Oatmeal is a common breakfast staple that’s favored for both its versatility and potential health benefits.
It has also become an increasingly common ingredient in many types of commercial dog food.
While it seems clear that oatmeal is generally safe for your canine companion, you may wonder whether you should use caution with some preparation methods and if it’s truly healthy for them.
This article reviews whether dogs can — and should — eat oatmeal.
Oatmeal is highly nutritious and has been associated with several potential health benefits.
Promotes skin health
Oats are rich in B vitamins and linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid (
B vitamins play a key role in skin health and may be involved in the production of healthy skin cells (
Meanwhile, linoleic acid is also essential for skin health and can help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier, promote wound healing, and alleviate inflammation (
Although these benefits have not been studied in dogs specifically, dog skin is similar to human skin.
Oatmeal is high in fiber, with over 4 grams of fiber in each cooked cup (240 grams) (
Fiber has been linked to a number of potential health benefits, especially in terms of digestive health.
Fiber moves slowly through your body undigested, adding bulk to stool to support regularity (
Although studies in dogs specifically are limited, research suggests that increased fiber intake may be beneficial for treating constipation (
May lower cholesterol levels
If your dog has high cholesterol levels due to metabolic or genetic health conditions, oatmeal may be beneficial.
This is because oats are a good source of beta glucan, a type of fiber that has been associated with improved heart health (
Humans studies have shown that oats could help reduce cholesterol levels, especially in people with high cholesterol (
One study in 14 dogs observed similar findings, showing that supplementing with oat beta glucan for 71 days reduced levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol (
However, more large, high quality studies are needed to confirm whether oats may help lower cholesterol levels in dogs.
Although more research is needed, oatmeal may help support skin health, promote regularity, and lower cholesterol levels. However, studies on these benefits in dogs specifically are limited.
Although oats are a great source of nutrients, keep in mind that not all types are suitable for your furry friend.
In particular, raw oats can be difficult for your dog to digest and may cause stomach upset.
You should also steer clear of flavored varieties, which are often high in sugar and may contain ingredients that can be toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, raisins, or the sugar alcohol xylitol (
Additionally, be sure to prepare oats with water instead of milk, as many dogs cannot digest lactose very well (
Finally, keep in mind that increasing their fiber intake too quickly can also cause unpleasant digestive side effects, including gas or bloating (
To keep negative side effects at bay, it’s recommended for fiber intakes to increase slowly over time by 1–3 grams per day, as well as with plenty of water.
While oatmeal can be nutritious, certain types may contain ingredients that are unsuitable for dogs and can cause adverse digestive side effects.
According to the American Kennel Club, you can typically feed dogs around one tablespoon (15 grams) of cooked oatmeal for every 20 pounds (9 kg) of body weight (16).
Given its rich content of soluble fiber, oatmeal has also become an increasingly common ingredient in many types of commercial dog food (
It’s especially popular among pet owners with dogs who have difficulty tolerating other grains, such as wheat.
Some specific examples of dog food that contain oatmeal include:
- Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe
- Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb & Oatmeal Formula
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Fish and Oatmeal Recipe
- Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe
- Nutro Wholesome Essentials Venison Meal, Brown Rice & Oatmeal Recipe
Several popular types of commercial dog food contain 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.