Yes, dogs can eat oatmeal safely and can actually gain some important nutritional benefits from oatmeal. When prepared properly, oatmeal can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.
Be sure to only feed dogs cooked oatmeal and opt for plain varieties prepared with water instead of milk. You should also increase their intake gradually to assess your dog’s tolerance.
However, keep in mind that oatmeal should be included as part of a balanced diet and not be used to replace commercial dog food.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially if they have any underlying health conditions.
Is Oatmeal Good for Dogs?
Oatmeal is high in fiber and contains a plethora of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. “Served in moderation, oatmeal can benefit a dog in a variety of ways,” says Dr. Carly Fox of New York City’s Animal Medical Center.
“It is a great alternative carbohydrate for dogs that may be sensitive to wheat or grains.” Oatmeal contains vitamin B, which helps maintain a healthy coat, and linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps to maintain the strength of dogs’ skin.
It’s also a great source of soluble fiber, which can regulate blood glucose levels and help dogs that have irregular bowel movements. But Dr. Fox cautions that feeding your dog foods containing a lot of fiber can lead to GI upset, whose symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.
What Kind Of Oats Can My Dog Eat?
The best oats to feed a dog are those that have been minimally processed. Instant oatmeal, which is pre-cooked then dried and pressed, has less nutritional value than steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats.
Dogs should never be fed oats that are flavored or pre-mixed with seasonings or add-ins like raisins, which are toxic to canines. These styles of oats are typically high in sugar and could contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is dangerous for dogs to consume.
Because raw oats are harder for your dog to digest, they should always be cooked (and thoroughly cooled) before serving. When preparing oats for a dog, avoid using milk of both the dairy and non-dairy varieties.
Dogs can’t easily break down the lactose in dairy and plant-based milks may contain other ingredients, such as almonds, which are hard for dogs to digest. Mixing oats with plain water is the best option for your pup.
How to Safely Prep Oatmeal for Dogs
Cooked, plain oatmeal can be a good addition to your dog’s diet and contains many nutrients. But always avoid feeding your dog oatmeal that contains harmful toxic ingredients. Check the package for any of the following:
- Xylitol (which may be found in sugar-free instant oats or flavored varieties)
When cooking oatmeal, use water instead of milk because it’s better for your dog’s digestive system. Cook the oatmeal as normal, without adding any sugar or salt. Let the oatmeal cool to room temperature before sharing it with your dog, and start with small amounts as a complement to their usual food.
Always check with your vet before making any major changes to your dog’s diet, especially if your pup has any health conditions or sensitivities.
How Much Oatmeal Can Dogs Safely Eat?
While oatmeal isn’t bad for dogs, too much of a good thing can still wreak havoc on your pup’s diet. That’s why moderation is everything, says Danielle Bernal, DVM with Wellness Pet Company.
When pet parents add food to their dog’s diet, they need to ensure that the bulk of their nutrition is provided by high-quality, complete, balanced food.
“In an ideal composition, complete and balanced tailored nutrition in any form such as wet or dry should make up 90 percent of their total nutrition,” she says. “Added bowl boosters or toppers such as adding oatmeal should proportionally represent just 10 percent of their total calories.”
Bernal also warns that giving your pup too much oatmeal could cause digestive health upsets due to its significant contribution to carbohydrates. If you overdo it, your doggo may have diarrhea, vomiting, and even possibly bloat, which can be life-threatening.
Oatmeal may be your preferred first meal of the day, but it shouldn’t be a meal replacement for your pup’s kibble.
“While it may deliver a wholesome breakfast to fuel your busy day and be a great nutritional source that delivers certain nutrients, the reality for our dogs is that it still lacks many of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals a dog needs,” Bernal adds.
How To Cook Oatmeal For Dogs
Cooking oatmeal for dogs is simple to do. Add 1 cup of oats to 2 cups of water and bring to a boil on medium-high heat while stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes … or longer if needed to make sure they’re thoroughly cooked for easier digestibility. For dogs, you don’t need to add any sweeteners or flavorings.
Can I give my dog oatmeal for diarrhea?
Chat with your vet before introducing a new food. Especially if your dog has diarrhea. But yes, in general, plain oatmeal can be included in a bland diet.
Other options might include rice or plain pasta. What works best may vary from situation to situation, so it’s always good to discuss your dog’s situation with your vet.