Oatmeal is a filling and nutritious meal that can be beneficial to anybody’s diet. Oatmeal mainly consist of oats and oats are considered functional food. Functional foods contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your body. However, the benefits of oatmeal do not pertain only to the human body. Incorporating oatmeal into your dog’s diet can be extremely beneficial, as well.
The Advantages of Oatmeal in a Dogs Diet
Oatmeal is high in vitamin B and A, fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, linoleic acid, and lysine. Lysine is an essential amino acid that is a building block for protein. Most pet foods do not contain as much lysine as your dog requires, so you need to go elsewhere to incorporate it into their diet.
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. This fatty acid will assist in keeping your dog’s skin healthy and robust. Similarly, vitamin B will help to keep their coat healthy. The fiber content will keep a dog’s bowel movements consistent. However, you cannot feed them too much fiber because it can have an adverse effect and cause diarrhea or frequent vomiting.
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for dogs. If your dog has a deficiency, then their coats and skin will likely become unhealthy, and their muscles can deteriorate. Dogs need calcium for the same reasons that we do. Calcium helps dogs to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and teeth.
The abundance of magnesium present in oatmeal will also help with maintaining a dog’s muscle health, as well as its heart and liver. Finally, iron is essential for a dog to form red blood cells and hemoglobin consistently. Oatmeal is also an excellent carbohydrate substitute for dogs with sensitivity to wheat or grains.
Things to Look Out For
- Be sure not to make the oatmeal with water as opposed to milk. Dogs are highly sensitive to dairy products. A dog’s bodies don’t break down lactose as easily as a human.
- Make sure that you cook the oatmeal all the way through. If not thoroughly cooked, it can irritate their gastrointestinal tract. It will also be difficult for your dog to ingest.
- Make sure that you don’t add any sugar to your oatmeal and that there are no artificial sweeteners inside of it. Some artificial sweeteners like Xylitol can be lethal to dogs.
- Serve the oatmeal at room temperature. If it is too hot, then it can burn the inside of the dog’s mouth.
- Do not feed your dog instant oatmeal. It may be easier to prepare, but instant oatmeal is highly processed. Highly processed foods substantially decrease the nutritional value of the oatmeal. It may also contain ingredients that can be harmful to your dog.
- Never feed your dog flavored oatmeal.
- Don’t serve your dog oatmeal too often. Only serve your dog one tablespoon for every 20 pounds they weigh. Give them at most half a cup, up to two times a week.
- Integrate the oatmeal into their diet slowly to see how their body reacts. It may not be right for every dog’s diet.
How to Add Oatmeal to a Dog’s Diet
You may need to get creative to integrate oatmeal into your dog’s diet. Try adding a tablespoon of oatmeal to the dog food that you already feed your dog. You can also try mixing in foods that they already enjoy. For example, peanut butter is delightful for many dogs. Try adding a little peanut butter to the oatmeal. Fruit can also be another great addition to the oatmeal. Find a dog-friendly fruit that they enjoy and add it to the oatmeal. Fruits are also functional foods. Therefore, you would be increasing the nutritional content of the meal even more.