Pug laying on bed with person eating oatmeal

Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal? Yes, And…

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If you’re a dog owner, you probably often wonder about human foods dogs can eat. Maybe you’re looking for a tasty new treat to entice your dog to perform a new trick, or you need a way to encourage a picky eater to eat more.

There are many reasons to give your dog the occasional human snack. Sharing your food with your dog can be a fun way to bond. Before you do, however, you should be sure that the food is safe for dogs to eat.

Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal?

Yes, dogs can eat oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a well-balanced food with a good nutritional profile. It is low in calories, sugar, and cholesterol, and high in protein. It is packed with antioxidants and fiber that can help regulate heart health, support good gut bacteria, and aid with weight loss.

There’s no doubt that oatmeal is good for humans. Is it also good for dogs? The short answer to the question, “Can dogs eat oatmeal?” is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind when giving your dog oatmeal.

Oatmeal for Dogs With Wheat Allergies

Some dogs are sensitive to wheat and other grains. Unfortunately, you can find many of these grains in low-quality or cheap pet foods. Oatmeal is a great alternative carbohydrate for dogs who are sensitive or allergic to other grains.

If you think your dog may have a wheat allergy or a sensitivity to one of the other grains in their food, talk to your vet about putting your dog on a diet where oatmeal is the number one grain ingredient.

How Much Oatmeal Can I Give My Dog?

When giving any human food to your dog, the most important thing to remember is to feed it in moderation. The majority of your dog’s diet should consist of high-quality, veterinarian-approved dog food. Most vets recommend that only 10% of a dog’s daily calories should come from food other than dog food.

How Should I Prepare Oatmeal for My Dog?

Always give your dog fully-cooked oatmeal. Raw oatmeal is difficult to digest and can upset your dog’s stomach. Never mix the oatmeal you plan to give your dog with milk—use water only.

Stay away from “fun” toppings like raisins, cinnamon, chocolate, or nuts. While these additions are delicious for humans, they can be downright deadly for dogs! Serve your dog’s oatmeal plain, with nothing on it.

Make sure you don’t serve your dog too much oatmeal at once. It is high in carbohydrates and causes bloating, constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea. A good amount of oatmeal to feed your dog is ½ cup (depending on the size of the dog) no more than once or twice a week.

Tips from Our Vets

The following is a list of tips on how to think about what human foods are (and may not be) safe for your dog from Dr. Jennifer Coates’ article on Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat.

There are some human foods that dogs can eat safely, as well as some human foods dogs can’t eat.

If you have a dog, you might be used to seeing adorable puppy eyes begging for a bite of, well, anything that you happen to be eating.

While it’s natural to want to share human food with your furry pal, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Some reasons foods may be harmful to your pup include:

  • Foods that are a problem due to our physiological differences (foods we can handle that a dog’s stomach can’t)
  • Other foods aren’t toxic, but are still potentially dangerous for dogs because they are hard to digest
  • Another category of foods that are a problem for dogs are foods that may contain high levels of fat

Some tips and words of caution if you are feeding your pet human foods:

  • Always keep in mind that new foods of any kind, including switching to a different dog food, can cause stomach upset.
  • When you find a human food you’d like to share with your pup, go slowly. Give small amounts at first and watch for any problems like vomiting or diarrhea before giving more.
  • Remember that treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So all of the foods that are safe for your dog should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and nutrient excesses and deficiencies.

What To Do if Your Dog Eats Something He Shouldn’t

Now that you know what foods are safe for dogs, it’s a good idea to know what to do if your pup eats food that’s toxic to dogs.

If your dog does end up eating something he shouldn’t, try not to panic. You have a few options for getting the help your dog needs:

  • The first is to call your dog’s veterinarian, who can advise you to either come into the office or to watch for signs of poisoning, obstruction, or other potential problems.
  • If it’s after hours, you can try calling an emergency veterinarian.
  • Another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

In some cases, you might be told to induce vomiting in your dog. It is helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case you need to do this.

Do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or someone from one of the pet poison control hotlines advises you to do so, however, because in some cases, vomiting can make the situation worse. [efn_note]Is it ever safe to induce vomiting? ASPCA.org. November 19, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2021.[/efn_note]

Final Thoughts

Oatmeal is fine to serve to your dog every once in a while as a treat, as part of a well-balanced diet that primarily consists of veterinary-grade dog food. Keep these guidelines in mind, and your dog should be absolutely fine enjoying the occasional cup of oatmeal with you.

If you’re looking for more information about the foods your dog should and shouldn’t eat, you can find that in our break downs on whether your dog can eat shrimp, pork, pecans, cantaloupe, or tuna.

Obviously you’re likely interested in the quality of your dog’s food and your pet’s health, in addition to having questions about what your dog can and can’t eat. We happen to have a ton of resources on these very topics!

One is our guide which will teach you how to add fiber to a dog’s diet, along with or our guide to choosing the high fiber dog food. If you’re looking into dog upset stomach we have a guide for that as well, and we can even help answer how long does it take a dog to digest food?. If you’re portioning your dog’s food you can also check out our guide to choosing the best automatic dog feeder.

We also have a series of health and nutritional information for your dog. Our dog weight calculator and our answer to how heavy should my dog be? can help you determine if your dog is the proper weight and size, and we even have a collection of breed-specific growth charts such as our goldendoodle growth chart, great dane growth chart, golden retriever growth chart, chihuahua growth chart, or our labrador growth chart.

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.