Can dogs eat Oats?

Updated 29 May 2024
Read time: 7 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer
article author
Reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon
Team Vet

The answer is yes, dogs can eat oats in moderation, and they must be served in the most digestible way.

Before we go into the details of oats and oatmeal, we’ll remind you that at Pooch & Mutt, we’re advocates for a grain-free diet for dogs. Lots of dogs have trouble digesting grain, or even have an allergy or intolerance, therefore, we believe grain-free dog food is a safer option. 

However, there could be a scenario in which you’d want to feed your dog oats or oatmeal, so in this article, we’ve unpacked the answers to all your questions about when, and how, oats are safe for dogs to eat. 

The difference between oats and oatmeal

First, a bit about oats and oatmeal, and when the terms are used. 

Oats are basically the raw form of oatmeal. They’re a type of cereal grain that comes from the Avena sativa plant. Cut from the plant and dehusked, they end up as little kernels which can then be rolled or steel cut for consumption. 

Oatmeal is the word for the warming bowl of food made from oats - steel cut or rolled oats with hot water or milk added to it. In the UK it’s more commonly known as porridge. 

We’ll refer to both oats and oatmeal (porridge) when relevant throughout the article.

Are oats good for dogs?

Oats do have nutritional benefits to dogs, however it’s important to work out whether your dog can tolerate grain in their diet, by introducing it slowly. It should also be served correctly to aid digestion. 

What are the health benefits?

Let’s go into some of the ways oats can be nutritious for a dog:

High in fibre to promote a healthy digestive process, firm poops and bowel regularity.

Slow release energy keeps a dog fuller and more energised for longer.

Vitamin E encourages skin and coat health and also boosts a dog’s immunity. 

Complex B vitamins for all kinds of benefits including supporting metabolism, nerve function and blood health.

Minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc, for nerve, muscle and skin health, as well as healthy enzyme activity and boosted immunity. 

Low in fat so great as part of a diet in support of a dog’s weight management. 

Can puppies eat oats?

Puppies can eat oats when they’re prepared correctly - cooked to soften and served with water, and with no added sugar or flavourings. However, young puppies should be fed cautiously as their digestive system at this time is extremely sensitive. As a grain diet can be triggering for dogs, it might be worth sticking with grain-free puppy food which is specially formulated to support their young bodies and rapid development at this stage. 

When are oats unsafe for dogs?

  • Oats can be unsafe for dogs if they suffer a grain allergy or intolerance. If you think your dog might react badly to grain, it’s best to avoid oats. 
  • Readymade oatmeal (porridge) which comes with sweeteners and flavourings already added should avoid the dog bowl completely, as this could irritate a dog’s delicate gut or even prove toxic if it contains artificial sweeteners. 
  • If you feed dogs oats that are raw, or in too high a portion, this can be unsafe for dogs as it’s a lot for their digestive systems to process (not to mention it’ll taste bad). 

Can dogs be allergic to oats?

Yes, dogs can be allergic to oats. Dogs who are sensitive to grain or have a grain intolerance may also react badly to eating oats as part of a meal. Introduce oats slowly into a dog’s diet if you choose to do so, and be aware of the following symptoms as it could indicate an allergic reaction: 

  • Reddening, itching, rashing of the skin
  • Pain in stomach, bloating
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea 
  • Lethargy, change in behaviour
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing

Can oats make dogs sick?

Oats can make dogs unwell, specifically if they have a grain allergy. You also shouldn’t feed dogs raw oats, or a big amount of oats, as they find this very hard to digest and could end up with sickness or gastrointestinal issues. 

Don’t feed dogs any form of oatmeal or porridge with added sweeteners or flavourings, as these can be too sugary for a dog and irritate their delicate digestive system.

How to safely give oats to your dog?

If you’re keen to feed oats to your dog, make sure they’re steel cut or rolled oats, softened in hot water, not milk, and serve a small amount to eat without any added sugar. 

Can dogs eat oats everyday?

No, it’s not a good idea to feed oats to your dog regularly. Seeing them as an occasional treat can work, if you know your dog’s stomach can tolerate oats. 

What kinds of oatmeal can dogs eat?

Let’s go into the different types of oats and oatmeal/porridge, so you know exactly which is safest for your dog. 

Can dogs eat porridge oats?

Sometimes oatmeal is called porridge, specifically in the UK. Dogs can eat porridge as a treat, so long as it’s softened with water and doesn’t include any added sugar or flavourings. 


Can dogs eat raw oats?

Raw oats are tough for dogs to chew and digest, not to mention they’re dry and not the tastiest for a doggy snack. If you want to give oats to your dog, give a small amount in a porridge/oatmeal form, with hot water to soften them. Remember if your pooch has a grain allergy or intolerance, they should definitely avoid oats, even in porridge form, as they’re a cereal grain.

Can dogs eat rolled oats?

Yes, rolled oats are the preferred type of oats over readymade oatmeal which often comes with lots of added flavourings. The rolled oats should be cooked by warming them up with water, as they’re soft enough for the body to properly digest. 

Can dogs eat cooked oats?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked oats relatively safely. Just be certain your dog doesn’t have a grain intolerance or allergy, as this can trigger a dog’s delicate digestive system and cause them to become unwell. Also, avoid the readymade oatmeal/porridge sachets; they often come packed with preservatives and sweeteners. 

Can dogs eat overnight oats?

No. Overnight oats tend to be stewed in milk or yoghurt with added seeds, fruit and flavourings. Dogs don’t need this in their diet, especially if it contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as raisins or grapes. Oats aren’t a necessary part of a dog’s diet but if you want to feed them, just simply cook rolled oats in water and serve without added sugar. 

Can dogs eat oats with milk?

Avoid milk if you want to feed oats or porridge to your dog. As most dogs are lactose intolerant, it can cause a lot of disruption to their delicate digestive system. Mixing oats with hot water to soften them up is a better idea. Without any added sugar or flavourings, oats can be a source of fibre, iron and B vitamins.  

Can dogs eat oats with water?

If you want to feed oats to your dog, it’s a better idea to feed your dog oats cooked with hot water instead of milk - milk can cause turbulence in a dog’s delicate tummy as most dogs are lactose intolerant. 


  • Though oats contain nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, they aren’t a necessary part of a dog’s diet - especially as a lot of dogs have a grain intolerance or allergy. 
  • If you want your dog to eat oats, cook rolled or steel-cut oats gently in hot water until soft, and serve without sugar. 
  • Introduce oats gradually into your dog’s diet to see how they react, and if they suffer any untoward digestive effects, don’t include oats on your pooch’s menu. 

What other foods can dogs safely eat?

If you want the filling goodness of oats but are looking for alternatives, try the following: 

  • Sweet potatoes offer lots of complex carbohydrates, fibre and vitamins while being slow release.
    • Carrots have lots of fibre and powerful vitamins without any health risk to dogs. 
    • Butternut squash is a super healthy root veggie that can satisfy dogs while offering a host of health benefits. 

    For nutritious, irresistible food that dogs love, try our range of grain-free dog foods and healthy natural dog treats; specially formulated to be gentle on a dog’s body and keep them happy, energised and healthy. 

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