Yes Dogs Can Eat Cheerios, But Here’s Why They Shouldn’t

Bowl Of Cheerios Cereal
© iStock.com/RonOrmanJr

Written by Katelynn Sobus

Updated: September 20, 2023

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I’m certainly guilty of feeding my dog scraps from my plate — who isn’t? But can dogs eat Cheerios? If you and your dog are staring at your bowl of cereal wondering if you can share, allow me to clear things up for you.

Cheerios are harmless for dogs, but they also don’t provide any health benefits. They can be fed as a treat in moderation, but it’s better to feed your dog healthier treats like vegetables or cooked, unseasoned meats.

Keep reading to learn more about how Cheerios will affect your dog, how many they can eat, and more.

How Many Cheerios can a Dog Eat?

Can dogs eat Cheerios? Bowl of Cheerios and milk jug.

Most flavors of Cheerios are okay for your dog to eat occasionally.

©iStock.com/tacar

Dogs can eat Cheerios in moderation. The exact amount that’ll be healthy depends on the size of your dog — but certainly, they never need a whole bowl of them! Treats should never make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet. In addition, Cheerios preferably aren’t your dog’s main or only treat.

It’s up to you what you feed your dog, although it is important to feed your dog a regular diet of high quality dog food. Ultimately, sharing a few Cheerios isn’t likely to hurt your dog unless they’re fed in excess — such as if they make up more than 10% of the diet or are fed often enough to cause weight gain. However, I’d suggest sticking to just a few Cheerios here and there if your dog enjoys them.

Can Dogs Eat Flavored Cheerios?

Can dogs eat Cheerios? Scoop of nutmeg

Some Cheerios flavors contain chocolate or nutmeg, both of which are toxic to dogs.

©pukao/Shutterstock.com

Cheerios come in many varieties now, from fruit flavors to the classic Honey Nut flavor. These flavors are likely to contain more sugars, so avoiding them is best.

However, most flavors won’t poison your dog if they get ahold of them. From a quick scan of their current flavors, the only harmful ingredients I noted were chocolate and nutmeg. The chocolate flavors are easy to see, while the nutmeg is an ingredient in the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios.

If your dog eats Chocolate Cheerios, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios, or Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, they can be poisoned by the toxic ingredients. Some dogs will suffer no consequences, especially if they only had a small amount, while others can become ill or die from even a small amount of chocolate or nutmeg.

Your dog’s size also matters in this instance — it typically takes a lot less chocolate to poison a chihuahua than a Labrador!

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Increased heart rate

Nutmeg poisoning can look a bit different. Symptoms of nutmeg poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Agitation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Hallucinations

If you’re worried or your dog shows symptoms of poisoning, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA animal poison control center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. They can advise you on what to do or if you should see an emergency vet.

Your regular vet can also tell you whether they’re equipped to handle a poisoning and if they’re available now. If nowhere is open and your dog has become ill, contact your nearest emergency clinic rather than waiting for your normal vet.

Can Dogs Eat Cheerios with Milk?

Can dogs eat Cheerios? Dog drinking outside

If you give your dog Cheerios, be sure not to include any milk with them.

©Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

While Cheerios are fine for dogs to eat, they shouldn’t get them with milk. Lapping some up from your bowl isn’t likely to harm them — though it could give them some digestive troubles — but I would try to avoid even this.

Certainly don’t pour your pup their own serving!

The American Kennel Club recommends giving your dog only a few tablespoons of milk as an occasional treat. Enough to make their cereal soggy is also enough to cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.

Can Dogs with Pancreatitis Eat Cheerios?

My dog had chronic pancreatitis toward the end of his life, so I know first-hand how difficult it is to find treats they can eat!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any information on Cheerios and pancreatitis in dogs. I would personally avoid them to be safe or speak with your veterinarian to see what they advise. Their advice may vary depending on how many times your dog has had pancreatitis, how long it’s been since their last flare-up, and whether they’ve diagnosed them with acute or chronic pancreatitis.

Some safer options might be cooked, unseasoned chicken, a bit of plain chicken broth, plain green beans, or even sticking with only a prescription diet.

Definitely don’t give a dog with pancreatitis Cheerios with milk, as the milk can trigger pancreatitis alongside other stomach problems.

What Cereal Can Dogs Eat?

Can dogs eat Cheerios? Woman and dog eating breakfast at the table.

There are many cereals that you can safely give to your dog on occasion, but they should never be used as a main food source.

©iStock.com/:OLGA RYAZANTSEVA

Many cereals are going to be fine for your dog if they get into them but shouldn’t be fed regularly. Like Cheerios, most cereals don’t have health benefits for your pup.

However, some cereals contain toxic ingredients that can harm your dog — so please be careful when feeding them! Avoid chocolate-flavored cereals, those with toxic spices like nutmeg, and those high in sugar. If you’re going to feed cereal to your dog, look up its ingredients beforehand so that you know it’s safe.

If your dog has eaten cereal behind your back and you’re not sure if it’ll hurt them, it’s best to contact a veterinarian for advice. This applies doubly to dogs with health problems that restrict their diet, such as pancreatitis, kidney disease, or diabetes.

Can and Should Dogs Eat Oatmeal?

We know that oatmeal has been claimed to be one of the most beneficial and heart-healthy breakfast choices for humans. It makes sense to wonder if you should feed oatmeal to your pup.

Oatmeal can actually be a good choice to supplement your dogs’ meals. You can even find it in many dog foods at the market because it provides a good source of fiber for your pups. The suggested amount is one tablespoon for every twenty pounds of your hounds.

You may find that you prefer to use milk or a milk alternative to cook your own breakfast oatmeal, but you definitely want to stay away from that. Cook your dogs’ oatmeal using water only.

As with any new addition to your pets’ diets, adding small amounts at first and then building upon that is the best way to make sure that they can tolerate the food. There is no reason to force a healthy option upon them without making sure it will not harm them.

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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