If grits are part of your diet, you may wonder if they can be part of your dog’s diet too. Dogs can eat some of the same foods as humans, and grits are one of them. However, you need to be careful.
We’ll discuss what grits are, can dogs eat grits, the risks and health benefits of dogs eating grits, and provide some tips on how to make your dog’s food appealing.
What Are Grits?
Grits are made by boiling ground corn with water. If you want to add flavor, you can add butter to the mixture. Then, you can make them into porridge, cakes, and croutons to add to soups and salads.
You can use them in place of rice, oatmeal, or polenta because they have similar properties but more health benefits. They have more calcium and iron than most other grains.
Are Grits Safe For Dogs To Eat?
Yes, but only in small amounts. Dogs digest grains easily, so they shouldn’t be overlooked because they’re not like dry dog food.
However, never feed your dog food that is too hot. If you want to feed grits to your dog, give them small amounts so they can become accustomed to the texture and not experience stomach problems.
Because of how they’re made, they’re much smoother than other grains, like wheat and barley. Dogs might have a hard time chewing grits at first because they’re different from dry food.
However, if you let your dog slowly chew on them for a moment or two, they will adapt to them quickly and swallow them without difficulty.
Are There Risks Associated With Feeding Grits to Dogs?
Grits don’t usually make a dog sick, but they can choke if they swallow grits whole. So ensure you cook them completely before your dog eats them, and make sure he chews and swallows them before you give him more.
As well as possible digestive problems, consuming too many grits could result in dogs gaining weight because they’re high in calories.
They’re also very high in sodium – One hundred grams of grits contains 223 mg of salt. A dog that weighs 33 pounds shouldn’t eat more than 100 mg of sodium a day – so this much grits contains more than twice the amount of sodium your dog needs.
They’re also high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are beneficial for humans, but dogs don’t need as many. And the carbohydrates they do get should come from fruit and vegetable sources instead of grains. Carbohydrates from unhealthy sources can raise your dog’s blood sugar.
How Grits Can Help a Dog’s Health
You can use grits as a supplement to your dog’s diet. The nutrients that grits provide aren’t comparable to dog food and shouldn’t be used as a replacement for it. But when your dog isn’t getting enough of certain nutrients, or if they’re picky about their food, adding grits may be an easy way to get them to eat their dinner.
They can also help prevent degenerative eye problems. Grits contain two nutrients that are important for the eyes, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Your dog’s retina already has a large amount of these nutrients. However, studies have shown a link between high lutein and zeaxanthin levels and a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, so a small amount of grits may be okay.
There are some veterinarians who recommend giving dogs grits occasionally because of their nutritional value. They are healthy dog treats because they have a lot of fiber and B vitamins.
Grits pair well with some foods, like cheese and bacon. They can also be enjoyed occasionally as a snack, but shouldn’t become a substantial part of their diet.
If you choose to give your dog grits, you could also add some form of healthy protein to make them even more beneficial for your dog. Foods you could add include:
- Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs go especially well with grits for dogs.
- Fish: Sardines go well with grits for your dog. They are a great source of protein, and they provide healthy fatty acids, minerals and vitamins.
How To Make Your Dog’s Food More Appealing
Grits can be eaten by dogs if they’re cooked properly, but they might not like them. Cook them and feed them to your dog plain at first to see if he’ll eat them. If he won’t, you can add flavors and seasonings dogs like, such as basil or parsley. You can add a small amount of butter, but don’t add too much because it could increase the dog’s risk of heart disease.
Do not feed your dog grits straight from the box. Instead, stir them on low heat for about five minutes until they become soft. The water will evaporate while you are cooking, and this can cause splattering on your stovetop. Stir them often.
You should soak the grits overnight before you add anything else to them so that they will soften up enough for your dog to eat.
Only feed white grits to your dog. Yellow grits are empty calories and will fill up your dog without providing a lot of nutrition.
If your dog doesn’t like grits, try feeding him raw oatmeal instead. It’s a great alternative for dogs who have corn allergies or sensitivities and provides similar health benefits to grits.
Final Thoughts – Can Dogs Eat Grits?
Knowing the risks and health benefits of feeding grits to dogs, and how to make your dog’s food more appealing can help you decide whether you should include them in his diet.
If you choose to feed your dog grits, make sure they chew it completely and limit how much you give your dog every day. If you’re not sure you want to feed your dog grits after reading this, talk to your dog’s vet.