Stop before you give your dog something like cereal. Just because a dog begs for it doesn’t mean you should let them have it. After all, they’re animals and don’t know what they should be eating. That’s why you are the boss.
With so many variations of cereals nowadays, they take up an entire isle a the supermarket, it’s hard to generalize. But the truth is that most cereals aren’t the best choice for a canine treat.
But if you are without an alternative at the moment, giving your dog some cereal on occasion probably won’t do much harm.
Can I Give My Dog Cereal? Answer: Occasionally, as a Treat
Like people, dogs need a balanced diet. Some quality cereals could be part of a balanced diet but for who? Dogs need certain ingredients which is why dog food is so important. A canine can have cereal as a treat, but it should not be substituted for regular dog food. Before feeding your dog anything, including cereal, remember they cannot have foods with chocolate as an ingredient. Many cereals contain chocolate flavoring which would disqualify those brands as a snack for a dog.
Regarding cereals in general, giving a dog too many grains could cause more harm than good since dogs primarily need a carnivorous diet. Cereal is grained based and not optimal for dogs but tolerated.
Dogs Will Eat Most Anything
Whether you subscribe to the notion that dogs are carnivores or omnivores is irrelevant. Most people don’t care but you should know that an omnivore eats meat, vegetables, and fruits. They eat a little bit of everything. I think of dogs as primarily carnivorous since they need more meat than anything else. It’s what they would eat in the wild and it’s what they should eat in your home as well. Cereal just isn’t going to provide what they require.
If you do feed your dog cereal then serving size is important. If you are unwilling to restrict their cereal consumption then it is best to just stick with store bought dog foods. It may not be the healthiest choice but at least your dog gets the appropriate amount of each food group including key meat-based proteins. Dog food is formulated for them but cereal is definitely not. That’s the difference!
Dogs & Oatmeal
There are foods, besides meat, that your dog can have like oatmeal. Oatmeal may offer have many health benefits for dogs. For example, it can help reduce cholesterol and help reduce the risk of heart disease. This, however, is NOT a food that can replace dog food. Instead, it can be used if you are out or low on dog food or as a treat. I will always favor oatmeal over cereal if we are comparing human foods for dogs.
The best way to feed a dog oatmeal is with no added sugars, a plain variety and it must be cooked properly. It is important to your dog’s health that you provide them with only the best. Even a dog can have health issues like diabetes, and if it runs in their genetic history they are likely to get it as well. However, the chances are decreased when a dog is in good shape and is fed appropriately which is all in your hands.
How to Feed a Dog
When picking out dog food read the ingredients label. Don’t just buy the cheapest or the most expensive brand. Dogs are meant to eat mostly meats so the first ingredient should be chicken, beef, duck, etc. and not by-products which is just leftover meats like eyes and hooves. After reading that, cereal sounds great but stay focused on what they really need!
How much you feed your dog will depend on their age and breed. A puppy under 8 weeks should still be with his mom where they will receive the appropriate amount of nutrients through the mother’s milk. Giving your dog cereal with store bought milk is not even close to a substitute for this. As a puppy grows they will eat small meals, about 3-4 meals a day. As they grow and mature they will take in more food and usually eat twice a day. Maintaining a good feeding schedule and regiment is important for your dog over the long term. Don’t make frequent cereal consumption a bad habit.
Conclusion on Cereal
Dogs should be given well-balanced meals just like a person. But every once in a while scraps will not hurt and some cereal will be okay. As a pet owner, you’ll use your best judgment for giving your dog the appropriate kind of cereal if any at all. As an example, it is not okay to give your dog Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs. These are considered the junk food cereals.
Anything with very high sugar content is best avoided as they probably can’t handle it well and consumption could result in diarrhea. Again, foods like oatmeal are okay since they provide a few benefits for a dog. If you are unsure on what to feed your canine you should always seek expert advice from a veterinarian before you give your dog any human foods including cereals.