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Can Dogs Eat Frosted Flakes? How Unhealthy Is It?

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

frosted flakes cereal

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When eating your breakfast of frosted flakes cereal, you might be wondering if you can share a bit of these cereal flakes with your dog. Although there are no ingredients in frosted flakes that are toxic to dogs, it is still not a healthy food to feed your dog.

Your dogs’ adorable eyes staring over you at the breakfast table might make it tempting to allow them to have a couple of frosted flakes, and even though giving them one frosted flake won’t be detrimental to their health, it is a food you want to avoid feeding your dog.

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Are Frosted Flakes Bad for Dogs?

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Frosted flakes are not good for dogs. If possible, you should avoid giving your dog frosted flakes as a treat, even if it is only in moderation.

As facultative carnivores (often confused with omnivores), dogs should be fed a diet of animal-based proteins, grains, vegetables, supplements, and fruits, and highly processed cereals such as frosted flakes don’t fall into that category.

Most processed foods aren’t even the healthiest options for humans, so giving them to your dog is not a good idea.

Why Should You Avoid Feeding Frosted Flakes to Your Dog?

Now that you know frosted flakes are unhealthy for dogs, we will explain why.

1. High Sugar Content

Frosted flakes have a high sugar content—the name was first Sugar Frosted Flakes before the word “sugar” was removed in 1983. Sugar might be appealing to humans, but it should not be included in your dog’s diet.

Frosted flakes have around 12 grams of sugar per serving, which is much higher than other breakfast cereals.

Giving your dog even the smallest number of frosted flakes in moderation means that you will be giving your dog more sugar than their body can handle, putting them at risk for health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and digestion issues.

The sugar from frosted flakes doesn’t come from natural sources that won’t be harmful to your dog’s health like carbohydrates, instead, it comes from high fructose corn syrup and granulated sugars which are processed.

2. Risky Preservatives

Nearly all foods in today’s time are preserved—this makes the food last longer and retain nutrients, but certain preservatives are too risky to feed to your dog.

Frosted flakes contain a preservative known as Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), which is a controversial artificial preservative banned in several countries for being a potential carcinogen for humans and an environmental hazard.

BHT is believed to have contributed to tumor development in a group of rats from this study, although they weren’t cancerous. The male rats who were fed large amounts of BHT also showed signs of renal and hepatic damage.

As pet owners, we should avoid feeding our dogs any foods with risky and potentially harmful foods that can harm their health either in the long term or short term.

3. Low Nutritional Value

sick mastiff dog lying on the floor looking away
Image Credit: Helen of Troy, Shutterstock

Even though frosted flakes contain some vitamins and minerals that are useful to humans, your dog should be getting these nutrients from their staple food already and not from frosted flakes.

Frosted flakes seem to have a very low nutritional value for dogs, and most of the processed ingredients will not be a healthy or beneficial addition to your dog’s diet. The main ingredient in frosted flakes is milled corn, which is not an essential part of your dog’s diet, but it is not harmful to dogs either, and corn can be found as a filler in many dog foods.

4. High in Sodium

Salt is not good for dogs, and corn that has been through the milling process typically has a higher sodium content. The sodium content in frosted flakes is more than your dog should be eating, as one serving of frosted flakes has around 190 to 200 milligrams of sodium, which is quite a lot.

Salt itself is not bad for dogs, and it is an electrolyte that your dog’s body needs to perform basic bodily functions—it is when too much salt is introduced into your dog’s diet that you can begin seeing signs of salt toxicity. Excess sodium in your dog’s diet can lead to issues such as dehydration, increased thirst, and high blood pressure.

If your dog already has an existing health condition that requires a lower salt intake such as heart disease, then you should avoid feeding them frosted flakes.

5. Too Many Calories

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One serving (1 cup) of frosted flakes has about 130 calories, which is way more calories than certain small toy dog breeds should take in daily. Even if you plan to only give your dog a small amount of frosted flakes, they are very high in calories aside from having a high sodium and sugar content.

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What Happens If Your Dog Eats Frosted Flakes?

If your dog has already eaten frosted flakes, perhaps your child wanted to share some of their breakfast with them or your dog ate frosted flakes that were laying around, rest assured that frosted flakes aren’t toxic, and your dog will be fine.

It will be a good idea to take your dog to a veterinarian for a check-up though, especially if they ate a large number of frosted flakes. Your dog might experience digestive upset, such as diarrhea and bloat, but they should be just fine in a few hours.

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Final Thoughts

Frosted flakes are not a healthy treat for dogs even when fed in moderation. Overall, frosted flakes are too high in calories, salt, sugar, and other processed ingredients that do not benefit your dog.

Even though your dog looks cute begging for some frosted flakes at breakfast time—don’t give in, especially since there are healthier alternatives out there.

Featured Image Credit: Michael Peccatiello Jr, Shutterstock

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