We all want to eat healthy food. And if you are a good dog parent, you understandably want the same for your pet.
Granola is a popular choice of healthy breakfast for humans. But does the same logic apply to dogs?
Most human beings absolutely love chocolate. So, is it fair to say dogs feel the same way?
Of course not. So, it is important to figure out how the digestive system of dogs processes various foods that humans consider healthy. Today it is granola’s turn.
Obesity and Pet Food
The problem of obesity among dogs is actually at epidemic proportions. So, it is an excellent choice to figure out what food is healthy for dogs.
To the extent, we are glad you chose to land here. Whole grain treats like granola raise a lot of questions about the health of our pets.
A lot of dog parents wonder if they can feed cereals and granola bars to their dogs and rightfully so. The answer to the questions lies in the old adage, the devil is in the details.
As is the case with human beings, the answer for ‘what food is healthy for dogs?’ really depends on the ingredients. As always, context is crucial.
A lot of dogs like to chew and gnaw at their food. So, you might think that they will take to granola bars right away and consider it a chewing challenge.
But snacks like granola bars have a lot more than just granola itself and it is important to take a look at the individual ingredients, their impact on the digestive system of dogs and what they can do in different combinations.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Ranch Dressing?
How Healthy Is Granola in Terms of Ingredients?
To begin with, let’s look at the individual ingredients and their impact on dogs.
- Calcium is an important part of any dog’s appetite. It helps maintain the health of their bones, teeth and muscles. It also helps improve blood clotting.
- Next up is potassium which is a great mineral for dogs’ muscles. It is crucial in maintaining the standard functions of the canine blood vessels and also plays a role in maintaining the acidity levels of their bodily fluids.
- Then there are the dietary fibers which are a crucial part of granola. Their role is pretty much the same as it is in terms of the human digestive system. They help maintain the gastrointestinal system and play an important role in preventing diseases like diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome, to name a couple.
- Granola also has a good amount of protein which helps with three important pillars of canine health. They are very useful in maintaining and repairing of the cells and tissues, proteins help support the immunity system and they play an important part in creating enzymes, hormones and antibodies.
- And finally, they also have plenty of carbohydrates which are important because of their role as building blocks for all other nutrients.
When Is Granola Not Healthy?
While all of those health benefits sound pretty great, as mentioned earlier, it is important to look at them in the specific context of dog health. The granola that we buy from the store is likely to have a few other ingredients which aren’t the best fodder for your canine. Take a look.
- Sugar is the first thing to watch out for. While many dogs like sweet food quite a bit, you must remember that a lot of sugar can do a great deal of damage to your pet’s health. And that damage is a lot more to a dog’s body than it is to a human body. Sugar is not exactly toxic for a dog’s health but it does lead to health problems like diabetes and obesity. It is also said to decrease dogs’ lifespan.
- There is also the sodium content to take into consideration. More often than not, it tends to increase thirst levels in dogs and an excess of sodium can cause dehydration in them. A more serious response to excess levels of sodium in dogs is sodium ion poisoning. You can spot it from symptoms including diarrhea, tremors, seizures, high temperature and vomiting to name a few.
- You must also take the cholesterol in granola into account. On its own, cholesterol is not lethal or even harmful in dogs but an excess of anything can lead to trouble. There is a rare disease called arteriosclerosis which is the result of excess cholesterol in dogs. This disease results in the cholesterol blocking your dog’s arteries with a potential for a heart attack.
- Granola also has fat. And it is never a great idea to make that a part of your dog’s diet. A little bit on occasion is fine but consuming fat regularly leads to weight gain and obesity. It makes the dog lethargic and can lead to any number of health problems.
- You must also watch the number of calories in granola as some of those products tend to have a lot of them. Since certain dog breeds like to be active, it might work out just fine but you must do the math before you make it a part of their diet.
Apart from these, you must also watch out for other ingredients like xylitol, which is a naturally occurring alcohol. It is used as a substitute for sugar in processed foods and while it does no damage to the human body, it is considered to be toxic for dogs.
You must also avoid added chemicals and preservatives, of which there are plenty in many granola products including those that are marketed as “healthy foods”.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Okra?
What to Avoid
It is common knowledge that chocolate is quite deadly for your furry friend because it contains methylxanthines. But raisins and nuts are not that much better.
Raisins are known to cause kidney problems in dogs.
Don’t be fooled if your dog can handle a little bit of it. Their lethality is a fact, particularly when they are consumed in large quantities.
If you are making a granola snack for your dog at home after going through all the ingredients and making sure there isn’t anything harmful to your canine, remember to avoid raisins and nuts and you might just be okay.
If you are feeling lazy, just imagine what a chocolate granola bar with raisins and nuts can do to your dog’s gastrointestinal system! And it’s not just about a little bit of vomiting and diarrhea.
If that’s where it stops, it will still be an extremely painful experience for your pet and an emergency trip to the vet. If you have to give whole grains to your pet (and there really is no reason for it to be a “have to”), keep it as simple and unprocessed as possible.
This logic about whole foods extends to cereals and other snacks that contain sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Even items with marshmallows, chocolate and fruit flavors are pretty bad.
If you really love raisin granola, eat it yourself. Even foods that are considered extremely healthy for humans don’t necessarily do the same for dogs.
If you are trying something new, you might want to give your pet a little bit and monitor their response to it before you make it a part of their diet.
Make sure you also give them plenty of exercise when there is a risk of obesity due to the ingredients of the snack. Doing some research online about the product and its many ingredients is an even better idea.
Hopefully, that’s what you are doing here.