal. It’s good for you.” Mama was right. It is. However, does the same advice hold true for your canine companion?

The short answer is “Yes.” The complete answer is a bit longer and complicated, but worth the time you will take to explore it in this article.

Before adding any new food to your dog’s diet, it’s essential to know whether it’s healthy for them to consume. Some food, like meat, is straightforward. It’s easy to assume dogs can eat most meats. Straying into the other foods, like oatmeal, may require a bit of research.

In this article, you’ll learn how much is too much and how adding some oatmeal to their diet can benefit a dog’s overall health. 

Why Oatmeal Is Good For Dogs

Oatmeal is a simple grain packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber — all essential elements of your dog’s diet. The nutrient-rich density of oatmeal can positively affect your dog’s overall health when eaten correctly and in moderation. Adding wet oatmeal offers hydration to your dog, unlike dry kibble. 

Oatmeal Nutritional Content

Raw oats contain essential vitamins and minerals. A serving of oatmeal can provide your dog a portion of their daily requirements of iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B, selenium, and magnesium. Depending on the quality of your oats, not all of these nutrients may be present. Always read the food label to verify which nutrients it contains and if the contents are suitable for your dog.

Dog sits behind a food bowl

How Much Oatmeal Can I Give My Dog?

If your dog eats too much oatmeal, they can have stomach discomfort and indigestion. It’s recommended to feed your canine one tablespoon of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds they weigh. One tablespoon doesn’t seem like a lot, but once you add it to water and cook it, the oats expand to provide a more significant portion. 

You can add oatmeal to dry and wet food, depending on your dog’s preference. Oatmeal will help add some fiber to your dog’s meal, which aids in digestion and helps your dog feel full for longer. 

How Often Can You Feed Your Dog Oatmeal?

Your dog only has to eat oatmeal a couple of times a week to receive its benefits. Every dog is different. Some can’t tolerate too many oats frequently. That is why it is not recommended to feed your dog oatmeal every day, unless it’s premade in your dog’s kibble.

Play it by ear, and start slow. Give your dog oatmeal one day a week, then two. If all is going well, possibly add a third day. You won’t need to feed them oats more than that for them to receive its benefits. 

Can You Feed Your Dog Flavored Oatmeal?

If you introduce oatmeal into your dog’s diet, feed them unsweetened or unflavored oats. The artificial sweetener and flavorings, such as brown sugar, aren’t suited for dogs and could harm their health.

It’s best to stick with bulk oats, water, and other dog-friendly ingredients. 

Dog with hands placed on edge of table looking at treats

Foods To Avoid Adding in Your Dog’s Oatmeal

While oatmeal is a nutritional food choice for your canine, some foods should be left out of their oats to ensure their health and safety. 

Chocolate is one of the most popular human foods that dogs should avoid. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. The amount of theobromine in chocolate varies depending on the type of chocolate (e.g., dark chocolate has more theobromine than milk chocolate).

If your dog ingests chocolate, it may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and increased heart rate.

Garlic and onions are harmful to dogs and shouldn’t be added to their oatmeal. If you’re looking to make a savory dish of oats for your dog, consider adding meat or vegetables to complete the meal. 

What CAN You Add to Your Dog’s Oatmeal?

You can add many delicious options to your dog’s oatmeal. For example, adding some kibble or dry food is a great way to incorporate oatmeal. 

If you want to give your dog a more human-like oats dish, you can add peanut butter, canned pumpkin or squash, fruit, or cooked vegetables. 

You don’t have to make a fancy feast for your dog. They will enjoy the oats however you prepare them and with whatever you pair them.

Dr. Aziza Glass, a Houston veterinarian and owner of the mobile Personal Touch Veterinary Clinic, talks about the importance of grains in a dog’s diet.

“Dogs are omnivores, meaning their diet consists of meat, grains, and vegetables,” Glass said. “Grains can benefit a dog’s diet, especially because they are a good source of fiber and carbohydrates. It’s also quite rare for a dog to have a grain allergy since most food allergies are due to the protein source.”

Can You Feed Your Dog Dry Oats?

Feeding your dog dry oats isn’t recommended because they can be difficult to chew, swallow, and digest. The oats need to be prepared in water to prevent upsetting your dog’s stomach if they are sensitive to certain foods. Cooking the oats allows them to break down naturally and become easily digestible. 

Dog licking lips in front of food bowl

Regular or Instant Oats: Does It Matter?

Before you run to the kitchen and add your favorite oats to your dog’s dish, look at the label. Do you have regular or quick oats?

Regular oats are in their raw form, take longer to cook, and contain more nutrients. Quick oats are heavily processed and intended to cook very quickly. Through this process, their nutrients are stripped. They often contain added sweetener or flavoring, which is not beneficial for your dog.

Always feed your canine the regular oats to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

Oatmeal Dog Treats

Making your dog treats is an easy way to save money and know exactly what’s going into your dog’s diet. Oatmeal is ideal for making dog treats because it acts as a binding agent.

A high-fiber oatmeal dog treat can help aid in digestion.

Dogs on a restrictive diet or with sensitive stomachs will appreciate homemade oatmeal treats because many store-bought treats contain ingredients they can’t eat. 

How to Make 

Following is a simple recipe for a treat that tastes good and is also good for your dog’s health.

Measure out one cup of regular oats — not quick or instant oats. Make sure the oats contain no sweetener or flavoring.

Combine oats with one cup of water. 

Add in one-fourth cup of peanut butter.

Stir the mixture until the oats have adequately absorbed the water and all peanut butter has been dispersed throughout the ingredients. 

The ingredients will form a sticky paste that you can mold into small balls. 

Using a spoon, measure the mixture into small portions, roll them into a ball, and place them on a lined cooking sheet. 

If you prefer, you can spoon chunks of the oat mixture into small drops onto the pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 18 minutes. 

Cook until golden brown. 

Allow the oatmeal treats to cool before giving them to your dog. These treats will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you want to make a larger batch, you can freeze your dog treats for up to three months and still maintain their nutritional value and freshness. 

Dog treats cooling on wire racks

A Healthy Dog Needs Carbohydrates

To maintain your dog’s health, it must consume carbohydrates. Certain carbohydrates may be allergens or upset your dog’s stomach. Many forms are available, such as potatoes, wheat, brown rice, and oats. If you’re looking for an option to add to your canine’s diet, oatmeal is cheap, simple, and accessible. 

Oatmeal is Good for Diabetic Dogs

Oatmeal is a powerful source of soluble fiber, which can help regulate your dog’s blood glucose levels and maintain their diabetes. They are more suitable than potatoes or other carbohydrates for diabetic dogs because of their high fiber content. Check with your vet to see if oatmeal could be included in your dog’s meal plan to help balance their blood sugar and support their well-being. 

When Can You Start Feeding Your Dog Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a healthy grain that can be a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet. While you can start feeding your dog oatmeal as early as puppyhood, it’s best to wait until they’re at least six months old.

To introduce oatmeal into your dog’s diet, mix it with their regular food. Gradually increase the amount of oatmeal you’re giving them until they eat mostly oatmeal.

You’ll know soon enough if your dog responds well to the amount you’ve given them or if you need to reduce the measurement to a smaller amount. Pay attention to your dog’s stools to see if they respond to the oats. Diarrhea or constipation are signs that you may have initially fed your dog too much oatmeal. 

Processed Vs. Whole Grains: Which is Better for Your Dog?

When it comes to feeding your dog, you may wonder if processed or whole grains are better for their health. While both have benefits, whole grains are generally healthier for your furry friend.

Processed grains have been stripped of many of their nutrients and fiber during the milling process. This can leave them lacking the essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs for a healthy diet. Whole grains contain all the natural nutrients and fiber that nature intended.

Feeding your dog a diet rich in whole grains can help improve their digestion, give them more energy, and even make their coat shiny and healthy. When shopping for food or oats for your pup, choose a product containing whole-grain ingredients. Your dog will thank you for it!

Dog holding empty food bowl it its mouth

Oatmeal Helps Promote Skin and Coat Health

Oatmeal can promote healthy skin in dogs. Oatmeal is a natural source of essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc, which is known to be beneficial for skin health. It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe and protect the skin.

Oatmeal will also help with your dog’s coat, promoting shiny hair that is healthy, thick, and strong. 

How Else Can You Add Oats to Your Dog’s Diet?

Many pet food brands are on the market, some of which are made with oatmeal. However, not all dog foods that contain oatmeal are created equal. Some brands use low-quality ingredients or add fillers to their products.

To ensure your dog gets the best nutrition possible, choose a dog food with high-quality ingredients and no fillers.

Is Oatmeal Hypoallergenic for Dogs?

There are a lot of myths out there about what is and isn’t hypoallergenic for dogs. Oatmeal is often touted as a safe, hypoallergenic food for dogs, but is that true?

First of all, what exactly is oatmeal? Oatmeal is a type of whole-grain cereal made from rolled or ground oats. It’s a popular breakfast food because it’s hearty and filling, and it’s considered healthy for humans.

Answering the question of whether oatmeal is hypoallergenic for dogs requires a closer look because the answer isn’t entirely clear.

You see, oatmeal itself doesn’t contain any known allergens. However, it can be contaminated with wheat, which is a common dog allergen.

To play it super-safe, look for oats that area labeled as gluten-free.

Your Dog Shouldn’t Eat Hot Oats

When feeding your dog oatmeal, ensure that it has cooled down so that it will not be too hot for them to eat. Oatmeal that is too hot can cause stomach problems for your dog.

In addition, make sure that the oatmeal is not too thick or chunky. If the oatmeal is too thick, your dog may have trouble swallowing or digesting it. 

Overnight Oats for Dogs

Overnight oats are a great way to give your dog a nutritious and filling meal. They are easy to make, and you can customize them to your dog’s liking. The treat gets its name from the fact that the mixture sits overnight in the refrigerator.

Here’s how to make overnight oats for your dog.

Mix rolled oats, chia seeds, and flaxseed meals to make your dog overnight oats. Next, add wet ingredients like canned pumpkin or unsweetened applesauce. You can also add some dry dog food or kibble for extra nutrition.

Mix everything well and put in the fridge.

In the morning, scoop out some of the oatmeal and put it in your dog’s bowl. Add some warm water or milk and stir everything together. The only thing left to do after that is to let your dog enjoy their delicious and healthy breakfast!

Overnight oats are a fantastic way to meal prep for anyone who has a busy schedule but doesn’t want to sacrifice your dog’s nutrition.

You can also make batches of regular oatmeal at the beginning of the week and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to add it to their meals. 

Human hand feeding a dog a treat

Downsides of Feeding Your Dog Oatmeal

There are a few downsides to feeding your dog oatmeal. For one, it can be challenging to digest for some dogs. Oatmeal is also high in carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain if your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. Finally, some dogs are simply allergic to oatmeal and will get sick from eating it.

If you’re considering adding oatmeal to your dog’s diet, talk to your vet first to see if it’s the right decision for your pup.

Are There Dog-Specific Oats?

There’s no difference between the oats people eat and the oats dogs eat. You can purchase oats from the grocery store and prepare them for your pup.

While some pet stores may advertise dog-safe oats, they are the same as many grocery-grade brands. Pet oats are unprocessed and won’t contain any added sugar, similar to a bag of regular oats.

The previously quoted Dr. Aziza Glass is a big advocate of including oatmeal in a dog’s diet.

“Plain-cooked oatmeal is great for your dogs to eat as it’s an excellent carbohydrate,” Glass said. “Additionally, oatmeal is high in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, leading to a healthy coat, strong skin, and even regulated bowel movements.” 

Is Oatmeal or Rice Better for Your Dog?

Both oatmeal and rice contain essential nutrients your dog needs for a healthy diet. However, there are some differences between the two that you should be aware of before deciding on which one to feed your dog.

Oatmeal is higher in protein and fat than rice, which means it is more filling for your dog. It is also a good choice for dogs allergic to wheat or other grains.

Rice is lower in calories and fat than oatmeal, so it is a better choice for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes.

Start With the Right Oats

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of feeding your dog oatmeal, it’s time to choose which oats suit your dog’s needs.

If you consistently add oatmeal to your dog’s diet, it can be easier to buy in bulk and choose a variety you plan to use for your household. 

Remember, only feed your dog unprocessed oats, ensuring they receive the most nutritional benefit. Once your dog has been accustomed to oatmeal, have some fun and add in some extra ingredients every once in a while as a treat. 

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, filling, and delicious way to introduce new nutrients to your dog’s diet, you can’t go wrong with oatmeal. 

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