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Can Dogs Eat Cereal? Is Cereal Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

can dogs eat cereal

Few things are more enjoyable to us than the crunch of a good cereal, and the sound of your morning munching might make your dog come running for his share. Before you toss some cereal pieces over to your pup, you should be asking, “Is cereal safe for dogs?” Some cereals are okay for dogs in small amounts, and some should be avoided entirely. Ultimately, it depends on what cereal you’re eating, so let’s get into the specifics.

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Is Sugar the Problem with Some Cereals?

Mostly! Sugar is not good for dogs, and according to experts at Pet Web MD, too much sugar in a dog’s diet can lead to weight gain and obesity, tooth and gum problems, and even diabetes.

This means that cereals with high sugar content like Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, and Frosted Cheerios are unsuitable for dogs. A few pieces here and there probably won’t cause any issues, but it’s better to avoid them altogether.

Can Dogs Eat Cereal

Are There Other Cereals to Worry About?

Aside from sugar content, there are some cereals that contain other ingredients that aren’t safe for dogs to eat. Cereal with chocolate of any kind should be strictly avoided in your dog’s diet, for example. The American Kennel Club warns that chocolate is toxic for dogs and can cause serious medical problems if consumed by your pooch. Keep the Count Chocula and Reese’s Puffs to yourself in the morning.

Cereals like Raisin Bran, Great Grains, and Oatmeal Crisp contain raisins, and PetMD advises dog owners that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can be fatal. If you do want to share some of this cereal, be extremely careful only to offer your pup the flakes and none of the raisins.

Lastly, cereals with nuts can also be dangerous for your canine friend. According to Nationwide Pet Health Zone, many nuts are unsuitable for dogs and can cause digestive problems and other medical issues, so they should be avoided entirely.

dog eating
Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

What Cereals Are Okay for Dogs?

Some cereals don’t contain much sugar, and they also don’t have chocolate, raisins, or nuts. Any cereal that fits these criteria is probably safe for your dog in small quantities. Options like regular Cheerios (not Honey Nut or any other variation), Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Special K are all safe in moderation.

No matter what cereal you’re eating, it’s never going to offer significant nutritional value to your dog, so make sure you only give them small amounts. Never replace your dog’s meals with cereal, as it won’t provide anywhere near the same nutrients that their food will.

Remember, plant-based materials and grains are generally more challenging for your dog’s tummy to process than our own.  While you and your dog may both be happy at the moment that you bond over a box of the good stuff, it could lead to a bad stomach ache for your canine friend. Be sure to keep water around when you’re offering up “unconventional” dog treats to aid in digestion and help your dog avoid possible constipation.

Can Dogs Eat Cereal

How Can I Feed My Dog Cereal?

Small pieces of cereal like Cheerios can make great treats, especially for training. They’re very low in calories, contain no sugar, they’re small and easy to eat, and still pack that desirable crunch your dog will love. You can feel free to offer your pup a handful of Cheerios throughout training, or as treats while you eat breakfast.

Although we often put milk on our cereal, you should avoid giving your pooch any cereal that has been in your bowl with milk. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs are lactose intolerant, and dairy products often cause digestive issues in our four-legged friends. Although small quantities may be safe, it’s best to avoid the milk altogether and stick to dry cereal for your pup.

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The Bottom Line

Can dogs eat cereal? Well, some cereals are safe for dogs, but you should avoid sugary cereals or those that have chocolate, raisins, and nuts. Opting for low-calorie, low-sugar cereals like Cheerios are perfectly safe for your pup, as long as you dole them out in small quantities.

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Featured image credit: ponce_photography, Pixabay

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