Can Dogs Eat Granola Safely?
As a dog owner, you always want to be aware of the risks that are involved when experimenting with different foods. Is this food going to benefit your pooch or cause potential health problems like raw fish? When it comes to granola, there are many types out there to choose from. It’s important to recognize the difference between what’s okay to give your dog and what’s harmful.
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Granola For Humans
As a healthy food, granola is known to work wonders for the human species. Granola consumption is linked to improved blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, reduced blood sugar and improved gut health. Don’t let all of these upsides fool you, however.
Human Foods And Your Dog
As with most foods that humans consume on a daily basis, granola impacts your dog differently. The reason for this is fairly simple: The majority of human food is much too rich and fatty for your dog to digest. Additionally, most human foods contain an unhealthy amount of sodium. When given to your dog more than moderately, human foods can cause the following:
- Lack of appetite
These are best-case scenarios. At its worst, feeding your dog foods they can’t properly digest has been known to lead to more severe conditions like pancreatitis.
Giving Granola To Your Dog
The first thing you want to determine is the safety of granola when feeding it to your dog so you’re never in the position of having a sick friend. Your overall goal is to avoid giving him food that is detrimental to his health like garlic.
In general, there is nothing wrong with feeding your dog granola. In fact, granola may even have some health benefits when fed to your dog in moderation.
While dogs may not reap all of the benefits humans receive, there are a few reasons giving your dog granola may be a good idea:
- Dietary fibers
The Benefits Of Calcium
As with humans, calcium is an essential factor in your dog’s diet. Calcium is a necessity when it comes to maintaining your dog’s bone and teeth health. It reduces the risk of blood clots, improves muscle health, and maintains nervous system function.
Your Dog Needs Carbs
Carbohydrates are imperative to your dog’s health and are the basic building blocks of all other nutrients. The good news is that granola is loaded with them. Your dog’s body uses these carbohydrates to help maintain and replenish glycogen stores. Your dog derives its energy from carbs. This is even better if you happen to have an active dog. In the carbohydrates category, granola has an impressive resume. It boasts 18 g per serving.
This may come as a surprise, but that’s only because fiber is the most underrated nutrient when it comes to dogs. Maybe this is because fiber only comes from plant-based ingredients. The truth is, however, the functions of dietary fibers in dogs and in humans are roughly the same.
Fibers aids in maintaining your dog’s gastrointestinal system. Fibers can help your dog manage a healthy weight and improve digestion. Additionally, dietary fibers can help prevent nasty diseases such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and colitis. Granola is rich in dietary fibers. Most types of granola have 1.5 g per serving and some even have 2 g!
Why Potassium Is Important
Potassium is also a widely overlooked nutrient — especially for dogs. Potassium is a nutrient that is essential for your dog’s muscles and plays a significant role in the function of the blood vessels. Potassium also aids in the functioning of electrical charges in the heart, muscles, and nerves. If you ever find your dog having no desire to eat, or if he is tired all the time, it may be because he is deficient in potassium. A potassium deficiency can lead to chronic kidney disease.
Protein is obviously a no-brainer. The benefits of protein to the overall health of your dog are virtually endless. For starters, protein has three main functions in a dog. Protein supports the immune system, repairs cells and tissues, and creates antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Showing 2.5 g per serving, granola doesn’t slack off when it comes to giving your dog his essential protein. Feeding your dog granola in moderation can prove to be a successful venture. However, the question remains: When can granola be bad for your dog?
Downsides of Granola
Depending on the type of granola you ultimately opt for, you may run into two problems. The first is the amount of sugar granola contains; the second is the amount of sodium. Sugar isn’t great for humans and it’s worse for dogs. It’s not outright toxic to your canine but can create health problems both you and your dog don’t want. Sugar has been known to shorten the lifespan of canines. In addition, regular sugar consumption can lead to diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Sodium, on the other hand, makes your dog thirsty. If this happens, and your dog doesn’t have a gallon of water to chug, it can lead to dehydration. Another item on granola’s ingredient list is cholesterol. As with sugar, cholesterol isn’t harmful to your dog in small quantities. If your dog happens to have cholesterol in its diet, it could lead to arteriosclerosis.
The most harmful trait that granola could possess is the risk that certain types contain xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is extremely toxic to your dog; even the smallest amounts can be deadly. This is most commonly found in store-bought granola.
Granola: The Finish Line
Making sure our dog gets what he needs is part of being a pet owner. Making sure he doesn’t get what he doesn’t need is also part of the job. Granola has many great qualities for your dog. The most important thing to remember is that it’s only safe in moderation. Keeping this in the back of your mind will make both you and your dog happy. More importantly, your dog will stay healthy.