Bran flakes are a healthy breakfast choice for most of you, and their simple nature makes them a good choice for people with allergies as well.
However, are bran flakes a healthy choice for your pet dog’s breakfast bowl as well? Take a look below to find out about bran flakes and how they affect your dog and whether you should add them to your dog’s diet or not.
Bran flakes are traditionally made by taking wheat and oat bran and drying them into flakes before combining the two in a single flake using binders.
There are different varieties of bran flakes available in the market today with additional flavorings and some are also fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. They have been a staple of the American diet since they were first introduced in 1915.
The answer to this is yes and no. This depends on the kind of bran flakes you are getting for your dog.
As mentioned before that some commercial brands of bran flakes in the market add flavorings and sugar to the cereal. These types of bran flakes are not suitable for your dog at all as the preservatives and artificial flavorings are harmful to them.
Sugar is also something that dogs need to avoid because it negatively affects their metabolism and skin. It also leads to obesity in dogs which then goes on to cause a multitude of health issues for them.
However, if you are buying organic and unsweetened bran flakes then your furry best friend can join you for a breakfast bowl happily. Keep in mind that even though bran flakes can be eaten by dogs, they should be given in moderation and not in large quantities to your pooch.
Also Read: Can Dogs Drink Oat Milk?
As bran flakes are made of whole-grain cereals, they are an amazing source of fiber for both humans and dogs. Your pet dog will benefit from having extra fiber in their diet as fiber helps to maintain good digestive health and good bowel movements.
Also as a wholegrain cereal bran flakes also help to keep your dog’s heart healthier as well as they help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol accumulation without inhibiting your dog’s energy levels.
Apart from these bran flakes are also a good source of healthy calories for malnourished or underweight dogs. Bran flakes also have a significant amount of vitamins and minerals that are good for your dog’s health like zinc and copper among others.
How to Feed Your Dog Bran Flakes
If you want to feed bran flakes to your dog, one thing to keep in mind is that while bran flakes are good for dogs to eat, they cannot fulfill all the nutritional requirements for a healthy pet dog.
So bran flakes should be given to your dog as an occasional treat or as a supplement to an existing healthy diet and not be a replacement for his or her regular meals or diet.
To introduce bran flakes to your dog, first, you have to soften them with some warm water and mix some in with his or her normal food. Keep in mind that all dogs are lactose intolerant so never ever use milk to soften the flakes or give your dog milk at all with the cereal.
Always consult with your vet on the amount of bran flakes your dog should be eating as the amount can vary greatly depending upon your dog’s height, weight and nutritional needs or medical conditions.
Introduce bran flakes to your dog’s diet in small amounts at first to make sure his or her body gets used to this new type of nutrition before increasing the amount. The amount of bran flakes you feed your dog has to be increased slowly and consistently over time till the recommended amount is reached.
For example, if the vet has recommended adding 50 grams of bran flakes to your dog’s meal, start with feeding him or her seven to ten grams for the first week, then increase it to 20 grams the week after that and so on.
If at any time your dog shows signs of discomfort like constipation or diarrhea or stomach pain, then stop feeding him or her bran flakes immediately and consider finding a new source of fiber with consultations from your vet.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Granola?
Bran flakes by themselves have no health risks involved for dogs, however, there are some things that you need to be careful of while feeding your dog bran flakes. As it is human food, there are certain things that need to be considered and double-checked before feeding dogs bran flakes.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure that you have a plain variety of bran flakes to feed your dog. Avoid feeding your dog any type of bran flakes that have added sugar or flavorings as those things are unhealthy for dogs and will negate the health benefits of bran flakes.
Also, you have to make sure that the bran flakes you buy are not a sugar-free variety. This type of bran flakes is usually marketed as a diet-friendly or good for weight loss option and usually contains the artificial sweetener xylitol.
Xylitol in any amount is extremely lethal to dogs and if you think your dog has eaten any bran flakes with xylitol in them, then take him or her to the vet immediately for urgent treatment.
Bran flakes as mentioned before are a good source of calories for dogs, but that is a good thing only if your dog is malnourished or needs to gain weight. If your dog is at a healthy weight for his or her age and size then you will have to be careful about the amount of bran flakes you give them or they might end up becoming overweight or obese.
Remember to always soften the bran flakes with warm water and then allow them to cool down completely before feeding them to your dog. This is because bran flakes by themselves are too small for your dog to chew and masticate properly.
In all likelihood, they will end up swallowing the bran flakes whole which can lead to choking issues or throat blockages.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Falafel?
After knowing the risks and benefits of bran flakes for dogs, will you be adding them to your dog’s diet or as a special treat? Some dog parents also use bran flake balls as treats while training puppies!