Barley has plenty of health benefits for humans, but is it something a dog can benefit from? Many times we want to give our dog some of the food we’re having, especially if it seems like the food is healthy. But not everything that is healthy for humans translates to being healthy for a dog.
Barley is not something dog’s would be eating on their own in the wild, but as it turns out it appears to have no ill effect when eaten by dogs.
The basic consideration is whether to give dogs food that have no effect on them one way or the other. If a dog isn’t sustained and receiving benefits from the food in question, why give it to them? So while yes, it is possible to give a dog barley, the better question is should you.
Can I Give My Dog Barley? Answer: Yes, occasionally
Although dogs can typically handle barley without a problem, you as the owner will have to determine if giving them barley is something you’re going to do on a regular basis, or as a one-time thing. If they got into some barley they should be OK, and you don’t have to worry about it having a toxic effect.
If you’ve run out of food and are looking for a way to hold them over until you can get to the store, it might also be able to help you out. But as an everyday food, we’re recommending against it.
Dogs and Carbs
Depending on who you ask, dogs either need or don’t need carbohydrates in order to be healthy. The case can be made that dogs share a common ancestry with wild dogs like wolves and coyotes that subsist on a largely meat-based diet. This would mean that you could feed a dog a meat-focused diet and they would thrive.
The flip side of that argument is that dogs have been domesticated for a long time now, and are basically scavengers, eating anything they can for sustenance.
Since a lot of the dog food you find for sale in supermarkets contains a fair amount of carbohydrates, some say that they don’t have any ill effect on dogs, since many dogs fed these foods live long and healthy lives. It’s really up to you and your philosophy on how you will feed your dog, and which foods they’ll primarily eat, and which ones they’ll eat only every now and then.
A Dog’s Digestive System
A dog breaks down foods differently than a human does, and while barley takes a longer time for humans to fully digest, a dog will burn through it much faster. If you do give your dog barley, be sure that they’re also getting enough protein from animal sources, since there’s no reason to feed them anything resembling a vegetarian diet.
Grains Such as Barley and Wheat
Barley is a hearty grain that is loaded with gluten. When considering feeding your dog grains and wheat, it’s important to realize that these are man made items that would not be available in the wild.
They have been cultivated in order to be edible, and they have been separated from the shaft. This is something that dogs wouldn’t do – no opposable thumbs – and therefore is an unnatural food for them, even though we regard it as a natural food.
Choosing the Right Dog Food
You may have noticed that a lot of dog foods contain wheat, grains, and other fillers as their top ingredient, some even contain barley. This is because these ingredients are relatively inexpensive compared to using meat products.
When you go to choose food for your dog, make sure that the top ingredient is an animal-based protein. It’s OK if there are other ingredients, including vegetables, grains, and barley, but you don’t want them to make up the bulk of what your dog is eating each day.
These kinds of dog foods more closely resemble what a dog would be eating in the wild, preferring to hunt down prey if it’s available, but eating anything that they come upon in between meals. It’s the easiest and fastest way to feed your dog without having to worry if they’re getting all of their nutritional needs met.