Friday, January 15, 2010

Oatmeal and your dog

Looking to spice up your dog’s dinner every now and again? Perhaps add an extra carbohydrate here and there?
Look no further than your favorite (or not-so-favorite) breakfast food — oatmeal.
Oatmeal is, admittedly, not my favorite choice for breakfast. In fact, I’m not much of a breakfast person. Coffee does me just fine until lunch.
Lucky for my dog, though, I happened to have a large package of oatmeal in the cupboard left over from when I made no-bake cookies for my husband’s birthday late last year.
Here’s what happened:
Last week, I blogged about my sick dog in this space. He has food allergies and things were getting pretty bad for him. We switched his food, suspecting that to be the culprit, and put him on a new food.
On the first day of eating the new food, he began vomiting after eating. A few days of that and he just decided he’d quit eating all together.
Mind you, I’m shoving nine pills down my dog’s throat every day. I think we all know how miserable medications on an empty stomach can make you feel.
So, on Saturday after Sensi had been on his food strike for more than 24 hours, I pulled out the papers my veterinarian gave me about food allergies with the list of home diets that can be fed to a dog temporarily until food trials are completed. One side of the list includes proteins, the other includes carbohydrates. You’re instructed to pick one of each.
Under the carbohydrate heading, I saw the word “Oats” and thought of that box of oatmeal in my cupboard.
“Honey, I’m giving the dog his pills in oatmeal tonight,” I told my husband.
He laughed. “Oatmeal? Good luck with that.”
“What, you don’t think he’ll like oatmeal?” I asked him.
“No. Why would he? Oatmeal is so bland and gross. Like I said, good luck,” he said.
“Well, I guess we’ll find out tonight,” I said, and we did.
The dog loves oatmeal. In fact, I’m pretty sure he thinks it is the best thing he has ever eaten. He likes it hot, he likes it cold, he likes it baked and he even likes it when it’s covering up all those pills he has to take.
I’ve been videotaping him before meals the past few days because I’m just astonished at his behavior. His whole body quivers and shakes with excitement as he sits nicely, waiting for his food bowl to set down for him. The other day, he was shaking so violently that his teeth even began chattering. I’ve never seen my dog like this before.
Sensi is so fixated on his meals now that I’m not sure he thinks about anything else. I’m beginning to worry that this could become an obsessive fixation. And I’m definitely worried that he’ll never eat regular kibble again.
Whatever struggles lie ahead of us, I’m confident we can conquer them. For the time being, though, I’m enjoying how much my dog is enjoying his oatmeal.

Update on Sensi’s health
I did take photos of how great my dog is looking over the weekend, but I keep forgetting to put them on a memory stick so I can upload them to this blog.
Truly, though, Sensi looks and feels fantastic. Even the hardest to heal parts — those nooks and crannies between the toes and underneath the paws — are dry with white skin (which means the yeast infection has subsided).
He was bathed last Saturday with a medicated shampoo and medicated leave-in conditioner. His coat is shiny and soft in a way I haven’t felt since he had puppy hair!
This doesn’t at all mean the struggle is over — Sensi will be on medications for a couple months yet and a special homemade diet for probably the bulk of this year. He is still a little pink here and there and scratching every now and again, but even so, the improvement is dramatic.
The bad news: all the hair he scratched off his face has grown back in white. He’s gone from looking like a prematurely aging 7-year-old dog to very senior canine citizen.


  1. this cracked me up, we just discovered our dog reacts very much the same way, she is in love with oatmeal and when i make it for breakfast shell stand by the microwave sniffing like she can smell it and will not leave the kitchen till she gets some. so i goggled if oatmeal is ok for dogs, and found your articel, thanks!

  2. I eat dry oatmeal as a snack. There are so many good things I've read about it. My dog was staring at me today while I was eating it and wouldn't stop. I decide, eh, I'll give her a couple oats and she'll leave me alone. Boy was I wrong!!! She scarfed up those oats and stared back at me waiting for more. I gave her a 1/4 cup and she scarfed it down. That's what lead me to search to see if anyone else found this. Apparently dogs love oatmeal.

  3. Not only do they love it, but it's good for them!
    Sensi continued to have problems with his diet earlier this year. At one point, he went on a complete food strike. The only thing I was able to get him to eat was warm oatmeal mixed with a little peanut butter — I added some frozen green beans for crunch and protein too.
    I'll sometimes give him the oatmeal/peanut butter mix as a treat now. It smells so good that it's hard not to sample it myself!
    To make, just heat up oatmeal as you normally would, but add a dollop of peanut butter before throwing it in the microwave. The peanut butter will soften, making it easy to mix once you take it out of the microwave.

  4. I have a 3 year old golden retriever and I give him about 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal every morning with a couple of cranberries, touch of cinnamon and a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil mixed in. He is in love with this. I give him a cup of kibble in the morning but he is at my heels very shortly after begging for his oatmeal. His coat is shining and soft now.