Oats, What’s All The Barking About!

What health value do oats have? Why do you include them in some of your foods? Aren’t grains bad for dogs?

This is a great question and one we are often asked. We believe that grains offer many health and dietary benefits. But they may not be the right choice for all dogs. An increasing number or our beloved dogs are now allergic to many grains; primarily wheat, corn, soy products. Some dogs are extremely gluten-intolerant suffering from even the slightest residue of gluten. If this is the case with your dog, a grain-free diet is likely the best choice. But, for other dogs, grains are very well –tolerated and offer valuable nutrients.

Cheryl Schwartz, DVM, has found that grains provide primarily qi, blood and yin to the diet. They are usually more cooling than meats in nature. This is helpful in conditions causing inflammation in the digestive tract, such as ulcers, IBD, colitis, etc. She feels that they should be a major component in the diets of both dogs and cats.

When choosing what grain to offer your dog, it may be helpful to take the advice of CJ Puotinen and consider your dog’s breed and area of origin. For example, for breeds originating in Scotland, Ireland or England, you will likely find more of an “affinity” for oats than other areas. And Rye, another organic grain is the common grain in Scandinavian countries. Rice is a good choice for Asian breeds. Grains from you breed’s place of origin may simply make it easier to digest.

Oats, in particular, are a good choice of grain for pets, according to Dr. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD. They are quick-cooking and contain more protein per calorie than any other common grain. Oats have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. They also have a calming effect on the nervous system so are a good addition to the diet of anxious dogs. Oats are a more warming grain that helps strengthen the spleen, pancreas and immune systems as well as the heart. Oats are rich in silicon, and help to make bones strong. They are acidic and not likely to cause allergies in most animals. This grain is tolerated by the largest number of dogs.

Here is a recipe from Made out of Love that you might like to try at home, too!

Stress Less
A calming recipe from Lucy Postins that you can serve on an ongoing basis for anxious pets, or occasionally prior to upcoming stressful situations.
2 cups ground turkey
1 cup organic oats or millet
1 firm banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1 chamomile tea bag
1 cup of hot filtered water
2 tsp nutritional yeast

Cook oats or millet according to package directions. Place tea bag in water, stir gently, and let steep for about 4 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey and cooked millet or oatmeal. Stir thoroughly, then gently fold in banana slices and chopped romaine, remove tea bag from water and add tea to the mixture, then sprinkle in the yeast. Serve and store leftovers in fridge for 2 to 3 days.

• Dr. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD; Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats.
• Barbara Fougere, BVSc: The Pet Lover’s Guide to Natural Healing for Cats & Dogs.
• Cheryl Schwartz, DVM: Four Paws Five Directions; A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs.
• CJ Puotinen: The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care
• Lucy Postins: Made Out of Love; Recipes to prepare for (and sometimes share with) your animal companion.

Meet the Author: Lucy Postins

Lucy Postins is founder and Chief Integrity Officer at The Honest Kitchen. She is a companion animal nutritionist who started The Honest Kitchen in her kitchen in 2002. She is passionate about advanced nutrition and holistic health including complementary modalities such as herbalism and homeopathy. Considered an expert in her field, Lucy frequently writes articles for local and national media, conducts radio interviews and educational spots, and occasionally holds educational seminars for pet owners on the importance of good nutrition. She also recently authored Dog Obsessed, a guide to a happier, healthier life for the pup you love.

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