If you've ever dropped one of those classic "o's" on the floor, only to have your pooch goggle it up, you may be asking yourself, "can dogs eat Cheerios?"
So, Can Dogs Eat Cheerios?
The answer is dependant on the type of Cheerio you are letting your dog eat. Over the years this cereal company has expanded their Cheerio line from the traditional and honey nut, to a wide variety of flavors. These include yogurt covered, chocolate, multi-grain, medley, apple cinnamon, banana nut and the list goes on.
If your dog eats a few of the traditional Cheerios, you most likely will not have any issues. However, some of the other flavors may not be so healthy for your pet. Let's explore those "o's" to avoid.
Can Dogs Have Cheerios With…? Avoid These!
- Chocolate. The alkaloid theobromine is found in chocolate and can pose a real threat to dogs.
- Nuts/Medleys. Cheerios containing various nuts, especially almonds, aren't digested well by canines. This can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Frosted. These aren't bad per say, but too much of this sugary cereal can pack the pounds on your pooch and lead to tooth decay.
- Yogurt. Since this flavor will contain milk additives, it's best to avoid. Dog's can suffer from lactose intolerance which can lead to gas, diarrhea and vomiting.
Plain Cheerios Are Best
To avoid any possible side effects of feeding your dog Cheerios, stick to the original plain flavor. Also keep in mind the size of your dog. A large Great Dane can handle more than a small Yorkie.
If you decide to give your pup this cereal, it's best to only feed as a special treat, part of a training reward, or the odd one dropped by you or your family.
Can Dogs Eat Cheerios For Any Health Benefits?
Although the American Heart Association has deemed Cheerios as a heart-healthy choice, they are referring to humans and not the canine species. Dogs digest and process foods in a different manner than we do. They also lack some of the enzymes humans have to properly utilize specific foods.
Breakdown of the "O"
The original Cheerio has a number of ingredients packed into that little "o." According to Reference.com, it includes:
- Whole grain oats
- Corn starch
- Sugar & salt
- Tripotassium phosphate
- Wheat starch
- Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) as a freshness preserver.
- Vitamins and minerals include calcium carbonate, iron, zinc and Vitamins C, B6, A, B1, B12, D3, folic acid and niacinamide.
As you can see the first two major ingredients in the Cheerio are oats and corn. Although, the whole grain oat is not terrible for dogs, it's the corn and wheat starch, along with the added sugar and salt that can be harmful to your pet.
First of all, Cheerios are basically a carbohydrate that breaks down to a sugar-compound in your dog's system. Too many carbs can lead to obesity, which then leads to a whole host of potential medical conditions (like diabetes and cardiovascular issues).
Second, dogs have difficulty breaking down corn and wheat, so your pooch may become bloated and gassy.
Third, the most common allergies found in dogs are for corn and wheat. Too much of these ingredients can lead to diarrhea, gas, itchiness, redness of the skin and runny eyes and nose.
Fourth, sugar and salt are never good for animals. Even though the vitamin profile is good, your dog would have to eat a lot of Cheerios before it would become beneficial, which we would never recommend you doing.
Can Dogs Have Cheerios? Here Are Some Alternate Healthy Treats, Instead
We love our canine companions and sometimes it's difficult to say "no" to those pleading eyes; however, before you reach for the Cheerios, try these alternate healthy treats, instead:
- Bits of carrot or apple
- Green beans
If you're looking for a packaged treat for your dog, try the line of Blue Buffalo Healthy Treats. These rock!
Conclusion - Can Dogs Eat Cheerios?
We're not sure if Cheerios are good for Capuchin monkeys, but this little guy and his canine pal are sure enjoying them together. Check out this unusual, hungry pair here.
Although, the odd, plain Cheerio won't be toxic to your dog, they don't supply enough good, healthy stuff to take the chance on. And, of course, never give your dog a human-sized helping of this cereal, a few are okay, but if you overload your dog's tummy with the "o's" you most likely will have a problem on your hands with the side-effects of the ingredient-profile.
Stick to the healthy, dog-friendly, human foods and packaged treats to keep your canine safe, but still enjoying a nice snack.