What if your dog eats your breakfast? Feeding dogs human food isn't always recommended because so much of what humans eat is processed or high in salt, or it contains additives toxic to dogs, such as onions, olives, or artificial sweeteners. However, there are a few foods that won't hurt if they are given to dogs as treats or if your pup counter surfs a few of them when you aren't looking. Wheat and grains (including Cream of Wheat porridge) are safe for dogs if allergies are not an issue.
Is wheat safe for dogs?
Grains and wheat are generally safe for dogs. Wheat is used in dog foods because it's commonly available. It's a good source of protein and energy, especially when combined with animal protein, such as chicken. Giving grains and wheat to a dog won't cause allergies but can trigger an allergic reaction if the animal already has an allergy to a specific food.
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A wheat allergy is not extremely common in dogs, although it's not clear how many pups suffer from food allergies in general. The top five allergy-provoking ingredients for dogs are beef, dairy, wheat, chicken, and eggs. If your dog eats some Cream of Wheat, dairy is only an issue if the porridge was made using milk instead of water. Otherwise, there's no dairy in Cream of Wheat. Interestingly, beef and not wheat is the food most likely to cause allergic reactions in dogs.
What is Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat is a brand, and it's a familiar brand because it has been around since 1893. It started in Grand Forks, North Dakota, when a miller named Tom Amido created a porridge from quality wheat he milled (called "cream of wheat" because early wheat is the "cream of the crop").
The company is now owned by B&G Foods and has expanded the Cream of Wheat product line by adding sugars, fruit, and nuts to create different flavors. The original Cream of Wheat is the only one safe for dogs because it's simply wheat and water or milk if you substitute that. Varieties other than the original contain sugar and possibly nuts.
Why would dogs eat porridge?
Original Cream of Wheat is simply ground wheat mixed with boiling water until the wheat thickens. Therefore, it's harmless for dogs who don't have a wheat allergy. Because Cream of Wheat is bland and mushy, it's sometimes recommended for dogs with an upset stomach, especially if other food isn't staying down.
Cream of Wheat and its contemporary cousin Cream of Rice should not be given to dogs regularly. It's not a nutritious meal without other ingredients necessary to maintain a dog's health. Cream of Wheat or similar simple porridge can be mixed with other safe ingredients that dogs love, such as peanut butter, pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), apple sauce, or rolled oats.
Foods unsafe for dogs
While easy-to-digest original Cream of Wheat is safe for dogs and you shouldn't panic if your dog accidentally eats your breakfast, there are some ingredients you should keep away from your pup. This is especially true if you're experimenting when creating your own porridge-based dog treats.
First, look to see if any processed products, such as peanut butter, contain xylitol, also called birch sugar, because this is very toxic to dogs. Second, check the list of foods toxic to pets. Foods to keep away from your dog include onion in any form, garlic, mushrooms, avocado, grapes, caffeine, chocolate, raisins, and walnuts. Before you add any human food to your dog's dish or homemade treat, research the safety of that food.