For centuries, oats have been a staple of human diet for a number of reasons, but mainly for their high nutritional value. Oats can come in several forms that may surprise people, including teas and raw plant material. Although oats have proven to be nutritious for human beings, one may wonder if oats are equally beneficial for our pets. In recent years pet owners have wondered if “human” foods can be shared with pets safely and effectively, and many animal food brands and manufacturers have followed this curiosity.
Dogs and cats have very different dietary needs from one another, but even further different from humans. Human beings metabolize and break down nutritional elements very differently from animals, and it’s important to understand this fundamental difference before introducing any human foods into your pet’s diet. In this article, we’ll go over the nutritional benefits of oats for your dog or cat, and how you can access more information about your pet’s health and dietary needs.
Oats are consumed mostly by individuals who are concerned about their health because they are rich in vitamins and nutrients that provide fuel and energy for our bodies. Oats contain plenty of protein, amino acids, and healthy fats, which are essential for our health. Oats are also rich in vitamin B, zinc, vitamin E, and iron – just to name a few. Additionally, they house important antioxidants that boost our immune systems and fiber which helps regulate our digestive systems. All of these nutritional benefits are great for us as humans, but what about for our pets? Since cats and dogs differ greatly, it’s important to look at their individual ideal diet.
Cats process carbohydrates very differently than dogs do. Cats require a higher amount of protein to promote optimal health, which is precisely why cat foods are higher in protein. Most grains, including oats, generally contain high amounts of carbohydrates that are not beneficial for your cat’s health. While oats are not particularly beneficial for your cat in terms of protein intake, they can offer other benefits that we listed previously. Therefore, if you wish to integrate oats into your cat’s diet it must be done strategically and after adequate research has been performed. For instance, you may make an oat ”tea” or grow oats and feed the raw plant material to your cat in limited amounts – but this must be done carefully and properly.
Dog foods typically include oats because dogs metabolize carbohydrates much more efficiently than cats do. Dogs are generally larger animals and require more energy, which means that carbohydrates like oats are usually okay to include in their diet. Dogs will do just fine without oats added to their diet; however, if you wish to include oats in their food, there are a number of ways you can do this. Many dog owners make homemade dog treats with oats or simply add oatmeal to their dog’s bowl of kibble. Depending on your dog’s size, it may be appropriate to feed them more or less oats, but it’s most important to consult with your veterinarian to determine if this is the right choice for your unique pet’s dietary needs.
Oats can be found in other health applications, such as topical treatments for pet allergies as seen in certain shampoos or pet scrubs. In addition to benefiting your pet’s skin, research has shown that oats may also be beneficial for lung function, digestion, and hormone regulation. It is important to be aware that some pets may be allergic to oats in certain cases; be sure to speak with your vet before you use oats in your pet’s diet or health regimen.
The animal lovers here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency have extensive knowledge in feline and canine dietary needs. If you’re unsure of what is best for your pet’s health, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions. Please feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our professionals, or simply call us for more information about your pet’s health.