You should not feed your dog oatmeal every day. Although it’s ok for dogs to eat oatmeal 1-2 times per week, it should not be the staple of their diet. Dogs thrive on protein and fat. Oatmeal is high in carbs and can cause bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
It’s no secret that the key to a long life is eating a healthy diet. This is true for us, so why wouldn’t it also be true for dogs?
Humans need a balanced diet that includes all the healthy food groups: meat, fruit, vegetables, grains, and dairy. Generally, we know what is healthy for us and what isn’t.
Dogs, however, should eat a different diet because of one simple biological fact: they are carnivores.
Meat should be the primary food group for all dogs, no matter the breed. But all dog owners know how difficult it is to say “no” to those soul-melting eyes when you’re eating something particularly delicious. Who can deny that look?
Although dogs are carnivores by nature, they can survive as omnivores as they’ve adapted to surviving from whatever they can eat, even grains.
If they get all of their necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, they can live a healthy life, regardless of the food source.
However, as a dog owner, it’s imperative to research what your dog can and cannot eat. It would be wonderful if we could share a bar of chocolate with our dogs, but chocolate is one of those classic foods that dogs cannot eat. It can make them violently ill and even cause death.
But, what about those foods that aren’t as obvious as chocolate? What about when it’s early in the morning, and you’re enjoying a healthy bowl of oatmeal, and your canine pal sits his heavy head on your lap, or even just looks up at you with those eyes? Is it alright to share your oatmeal with them?
You CAN Feed Your Dog Oatmeal… With Some Conditions
Good news: it’s perfectly healthy to share some of your oatmeal with your dog! Oatmeal is high in fiber, which is helpful for dogs to eat, especially when they have irregular bowel movements and/or bowel issues.
However, there are some points that one needs to consider when feeding oatmeal to their pup.
Always Cook the Oatmeal Thoroughly
When preparing oatmeal for your pup, always ensure the oatmeal is cooked all the way through. If it isn’t, it can aggravate your dog’s digestive system.
Be sure to not serve it hot as well, since that could hurt your dog’s mouth and cause other digestive issues.
Feed Them Only Plain Oatmeal, Not Flavored or Instant Oatmeal
Dogs have issues digesting certain ingredients, such as xylitol and other artificial additives. A lot of oatmeal that’s flavored contains additives, not to mention the cursed chocolate that your dog cannot tolerate.
Steer clear of instant oatmeal as well, as it has additives that regular oats and oatmeal do not. This is more likely to cause digestive issues in your pup than the regular oatmeal.
Prepare Using Water Only and Not Milk
Dogs do not digest milk or other dairy products well. A good percentage of dogs are lactose intolerant. If they aren’t, they might struggle to digest the fat and salt in dairy products.
Instead of preparing the plain oatmeal with milk, simply do so with water.
How Much and Often Can You Feed Them Oatmeal?
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t share your oatmeal with your dog every day. As mentioned above, dogs thrive on a lot of protein and fewer carbohydrates. Oatmeal is high in fiber, yes, but too high in carbohydrates for dogs to handle eating often or too much of.
Dog owners can give their dogs half a cup of oatmeal 1-2 times per week. Anything more could cause several issues, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and distention.
However, it’s important to note that oatmeal shouldn’t be given to dogs as a meal replacement. They should still eat their usual dog food and meals alongside the occasional oatmeal. Oatmeal should be eaten as a treat and not a nutritious meal during the week.
What Other Human Foods are Healthy for Dogs?
Other than oatmeal, there are plenty of other human foods that are healthy for dogs.
As mentioned previously, many dogs are lactose intolerant and/or struggle to tolerate the fat and salt in dairy. Therefore, if you give your dog dairy, be sure to only give them infrequent and small amounts.
Rice of any kind, whether white or whole grain, is especially good for dogs with easily irritated bowels.
As dogs are primarily carnivores, meat is an excellent food item to give them, especially meat cooked without seasoning.
Low-Carbohydrate and Low Sugar Fruits and Vegetables
These include cucumbers, green beans, watermelon, and blueberries, as they are high in vitamins and minerals but low in nutrients dogs cannot tolerate much of, like sugar and carbohydrates.
If it’s low sugar and contains no additives, then it is safe to give your dog! Undoubtedly, they’ll be glad if you did.
If a food item is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it’s generally healthy for dogs. However, use the utmost caution when giving your dog any human food. Be sure to check if certain foods are safe for dogs before feeding it to your pup.
What Human Foods Should You Never Give to Your Dog?
Although it may be tempting to share all the meals you eat with your dog, you should refrain from doing so.
Certain foods can severely harm and possibly even kill your dog. Obviously, we don’t want either of those to happen.
There are several things you shouldn’t give to your dog.
As an avid chocolate eater, I very much wish that I could share my love for it with my dog. However, I never make this mistake, and neither should you. Products with caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee, and tea, can be very dangerous for your dog.
Ingestion of these products can cause a number of issues. Not only does it affect their GI tract (vomiting, gas, diarrhea) it also affects their circulatory system, causing seizures, tremors, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Due to their cyanide-filled pits, cherries could kill your dog by poisoning, blocking their intestines, or choking them.
Raisins, grapes, and currants are highly toxic for dogs. These may be safe for humans to ingest, but even a tiny amount can cause kidney failure or death.
Coconuts, including their water, oil, and flesh, can cause an upset stomach. However, coconut water is especially dangerous. Even having a small amount can cause harm because their guts cannot tolerate their high potassium content.
Not only are many nuts choking hazards, but some dogs can be allergic to certain kinds, such as the macadamia nut.
Certain Dairy Products
Although low amounts of dairy products are ok to feed your pup, ice cream is a no-go. Not only is it high in lactose, it’s also very high in sugar.
High-sugar anything is ill-advised to feed dogs because eating too much sugar can lead to serious complications, like vomiting, seizures, or liver failure.
Xylitol and Sugar
Dogs shouldn’t have any sugar or xylitol. Xylitol and sugar are hidden in many products, so check nutrition labels thoroughly.
Rotten Apples and Alcohol
Apples are ok to feed your dog, but never feed them rotten apples. They’ve fermented, which can be digested as alcohol. Any alcohol can cause severe issues in a dog.
What to do if Your Dog Eats Toxic Foods
Whether you feed them the toxic foods or they somehow get into these items themselves, monitor them closely. Take action if you notice any abnormal gastric activity, such as diarrhea, bloating, gas, or vomiting. Call your veterinarian or call the Animal Poison Control Center right away.
A Healthy Dog Starts with a Healthy Dog Bowl
As long as you feed your dog what he needs to live (and not feed him what he doesn’t need), your dog will be a healthy and happy companion right by your side for many years.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.