Is Oatmeal Bad for Dogs? Can They Eat It?

by Stuart | Last Updated:   September 24, 2019
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I love oatmeal, and I love my doggie, and I can never seem to have a meal without feeling like I have to share with my best friend. Due to this, I started to wonder what human foods are appropriate for my doggie, and specifically, I started to wonder about oatmeal.

Is oatmeal bad for dogs? No, oatmeal is not bad for dogs. Oats and oatmeal can be used to make homemade dog food, but they should be cooked first. Dogs tend to love the taste of it without being sweetened, and it is a good source of fibre and many essential minerals and vitamins for them. 

While we all want our dogs to be the healthiest they can be it can be hard to determine what is safe and what isn’t (especially when we go down some internet rabbit holes).

The good news is that oatmeal is safe for our dogs. It can be good for them in more ways than just being eaten too. I am hoping to share with you the benefits of oatmeal for our doggies. It can be so much more than just good food. 

infographic for dogs and eating oatmeal

The Benefits of Oatmeal for Dogs

While we all know oatmeal is good for us, it may surprise you to know that dogs can reap some of the same rewards that humans can from eating oatmeal. Although it is not just ingesting oatmeal that is good for dogs, it can be used externally to help relieve itchy skin in dogs as well. 

Oatmeal contains soluble fibre which can help with an irregular digestive system, and I don’t mean in humans. While there is no doubt that most humans can benefit from a little extra fibre in our diets, so can dogs.

Like humans, dogs are omnivorous, meaning they can eat both meat and plant matter. Dogs can also get energy from both, just like we can. 

Part of a Balanced Diet

Although we do need to be careful with feeding oatmeal to our doggies, a little can go a long way with them. There are recipes that can be used to increase how much food they are eating without increasing how much oatmeal they are eating.

Kenzie, my doggie, likes it when I add some apples, yogurt and eggs into their oatmeal. 

By adding in a few extras, I can give Kenzie a small breakfast to supplement her dry dog food. This also gives their bodies access to nutrients that are less processed than what you would find in dog food.

Limiting the oatmeal fed to a dog is best, but for some dogs, it may be a healthier alternative to other grains, especially with those with sensitivities to corn or wheat. 

Balance does tend to be the word of the day when it comes to feeding a doggy diet that is homemade. When you feed out of a can or a bag, all the nutrients needed are contained within it, and you don’t have to put much thought into it.

It can be different when figuring out how to feed your pups a balanced diet when you are making it for them yourself. 

If your dog has never had oatmeal before, it’s never too late to add it into their diet. Like with any food, you do want to go slowly to see how they react to it and until they are used to it, it should not be fed daily.

Nor should it even be fed as the main part of their diet as dogs are more carnivores than they are herbivores. 

Getting Dogs Used to a New Food Like Oats

To start getting your dog used to eating oatmeal, after you cook it and before you add in salt and sugar and all the goodies that humans like, separate out a teaspoon or two for your doggie. Once a week or so is fine until they get used to eating it. Some dogs may not even eat much of it while they are still getting adjusted to it, and this is completely normal. 

When trying new foods, dogs may only take a few tastes, even if they like it. This is so they can gauge how it will affect them, if it is good food or not. This is leftover from when they lived in the wild, and you cannot really tell if a dog likes something within the first couple of introductions. Usually, by the third or fourth time they try something, you will know if they like it. 

By the fourth try, you will know one way or the other if your dog likes it. Either they will reluctantly eat the oatmeal because you are, or they will ignore it entirely. Kenzie will touch something with her nose to acknowledge it without actually eating it. This is her way of saying that she doesn’t like that food (and that she wishes it was something she did like!).

If they decide they like it, even if they are slow eaters, they will tell you, usually with an empty bowl. Puppies should not be introduced to oatmeal until they are ready for solid food without mom’s milk

Oatmeal: A Dog Approved Meal Additive

If you want to feed dogs oatmeal as part of their regular diet, you can mix it in with brown rice and chicken. Oatmeal, when it comes to dogs, can fit into so many things, your only limit is your own imagination. 

Although humans typically think of oatmeal as a sweet breakfast food, this does not need to be the case with dogs

Mixing in oatmeal with brown rice and chicken can be a great way to add a little variety and taste into a regular meal. You can also add in things like broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes, all doggie approved favourites. 

If you use a little bit each day, you will need to feed it in smaller amounts as oatmeal is not something that should be used as a staple for dogs. Oatmeal is one of those “too much of a good thing” type of foods, so care does need to be taken that you don’t overdo it with the oatmeal.

Other Ways to Use Oatmeal for Your Dog

Oatmeal can also be used as a poultice to help with itchy skin. You can mix it with some water to make a thick paste to put on the itchy area. For dry skin, you can add some olive oil into the mix for a little extra hydration on their skin. I recommend grinding the oatmeal into a powder first, by using a coffee grinder first.

You can also make bathwater out of oatmeal by running water through nylon attached to the faucet. This will ensure your dog gets the relief oatmeal can provide with a consistent dosage over their entire coat and body. 

Don’t be surprised if your dog decides to start drinking the bathwater! 

A Dog-Friendly Oatmeal Treat

I like to make something homemade for Kenzie when I get the chance. The recipes I make might not sound all that tasty to a human, but Kenzie loves these homemade oatmeal treats.

For the base, I like to mix oatmeal with a variety of other dog healthy foods into it. I don’t usually use things like flour or baking powder/soda in it though. I will use things like:

  • Pumpkin
  • Eggs
  • Plain yogurt
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Apples
  • Chicken

I will mix the ingredients together, in a way that makes for a dough type of mix. I will then shape them into small cookies and either bake them or put them in a food dehydrator, depending on how much time I have. A food dehydrator will cook longer, but doesn’t need to be monitored as an oven does. 

I even like to hide things inside, and this is where the apples and the chicken comes into play. Like a treat inside of a treat, they love the extra goodness they were not expecting (though with dog noses, they probably do know what’s inside).  Plus it is something healthy for them, and I know exactly what went into making it. 

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.