Oats are hearty, nutritious, and tasty. But dogs can benefit from oats and oatmeal, too, if served in moderation. Oatmeal is a great alternative carbohydrate for dogs who may be sensitive to wheat or other grains. Oats are full of linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps keep the skin strong and healthy. They are also a good source of soluble fiber, which can help regulate blood glucose levels.
Oats are a warming grain that calms the nervous and reproductive systems and strengthens the spleen, pancreas, immune system, and heart muscle. Rich in silicon, oats help make bones strong. Acidic and not very allergenic, they are tolerated best by most dogs.
Today's article will help teach dog parents everything about the health benefits of oats and how to draw an oatmeal bath for your dog!
What Are the Benefits of Oats for Dogs?
Introducing oats to your dog's diet will benefit them tremendously. From the pancreas and heart to the nervous and immune systems, both the body and the mind will enjoy the positive effects of including oats in a balanced diet:
- Oats are high in protein: Oats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods your dog can eat, with 13 grams of protein per cup (27-3% of their chemical composition). Oat protein is a valuable substitute for soy protein because it is not allergenic, whereas soy protein is.
- Oats are rich in nutrients such as iron, manganese, and zinc.
- Oats contain significant amounts of B vitamins and linoleic acid: The vitamin B complex and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, promote the production of healthy skin cells, fortify the skin barrier, assist in wound healing, and help curb inflammation.
- Oats promote bone health: Their high silica — the bioactive form of silicon — composition helps improve bone density.
- Oats calm the nervous, reproductive, and immune systems.
- Oats strengthen the pancreas and the heart muscle.
- Oats are acidic and negligibly allergenic, which is why they are tolerated best by most dogs.
- Oats help keep cholesterol levels low.
- Oats promote constant milk production in lactating dogs.
- The high amount of fiber (4 grams/cup of cooked oats) improves digestive health while soothing an upset stomach.
How Many Oats Should I Feed to My Dog?
The amount of oats you can feed to your canine varies from dog to dog. Although your dog's digestive system might respond positively to a new food, that's not the case for all dogs. So be sure to start slow and monitor your dog's reaction before adding more oats to your dog's food bowl.
The American Kennel Club recommends feeding 1 tablespoon of processed oats per 20 pounds of body weight. For a large-size dog, 1/2 cup 2-3 times per week is ideal. However, don't make oatmeal a staple of your dog's food bowl, as it contains high amounts of carbs and calories (1 cup of oats contains 51 grams of carbs and 303 calories).
Feed Your Dog Only Minimally Processed Oats
Oats must be at least minimally processed before being fed to a dog. That is because raw, unprocessed oats contain traces of phytic acid, a chemical compound that binds to other nutrients and makes them harder to absorb. Be sure to cook the oats and let them cool before serving. Refrain from feeding your dog instant oatmeal and other pre-processed oats as they may contain artificial sweeteners (e.g., xylitol), seasonings, and raisins, which are highly toxic for dogs. Mixing cooked oats with water or feeding them through Volhard food is the best way to include oats in your puppy's diet.
Oats Are Already Included in the Volhard Food!
If you're wondering what's the easiest way to include oats in your dog's diet, we've got you covered. Both the Volhard AM/PM and NDF2 foundation mixes already have oats in their composition! Including oats in a diet was based on Juliette de Baïracli Levy's book, The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog and Cat, and updated information from many other sources.
Oats are known as a complex carbohydrate and are the primary source of blood glucose that fuels all the body's cells and the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells.
Thyroid function also depends upon the correct amount of carbohydrates in your dog's diet. Vitamin B complex, found in some grains and starch-producing vegetables, is needed so that the amino acids (protein) phenylalanine and tyrosine can produce T3.
Topical Uses of Oats for Healthier Skin
Aside from including them in your dog's diet, oats can provide health benefits to your dog through topical uses. We've been using oatmeal for hundreds of years to relieve skin-related conditions (e.g., itchiness, irritation, and hot spots). That is because oats are full of avenanthramides, a group of phenolic alkaloids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, the high fat content found in oats moisturizes the skin while preventing dryness. Natural oatmeal shampoos and oatmeal baths are the easiest way to make use of these benefits!
Use Colloidal Oatmeal When Drawing Your Dog's Oatmeal Bath
Out of the various types of oats, colloidal oatmeal is perfect for topical uses. This fine powder of the oat grain (Avena sativa) packs all the necessary nutrients (e.g., minerals, proteins, vitamins, and fats) for promoting skin health.
Colloidal oatmeal will help soothe numerous skin conditions and their symptoms, such as:
- Eczema: A cluster of various skin abnormalities.
- Skin irritation.
- Xerosis (i.e., dry skin), especially during the harsh winter months.
How To Draw an Oatmeal Bath for Your Dog
Drawing an oatmeal bath for your dog could not be easier, especially since you might already have the necessary ingredients in your kitchen cabinets! Follow these simple instructions to prepare your dog for a simple yet soothing bath for their skin.
Tools and Ingredients
- A processor (e.g., blender or coffee grinder) for the oats
- Oatmeal (⅓ cup for small breeds and ½-1 cup of oatmeal for medium to large breeds
- Warm water (enough not to burn your dog's skin and worsen the inflammation)
- A bathtub
- Herbs such as calendula, chamomile, or lavender for an enhanced soothing effect
How To Prepare
- Process the oats in a blender or coffee grinder until they are turned into a fine powder.
- Be sure to test the oats and see if they absorb water. Mix 1 tablespoon of oats with water. If the water turns milky, the oats are ready for the bath. If not, continue processing them.
- Mix the colloidal oatmeal into a tub of lukewarm water and stir. Fill the tub up to a level that allows your dog to feel comfortable (e.g., up to the bottom of their stomach).
- Let your dog's skin soak in the oatmeal bath for 15-20 minutes. You can repeat the process multiple times per day. Gently rub the solution on more sensitive areas.
- Slowly rinse the oatmeal bath off with warm water.
- Dry off your dog's skin and fur with a towel. Refrain from blow drying since it will worsen your dog's dry, irritated skin.
Can Dogs Eat Oats? Absolutely!
When prepared properly, oatmeal can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. Be sure to only feed dogs cooked oatmeal and choose plain varieties prepared with water instead of milk. You should also increase their intake gradually to assess your dog’s tolerance. However, keep in mind that oatmeal should be included as part of a balanced diet and not be used to replace commercial dog food. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!