You might be surprised to learn that some dogs are big fans of breakfast cereals. Hard to believe, right? Most of us think of our dogs as carnivores longing for a side of beef but lots of dogs love to eat whatever they see you eating. That includes breakfast foods like Cheerios. Can dogs eat Cheerios? Yes, if you are cautious. Some kinds of Cheerios are better for your dog than others because of the sugar content and other ingredients. Keep reading and learn which Cheerios are safest for your dog to eat.
- As with most breakfast cereals, Cheerios come in lots of different flavors. Most of them have similar nutritional profiles but you will need to check the ingredients and compare the nutrient percentages if you are choosing one to share with your dog.
- One serving of Cheerios for a human is estimated to be 1 ½ cups (39 grams). It contains 140 calories. If it’s made with ½ cup of skim milk it contains 190 calories. They are low in calories compared to many other cereals.
- Original Cheerios are gluten-free and made from oats.
- Original Cheerios provide lots of vitamin D, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
- Cheerios are also low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol (the nutritional chart we checked lists zero cholesterol). They are a good source of dietary fiber.
- Overall, Cheerios have about 12 percent protein, 14 percent fat, and 74 percent carbohydrates. They have a glycemic load of 12.
- Cheerios are often advertised as being “heart healthy” because of their low saturated fat and cholesterol as well as their high vitamin and mineral content. Many of their varieties are made from whole grain oats and whole formulas.
- However, even though they are rich in fiber which can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, Cheerios don’t provide a balanced meal by themselves. They are low in protein, for example. Adding a cup of cow’s milk to your Cheerio’s adds protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D.
- Cheerios are also very affordable compared to many other breakfast foods. They are also a good finger food for toddlers and a good way to encourage small children to eat more whole grains – as long as they are ready to eat solid foods. Most children over the age of eight months can safely eat Cheerios. There is little risk of choking on Cheerios because they get soft when they are wet.
- Cheerios are available in a wide variety of flavors. Some include other grains. Some have added sugars. Be sure to read the label so you know what you are buying, especially if you have health issues.
- Popular Cheerio varieties:
- Original Cheerios. The first ingredient is oats. They contain just 1 gram of added sugar and no extra flavorings. This is the best variety to buy if you want to share some with your dog.
- Honey Nut. One of the top-selling varieties, sweetened with sugar and honey, plus a hint of almond flavor.
- Made from corn and oats, as well as cocoa powder and sugar. Not recommended for dogs.
- Apple Cinnamon. Made primarily of whole grain oats and sugar, this type also includes apple purée and cinnamon.
- Made with whole grain oats and cornmeal, sweetened with a vanilla-flavored sugar coating.
- This variety combines whole grain oats, corn, and brown rice. Sweetened with slightly less sugar than other varieties.
- Ancient Grains. Sugar-sweetened and made from whole grain oats, quinoa, and rice.
- Cheerios also have seasonal flavors and some other flavors that come and go.
- If you are looking for Cheerios to share with your dog, it’s best to look at the sugar content. We recommend the plain, original Cheerios or the Multi-Grain Cheerios. They seem to have less added sugar than some of the other varieties.
- Cheerios are considered to be a processed grain product. Even though they are made with whole grain oats and some other ingredients that sound healthy, some of the vitamins and minerals in Cheerios are added during processing. They are a healthier choice than many other cereals but you should be realistic about their benefits. There are healthier treats and snacks for dogs such as meat and vegetable pieces.
Can Dogs Eat Cheerios?
Can dogs eat Cheerios? Yes, dogs can eat some varieties of Cheerios. It’s best to choose one of the varieties that has less sugar. Avoid the flavors that are high in sugars such as Honey Nut. Avoid Chocolate Cheerios for your dog.
The oats and other grains in Cheerios are safe for most dogs to eat unless your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity to a specific grain.
If you would like to give your dog some Cheerios, we suggest the plain or multi-grain flavors.
As with any food, it’s best to start out by giving your dog a small sample of the Cheerios to make sure they agree with him before you let him have a full serving.
Are Cheerios Good for Dogs?
Cheerios are low in protein. They are not considered to be a complete and balanced meal for a human. They do not provide a complete meal for a dog either. They can’t replace your dog’s regular dog food.
With their small size and the fact that they soften quickly once they are in the mouth, there is little risk that your dog would choke on a Cheerio. Most dogs like the taste and crunch of them. Plain Cheerios are also healthier for your dog than a treat with lots of sugar and calories.
If, for any reason, your dog has problems due to eating Cheerios, you should discontinue giving them to your dog immediately. Sugar is the most obvious concern with giving dogs foods like Cheerios.
When it comes to grains, there is no particular reason for your dog to avoid Cheerios in moderate amounts. The investigation currently being conducted by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, along with a number of other researchers and veterinarians, into the apparent problems with grain-free diets suggests that many people have been spreading negative information about dogs and grains for years without any science to back up their claims. The fact that Cheerios contains grains would not be a reason to avoid them unless your dog is allergic to a specific grain.
How Many Cheerios Can You Give Your Dog?
As far as our math skills can determine, the average Cheerio has 0.2 calories per piece. So, 10 Cheerios would have 2 calories. (Feel free to contact us if these figures are seriously incorrect.)
One-quarter cup of Cheerios has about 24 calories. That would be enough Cheerios for most dogs, especially if you are giving them to your dog one piece at a time. If you have a very small dog, you could give less.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Cheerios?
As long as your dog doesn’t have any gastrointestinal problems eating Cheerios, he could safely eat them two or three times per week.
If you are giving them to your dog as training treats, limit the amount you give at each training session. It’s a good idea to switch treats and use other rewards so your dog doesn’t get tired of the Cheerios too quickly.
Using Cheerios as Dog Training Treats
Many people like to use Cheerios as a small treat or snack for their dog. Dog trainers like to use them as a reward for good behavior during training. Cheerios are small and tasty. They aren’t messy and they fit perfectly in a small pouch or bait bag when you want to carry some training treats for your dog.
It’s easy to use Cheerios as dog training treats. You could keep them in your pocket but they can crumble and make a mess. We recommend using a baggy, small pouch, or bait bag attached to your belt or outside your pocket. You can place a handful of Cheerios in the bag so you will have them when you need them. You can quickly pull one of the little Cheerios out when you want to reward your dog for his good behavior.
Cheerios are generally safe for dogs but we recommend choosing one of the varieties that has less sugar. You should also check the labels to make sure the cereal doesn’t include anything that could be harmful to your dog such as chocolate. This is especially important in the case of some of the seasonal varieties which come and go. They could contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs and they might not be listed with any warning online. When you do give your dog any Cheerios, remember to only give him a few Cheerios no more than a few times per week.